Room with a view

Before Royal Court

Looking across to the junction between Briar Mead and Powell Road. This photo of the playing field in King Edward Road was taken from 40A, before Royal Court was built. We kids used to ride our bikes around the block, as we called it, or play games such as rounders and the boys played football.
Pam Quarman
Looking across to Powell Road with Dads supervising the children at play. This photo of the playing field in King Edward Road was taken from 40A, before Royal Court was built. We kids used to ride our bikes around the block, as we called it, or play games such as rounders and the boys played football.
Pam Quarman
Looking across field to junction of Brook Mead and Powell Road. The car belonged to Ronnie Thomas who lived at number 38 and the lorry was driven by Mr Bert Guy of 42A.
Pam Quarman

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  • Colin; Oh yes we were such an adventurous lot! I had forgotten about the flats being built and the fun we had there. 

    I suppose the readers have now realised that I was quite a Tom Boy as a youngster, at one time I was the best scrumper on the estate.

    I can remember climbing the scaffolding on the houses being built and ending up with a broken toe. The worst thing ever was the huge great brown leather boot the fracture dept. at St. Andrews hospital supplied me with. 

    In fact I had so many mishaps as a kid I remember the plasterers name at the hospital, it was Barry. Ah but then I discovered lipstick and stiletto heels and everything changed.

    By Gloria Sewell (02/02/2012)
  • Hi Gloria, I used to play with you and the others when the field was just as you described. It had the long line of bushes up near the top, and I suppose what would be described as “scrubland” made up the rest of it. 

    But you were right, if you went out to play it was always to the field (unless you were old enough for Enefer’s of course!) Until, of course, they started building the two blocks of flats between your block and ours (not the high-rise ones, just the original ones on our side of the road.) then they became the adventure playground, with the piles of sand, the stacks of bricks being hollowed out at the top to make our camps, and the scaffold at the top of the walls became our forts or stage or hide and seek or whatever else our imagination conjured up. 

    Then the bulldozer turned up to level the field and we had fun riding on the side arms of that, until one of us (it was Ronnie Thomas if I remember) came off and broke his leg. I think that was our first outing with “Health and Safety” when they decided that riding above the tracks of the dozer was a little too risky.

    If only they knew that the engine was started with a twelve bore cartridge and we all used to line up opposite the cartridge barrel when, with a loud BANG the cartridge would eject at about a million miles an hour and, if you were lucky, you caught it and kept it they would have shot the workmen! But it was worth an eye or so to be the proud owner of that spent shell! 

    Linda and I drove past the field a week or so ago. The flats are down and there are hoardings round where they were but, sadly, the rest of the field is now covered with new houses on their way up. Another bit of green sold of by our treacherous council I am afraid!

    By Colin Clarke (01/02/2012)
  • Hi Nina, wish I had known you were coming into Chelmsford, my office is in Duke Street where the ECC office is. If you make any more visits let me know and I’ll come as well. I’ll look forward to seeing your mapping and the name of the farm, I can then see where it fits with the maps I looked at – thanks Rich.

    By Richard Haines (25/01/2012)
  • Richard. I’m sorry if I sounded a bit rude yesterday by saying ‘Wrong’. I was still on a bit of a high from my successful visit to Essex Records Office. It was very kind of you to try to help me with my search and you were on the right track with the 1922 map, although I may have mislead you there, because I made it sound as if the name of the ‘farm’ and the people are shown on the map. They aren’t. I found those on other documents and was able to put two and two together, in conjunction with what my mother and sister had told me. I am waiting on just a couple of bits of information and then I will be able to reveal what I found Best wishes.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (25/01/2012)
  • Pam, I remember getting the lorry to take us pea picking as well, I used to get it from The Fortune. I used to beg my mum to let me go rather than going to school, I loved it. The farmer used to let us make camps on the hay stacks great fun. 

    Jean you are right if there had been X Factor then we would have walked it we were fantastic weren’t we. I always thought you would have gone on the stage you always were very talented. In fact I think you could have done if it were not for the awful train crash. 

    Oh! yes the stories our parents could have told if they were still with us. The many hard times they had in Laindon, including the war, but never mind they survived and so did we I just wish I had written down more of their stories.

    Nina and Rich, what ever you find out about the farm on “our field” it will always be our wonderland where ever the bricks came from but carry on the good work it will be interesting to know the outcome.

    Jo, great to hear from you on site from so far away today’s technology fantastic. Your mum was my midwife she was a great one too, you did as you were told though. But she made you feel safe and confident in her care, if any one knew her job she did and always made sure new mums knew how and where to get their baby milk, orange juice, cod liver oil and malt mmmmmm.

    I will always remember her in her little hat and grey dress you must be really proud.  I would love to see an article about your mum on site so many women depended on her especially our generation. Oh! and her little Morris car.

    By Gloria Sewell (25/01/2012)
  • Nina, I’ve opened up two old maps of the King Edward Road area, one is prewar 1922 the other post war 1956 with the whole estate on. The prewar one shows that there was nothing but open field plots between King Edward Road and Roberts Road. In other words Powell Road did not exist until the estate was built in the late 1940s. There were only two properties in the area on those open fields. One was in King Edward Road and was built on when they constructed Briar Mead. The other was in Roberts Road and its plot was split to accomodate an extra building alongside. Neither of these appear to be farm houses. When Gloria talks of ‘the excess soil blackberry bushes old bricks rabbit holes nooks and crannies’ she was probably playing on an area partly formed of the old fields and partly the spoil heaps and unused bricks from the King Edward site. Anyway, no White House Farm!!

    By Richard Haines (24/01/2012)
  • Wrong. Miss Marples strikes again. I paid a visit to Essex Records Office this afternoon and found the information I was seeking. A map showing the farm and the name of the people who lived there. I am getting scanned copies of both and will be putting them on the website, hopefully in the next few days. Watch this space. Thanks for your help Richard.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (24/01/2012)
  • My older sister told me about the ‘farm or place’ that had stood on the site before it was a playfield. That must have been in late thirties and early forties. I will ask her some more about it and report back to the archives with anything more she can tell me.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (21/01/2012)
  • Hi I’m Jo Morris I think better known as Jose Bowen. On reading this page and seeing the pictures does bring back so many memories good ones I might add!! 

    I used to live in Bushy Mead opposite Johnny Tyler. My Mum Nurse Trickey delivered a few of the Tyler children and I can remember Mr & Mrs Tyler who were very nice people. Sometime used to watch out for my brother and me when Mum had to go out to work. 

    I also have so many happy memories from the Playing field in the centre of the Estate where all us kids used to get together and play all sorts of games. Great days and I’m glad to hear it has been put back to just being a feild. 

    I live in Australia but I do love to look at this site, it helps me keep in touch with others I went to school with and to know what’s going on still in Laindon. Keep up the good work.

    Editor: Sorry to spoil your dream of the playing field being returned to the children of the community, but they are covering it completely with two blocks of flats and house. Article will follow.

    By Jo Morris (20/01/2012)
  • Nina, I will look this White House Farm up on the Old Maps site and report back, if its on there at all.

    Editor: I have not been able to find a farm located on that area of the estate in either the 1988 or 1939 maps. There is a White House farm but the was over at Barleylands, and I believe it is still there, but need to check.

    By Richard Haines (20/01/2012)
  • Hello Bill, yes I remember you and your family very well. Do you remember going hop picking at Warley, the lorry used to pick us up at the garage opposite the Fortune of War.

    I have photos that I hope to put on in the near future. Regards to you and your family.

    By Pam Quarman nee Atkins (20/01/2012)
  • Hi Gloria, Isn’t it great seeing all these old photos like you say we were all going to be film or stage stars, trouble was they didn’t have X Factor back then. Can’t help wishing my mum and dad were here to ask their memories about old Laindon, bet you do as well.

    By Jean Pattle (20/01/2012)
  • Hi Pam. It’s fantastic to see the field again. It brings back such wonderful memories. I walked across that field many times and played there often.

    Do you remember the enormous bonfire that the neighbours used to build there for Guy Fawks day? They even used to save old mattresses and pieces of furniture to burn on the big night. One year, a prankster burnt it down a few days too early, so the neighbours set to and completely rebuilt it. 

    Ron Thomas and his family later moved to Bourne Close and their house overlooked our garden. His younger brother Ray, was a friend of my younger brother Alan. Thank you very much for sharing the photos – just wonderful. Best wishes.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (19/01/2012)
  • This field should never have been built on. I can remember well my first fight on the field with Mickey Yates, aged about 11, I can’t remember who won, I guess it might have been him. 

    Later on I used to hang out with Geoff Cochrane who lived opposite, I think Powell Road. Just through from Pelhams Alley from our house – a different world and time, thanks Pam for these super photos. Wouldn’t it be nice if the field could be restored.

    By Richard Haines (19/01/2012)
  • Oh Pam, I laughed so much and cried so many tears on this field, before Royal Court and before the field was leveled. We all had our little dens on there which were Indian camps, soldier forts, fairy castles, doctor surgeries, battlefields, film sets, whatever we wanted that field became it. If you wanted to be alone, you found somewhere, feeling alone, you found someone, want a good cry you found somewhere to hide, wanting to run and laugh and be free, “THE FIELD” was there for us. 

    Then someone decided flatten it better for the children to play, was it, never. Yes it was still used for the odd kick around, the odd fight, Sunday school talks and singing “Jesus wants us for a sunbeam”, but the heart and character was taken along with the excess soil blackberry bushes, old bricks, rabbit holes, nooks and cranies that played a huge part in my early childhood.  After that we took to the streets and the back roads the field was not our kingdom anymore. 

    I feel so sad thinking back when walking home from school the only part of the field that was then used regular was the narrow worn path of grass that ran diagonally through the middle the rest just a flat green barren wasteland to us kids. Maybe that why the powers that be decided to build Royal Court to mask their huge big clanger. Whoops an even bigger clanger that became, I wait with baited breath to see what comes next. 

    Basildon Council, if you want help in planning what’s best to set the heart and pulse of this area racing again, I will give you some old and wise advice.

    By Gloria Sewell (19/01/2012)
  • How nice to see the field without those horrible flats. Like Gloria I remember all the great times we had as children from the estate playing cowboys and Indians in the trees and bushes there before it was cleared. 

    As small child I lived in the Ramblers, Tattenham Road a small bungalow at the back of Pelhams alley. I would take my old dog on a picnic with a lump of bread and bottle of water and hide in the bushes on this field, that was before the King Edward estate was built, lovely memories.

    By Jean Pattle (19/01/2012)
  • Pam, do you remember the Tylers of Bushy Mead?

    By bill tyler (19/01/2012)
  • Jean, what fun we had back then. We were all going to be great stage artists or film actress’s weren’t we, such carefree, mellow, days. 

    Bill, I remember Johnny Tyler very well, went to school with him. He was one of our crowd I think he lived next door to the Nightingales. A fair boy, very tall and handsome.

    By Gloria Sewell (19/01/2012)
  • I’m not sure if anyone can help me but I would be interested to hear anything about the ‘farm’ that was sited there before it was a playfield. Apparently when my dad’s family first came to Laindon early last century, when King Edward Road was unmade, there was a farm there, possibly called White House Farm. 

    From 1915 the family came every weekend but in 1938 my parents moved into Spion Kop permanently. They were quite hard up so my mum asked at the farmhouse if she could do a morning’s housework for half a crown. The farmer’s wife agreed, but after mum had worked hard all morning, she went back on her word and would only part with two shillings. 

    A flock of very aggressive geese would rush out from that farm and anyone passing by. One day my brother Dennis went by on his bike and rode straight over the neck of one because he couldn’t stop in time. 

    I plan to make a visit to Essex Records Office in Chelmsford soon, to find out some things, but in the meantime, if anyone knows anything about that farm it would be a help.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (19/01/2012)

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