Old Photographs of Langdon Hills/Laindon

Taken by David Sarfas, Tony Ringwood and Kenny Bird

David Sarfas and his wife Doris Martin were both in my year at Langdon Hills School and at Laindon High Road. I had not seen either of them for many years. Then, perhaps twenty years ago, I was reintroduced to them by a friend, Tom Monk. Tom was a cousin of Doris and both of their families lived in Railway Cottages. Later, David sent me a series of photographs taken of old Laindon. He and Tony Ringwood of Lincewood Park Drive and Kenny Bird (or Byrd) of St. David’s Road took the photographs as some sort of remembrance before the old Laindon completely disappeared. David wrote a description of each shot and I have reproduced his description beneath each photograph. Many of the scenes will be familiar from other articles in these archives but, hopefully, some will be new to the viewer.

Editor’s note:  Thank you for submitting these photos for publishing on the website.  We have arranged them in order as they were along the High Road from St David’s Road to New Century Road.   

Memorial Hall opposite Carey's. I had many a free dinner here during the war as my father was a prisoner-of-war in Italy. So we were entitled to free dinners a few days a week.
Station car park taken from footbridge.
Nightingale Parade, Langdon Hills. Elsey's off licence, sweet shop, boot menders, Doll's Hospital, Baptist Hall, Crowe's butchers.
St David's Road, Langdon Hills.
Outside Central Cafe on left. Looking toward station.
Taken from Toomey's Service House. From right, Primrose Cafe, Spencer's Stores, Welcome Cafe, Harris barbers, Foyles library, Henbest, ?, Curtis.
A. Rawley, Estate Agent on bend opposite Station Approach, Barclays Bank round corner. Townsend greengrocer on corner.
Cottis, Salt's boot repair, Basset's furniture, Gibson's greengrocer, Tom Card's fish shop, Bata shoes. Tony Ringwood's old car just visible. Looking from Laindon Hotel.
Carey builders, corner of Essex Road. Old Ford car coming out of Laindon Link Road opposite Parkinson's garage.
High Road taken from corner of Laindon Link Road.
Looking down High Road from corner of Winston Hill. Laindon Hotel in centre.
Looking toward station from Langdon Hills side of railway bridge. Osbourne Road on right. Cottis bakery just out of sight on right.
Laindon High Road. Durham Road on left just passed Green Stores.
Griffin's shop, corner of New Century Road.
Parkinson's old garage on the corner of Somerset Road. In yard FX3 Austin taxi and 1937 Chrysler taxi. My uncle Reg's Austin A40 Devon for sale in Somerset Road.
The steps leading to Railway Cottages, Laindon.
Langdon Hills looking towards Samuel Road and Laindon Station in the distance on the right
Station Approach taken from passenger walk bridge. Estate agent, cafe, taxi office. Farmer's taxis.
Parkinson's house, Wilson's house and shop, Denison's fish shop, Sharps radio (?), cinema. Doris worked in Wilson's chemist for many years until it closed.
Dr. Shannon's house (Rosemary) on right. Low building on left is Avondale oil shop with Pepperal's newsagent next door. Langdon Hills side of bridge.
Railway Cottages, Laindon. There were eight. My wife Doris was born in No 3. Doris' aunt (Mrs Monk) lived in the end one, No 8.
Dr. Chowdhary's house 'Daisy Bank' and garage with Butlers the undertakers on the corner. (Very handy!) Opposite Radion cinema in Laindon High Road.
Laindon Hotel, Jeakins haulage house and yard.

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  • Does anybody remember Shepherd’s cafe? Mrs Shepherd was a lovely lady. I always felt very spoilt,
    whilst my sister was at school my mum used to take me in there for a cream cake and a glass of milk.

    By Dianne Couch ne Amos (12/07/2020)
  • Felicity, there was a Bird family (referred to earlier in this thread) who lived in St David’s Road in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s and perhaps later. I knew their son Kenny Bird, who was a classmate of mine at Langdon Hills. I have no idea if the family were related to your James Bird.

    By Alan Davies (27/06/2020)
  • Hiya – I wonder if anyone knows of a James Bird (appearing in the 1891 Census) in Langdon Hills as an agricultural labourer – married Charlotte Papworth – I think.

    By Felicity Fuller (27/06/2020)
  • Would anyone have pictures of Berry Lane especially the top end where it met Samuel Road? I lived in one of the old bungalows in the early 50’s (built by my grandfather Arthur Martin). There is only one of the original four bungalows left, still occupied by a family member l knew when l was a child….I would be really grateful for any help.
    Thank you

    By Peter J Martin (12/05/2020)
  • I have been looking for sites like this to make up a family history scrapbook. My family lived at “Rosemary” on Sandringham Road. My father’s paternal grandfather and his maternal grandfather and aunts and uncles on both sides of the family built homes on or near the “Rosemary” estate. The family names are Mansfield and Clark. The Mansfields were associated with the early days of Salvation Army and the Clarks built the Ingaway Church. Does anyone have a photo of Rosemary estate?

    By Helen Moriarty nee Mansfield (23/05/2019)
  • Hi, I’ve only just found this site. Does anyone have a photo of the old women’s institute hall in Emanuel Road please?

    Editor. The WI Hall has always been in Samuel Road. Click on the following lick to see the article which has some photographs Langdon Hills WI Hall

    By Paul Russell (31/08/2018)
  • What wonderful memories from these photos. Lovely to see my late father and grandmother’s name mentioned. Ivan and Irene Cann. Thank you.

    By Graeme Cann (26/08/2018)
  • I have some memories of “The Paragon” shop in Laindon. My brothers and I would visit it to buy model aeroplane kits and materials in the time when we lived at Dunton Wayletts. (1955 to 1962.)

    The front of the shop had shelves of paper-backed books, these being lent out for a small fee. They may also had stocked sweets and tobacco, but memory is a bit hazy on that.

    Further back (in a separate room, I think) were the model aircraft kits and accessory items. From that room was a door to a small open space, to the right of which was a shed where was stored balsa wood, and probably other items.

    Kits by Keil Kraft were sold at “The Paragon”, these being manufactured at nearby Wickford, and were one of the main manufacturers of kits at that time. I can’t recall if other makes of kits were also stocked.

    The shop was on the High Road, north of the station but before what became Laindon Link, and on the eastern side of the road. More exact than that I cannot be: well, it was sixty years ago and I’m knocking on a bit!
    The shop was rather narrow, and of limited space, but a good amount of stock was fitted in somehow.

    I’ve just been looking at the photos of the High Road, and was a little surprised at the number and variety of shops that there were. Laindon certainly had a character all of its own.

    Thank you for bringing back old memories.


    By John Ralph. (14/08/2018)
  • Brilliant! How many more of these memory jerking photographs are out there just waiting to put in an appearance? No, Laindon was not posh or picturesque but it did have something that for many years has been sadly lacking – character!  What does strike me in these photos is all the trees and greenery. Okay, I know they are in black and white but you know what I mean.  It really is a step back in time and I for one, am loving it.

    Thanks. Re. Griffin’s sweet shop: as a VERY young boy I was told that Mr Griffin kept a donkey in his living room (yes I did say donkey) and that is why I always knew this shop as Donkey Bills’! Gullible or what? Mind you I still wonder if it was true? 

    By Donald Joy (29/08/2015)
  • The name Sarfas rang a bell! I was at school with Valerie Sarfas. I think she lived up the hill near Winston Club. I remember going to Railway Cottages to visit Vera Martin with my mum Irene McDonnell (Mrs Mac). I remember her daughter Joyce. 

    We lived in Radcliffe Road, which ran between Osborne Road and Salisbury Avenue.

    My grandmother, Mrs Pyner, at one time owned a sweet shop in the High Road near Lagdens butchers I think. A family called Quinton lived near the shop.

    I remember going to Townsends with my mother for greengrocery. Jim Townsend? There was a hardware store just past Durham Road I think belonging to Chris Collins. I vaguely remember the Bassett girls in the furniture shop. Henbests had two shops on opposite sides of the High Road. Mrs Henbest ran the ladies side of the business and ‘Chic’, her son, the gents side of the business. 

    Curtis’s had a large shoe shop but nearer to the station was Charsleys. Probably long before Bata arrived. Did Rawlings builders have a little office on the other side of the road to Greens stores?

    We had a great range of shops on our side of the station. We had Cottis’s bakery, Pepperalls – tobacco, newspapers etc, Mr and Mrs Greens where we went for paraffin, Trews greengrocers, Nightingale Parade post office which was combined with grocery shop. There were also two bike shops. 

    Nearer to Samuel Road was a little shop that sold sheet music. Was it the same shop where locals took their accumulators to be charged?

    Several sweetshop/tobacconists also kept a small lending library.

    We also had a little haberdashery shop. It was in the same parade where Mr Koppit had his tailoring business.

    By Janet Harper (McDonnell) (10/05/2015)
  • Hi Janet, Valerie Sarfas (who is now Day) is my sister and David Sarfas is my brother.  Vera Martin was the sister of my sister-in-law Doris Martin (Sarfas). Sounds a bit complicated but it isn’t really, unfortunately Vera passed away a year ago and Doris passed away in April of this year, so sad.

    My sister Val now lives in Wales, and went on to have six children of her own who are all grown up now with their own families.  Val doesn’t go on this site very often, but I will phone her tonight to tell her to have a look.  We did live in Sandringham Road, which was up Windsor Hill past the Winston Social Club.  It was lovely to hear from you.   Kind regards.   Joan Baterip (nee Sarfas)

    By Joan Baterip (10/05/2015)
  • Wonderful to see these photos. Nightingale Parade was the nearest shops to me (Victoria Avenue) from 1939 until I left in 1962. I have a memory problem about the Baptist Church, was it always in Nightingale Parade?

    Editor:  The Baptist Church which dates from 1909 moved from Nightingale Parade in 1931 into new premises on the opposite side of the High Road.

    By Gerald Jones (24/03/2015)
  • Loved these photos, thanks!  Took me back to my childhood days – it might not have been the poshest of places, but we didn’t have much litter either, even though plenty of folk lived there. In some ways it looked much tidier than several local Basildon areas now. 

    By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell) (21/03/2015)
  • Yes these photos are really clear, some of them already being known to us through this site. What a pity they stop halfway along the High Road almost as if it had been planned that way. The most interesting shop Archer Clarke who had Raleigh Cycles, Meccano, Dinky Toys and Hornby and Dublo Trains is also missing even though it was in this area.

    The most interesting parades of shops to me were at Boons and Pelhams although both have featured heavily in past series. Also missing is the Co-Op and the shops near Weedons and what about the tiny Paragon stores further up opposite the Laindon Hotel area.

    We must have enough now to be able to almost publish an album of the best ones in logical order.

    By Richard Haines (17/01/2015)
  • Lovely to see these photos brought back many happy memories of shopping with my mum when I was little.

    By Joan Goodfellow nee Merchant (16/01/2015)
  • What a wonderful collection of memories.  I had friends called Violet and Lily Hague, also Ivan Cann in Emanuel Road.  His mother did a lot for Old Age Pensioners, probably articles in Laindon Recorder.  I also remember the Martins and their poor disabled little girl in the Railway Cottages.

    I lived in a bungalow called Dunromin with my Mother-in-law when I got married, this is now called Hill Rise and is directly opposite Langdon Hills School.  My nephew Graham Wellington still lives in the bungalow.

    I am now 84 so shall keep looking at the site to keep the old brain going!!

    By Thelma Oliver (16/01/2015)
  • Hy Nina, I too used to know a family in St Davids Road, the Sargents, John and Vivian I believe, when we were very young John used to come to our place for the occasional birthday etc. I have a couple of pix of him in our pig sty with the pigs and helping in the digging of our “well” taken in about 1952/3, I will dig them out and send them in.

    I believe John passed away a couple of years ago, my condolences to his family and friends, Ken

    By Ken Page (14/01/2015)
  • Hy Nina, lovely to hear from you, Barb says hy too.  Could I have your e-mail address please and also that of Eric Pasco in WA.   I am in contact with Stanley Quinn a mutual friend of Eric and myself, Stan is not in the best of health and though I wouldn’t mind visiting him, he lives about 3400klms away from me, but Eric lives in Perth  WA.

    Andrea Ash informs me that bulldozers are working over in the plotlands top of 3rd Avenue, any ideas on what’s happening?

    Remember my cousin Harry the pilot? His daughter came to visit us just after Christmas, that was a nice surprise indeed, also my brother’s daughter paid us a visit from England as well, what a Christmas.

    Please pass on my best wishes to Ian, I really hope he gets well again very soon, too many of us oldies getting crook, goes with our time of life I guess. Thanks for what you are all doing, I love it.

    Warm regards to you all.  Ken

    By Ken Page (14/01/2015)
  • Hi Ken.   You may be pleased to hear that the bulldozers recently seen in Third Avenue were there in connection with the pathways being re-surfaced.  We often take our daughter’s dog for a walk through there and we saw the work being done.  The paths are now a great improvement for walkers and particularly benefit those pushing buggies or wheelchairs while out for a stroll.

    There is also an area being cleared in order to create a new orchard area.  This is just a few yards north of where ‘Hawthorne’ once stood. (That bungalow was originally the home of the Burke family and was used as a temporary home for the Warden before the Warden’s bungalow and Visitor Centre were built).   A group of volunteers have been working hard throughout the winter, clearing scrub to open up a fairly large area.  This will become a community orchard, one of several in the Langdon Hills/Laindon area.  A few mature fruit trees remain there from plotland times which will be retained and the newly planted trees will be East of England varieties.  It’s an on-going project which will benefit wildlife as well as future generations of local residents. Perhaps we might take a few photos to add to the website.

    Shortly after your visit in 1912, your cousin Harry very kindly took four of us for a flight in his light plane.  He did two trips, taking two of us, each time.  We flew around the Langdon Hills area and then Laindon.  He flew as low as possible, so I could get a really good aerial view of where my family’s old home and garden used to be (compulsory purchased in 1975).  It was wonderful and Colin took literally hundreds of photos.

    You should find my e-mail address on the e-mail message I sent you this morning. Please let me know if there is any problem and I will send it again.

    Unfortunately we don’t have Eric Pasco’s latest e-mail address.  When he visited last year, I learned he had recently changed his e-mail address but he hasn’t forwarded the new one to us yet.  Hopefully he will read this and maybe get in touch with you/us in order to get you both connected. 

    Thank you for your good wishes – I will certainly pass them on.  All the best.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (14/01/2015)
  • What lovely photos, bought back so many memories, I have always lived in Laindon since birth in 1953.

    By Judy Webb (14/01/2015)
  • Brilliant photos, so lovely and clear.  One of my classmates used to live in St David’s Road: Grace Sargent – I wonder where she is now?

    By Anne Burton (14/01/2015)
  • I enjoyed seeing these great photos, particularly the one of St David’s Road which I hadn’t seen before. It appears unmade, without kerbs and with long grass on either side.  Two of my classmates at Laindon High Road School lived in St David’s Road. Several of the roads on the west side of the High Road, Langdon Hills, remained unmade until the late sixties, including Emanuel Road.

    The 1929 Electoral Register lists the following bungalows in St David’s Road:-  Esterre, Fairholm, Avondale, Ste-rose-du-lac, Woodlands, Pendruffn, and Lynton.  By the 1949 Electoral Register, the names had been replaced by numbers.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (13/01/2015)
  • Great stuff Alan, it’s sad to think it’s now just a memory (and that’s well faded). It seems Laindon was neglected even back then, the road surface needed resealing, footpaths and gutter in a poor state of repair too.

    Dear old Laindon was certainly no picturesque, pretty, English village that’s for sure BUT, it was home to a lot of us and although I left it 50 odd years ago I still think it had a certain charm (however faded) and life about it that keeps me checking this web site regularly in the hope of seeing things like this, terrific!!, thank you LHS and all the rest of you.

    PS, it’s been pouring very hard here in Oz for a couple of days now, see, even our weather can be unpredictable. Ken.

    By Ken Page (13/01/2015)
  • Further to Nina’s comment on St. David’s Road and several of the roads on the west side of the High Road remaining unmade until the 1960’s.

    I attended Langdon Hills School 1939 to 1945. At that time Vowler Road and Samuel Road were made up. St David’s Road and Alexander Road were unmade while Emanuel was also unmade and in addition, did not go all the way through to Berry Lane. It ended fifty yards short in an impenetrable jungle of hawthorn. I say impenetrable because we young lads were used to forcing our way through hawthorn. This particular jungle was too much for us.

    Kenny Bird lived in St David’s Road, one or two houses from the T junction with Berry Lane on the south side of the street. Next to the Bird’s house was a derelict tennis court. It was surrounded by eight foot fencing, the net was still in place but was in tatters as time and weather had taken their toll. It was a hard court but the painted lines no longer existed and weeds grew in abundance through the many cracks and crevices. It obviously had not been used in many years. I would often wonder to whom it belonged and why and how an obviously upper class tennis court came to be in the midst of such a downmarket area. It seemed such a strange contradiction.

    By Alan Davies (13/01/2015)
  • I too echo Ken’s comments and the photos really jogged the old memory cells, fantastic. by the way Ken you may be getting a soaking in Victoria but have not seen a drop in Perth for 2 months and not expecting any in the near future.  Regards to all.

    Eric Pasco

    By Eric Pasco (13/01/2015)

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