Correspondence between Andrew Greenaway and Alan Davies about Berry Lane, Prescott Avenue, Beatrice Road and Raglan Road, Langdon Hills.


Hello Andrew,

Yes, I lived in Raglan Road when it was a three foot wide cinder track leading from Berry Lane. At the bottom were two bungalows — “Randley” in which my grandmother lived and “Lowlands” which was our little home. In later years my grandmother had a third house built opposite the existing two. I think it was called “Sunnyside”. She moved there in her final years.

I was back in the UK a couple of years ago and walked that entire area of Berry Lane from Bebington’s corner to New Avenue. What a change! Vowler Road pretty much as I remember it but I could not even locate exactly where Raglan Road was particularly as Prescott Ave (which was directly opposite Raglan Road on the other side of Berry Lane) was gone. As was Wellington Ave (used to be opposite Vowler Road) and Ferndale Road and Beatrice Road. Shelley Ave and New Ave remained along with a few of the old houses on that stretch.

I would be glad to hear from you.

Regards.   Alan Davies

Hi Alan,

Very good to hear from you and thank you for responding to my contact request.

I have seen many of your posts on and have often thought it would be good to chat with you about the little corner of Langdon Hills in which, it seems, we both lived.

Perhaps I could start by giving you a short biography of myself.

I was born in 1950 in the bungalow called Jalna which was on the corner of Prescott Avenue and Berry Lane. It still is (except that Prescott Ave has gone) and, perhaps surprisingly I still live there!

Another thing we may have in common is our education. I went to Langdon Hills Primary School, then Laindon High Road School, and, after a two year stint at Thurrock Technical College, to Mid Essex Technical College in Chelmsford where I studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I wonder if METC is the same as Chelmsford Technical College which I understand you went to? METC was between Victoria Road South and Park Road, near Chelmsford station. I think the college later became part of Anglia University.

I don’t know if you are a user of Google Street View but here is a link which should bring up a picture of my bungalow as it is today, looking from where Raglan Road would have joined Berry Lane.,0.4175302,3a,75y,264.4h,82.01t/data=3m71e13m51sr_Ic4dubliKEAGTIP7CFaQ2e06s2F2Fgeo0.ggpht.com2Fcbk3Fpanoid3Dr_Ic4dubliKEAGTIP7CFaQ26output3Dthumbnail26cb_client3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps26thumb3D226w3D20326h3D10026yaw3D337.8434826pitch3D026thumbfov3D1007i133128i6656

If the link doesn’t work, I can send you a picture.

If you swivel the picture round you can see Mulberry Gardens which is on the site of Raglan Road and you can proceed down it (online) by clicking on the road, and where the road turns to the left, a path called “Mulberry Path” continues straight and is a useful short cut to Laindon Station. The interesting thing though, is that a short way down this path is a path going off on the left at right angles and I think this must be on the site of the part of Raglan Road where you lived. Developers tend to leave rights-of-way where they are to save going through the difficult process of having them moved! The path continues across the new road, Pittfields, and then joins what they now call Beatrice Path, just as Raglan Rd would have joined Beatrice Rd.

As you say, Prescott Ave. no longer exists but used to run down the left hand side of our garden. It was always an unmade road but had a few bungalows in it. Mrs Wyatt and her son Steven lived on the other corner of Prescott (Steven was about my age) and down the avenue lived Mrs Crisp with her elderly husband, the Croft Brothers and a Mrs Fallen.

I think you mentioned in one of your posts that Raglan Rd never did run through to Berry Lane (correct me if I’m wrong) so you probably would not have gone that way to get to Berry Lane. Certainly I only remember a turn-in opposite Prescott Ave which soon fizzled out into impenetrable bushes, but I was going to ask you if you remember my bungalow being built. It would have been opposite Raglan Rd, where it meets Berry Lane, and on the right hand side of Prescott Ave. If you do remember it being built then I wonder what was there before – I never thought to ask my parents!

After the war my parents had been living with my mother’s father in a property called Radwinter, further up Berry Lane in the direction of The Crown. They were not wealthy but somehow managed to get a mortgage for the £1000 needed to buy the plot AND build the bungalow which they did in 1947/8 or thereabouts.

Somehow my father managed to persuade the Basildon Development Corporation not to compulsorily purchase the property when they bought up so much of the area in the, what, 60’s? So the bungalow is still here but I am afraid to say not for much longer. The foundations were never very substantial and the clay subsoil has caused subsidence so I am planning to demolish it and build a new house.

Next door to us in the direction of Lungleys shop was Mrs Shaw’s bungalow, then a plot on which had been “The Haunted House”. It had already been demolished before I was born, but I remember that there was a short-cut path through the plot past the old well. The well was almost entirely full of rubble but my father wisely always warned me not to get into it in case it was only “capped”. A new house has now been built over it and I have often wondered whether the owners have a large hole under their property without realising it.

In one of your posts you mention climbing an oak tree in Berry Lane and I wondered whether that could be the oak tree in my front garden which you can see in the picture. I know it pre-dates the bungalow and I often used to climb it myself as a child.

Something else you may remember are the glasshouses that were the other side of Beatrice Rd. They were always derelict in my memory but perhaps you remember them when they were in use? I seem to recall that they were owned (?) by Jack Sammons who lived in Berry Ln with his wife Violet. They were friends of my parents but, again, I never thought to ask them about the glasshouses. I think he was an accountant so it seems odd that he should have them. Perhaps I have the whole thing wrong, but if you know anything about them it would be interesting. Maybe they were much smaller than the image planted in my infant memory and were just part of the allotments which I think were further along the “Cinder Path”.

Just one other thing. you mention working for a tea company. Do you remember Tower Tea? My mother worked for them, probably before the war. I think they were in Minories near Fenchurch Street Station.

All the best.  Andrew

Hi Andrew.

I apologise for the delay in responding.

Where to start? It was Emanuel Road that — in my day— did not run through to Berry Lane. Raglan Road did connect with Berry Lane, directly opposite Prescott Avenue. In fact from the same juncture of Raglan Rd and Berry Lane there was another footpath (unnamed) that went off at a 45 degree angle, ran behind the half dozen or so houses in Beatrice Rd and connected up with the cinder path that ran to the station steps. In effect a shortcut through hawthorn and field.

We moved in 1946, having been awarded the second of the newly built council houses on the King Edward estate. During my boyhood there was absolutely no change along Berry Lane unless one counts the corner shop going from Townsend to Lungley proprietors.  Your house must have been built after we moved. Walking south from the corner shop along Berry Lane. On the right was the haunted house. Then a vacant lot unless the haunted house was a particularly large property. Then a bungalow, seemingly more upmarket than most which sat back from the road called “Melrose”. The elderly couple there owned a 1920’s car with isinglass windows. They were never able to run it since there was no petrol available. Then came another vacant, hawthorn strewn lot (unless it was part of “Melrose”) which contained the tree we climbed all the time. Then came Prescott Ave. The only family I remember on Prescott Ave was the Stanley family. They had a tomboy daughter, Rose, who climbed the tree with me. Across Prescott Ave, on the corner, was a bungalow called “Virginia”. Then came the Duke family, I forget the name of their bungalow, who had a son, Howard, of about my age. Then a house which sat back which had storefront windows. It must have been a shop of some description but, in my time, was no longer a shop. Then the back yard of the house which fronted on Wellington Drive which was directly across from Vowler Rd. Going back to the corner store, on the left hand side was Beatrice Rd then just hawthorn and waste land down to Raglan Rd. Except for the large sign opposite “Melrose” which read “DRIVE SLOWLY THROUGH THE VILLAGE”. Who decided a sign was needed at that point always puzzled me. What village? If there were in total two cars, milk trucks, coal lorries, or delivery vans to the corner shop a day that was a busy day. After Raglan Rd was more impenetrable hawthorn until, just before Vowler Rd was “Sheila”, a bungalow which lay back from Berry Lane and where lived the Emson family.

It sounds as if your house “Jalna” must lay to the north of where Prescott Ave was. Is that correct or was “Virginia” torn down and “Jalna” stand on that site? I cannot believe the tree in your photograph is the same one I climbed. It was a fully mature tree when I climbed it and that was over seventy years ago. How long do such trees live? It does seem to be in about the same location however.

Yes, we seem to have followed some of the same paths as boys. I never heard of the Tech as METC but from your description of its location in Chelmsford it has to be the same place. I was back there a couple of years ago and they were tearing it down. I have no memory of the glasshouses on the other side of Beatrice Rd. Of course allotments were all over the place and religiously tended and very productive. At least they were during the war as food was a priority. We never had an allotment but never needed one. There was ample spare waste land at the back of our bungalow in Raglan Rd. We grew potatoes, carrots, onion, lettuce, tomato, runner beans, dwarf beans etc., and had half a dozen chickens (including a cock who attacked you whenever you made your way to the loo at the bottom of the garden), plus a couple of ducks.

Tower Tea does not ring a bell. You could be right about the Minories. Many tea companies were located in that area probably because it was close to the pool of London where tea would be unloaded. Many of the warehouses in that area stored tea. Tetley was located in Mansell Street next door to the Minories. Mazawattee were on Tower Hill, Brooke Bond a stone’s throw away in Gouleston Street. The tea auctions were conducted in Plantation House in Fenchurch Street and the tea brokers scattered throughout Fenchurch St, Leadenhall, Eastcheap, and Bishopsgate.

Yes, I live in the US. I worked for Tetley from the age of sixteen after leaving the Tech. At twenty I was offered a position with their American company. I spent my career with them having been transferred from New York, to Savannah, to Williamsport PA, to Atlanta. Then retirement in Savannah. Then remarriage and a move to San Diego, Ca where I am now. If the taxes here keep increasing and the state becomes more and more left wing I imagine we will move again. Age and health permitting!

If anything else jogs your memory please let me know. I enjoy the exchange. It’s not every day one comes across someone with many of the same boyhood memories.

Best regards.  Alan

Hi Alan,

Thanks for your response.

I didn’t know about the path running at 45 degrees from Berry Ln to Raglan Rd but I have attached a photo which I took from a light aircraft some 40 years ago and there is a faint line running from Berry Lane across to where Raglan Rd would have joined to Beatrice Rd.

The photo was taken in about 1975 when the area had already been largely cleared for redevelopment by Basildon Development Corp. and only a few of the old properties remain: Lungley’s shop, my bungalow, one property in Beatrice Rd and possibly one in Raglan. (It’s a very poor photograph but I think Raglan is just visible on the left hand side. Visible opposite my bungalow is “Gwen-Do-Lynn” (made up from the names of the occupants), and I think their surname was Turnbull.

I’m sure you remember the Cinder Path (as we called it) with its single gas lamp on the corner where it reached the railway, then turned sharp right towards the wooden steps up to the bridge and station. Very creepy at night. I see from some maps on the Laindon History site that the path used to go straight on, across the railway via a level crossing and on to Laindon High Road, but that was before my time. Did it do that in your day?

I do remember “Melrose”. That was next door to us and a Mrs Shaw lived there. She had Pampas Grass in her front garden and passing kids would pick it, to her annoyance. Sometimes I got the blame! I think her daughter and granddaughter (Ann Hardy) also lived there at one time.

So my bungalow would have been built on the hawthorn strew plot between Melrose and Prescott Ave. And I am more convinced than ever that the oak tree which I climbed as a boy and which you also climbed and which is still in my front garden is the same one.

Oak trees grow very slowly – in fact one more than a thousand years old on the Welsh border was in the news last week having finally blown over. I am sure my one pre-dates the bungalow (1946/7) as it was already a large tree during my early childhood (from 1950 on). I attach a photo from 1968 and there is evidence of quite a lot of large branches having been trimmed some time previously. As you can see from Google Street View, the tree has hardly changed at all since then.

I well remember the sign saying “Drive Slowly Through The Village” and I have been searching for a photograph I have of it but can’t find it anywhere. If I find it I’ll send it to you.

I remember a shop between Prescott and Wellington which I think was a television repair shop. I remember that the proprietor was afflicted with some sort of hump-back and (as a small child) I thought it had something to do with the televisions which if you remember, also had a sort of hump at the back! What strange thoughts go through a child’s mind – or maybe just me! The shop was in between large trees which were close to the road.

I don’t remember the Stanley family but in my memory there were already a number of plots in Prescott Ave where there had been properties then gone. it was a great place for an adventurous kid to roam.

I am fairly sure “Virginia” is where Mrs Wyatt lived in my day, with her son Steven and, you are right, Jalna was (is) on the North side of Prescott, fronting onto Berry Lane. There were no pavements but a large ditch with a little bridge over it to get to our gate. The ditch is piped now, under the pavement.

I have not been to San Diego but have been to California many times as I was a director of a company in Torrance (L.A.) and also used to visit an electronics company in Van Nuys. Even if the taxes are bad just remember the weather is great! (Currently -3 degC here and 6 inches of snow).

I hope to continue reading your posts on and will keep in touch.

All the best.  Andrew

Hi Andrew.

So you were born in 1950. The last time I was in the Berry Lane/Raglan Road area, prior to my posting to the US was when I visited my grandmother in 1953. I had just got out of the RAF after a truncated National Service stint of only seven months. (Rheumatic fever and medical discharge.) Much to my surprise she now lived in a new third bungalow at the bottom of Raglan Road. Directly opposite to her old bungalow “Randley” and our old bungalow “Low Lands”. From memory I think her new house was called “Sunnyside”. This new bungalow had to be built sometime after we moved to King Edward Terrace in 1946 and completed before 1953. It never struck me at the time but subsequently I wondered where the materials and permission to build came from. Her “live-in-luv” as my mother referred to him, Bill Long, had spent a lifetime in the building trades. At a time when construction was periodically halted on the new King Edward estate due to lack of building materials, my guess is that Bill Long managed to “secure” an ongoing handful  of building materials that “would never be missed” and built the bungalow himself. I cannot imagine who might have owned that patch of scrub land or how a building permit could ever have been obtained. There is, I think, quite a story there but one which, unfortunately, we will never know.

While we usually hear tales of heroism and hardship about the war there is another side of black markets. Even as a child, I knew of the stories of sacks of coal that “fell off” of the delivery lorry somewhere along the way. For some reason sacks of coal were stacked on lorries and the entire load secured only with a single chain around it. No wonder if, driving around Laindon roads in winter, one or two sacks mysteriously disappeared. Of course coal was rationed and presumably these sacks disappeared at above the market rates. Whether this was entirely a driver initiative of if there was enough of a profit to involve his coal merchant boss — who knows? I somehow find it difficult to believe that the coal merchant would quietly absorb these losses, commonly known and seemingly without end, without at least re-configuring the walls on his lorries. A wooden outer barricade to replace the chain holding the load if nothing else. Or was the bookkeeping really that woeful? Hard to believe.

Interesting as your aerial photo is, I find it impossible to orient myself. Perhaps you could point out a few points that would help me. For instance, what is the big road winding down from 11 o’clock to 6 o’clock and what are the names of the four roads at the crossroads in the bottom left quadrant? Other helpful hints?

Odd that I did not take more notice of your house when I walked Berry Lane with my cousin Tony a couple of years ago when I was back in the UK. Tony is a year older than I, lived at the foot of Lincewood Park Drive, also went to Chelmsford Tech, spent his career with Barclay’s Bank, married his wife Jeane (nee Archibald) who lived somewhere behind the cop shop opposite the Hiawatha, and is now retired and lives in Chelmsford. I take your point about the age of some oak trees and the location of your/my tree seems spot on. If it is indeed the same tree then it has suffered some major pruning in its time. Even allowing for boyhood memories exaggeration, the tree that I remember split into three main trunks at about a height of four feet. My favourite, and the largest, branch/trunk extended directly out over Berry Lane. While the furthest limit of twigs went further east, we could comfortably sit well out over Berry Lane and directly over the occasional motorized traffic that travelled below. If it is not major pruning then it has to be due to age that it looks less than its former self. After all, I take your point that oak trees can live to a venerable age but (like people) not all do.

Yes, I remember the cinder path well and the stile at the bend that was once a right of way pedestrian crossing over the railway line. I had no knowledge of the right of way until I read of it on the Laindon site. That pre dates my time. I only remember it as you describe, which prompts another memory. At the junction of Berry Lane and Vowler Road, on the north east corner, ran a substantial open ditch. Memory says the stream was covered or piped on the west side of Berry Lane and must have run down the hill adjacent to Berry Lane. At the intersection of Vowler Road it ran underground under Berry Lane to exit on the north east corner of the intersection. There it became an open ditch which, after rain, could become a very substantial rush of water, two feet or more in depth. From that point it ran north east between the Emson’s in “Sheila” and the Hayes family which was the first residence on Vowler Road. Then it ran behind our bungalow “Low Lands” and our grandmother/neighbour “Randley” where it did a sharp left and ran alongside the east side of their property. Then a sharp right where it ran behind the Hill’s bungalow. The Hills was the last bungalow in Beatrice Road. Then another sharp left along the east side of the Hill’s and then it crossed the cinderpath under a footbridge. Then it went north/north/east toward the railway line to where I know not. Somewhere or other I heard that, although we always thought of it as a particularly big ditch, it was actually a stream or tributary of a river. Whether it ever boasted a name I know not. I’m sure that is underground, piped, and forgotten now.

I think the “Drive Slowly Through The Village” sign is in the archives of the Laindon site. I think it appears among a group of photos that I sent them. The photos were given to me by David Sarfas who married Doris Martin of Railway Cottages. Both were classmates of mine at Langdon Hills. I am technologically in the stone age and cannot direct you further (still learning my way around the new site) but if you can find your way to my contributions they are in there somewhere. It is part of a bunch of photos that David Sarfas and Kenny Bird (who lived in St David’s Road) took and date to the sixties I think.

In my time there were bungalows down the left hand side of Prescott Avenue with the obligatory footpath but nothing on the right hand side. The right was simply scrub and hawthorn. Perhaps you are aware, Paul Gibson of the Gibson greengrocer family is a neighbour of yours. He lives in a new house which is, more or less, opposite to where Ferndale Avenue used to be. He is a friend of my cousin Tony and a contributor to the Laindon site. I know of Torrance and Van Nuys but have been to LA county. The weather is as good as any place can reasonably get — true. On the other hand the house we sold in Savannah for $300,000 cost $700,000 to replace in San Diego, property and state income taxes are commensurately higher, petrol is considerably higher than any other state in the country. And so on. Politically California seems to have less and less in common with most of the country. The most recent sanctuary city contretemps where the mayor of Oakland is defying the federal government over illegal immigrant arrests (some — but certainly not all — criminals and gang members) is indicative of the state of affairs. I have always considered myself moderately right of centre but here I am regarded as somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun. Ah well, perhaps it is all part of being old.

I look forward to receiving directions on how to read your aerial map. Let’s stay in touch.

Cheers.  Alan

Hi Alan,

I’m sure many properties in the area were built without Planning Permission, but then, I suppose there was a big shortage of housing after the war, hence the “pre-fabs” in Laindon which I remember well.

Regarding coal – my mother was a book-keeper for Laindon Holdings (Toomey group), including Hall coal merchants and also, if I recall correctly, secretary at one time to Joe Toomey. She died in 2013 else I could have asked her about missing bags of coal!

I have attached the aerial photo with some road names etc on. The large road is Berry Lane, and the cross-roads is the corner of Berry Ln, Beatrice Rd, Bridge Rd (i.e Lungley’s corner). On your recent visit, you may have noticed that Berry Lane has been re-aligned so that, if heading north, just before reaching Lungley’s corner it

veers slightly to the right before reaching Pittfields. The old Lungley’s corner now forms Berry Close. Google Maps is good for seeing this. As you know, Berry Lane used to continue to Dunton and the Plotlands but that part is now called Great Berry Lane.

Regarding the oak tree, it did (does) indeed have a large branch going over Berry lane and me and my friend Franky Clark used to sit up there and drop acorns onto the (occasional) passing cars. Then one day we did that and the car screeched to a halt and we really thought we were in trouble. Fortunately no one got out of the car and it continued with the driver presumably wondering what caused the noise!

I remember well the ditch/stream under Berry Ln at the corner of Vowler Rd and used to catch newts along it as a child. It is a tributary of the River Crouch and used to run along Laindon High Road then under the Arterial Road and Dunton Road before joining the Crouch just before it runs under Noak Hill Road at Noak Bridge. The source is the western side of Langdon Hills Recreation Ground (“The Rec”) where you can see a distinct valley, rising towards the west. It is still an open ditch from where it runs under Lincewood Park Dr until the gardens of the new houses on Berry Lane where it is piped, then doesn’t re-emerge until near Queens Rd on the north side of Arterial Rd. There is a man-hole cover in the centre of Berry Lane exactly where the stream runs under and recently I saw some waterworks men looking down it – so not completely forgotten but still an important drain.

Bye-the-way it is great to communicate with someone who understands East/West/North/South when so many people nowadays haven’t a clue! Perhaps it’s your RAF past – did you fly?

I know Paul Gibson well – he was in my class at LH Primary School, then we both went to the High Road. His father’s land used to stretch way back from Berry Lane and was accessible (with difficulty) from the far end of Prescott Avenue. I bump into him from time-to-time and his brother Jim often walks his dogs past my house.

All the best.  Andrew

Hi Andrew.

Ah, now I know where things are. Thanks for your very helpful signs and orientation. I notice you have a question mark after Raglan Road where it joins Beatrice Road. Yes, as a boy, I always assumed that Raglan Road ended when it dead ended into hawthorn and the Crouch tributary alongside “Randley”. Later I discovered that, on paper at least, it took a left turn through impenetrable hawthorn and, as the hawthorn ended, came out behind the James bungalow, did a jiggle to the right and went on to meet Beatrice Road on the west side of the Hill bungalow. Yet another relative lived in Beatrice Road next to the James. Fred “Ginger” James was the star centre forward for Laindon who played behind the Laindon Hotel.  My father’s brother, uncle Jack and his wife Daisy had nine children and lived in “Lilacs” Beatrice Road. Their oldest daughter Violet had, in turn, a daughter who perhaps you might have known. I suspect she was more your age. Gloria Sewell. She has contributed quite a lot to the Laindon site. Just south of Vowler Road, on the west side of Berry Lane, it looks as if Homestead Stores and adjacent bungalows still remain. It also looks as if Emanuel Road has been cut through to Berry Lane. In my day Emanuel Road stopped at yet more impenetrable hawthorn which forced one to turn right through a scrubby field to Vowler Road. Incidentally, were you aware that Nina and Colin Humphrey live in Emanuel Road. I’m not sure where. “Gwen-do-Lynn” postdates my time but it looks as if it sits exactly where the “Drive Slowly Through The Village” used to be located. Ferndale Avenue still seems to on the photograph although now no longer existent. There are a couple of original bungalows further west on Berry Lane I believe. On the corner of Shakespeare Avenue (or is it Shelley) is the old Cannon family residence while further west, on the same north side of the street, is the bungalow where the Henbest family lived. Henbest, the men’s outfitter, were they still in business in the High Street in your childhood?

Odd how peoples minds work so differently. My wife, Lois, was a teacher for thirty years, has read more books (and still reads constantly) than anyone I have ever known, is intelligent and knowledgeable. Yet she constantly (I mean constantly) forgets where she put her glasses, is often calling Starbucks to ask if she left her Kindle there when she was in for morning coffee, is not sure which day of the week it is — you get the idea. I, on the other hand, always know what day it is, do not lose things, yet am technologically incompetent, hopeless at maths and anything to do around the house, plumbing, electrics, painting, you name it. Yet, from the earliest days at Langdon Hills I took to history, geography, English literature like a fish to water. I think a brain that locates using north, south, east and west, must come from a geographical bent where one thinks in terms of India is north of the equator, Greenland is the largest island etc. It seems minds are just constituted differently in some aspects. I imagine you find the same thing.

Andrew, I think it is high time you contribute to the site. You are ideally situated to write of all the changes, both large and small, of your/my little corner of Berry Lane. I for one (and I am sure there are many more) would be very interested to hear all your memories. Please consider it.

No, I did not fly in the RAF. In fact I had a most undistinguished RAF career. I was called up in October 1952. Rain every day nonstop. Basic training. Sopping wet. Twenty eight chaps all trying to dry their clothes around two Franklin stoves. Still wet clothes put on the next day. Repeat the process. Again and again. After six weeks of basic training I went into hospital with rheumatic fever. By the time I recovered, was told they were kicking me out (great joy!), waited for paperwork to be processed, home for a month’s sick leave, back for another month while paperwork continued to be processed, it was April/May 1953. I was back at work the Monday after the coronation. Odd how the dice of life can affect one in different situations. What seemed like a setback meant that I was back on the job gaining additional experience, and even a small promotion, while the other young lads were still off doing their National Service. Consequently, I was Johnny on the spot with requisite experience (while keeping my nose clean) to be offered a vacancy that had occurred in the American subsidiary. And the rest is history.

Politics? Yes, I am reminded of one of the many Churchill quotes. “If at twenty you are not a Liberal, you have no heart. If at forty you are not a Conservative, you have no brain.”

All the best. Stay in touch.  Alan

Hi Alan,

I don’t really remember much about the people in Beatrice Rd other than Alf, of course, and all his cars. Also I think the school secretary lived there?

In the aerial photograph, as you say, the two semi-detached bungalows in Berry Lane and perhaps Homestead Stores (was that the Stonehams?) were still there. The bungalows still are, but Homestead Stores has been replaced with a large house.

I think the bushes at the end of Emanuel Rd were removed when the road was surfaced but when I was a boy you could cut through the bushes to Berry Lane.

I wish I had taken more photos from the air, but I had only just passed my Private Pilot’s Licence and was flying solo, with the joy-stick in one hand and the camera in the other, while banking steeply to get the wing out of the picture. After one shot I was too shaken up to try it again!

Yes, Henbest’s was still in the High Road when I was at the primary school and was where we got our uniforms from. I hadn’t realised until reading an article on the site that they had lived at “Pasadena”, Berry Lane. This was later lived in by the Rand family who I knew well.

National Service had gone by the time I was old enough but, judging by those I have known who did do it, it was a very good builder of character and self-reliance. I wouldn’t want to bring it back but it certainly wasn’t all negative.

All the best.  Andrew

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  • Hello Andrew, thank you so much for the amazing aerial photo and your story to accompany it. I had been looking for many years for an aerial shot of this particular part of Langdon Hills. Do you have a more expanded version of this photo, showing the cinder track all the way down to the station and also incorporating more of Shakespeare Avenue?
    I was born in 1976 and moved to Shakespeare Avenue in 1980 (far right of the picture, and still one of the very few roads in the area that has a beige coloured surface) and currently live in Heathleigh Drive.
    I have a few vague, but wonderful memories of Langdon Hills before the Badgers and Pittfields estates were built, and when Berry Lane was just the one road, before the road was , and is still now, divided in to Berry Lane and Great Berry Lane at the junction with Pittfields. I can recall after preschool and early infant years regularly going into Lungley’s for a few sweets. I think I knew this as Jim’s corner shop, but please correct me if I am wrong, and taking many strolls along the cinder track towards the station with my mum. I can recall along the cinder track (Beatrice Path) a bungalow with a yard / garden full of cars, but I am not entirely sure along the track where this would have been. The walk along the track seemed to take forever, but could have only taken 10 minutes max.
    Growing up in Shakespeare on the left hand side of the road, my home backed onto the vast fields that would have stretched all the way though to the Plotlands and on to Lower Dunton Road. In the field directly behind my garden was a smaller piece of farmland with a disused barn that would play home to countless games of football and using the neighbour’s milk crates for goalposts, playing run outs, 40/40 and building camps, and it was also the venue for the street’s annual bonfire night for many years right up until around 1986 possibly 1987, I think.
    For years me and my friends along the street would roam these fields, taking our bikes and cycling for what seemed like miles, but making sure we were back home in time for dinner, following mother’s strict orders. I wish, purely on this occasion I was a bit older to remember much more but these were still wonderful memories that I will treasure for many more years.


    By Steven Wood (23/11/2023)
  • In response to Richard Rapley:

    Sorry for the delay in replying to your message. I haven’t looked at the thread for a while.

    Regarding sale of the land to Goldings, you are half right, my parents, now both deceased, owned ‘Jalna’ and they did resist the sale. It wasn’t directly to Goldings though, it was a Compulsory Purchase Order from the Council and they successfully appealed. A wise choice I think, as CPO’s were notorious for offering well below market values which didn’t reflect the development potential.

    The new house is taking a long time for various reasons, but I am gradually getting there!

    By Andrew (26/03/2023)
  • in reply to Angela Underdown nee carter:

    Hello Angela,
    My mother did do dressmaking so it’s quite possible she could have made your dress.

    I didn’t know there was another Carter family in Berry Lane. I knew the ones in New Avenue – Phyllis and the ones in Shakespeare Ave – Elsie and Charles I am related to them.

    By Andrew (26/03/2023)
  • Andrew, did your mum do dress making?, I remember my mum taking me there to get a party dress made, we lived in ‘Hawthorn’ Berry Lane with my Nan Mrs. Carter.
    I had two brothers Alan and Robin Carter. Alan and I were saying the other day that our happiest times were there, it was a beautiful place to live, such a shame it was ruined .

    By Angela Underdown nee carter (25/03/2023)
  • I have found this thread between Andrew and Alan most interesting. As a relative newcomer to Langdon Hills,moving to a new house on The Badgers in 1983 and then to Wiscombe Hill on Shelsley Park in 1996,I have loved learning of the history and transformation of the area. Ever since we have lived here we have seen major changes the biggest change of all being the building of Great Berry. In 1983 we used to walk up Great Berry Lane straight into the Dunton Plotlands. We have always liked walking and in this mad COVID year have done more than usual. After a lovely Spring and Summer walking and exploring in our beautiful country parks we are now spending most of our walks in the housing areas in and around Langdon Hills, Laindon and Dunton and watching the amazing amount of building new homes or extensions currently going on. We have walked passed Jalna so many times and often discussed the rumour that the owners would not sell to Goldings the original builders (who became Bellway) to be incorporated in the Badgers development. Andrew can you please tell me if this is true or local folklore? Now each time we walk past we discuss the demolition and progress of the groundworks and piling and look forward to seeing the end result. Hope it all goes well for you. We are currently renting in The Gallops, Pittfields whilst awaiting completion of a new build at Redrow in Dry Street. Over the years I have loved researching the local history and have found the Laindon History site to be a wonderful source of interesting information and so many people proud and interested in the past. Please all keep up the flow of interesting information.

    By Richard Rapley (19/11/2020)
  • Hello. I really enjoyed reading your memories. I lived in Roseberry Avenue, Langdon Hills just off Berry Lane with my brother Peter Marshall. I don’t know if you knew us, I’m the same age as you. Peter was a few years older but I used to go out and about with him and his friends Alan George and Terry Tampshne. We would make go karts, go up the top of berry lane and come hurtling down the hill.There used be a boy called Gordon Wright who lived at the top of Berry Lane and he liked to smash my brother’s trolly up. I could go on for ever but I won’t. I think Langdon Hills/Laindon in our days, got under our skin. I have lived in Cornwall for the last 35 years, so don’t get back very often, but so many changes when I last came there but we live with memories anyway.

    By Patricia Wltshire nèe Marshall (29/10/2020)
  • What a fantastic aerial photo of the area before too much new building had been done – seeing it in colour brings it to life! Thanks

    By Stuart (21/08/2018)
  • Hello Andrew, I love these photos as it shows the land where our house is now (No 1 Mulberry Gardens) opposite your bungalow. I also remember all that area as it was before The Badgers and Mulberry Gardens, having lived in Langdon Hills all my life (since 1953). I really enjoyed reading all your reminiscences, brought back so many memories of walking up Berry Lane to get to the Park and going into Lungleys to get sweets. I look forward to seeing your lovely new house when it is built. From your Neighbour Judy

    By Judy Webb (Ranson) (18/04/2018)

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