The Laindon Motorbike Crowd

Youthful Laindon in the 60s

Andrea Ash (née Pinnell): Asked via the message board if there was any one of the Laindon motorbike crowd who remembered Doris Ash.

Gloria Sewell: Asked if Doris had joined the army and lived in Kathleen Ferrier Area

There was no further information on this but Gloria had made several references in her articles to members the motorbike crowd and how it had played an enjoyable part of her life.

In Gloria’s article “My Teen Years” there was a reference on the boys and their bikes that sparked a considerable number of memories and I quote a couple of sections below that have triggered the memories: (Link to read the full article)

“Here are some of the names I remember. David Rand, my on off boy friend till I married him, Freddy Rand, Brian Reynolds, I had a crush on him,David Flashman, Ernie and Jean Byron, Tony Dowel, Jack and Barbara Flint, Silvia Turner, Roy Webster, Pat Davies,Ronnie Herbert, Maggie Cove, Chris Ash ,Andrea Ash, Roger Pierce, Janet and David Nightingale, Josie Bowen, Eddie Murphy,Ken Page, Ray Nuth, Fred Sewell, Richard Haines,Pam Callow, Stanley Parrish and neat and tidy Mr. Malcolm Payne, Ronnie Bains, Ken Appleby. The last two it saddens me to say were the two I knew that were killed on their motor bikes.  Ron was going out with a local girl and Ken was a young soldier from Newcastle stationed in Langdon Hills. He was killed on his way back from leave in Orsett. His family knew his love for Laindon and its people and Ken was not taken back north to be buried, He stayed with us in Laindon and was buried in the little church yard next to the army camp. He was given a full military funeral and on his grave was a military head stone. I feel sure it must still be there. The Church is now a private residence. If any of you visit please place a flower on it for me. Thank You.  As long as I lived in Laindon those lads were never forgotten by any of us and may they always rest in peace.

Rodney Moss was a lad I remember well because he made his little BSA Bantam look like a racing bike, I can still see it popping down the high road even now. There were many others in our motor bike gang from Laindon. I can never recall breaking the law, we got up to mischief perhaps but never broke the law.”

“My future husband’s family had a little bungalow in First Avenue in Dunton Plotlands. I always remember riding down the little narrow paths to go to see them. Two of my aunts and uncles had bungalows there as well so I spent quite a lot of time there as a youngster. The motor bikes were of course the pride and joy of  the lads most of them rode English bikes. These are hard to come by now but I will try to name a few. B.S.A. Gold Star, Gold Flash and Bantam, Norton Dominator, Matchless, Vincent Black Knight and Black Prince, double framed Triumph also Harley Davidson, Vellocette’s and many more. The local bobbys had little grey L E Vellocette’s that they used to pop around on, they had no chance of catching us!”

Alan Newton, Fred Sewell (my Brother), Brian Cordell (his brother Dave Cordell was killed) and Dave Norton. This photo was taken approx.1960
Gloria Sewell
John Slaughter, Dave Norton, Bill Whitmore. Sitting on wall Bill Finch, Tony Dowel. Standing back Mick Riches, Stan Parrish, Dennis Hyatt?, Peter collinson? Standing front Brian Cordell and Ernie Byron. Taken outside Enefer's
Gloria Sewell

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  • Only ever had 4 motorbikes 3 of which came from Swifts. 1 got pretty bent when a Basildon taxi decided to punch it in the side, Swifts did the repairs to it and my bike was as good as new. Always got good service and satisfaction from Gordon. He was much missed when he left the Church Road premises and must be even more missed since his demise. Rest in peace Gordon and thanks for everything. 

    By Donald Joy (07/07/2017)
  • Gordon Swift was a legend down here at Heybridge Basin where he put in many hours on his sailing barge Dawn. I can remember him in the 1960s, so he must have been at it for about 50 years, that’s after his work in Laindon had finished. He was a regular at the pub, The Old Ship and took many of the locals as crew out on some interesting fishing trips. The sister barge to Dawn was called Hydrogen and they have been seen moored at Maldon and at Woodbridge at various times in the past.

    Nice to see again, on another topic, the photos of the motorbike boys, sent in originally by the late Gloria Sewell who I last spoke to in 2011. Gloria was a special person just like her brother Fred who was one of the nicest friends I had in Laindon (even though I was probably one of the youngest mentioned here by Gloria in her memories). Wish I could ride one more time in the sunny weather with him in that V8 Pilot.

    By Richard Haines (05/07/2017)
  • I found this following website today and learned that Gordon Swift sadly passed away in 2014:-  /

    He and his son Gerard had been involved with the sailing barge ‘Dawn’ which was the subject of a documentary in 2012 called ‘Britain’s Lost Routes’ presented by Griff Rhys Jones.

    Gordon Swift 1928 – 2014.

    (Please not that the link in this article is no longer active)

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (04/07/2017)
  • Malcolm Shreeve has remembered the Braintree College well. I can recall most of our T4 Engineering group and most of their names as I have a brilliant photo of our class somewhere in an album. My best friend in that group was Geoff Fuller who had a white SS180 and we had some good times before moving on to Hillman Imps. Another well known personality was Danny Ballinger who is still around working in Chelmsford after being a senior engineer at Southend on Sea Council. Our last year at Braintree was 1969 and I recall people like Ray Ennos, Alan Perrot and your friend Malcolm, his real name escapes me but who was nicknamed Fu Manchu.

    By Richard Haines (25/01/2016)
  • The name, Dougie Vito, rang a serious bell for me and eventually I remembered why. Dad had a 3 wheeled Reliant that didn’t live up to its name, in fact it was anything but reliable. Manys the time Dad’s workmate, John I think his name was, would be out front of our house with his head stuck under the little panel that constituted the bonnet. When it did finally run, it didn’t ever run properly. One day a man named Dougie Vito came to have a look at Dad’s “car” and attempt to fix it. This he did rather successfully, thereafter Dad was frightened of “the monster” that Mr Vito had created. As the car had never run the way it should have from the day he purchased it (second hand), he wasn’t aware that this monster was only running correctly. 

    Dad had previously owned a BSA Bantam, which I decided to learn to ride myself. I was 14 and took the bike while Mum and Dad were out. I rode along St Nicholas Lane, changing gear and all that other stuff but, and I don’t know what, something went wrong and it caused the chain to come off. So now I’ve got to push it home, get the chain back on and get the bike back in the shed before they come home. Oops ! That was when I learned that motor cycle chains are much harder to fix than that of a pushbike. Oops again ! But luckily I had it all finished in time to avoid discovery. 

    Surprised see Vic Wiles/Wyles ?  not mentioned on here. Vic was I believe a motorbike boy, although I remember him best as our local Laindon formula 2 stock car racer. I and several others would cheer him on when he was racing at Rayleigh Stadium. He was one of my heroes. 

    By Donald Joy (22/01/2016)
  • With reference to comment by Richard Haines on 08/10/2011. I was on the same engineering course at Braintree College as Richard and remember with envy his fantastic Vespa SS180. I had a dreaded LI 150 Lambretta and can confirm that the scooters (and mods) far outnumbered the motorbikes (and rockers) I also remember with envy that Richard had a great sense of mod dress then. Great days!

    Editor’s Note. Malcolm has provided his email address. However, as it’s the Archive’s policy not to publish email addresses on this website, his contact details will be provided upon request.

    By Malcolm Shreeve (21/01/2016)
  • Great seeing a photo of my dad Bill Finch with his mates, amazing.

    By Mick Finch (25/01/2015)
  • Hi Barry. Yes you are right, Baldyne Engineering now on Biggen Hill, run by Dave and his son, Dave being the flying side his passion now jumping off mountains with parachute at 74 ?mm. On another note Barry you mentioned your friend Jeff Davies, I worked for his dad Ken when I left Laindon High, he had worked at Cliff Parkinson’s before starting up on his own as Kens Autos first a yard in Victoria Road and then at the Old Fortune of War.

    By Brian Cordell (15/03/2013)
  • Brian, I found the track off the A127 on the 1938 OS map. It’s titled ”Racing Track (Motor Cycle)” have a look on . The coordinates of the map are 572574E 190222E scale 1;10560. regards Rich.

    By Richard Haines (15/03/2013)
  • Thats right Brian Jeff also has two sisters and a brother. They are Sandra, Geraldine and John, they had a nickname for Ken it was OCTO I never knew why.

    By Barry Ellerby (15/03/2013)
  • Hi Brian It was Nigel Flashman who built the engines. At the time he worked at Baldyne Engineering in Kent and strangely enough they are an aviation company.

    By Barry Ellerby (14/03/2013)
  • I have a copy of the 1949 Electoral Register which shows that Alice and Harold Flashman lived at No 12 King Edward Road. The register is a great help when trying to trace old friends and neighbours.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (14/03/2013)
  • Hi Nina. Thank you for house number of the Flashmans, not being one to exaggerate I must have been to their house million times could not remember the number.

    By Brian Cordell (14/03/2013)
  • Hi Barry. You are right about the Flashman engines they were quick. They must have inherited their mechanical ability from their dad he being a certificated aero engineer at Southend airport also in his youth being professional musician having played at Cafe de Paris. Harold Flashman a delightful family, Dave the eldest son being the only one left.

    By Brian Cordell (14/03/2013)
  • Hi. Can any one help locate speedway track at Laindon one mile from Fortune of war Southend side used 1938 to 39 Rayleigh speedway’s second track, one for William I hope.

    By Brian Cordell (14/03/2013)
  • The name of Dave Flashman appears several times on this page and reminds of a Flashman I knew in pre-war days. His name was possibly Bert, would he have been Dave’s father? Bill Parkinson had a horizontally opposed, belt driven Douglas which “Bert” who was an avid biker would race up and down the Arterial Rd on early Sunday mornings. It had no clutch, but an exhaust lifter and also no automatic oiling system but had a hand pump mounted on top of the tank which had to be operated by the rider. The braking was simply a wedge which fitted into a rim on the back wheel. It was said to have achieved speed in excess of 70mph, although without a speedometer I do not know how this estimate was arrived at.

    By W.H.Diment (13/03/2013)
  • Hi William. Your mention of the Flashman name, there was only one Flashman family in Laindon that I recall. There being Dave, Niki and Nigel of my era and good friends lived in King Edward Road so possibly their dad, going to web bungalow cafe on a 127 picture Alice Flashman Dave Niki and Nigels mum

    By Brian Cordell (13/03/2013)
  • The Flashman’s had a good reputation of building a mean stage 2 tuned engine. Two of the fastest Cortinas in this area in the late 70s had their engines in them with a set of twin forty carburettors on the side. They were uncatchable even the 3.0 litre S Capris could not catch them. My friend Mick had one of these Cortinas and he still says it was the best engine he ever had.

    By Barry Ellerby (13/03/2013)
  • Hello Brian, good to hear from you. Yes, I came home safe from Christmas Island. I went to Norfolk, where I took and passed my bike test. Bought myself a Vincent Comet then. Good to hear Flash is still about, but sad to hear about Stan. He was a lovely lad, always made us laugh! Regards

    By Ken Elliott (12/03/2013)
  • Well, Editor, isn’t that a coincidence, you knowing Denny so well. Please pass on my regards & best wishes to him. Regards Ken

    By Ken Elliott (11/03/2013)
  • Hi Ken, I remember you, nice to know your still about, you obviously survived the fall out from Christmas Island. 

    Ian’s got the name wrong it’s Barbara not Brenda and it’s her eldest son who is married to Mandy, Ian’s daughter. 

    Dave Flashman is still about, he lives in Kent, Stan Parish is no longer with us. Den or Bill is fit and well.  All the best.

    By Brian Cordell (11/03/2013)
  • Just come across this site, brings back lots of memories of over 50 years ago. I remember Flash, he helped me out several times with his mechanical knowledge, when I first got into bikes. I had a Matchless, ex WD with a Velocette KSS engine. Used to ride it from Laindon to Norfolk, where I was in the RAF. 

    Any one remember Dennis Ellis, we called him Bill, cannot remember why. He was courting Dave Cordells Sister about that time. He had a green V8 Pilot. I bought one myself, then got posted to France, so sold it. How I wish I had kept it, be worth a bomb now. 

    Rode bikes on and off all my life, till last year, when at the age of 72, decided to call it a day. I lived in Kings Rd, on the muddy bit. No flush loo down that end. Happy days!. Regards

    Editor: Ken; Dennis married Barbara Cordell and their eldest son is my son in law. I have asked him to tell Dennis when he is next in contact with his dad. (Just had my errors pointed out, see below)

    By Ken Elliott (10/03/2013)
  • Further to the comments of Barry and all the others who remembered Dougie Vitou, I have today received a message from Bill of Basildon History that Dougie passed away on 5th December 2009, aged 88 years. We pay belated respect to his memory and with Ian’s help ensure he is not forgotten.

    William I will collate all comments and create an article as I feel as far as Laindon is concerned he warrants joining the noteworthy people of our community.

    By W.H.Diment (08/03/2013)
  • Gday all, strange how things work, I was musing to myself a few days ago about Mecca Motorcycles and Doug Vito, I went there often to buy bits and pieces from him. All the old bikes he had in his yard would be worth a small fortune now.

    Re. Gordon Swift m/c in Church Road, its still there run now by Jimmy Doods and his brother Arthur? I called in to see him on my visit over there last year, it was great to see all the old British bikes they have lined up out the back, the place is like a m/bike museum, good on yer Jimmy for keeping the old pommy bikes on the road, just a small aside, its bloody hot out here at the moment, over ten days straight of over 33c, phew. ooroo all, Ken

    By Ken Page (06/03/2013)
  • While I only knew Gordon Swift immediately post war when he used to go around with a group of bikers, a couple of the names I remember were ‘Lofty Thomas’ and Dick Hunt (Who died as a result of a m/cycle accident). 

    Gordon worked for one of the garages in the High Rd., I am not sure if it was Cliff Parkinson or Toomey’s. He then took over a small wooden shop in Church Rd. close to the A127 and in front of Sid Farmer’s house and garages. I do not know the name of the person who later acquired these premises or what happened to Gordon.

    By W.H.Diment (06/03/2013)
  • Hi William. Gordon Swift.  As far as I know Gordon is still with us living in Nofolk.  When he left his bike shop he went to Maldon where he got into sailing barges doing charter work with passengers not freight, his son is now skipper and last year he was in a TV docummentry with Griff Rhys Jones re-enacting the working life of a Thames sailing barge - Gordon Swift a TV star.

    By Brian Cordell (06/03/2013)
  • Sorry Mr Diment I lost touch with Doug when my frend Jeff got moved out by the Corporation that was back in 1977. 

    When I did go back down Worthing Rd some months later Doug’s place had gone as well.

    By Barry Ellerby (06/03/2013)
  • Can Barry say if Dougie is still around as there a very few of this era left. While Dougie was a cycling friend he was also part of the group from the middle thirties who used to frequent the Saturday night dances at the St Nicholas Church Hall as recorded in respect of John Wagner and the Cowell brothers. While he was only a small person he did have a big personality and quite a mischevious tongue on some occasions.

    By W.H.Diment (05/03/2013)
  • Hi all while on a biker related subject, can anybody shed any light on Gordon Swift Motorcycles which is/was in Church road, near Laindon Park School, or Gordon himself, or the guy that I believe, took over the business. I think his name may have been Doods regards

    By larue (05/03/2013)
  • Hi all, Dougie Vitou was also a dab hand at fitting heli-coils to damaged spark-plug threads too, a very quiet spoken man if I remember rightly. 

    The closing of Mecca Motorcycles was quite a loss to the local bikers regards.

    By Larue (04/03/2013)
  • I’d just like to add to my last comment on Dougi Vito fixing up our old motorbikes. The only payment he would take was a blast up and down Worthing Road to make sure the bike was running ok (well that’s what he said). It was quite strange to see this elderly man hurtling past on your bike. People like Dougi Vito are very few and far between now days sadly.

    By Barry Ellerby (04/03/2013)
  • Further to Gloria’s comment of 06/01/13. I suggest Douglas (Dougie) Vito was of an earlier generation than herself and if still alive would be in his nineties. He was a great friend of mine in the middle thirties when together with another Laindon boy named Bill Brightman we used to go cycling, (pedal bikes). Dougie had a younger brother named Ian but I did not know much about him.

    By W.H.Diment (17/02/2013)
  • Dougie Vito was my friend’s (Jeff Davies) next door neighbour, they lived down Worthing Rd almost at the end in the Plotlands area. Dougie would help us fix up our old motorcycles if they broke down. He was a mechanic of some sort. He always got them going for us. This was around 1974 /76

    By Barry Ellerby (17/02/2013)
  • Hi, there’s a tattoo artist in Laindon called Ian Knell he may know or know of some of these people. I know that he has motorbikes and his shop is in Kathleen Ferrier.

    By Daniel Terry (16/02/2013)
  • Hi everyone. Sorry to be off the radar for a while won’t go into detail but I often have a look at the site to see how you are all doing. Andrea has been very supportive to me sending me emails and being so patient waiting for my replies as long as she knows I am very fond of her and Chris. Richard the owed email coming very soon.

    I thought you would like an update on Brian Reynolds a name that has come up on this page often. Well I have been in touch with him, he now lives in Australia, we have exchanged a few phone calls, can’t believe he is now 76. He still has a great memory of the Laindon Motorbike Crowd, we reminisced for 50 minutes last call. 

    He also reminded me of another lad from the 50/60s whom he tells me is still alive and well and living in the same bungalow in Stanford-le-Hope that us crowd would congregate and still with his lovely wife. His name was Brian Swan (Swanny) as we knew him maybe other may remember him.

    Another little memory that has come back to me is the Cromodising Co up the 127 London bound near the Dartboard and Bon-Bon factory the lads used to take parts of their bikes to be tarted up with crome there. 

    Also the motorcycle rider we used to go across the ferry with that was Brian’s idol in the late 50s was Mike Hailwood the old grey matter does liven up sometimes. 

    I feel I should also say that I have also been in touch with Brian’s daughter Lora who lives near me in Norwich, she came to visit me with her lovely little girl. She is so like Jean who was Lora’s mum and Brian’s partner. Jean Robertson whose mum and dad owned the little stores down the unmade part of Worthing Road in the 50 and 60 and maybe longer. Jean sadly has now passed away but I am sure many of you will remember her she was very tall and very dark and very beautiful. 

    Lora is a beautiful girl to it was a pleasure to meet and so much like her dad. 

    Brian Cordell is also keeping in touch I have promised myself a visit in the summer. I believe he has a motor cycle museum in Battlesbridge a visit is on my bucket list.

    Well folks a fond farewell keep up the good work on site and yes Joe I do also recall Dougie Vito more on him will come to me I am sure.

    By Gloria Sewell (06/01/2013)
  • Hi Andrea, That’s great news, gonna do my best to be there well done …

    By Gloria Sewell (16/04/2012)
  • Hi you Bikers out there – just to let you know Ken Page has arrived safe and sound in UK and is looking forward to his reunion on 21st April at Manor Mission in Laindon. He talks so much bike language I am sure he would be pleased to see some of you there.

    By Andrea (13/04/2012)
  • Hey guys, I used to work at Mecca Motorcycles in Langdon Hills, the owners name was Dougie Vito.

    By Joe Rudniski (12/04/2012)
  • What a great page with some great photos, memories money can’t buy…….

    By Al Huggins (02/01/2012)
  • Welcome Al, hope we can hear some of your biking memories. I hope everyone on site had a fantastic Christmas and new year.

    By Gloria Sewell (02/01/2012)
  • Hi Richard, Brian and all you other members of the 50s, 60s motorbike crowd, be afraid be very afraid, lol, got a few more fantastic photos on their way.

    By Gloria Sewell (20/11/2011)
  • The photograph of the four boys was taken outside what appears to a plotland home, does anybody recognise it?

    By Gloria Sewell (29/10/2011)
  • Gloria, thanks for sending those pictures to me and for putting them on this site. For me the photos of those boys are what this site is about, Laindon as it was. The friendliness and youthful energy of those guys just jumps out of the pictures. 

    I showed the photos on the screen to some people at work in Chelmsford on Friday and they were so enthralled by the way people looked in 1960, I am so happy to have been a small part of it. 

    For me the ones I knew well were Freddie Sewell (Gloria’s brother and the nicest guy you could ever meet) and Ernie Byron but I can also remember Brian Cordell from LHR (he is standing behind me on the 58 LHR photo) and afterwards when he had his 500 Matchless. 

    Another motorbiker I remember around was Kenny Slaughter. Looking at the photographs you can almost smell the cigarette smoke and Castrol R and hear ‘Mean Woman Blues’ by Jerry Lee Lewis on the juke box, thanks Gloria all the best to Fred as well.

    By Richard Haines (29/10/2011)
  • I have added some photographs that will stir the memories

    By Ian Mott (28/10/2011)
  • Hi all, I say all as I am in touch with both Ken & Gloria also Andrea and have gone through the things they have put on this site. Great things that I also remember and would also like to say that they have a great memory for me. I can’t say to much else concerning the (gang) but just to say Eddie & I are still married, 50 years next March!!! and live in Australia not to far from Ken (Page). We still keep in touch with a few from those days which is lovely but would love to hear from anyone else that can remember us. Eddie still has a motor bike and belongs to the Ulysses Club here in Melbourne so keeps riding. Some would remember me through my mum being Nurse Trickey from the King Edward Estate. How nice it would be to hear from those friends from those days.

    By Jose Bowen now Jo Morris (23/10/2011)
  • Gloria, it was Bill’s cafe on the London side and yes, he wore a brown coat. He used the same dishcloth to wipe the floor and then the tables and counter! He always seemed to have a ‘homeless’ young girl living upstairs who had to work for her keep in the cafe!

    By Mike Fruin (23/10/2011)
  • Hi Mike; The cafe you mention could have been Enefer’s or Dirty Bill’s. Enefer’s on the Southend bound side of the A127 had a juke box in the back room and the tea and bacon sardines there were not too bad. Now Bill’s opposite on the London side had the juke box in the front room along with the most fantastic wooden barrel organ which went right up to the ceiling that was more the greasy spoon. Bill always wore an old light brown overall and a cap we never had tea there just canned or bottled drinks, I leave you to guess why! But we thought of Bill with affection because he was so tolerant with us hope this helps with your memories (600 Matchless nice).

    By Gloria Sewell (19/10/2011)
  • In 1956 I had a Matchless 500 and used to ride to Laindon from Basildon, I remember meeting up with Laindon bikers at a cafe opposite the Fortune of War. Bit of a greasy spoon with a juke box in the back room. The name Rita Tuttle was mentioned – was she a bottle blonde with short hair – may have worked at Ilford films?

    By Mike Fruin (18/10/2011)
  • Hi Ken Hope your visit to Phillip Island was good the bit I saw on T.V. looked good.

    This is when I get quite nostalgic about motorbike events such as Brands and the Isle of Man TT, but most of the riders names have now slipped my mind. 

    There was one event that I recall, we all went across the ferry for the TT and this young man, no hi-tec back up just him, wheeled his bike onto the ferry ahead of us and went on to win. This was 60s do you remember his name he was Brians hero after that?

    By Gloria Sewell (17/10/2011)
  • Ken, hope you have a good time on your ride. We have a similar but much smaller event here in Suffolk. Oh how I wish I could be with you we have a similar thing here in Suffolk.  I still go along to see the bikes though there hardly any British bikes now.

    The old Henrys they were great you never knew what colour one would be next at least two of them had my name painted on the side. Ah! so Eddie remembers the Thordon Park episode does he, another little crime I have now remembered (OH DEAR AND I THOUGHT WE WERE SO GOOD), Freddy Rand, who I now believe has passed on (he was my brother-in-law, I loved him such fun in our teens), had a little Henry painted Lavender with all our names on the side. We all went to Brands Hatch one weekend, on going through Blackwall Tunnel Fred decided he couldn’t wait for traffic to move so he went up the curb between a lampost and a shop and over took all the traffic. I remember the incident clearly but not what the outcome was, whether he was in trouble or not. 

    Was your Bond one with the Villiers engine that you had to climb in the bonnet to start? David (Rand) had a little black 3 wheeler like a tent on wheels I seem to recall. When he used to pick me up at L.H.R. after netball practise in the evenings he used to do wheelies with it in the playground. I remember it used to stink inside of oil, it may have been a 2 stroke I don’t know, so much so that when I had our son Tony I refused to sit in it with him, thats when we went back to a motorbike and sidecar. 

    Do any plotland dwellers remember my father-in-law’s (Mr Herbert Rand) little black Austin 7 he kept at the top of Berry Lane, he would ground it if he try to get to their home.

    Ken; Your comment above on RWC is that what is now the MOT.

    Is my memory correct, when you went down Wash Rd was there a ford after the pub because I remember my mini van stopping in the middle one extra rainy night. If I remember correctly the early ones had a starter motor and distributor at the front just under the grill and they were prone to conking out in the wet. I think a piece of tin foil was the order of the day then.

    By Gloria Sewell (15/10/2011)
  • Hi Gloria, I remember the famous ‘Ace Cafe’ on the North Circular Rd., it’s still there and still a motorbike hangout. Eddy told me the yarn of Flash and the golf club, I’d love to do that on a trail bike [heh heh heh].

    My brother Peter had an old 1935 Austin ten as his first car, pretty little thing but bloody terrible to drive, I think my Bond Minicar was faster and safer! He went along with the rest of the local lads and got one of the old “Y” model Ford Eights, his was a 1933, paid 7pound ten for it, straight thru copper exhaust pipe, painted black and red, flat out at about 45 mph! 

    We were haring? along Wash Rd., one night in pouring rain, me operating the one windscreen wiper by hand, went sideways on a curve and there was a bloke coming the other way on a push bike. We were heading straight for him out of control, poor bugger dived into the ditch which was full of water, the last we saw of him was jumping up and down in the water shaking his fist at us. 

    The crazy things we did, the coming of RWC put the old “Henrys” off the road over night, Pete’s ended up set in concrete under our house as reinforcement to prop up a sinking corner, the house is still there so is the car I guess. 

    I’m seeing Eddy in the morning on our annual GP run to Philip Island, about 5000 bikes ride from Cranbourne to the track on the Island, Mick Doohan waves them off from a cherry picker we get a police escort all the way, it’s quite a buzz to ride in. Both of my eldest g/kids are riding with me on their bikes this year keeping up the Page family motor biking tradition.

    By Ken Page (14/10/2011)
  • Ken; may I add to your comment on Brian he did his apprenticeship with Rotary Hoes in West Hordon, I think that,s where it was, so I am not supprised he collects old farm machinery. I do recall him also being apprentice of the year there.

    By Gloria Sewell (13/10/2011)
  • Hy ya Gloria, Brian Reynolds has lived here in Australia for years. He owns a big chunk of Hindmarsh Island in South Australia. Has a large sandstone house that he mainly built himself and over the years has collected a lot of old farm machinery much of which he has restored. He still has his Manx Norton which is hanging over the fire place in his lounge.

    Eddy Morris has been over to see him a few times but I havent yet done so, Eddy could fill you in on what Brian’s been up to drop him and Joe an email.

    By Ken Page (12/10/2011)
  • Thanks for that Ken, I am in touch with Jo and Eddie thanks to you. It seems at the moment Brian has dropped off the radar, I bet he would love to read these pages I can’t believe how much interest this part of the site is attracting, brilliant. 

    If it is the same Manx I remember it also had 7 R forks on it never ran on anything but Castrol R, in fact most of the boys used Castrol R I can still smell that distinctive smell after they flashed past.

    Do you remember two lads that rode with us from Stanford-le-Hope Stan and Aubury seem to be in a corner of my mind. There was also a cafe on the Rochester by pass just after the “Murder Mile”, I’m sure it was called “The Ace”, can you remember it. I can picture hundreds of bikes outside there, am I right? When I said we never broke any laws, oh dear I have just recalled once we did. 

    A young man called David Flashman had a Land Rover one, night must have been about 1958, don’t know how we got there but we ended up cross countrying over Thorndon Park Golf Course but somebody saw us, poor David went to court for it and was fined £18 we all paid £2 each towards the fine. 

    Do you also remember a couple of the boys got little Austin A35 I remember we all went to London in David Flashman’s. I remember sitting in the middle in the front not a lot of room. I can still recall David insisting we got home early in case my mum worried what a gentleman. They really were nice lads I remember them all with great affection, bye for now.

    By Gloria Sewell (12/10/2011)
  • Does anyone recall after our weekend trips to Brands Hatch that we sometimes used to go to Petticoat Lane on the way home?

    I remember buying a pair of shoes there and when I got home they were the same feet, not something I could take back the next day, so I think they were binned.

    We always met back up at The Halfway House to reassemble for our journey back into Laindon. The Halfway House then had a cafe beside it. A quick wash and off to The Blinking Owl to meet up with the “Southend Boys”. One was called Brian Reynolds, he had a Vellocette, was very tall and always looked huge on his bike. He hated smokers and always called cigarettes cancer sticks and always called the girls laid (short for lady), does anyone else recall him? I think he went off around the world, some say it was to avoid National Service. Whatever he was the biggest charmer I ever met and I loved him, wonder where he is now????

    Ronnie Hurbert also holds a special place in my memory he lived along Lee Chapel Lane his mum was always so kind to me after I was married. I had a long walk home with my baby son when we lived in Albermerle Crescent and I would stop there on the way home. Ron always had a Norton Dominator and think I heard somewhere he went into racing.

    My own brother Fred Sewell was one of the lads who converted to Ford V8’s.

    The whereabouts of Maggie Cove would be nice to know she was one of the “Motorbike Girls”, I have heard nothing of her.

    There were two brothers one was called Tony their surname was Dowel they always rode around on Vincent Black knights, huge bikes, but then they were big boys.

    That’s it for now folks please keep your memories coming in its fantastic reading.

    By Gloria Sewell (10/10/2011)
  • Gday Richard, re your mention of Johnny Biggs and his scooter. John and his sister Pat lived opposite me in Berry Lane, when John turned 16 he wanted a motorbike. He came and chatted to me and I found him a 1958/59 BSA C15 in neglected condition. We paid around 40 quid for it and I stripped and rebuilt it for him, Dave Pratt resprayed it for him and when finished it looked terrific. Unfortunately I could never get it to run absolutly right, that model had a distributer with the ignition points in and they had a design fault that wasn’t fixed by BSA until the 61/62 model. John got fed up with its performance and traded it in on the scooter. Somewhere I have a photo of him and the BSA, 

    I lost contact with him and his sister a year or so after coming to Oz. I believe they moved to Suffolk or Norfolk, Pat got married and my mum used to write to Mrs Biggs but I do not know where they are now, any ideas?? It would be nice to contact them again.

    By Ken Page (09/10/2011)
  • Ken, fantastic that you knew Johnny Biggs as well. That particular day he had just got the Vespa, the first one I had seen up close. He came sweeping in to the garage in a wide arc, gradually losing control (it was his first day on it) and came to rest near a second hand black Ford Prefect we had been trying to sell. Luckily he just held it and switched off. 

    After seeing that bike I became hooked on Vespas and eventually, after we had moved away from Laindon I bought a red one. I went to Braintree College studying engineering, as did loads of other kids with Vespas and the dreaded Lambrettas. They were racked up in the car park outnumbering motor bikes by about 6 to 1. I came off my Vespa SS180 three times, the last time skidding on a greasy patch of road at night, the bike slipped from under me and went off ahead with sparks flying out of it. It then went into the workshops and I eventually bought my first two cars, a Hillman Imp followed by a blue Mini. 

    I never saw Johnny Biggs after we left school, I think one of his other mates was Eric Perry as I recall. One thing is clear, looking back over the years, the Laindon boys were the best friends I had, everyone seemed equal. If you find Johnnys photo please scan it in and put it on the Laindon site – I’d love to see it.

    By Richard Haines (09/10/2011)
  • Yes Andrea, I knew Doris well, I can recall meeting off the train when she came home on leave. She was of medium build and her hair was cut in a short bob. She did go out with David for a short while, if she remembers that, during one of our not on times. I am so glad she is still happy and married a soilder please remember me to her.

    By Gloria Sewell (06/10/2011)
  • Gloria. Unfortunately, I think you have misinterpreted my comment just a little. I was referring to the design of the Link Road, not the boys and their motorbikes in the club to which you belonged. In fact. I don’t remember your boys and their bikes at all as it wasn’t quite my era. I do however, have very pleasant memories involving motorbikes because my dad, both my brothers and my nephew were all bikers in their time. In fact, I am writing an article and have started sorting out some photographs to go with it. With very best wishes.

    By Nina Humphrey (nee Burton) (06/10/2011)
  • Gloria is probably right, by the time Laindon Link was functioning most of the 59 club motor bike boys had cars. I remember from about Autumn 1961 onwards some of the Laindon boys had V8 Pilots (including Gloria’s brother Fred) and of course the famous hearse. These guys were older than me but we used to see them on Friday nights around Laindon School when the dances were on and also during the week and weekends at The Sombrero coffee bar in Basildon. Sometimes two or three Fords would be parked outside the coffee bar – this was the era immediately before mods came onto the scene and Basildon became full of buzzing Lambrettas and Vespas. Just before I left Laindon, when I was working at Hatters on the Arterial at weekends one of the Laindon schoolboys Johnny Biggs came in to see me on his brand new white Vespa GS. The beginning of crazy times and another story.

    By Richard Haines (06/10/2011)
  • Sorry Nina, I can’t wait for your article, hopefully I may know some of the people in your photos, unfortunately I lost all my early photos in a move, it would be great to see some of the old bikes etc. again. Hopefully we will meet soon at one of the memory days as I am in better health this year and I am going to try to get to one.

    By Gloria Sewell (06/10/2011)
  • Hi Gloria, love your memories, by heck you woke up some of mine too. I remember all those names plus a few others, Billy Finch, he had a maroon Triumph Speed Twin, Brian Cordell, a 500 Matchless Single that he used to hoon around the bridle paths on, his older brother also was killed in an accident on a bike, Jimmy Green, 350 Velocette, Dave Naughton a hotted up BSA Bantam, Stan Parrish had a Norton 99 Dominator with the enclosed rear end, we all took the mickey out of it, calling it Stan’s Scooter, he took umbrage at this and went off and bought a brand new BSA 500 Gold Star with all the up market bits you could get for it, 5 gallon tank clipons, rear sets, 190mm front brake, must have cost him nearly 300 quid, he stopped off at the Crown hotel for a packet of fags and when he came out it had been nicked, he never saw it again. I started off with a 225 Francis Barnett, gutless but nice to ride, then a 500 BSA A7, and my last was a 500 BSA Shooting Star that I toured Europe on in 1963. I had other junk as well including a 50cc Maserati that was a hoot to ride, head down, arse up and 60 mph flat out, it was actually faster than my Fanny Barnett. We never really broke the laws, bent them a bit maybe, I remember flying down the Link from Basildon to Laindon one Saturday morning and passing the local copper at 90 mph in the 30 mph zone, whoops! He came up behind me at the High Rd T junction and gave me a bit of a rollocking but didn’t book me, today I would have been thrown in jail!! I also did several trips to Brands Hatch, also went to Oulton Park and Silverstone a couple of times, I never made it to the Isle of Man TT (I.O.M.TT) though but would have liked to have done, still watch it on TV out here in Oz, when they show it, great stuff those blokes are barking mad but skilled indeed. I could go on about those motor biking days, I went to so many places then, freedom to roam at 16 years of age brilliant!! I still do it here in Australia, in 2006 myself and a mate rode right around Australia in 23 days only 18,000 kilometres [10,000 miles] slept in tents on the side of the road, huts, pubs, caravan parks, wore out a rear tyre, hit an emu at 60mph but had a ball. I would like to do it again but doubt if I will, so one can have fun on bikes in your teens and just as much in your twilight years. Life’s great init!

    By Ken Page (05/10/2011)
  • Thanks Ken for more memories of “the boys”. I also remember Brian’s brother Dave, he was Dave Flashman’s best pal so sad, I can just about remember Stan’s bike being pinched. Do you recall Ronnie Herbert’s new Norton Dominator, he bought it, it disappeared and returned completely revamped 7R front forks humped racing seat, and Ron was so tall and wore a domed helmet say no more!!!! David’s 350 Gold Star also had a racing seat, I sat on the hump or walked. My worst time was an engine seize going down the hill towards Horndon just after the Halfway House: I am of course in touch with you all in Oz and know of your trips around Oz well done you sure are still one of the boys. Do you recall we found the Bulphan Fen pub for a little while and used that they had a lovely big fire burning all the time in there.

    By Gloria Sewell (05/10/2011)
  • I well remember the Laindon Link being used as a ‘race track’ during the sixties not only by motorbikes but also taxies. Several nasty accidents occurred, one involving us on a Christmas Eve. We had come off the Roundacre Roundabout and were heading down the Link towards Laindon. A car turning out from Ballards Walk was hit hard by a speeding taxi travelling towards the roundabout, which spun across the road and crashed into the side of our car. In my mind’s eye I can see the figure of the taxi driver, bracing himself as his vehicle spun towards us at high speed. It seemed like a lifetime before the vehicle actually hit us in the side. We were very shocked and shaken up. Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt on that occasion but that particular firm of taxis, which I won’t name, were notorious for causing accidents on the Laindon Link due to high speed – in fact an article appeared about it in the local paper along with a photograph. I’m unsure if there were ever any fatalities but thank goodness the Link was eventually altered and is no longer the long straight fast road that it used to be.

    By Nina Humphrey (née Burton) (05/10/2011)
  • Hallo Nina, sorry I can’t help you on this one, by the time the Laindon Link was built most of our crowd were married and had families and by then cars were the order of the day. It’s sad that your memories of “Our Boys” are not as pleasant as mine as I think it was Ken who said we didn’t break the rules but maybe bent them a bit. All I can say is it really was the best days of my life, the places we reached “The Ton” was always on main trunk roads. By 1962 we had a motor bike and side car, then on to cars so I can’t recall speeding on the Laindon Link. Your accident must have been terrifying for you.

    The last big get together I can remember for us all was when I lived in Albermerle Crescent in Langdon Hills, my son was just a baby and we had a barbecue all the lads came. I hope some of you will recall this appox. 1961-2? My husband did take up grass track racing for a little while, motor bike and sidecar, memories of this are a bit vague as I had my son as a baby then so very busy being a young mum.

    I remember going miles as a teenager on the back of one of the boy’s bikes. There would be a long line of us going along the road without a care in the world, the feeling of complete and utter freedom, never again in all my 69 years to be paralleled. I felt the world was mine to live in and enjoy and in my teens in Laindon I did just that, right or wrong, no one can ever take those memories from me. One thing I will say about “our boys” most of them insisted the girls wore helmets so we were not entirely irresponsible.

    The idea of this part of the site is fantastic I love it! I do hope many more bikers will publish their memories here PLEASE.

    By Gloria Sewell (05/10/2011)
  • In answer to Gloria: Biker girl Doris Ash lived in Dickens Drive and yes, joined the Army. Dot married a soldier and she has lived in Dorset for nearly forty years now (she is my sister in law).

    By Andrea (05/10/2011)

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