My Memories of Laindon

When the Laindon Link was being constructed, we used to use it to roller skate down it, it made a terrific skating rink.

I was born in Laindon in 1945 in a bungalow called “Fornham” in Sandringham Road.  We were on the corner of Buckingham Road, which was also unmade, and which led down to Bluehouse Farm. I wasn’t really allowed to go down to the farm, but of course did and took great delight putting sticks in the cowpats! What a horrible child!!

On the opposite corner to our bungalow, was a small general store called “Byrons”, they sold almost everything, and one specialty was the toffee apples made by Mrs Byron when the apples in their garden were ready. The lovely smell of the toffee has always stayed with me. They kept chickens and sometimes I was allowed to help collect them, what a treat, as they were still warm when we put them in the basket.

In 1958 when the Laindon Link was being constructed, we used to use it to roller skate down it, it made a terrific skating rink.

There was a Laindon Girls Club opened up in Sandringham Road, it was in an empty bungalow, and we could buy crisps and oxo drinks and generally have a nice time. I knitted a mascot (Some kind of animal) for the club, I wonder what happened to that. I don’t know who organised the club at that time.

I can remember sitting on the kerb outside Kentex the cleaners and with a notepad and pencil, taking down car numbers as they went past, there was quite a wait between cars as they were few and far between, can you imagine that? Another thing we did was when bonfire night was near we would wait outside Churchill Johnsons with a home made guy, and collect pennies from the people coming off the evening trains, people were very generous and we always came home with something.

The Winston social club was at the bottom of Windsor Hill that lead to Sandringham Road, I never went in it, it always seemed a mysterious place to me.

On a Sunday afternoon I was sent to the Salvation Army Sunday School (I hated it) as we always had to learn a text of some kind, I think it was in Northumberland Avenue.

We used to go to the level crossing in Northumberland Avenue and put pennies on the rails to get them flattened by the trains, how dreadful it is to think about it now.

I went to Langdon Hills Primary School, my first teacher being Mrs. Baker who I loved, I used to go to my nan’s bungalow “Bank Riggs” in Corona Road Langdon Hills after school, where my mum would collect me after she finished work at Bagents in Laindon High Road.

I can remember being taken to Father Christmas’s shop (Lings) and the lovely rubbery smell from the cycle and pram tyres; it was like an Aladdin’s cave to children.

We had many trips to the bluebell woods in Langdon Hills, armed with sugar sandwiches and a bottle of water, we were quite happy with our lot.

I went to Laindon High Road Secondary School after the juniors, and my first teacher there was Miss Jollyman, she kept calling me Valerie, which was my sister’s name, who she also taught.

My brother Dave worked for a good many years for Cliff Parkinson, Dave’s wife Doris used to work at Wilsons Chemist, they both still live in Laindon, so I get lots of news of the area.

In 1953, the Junior School children were taken down to the Radion Cinema where we watched the Coronation in colour, I was amazed, and I also went to a Coronation party in a builders yard somewhere in Laindon where we were given a Coronation mug (now sadly lost).

My parents bought our bungalow from Jim Rawley, mum had told me in total it had cost £200.00. They were renting it at first and then were given the change of buying it, apparently it had been a shop at one time in it’s life. Sadly the Basildon Corporation put a compulsory purchase order on the property in 1960 and we moved to Collier Row in Romford.

We used to go to Saturday morning pictures and see Roy Rogers, what lovely days they were.

I can remember I think it was Greens Stores, where you got your change put in a brass container and sent on a pulley system across the shop, and being able to buy broken biscuits, it was a treat if we had bits of custard creams.

Mum used to buy live eels in the Fishmongers in the high Street, and squashy tomatoes, which they sold for frying from the greengrocers that was on the corner of the High Street opposite Churchill Johnsons. We always went to Henbests to buy stockings, and to Batas the shoe shop, where you could have your feet x-rayed in this strange machine, I wonder how safe that was!!

Well I know this isn’t very exciting, but it’s nice to be able to add a little to the Laindon Memories.

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  • I remember Byrons.  It was a friend of mine, John Byron, uncle’s shop.  I used to wait in there in the mornings for the milkman (Sloper/Whife) to come up Windsor Hill then I’d jump on the back of the van and help him.  I lived in Basil Drive at this time, was aged 6 or 7 (1959-60).  The Winston was my grandparents’ Club, Ted & Rose Burton.

    By John E Burton (17/03/2014)
  • Joan, I loved reading your memories. My mum, Jessica Burton, worked in Greens Stores from the late fifties until the mid sixties. (It was the Co-op that had the pulley system). Mum worked in Wilsons the Chemist from the late sixties until the Laindon Centre opened. 

    I also remember looking at my feet in the x-ray machine at the Bata shoe shop and being told to wiggle my toes to check the shoes were not too tight. 

    I also remember calling in at all the ‘decorator shops’ in Laindon High Road to ask for their old wallpaper sample books. We used those pages of wallpaper to cover our school exercise books. 

    I also remember around that time it was very popular to make plaster figures from moulds and then paint them. I bought plaster from the buildings merchants, which was grey and rough. Plaster of Paris from Wilsons the Chemist was more expensive but pure white and smooth. I had a ‘Thumper’ mould, which was very successful, but my ‘Jemima Puddle Duck’ was difficult to make, as her beak would always break off when taking her out of the mould. 

    We still visit the bluebell woods at Westley Heights and Coombe Wood each year. Thank goodness, they are still there for us to enjoy.

    By Nina Humphrey (née Burton) (21/01/2012)
  • Thank you Nina, it is so nice to remember isn’t it. The Coronation party was definately not at Churchill Johnsons as I remember it was quite a walk (I lived in Sandringham Road) so it could very well have been in Manor Road. I also remember being a bit scared at the party because I was only eight and my mum wasn’t with me. Anyway I cried and someone had to bring me home early (what a Wimp). Mind you I remember clutching my Coronation mug as tight as I could !!!

    By Joan Baterip (21/01/2012)
  • Hello Joan You do have a few minor errors in your write-up, but more so, can you remember shutting my knee in the door of your parents place opposite Byron’s? I still have the scar to this day.

    By Brian Baylis (30/07/2011)
  • Hello Joan; Yes I do remember the Roy Rogers club so well, my brother and I used to go every Saturday morning, it used to cost 6p to get in, my brother Fred Sewell is your age. Do you remember Flash Gordon was serialised every week they left you hanging on your seat because he had gone over a cliff and the next week it would start up with him stopping just on the edge easily fooled at that age. Do you recall the fancy dress mornings there when the boys dressed as cowboys and the girls as indians the best ones got a prize can’t recall what. I will never forget at the end the side doors used to open and the auditorium used to flood with light and you couldn’t see for a little while and of coarse the little round tubs of ice-cream with little wooden spoons, great days. Gloria.

    By Gloria Sewell (30/07/2011)

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