Growing up in Langdon Hills
What memories this site has re-awakened. There are a few old faces that I remember in some of the photos as well, not many, but a few. That probably says more about the state of my memory than anything else.
I was born in November 1948 in Orsett hospital to a recently arrived German woman – Traudel Wulf was her maiden name, and Thomas Colbear jr., who had not that long returned from being stationed in Germany as part of the army of occupation. Traudel had arrived in England already pregnant and had little time to come to terms with her new environment before the baby (me!) was due. When I decided that it was time to put in an appearance she was taken to St. Andrew’s Hospital at Billericay, but after several days of non-productive labour, she was transferred to Orsett hospital, being the nearest maternity unit with cesarean facilities. Unfortunately my mother did not survive the birth, so after a few weeks I was taken home to grow up with my grandparents, Thomas Colbear snr. and his wife, Daisy (also known by some as Nellie) in their bungalow in Salisbury Avenue, next to Laindon railway station.
I went to Langdon Hills Primary and Junior school from 1953 until 1960, and remember many of the teacher’s names mentioned by others – Mrs Baker, Miss Nichols, Miss Wilkinson, Miss O’Brien, Mr Huggit, Mrs Hayball, Mrs Brooks and Mr Walker. From there I went on to Palmer’s Girl’s School at Grays Thurrock and stayed there until 1965.
As a young adult I would commute to London daily from Laindon station, where my grandmother’s brother, Bert Martin, worked. He, and his wife Win, plus three daughters, Joyce, Vera and Doris lived in the Railway cottages just over the other side of the line to us. Apparently – from reading various posts on this site, there were also two brothers, Ray and Robert, but they must have already left home by the time I was growing up, as I have no memory of them.
My grandparents had two other children apart from my father Tom – the eldest daughter Margery married Charlie Marchant and had twins, Mary and Michael, whom I have also seen mentioned in various posts. The youngest daughter Pam married George Hemsley, and they had a son Stephen. Pam was very well known locally as she worked for many years in the Tudor Stores grocery shop (owned by Dennis and Joan Morris) in Langdon Hills and later on in the Co-op pharmacy in the new shopping centre in Laindon.
The names that still stick in my memories from school and adolescence are Steven and Heather Beckett, Tony Trudgett, Pam Mesnard, Andrew Henbest, Patricia Stewart, Rachel Koppit, Marion Chappell, Brian Cordell, Gordon Wright, Peter and Carole Bassett, Janet & Pat McDonald, Beverly and Brenda King and our next-door neighbour Mrs Stacey’s grandson, Johnny Curtin.
I left Essex 40-odd years ago and have lived in various places in the UK as well as abroad in the Middle East and mainland Europe. For the past 11+ years I have lived in SW France, and do not get back to the UK very frequently. If there is anyone that remembers me or other members of my family, it would be nice to hear from them. There are lots of ‘holes’ in my history that would be nice to fill, as well as catching up with some of those early aquaintances and school friends.