My Early Years in Laindon
I was born in Northumberland Avenue in June 1940 to Mary & Frederick Tyler whose eldest child Donald was 2 years old when I appeared. Our small bungalow had a large garden with the Southend-Fenchurch Street railway line running along the southern boundary of the property. Like many families of that time we grew vegetables and fruit, as well as raising chickens and ducks for the family table.
I started Markhams Chase School in September 1945, my reception teacher was Miss Mears although I was only in this class for a short while. To make room for another intake of children a group of the pupils who could already read were moved into Miss/Mrs? Rose’s class where we were taught in a more formal environment. Miss Whitley was the last of my infant teachers before I moved to the Juniors. Here I was taught by Miss Balls, Miss Burge, Mr. Finnigan and then by Mr. Wiggins. In 1950 my little sister Patsy started school and I used to walk with her from home in Powell Road.
Christmas 1950 I remember we had the usual nativity play and the pupils who were going to be angels were asked to bring a single white sheet to school for our costumes. We were duly draped and pinned so we had hardly any movement – the teachers knew what they were doing!!!!!! As most of the girls had long hair we were also asked to also bring our hair brushes to school. I remember the teachers including Mr. Wiggins brushing our hair before having our halos put on our heads, these were made out of cardboard and yellow cellophane.
Our history lessons were brought to life as we were encouraged to write and produce our own plays about medieval England.
In this final year and with the 11 plus exams over and in a more relaxed atmosphere we went on several trips and excursions. A few days before the opening of the Festival of Britain in May 1951 the top year were taken on a visit to the Tower of London and a trip on the river Thames past the exhibition site. Also in that last term we were taken to Norsey Woods to see Roman Tumuli in a private area of the woods where permission had to be sought to learn about the area and I can also recall a visit to a dairy in Basildon.
I was in the netball team and ran in the school’s relay team on sports days. I was a member of the school choir and we competed in a Choir Festival locally.
A selected group of the top year girls were chosen to lay the table in Miss Dukes dining room in the canteen. We also carried the plates and dishes to the staff room for the teachers lunches for which we were paid the princely sum of 6d a week.
I left Markhams Chase School in the summer of 1951 and started Palmers School for Girls in September of that year. The girls I remember that came from my class with me to the new school were – Christine Clark, Dorothy Pepper and Jennifer Clegg. Cherrida Rawley came from Laindon Park School and Brenda Andrews joined us from Langdon Hills School. Freddie Gurnett went to Palmers Boys School and was joined by another pupil from my class, Reggie Daniels when he passed the 13 plus.
After leaving primary school I lost touch with most of my contemporaries and made more friends at my new school.