Looking Back

My Family by Jean Pattle

My grandparents were Harriet and Dick Quinton. Grandad kept pigeon’s and belonged to the pigeon racing club which was run from the Winston Club every week. This was a hobby enjoyed by his sons, my uncles Stan and Bill from their home in Tavistock Road. I can remember when the only street light was the gas lamp outside gran’s house. My aunt Min and uncle Harry (Harris) lived in the large white house at the top of Tavistock Road and St Nicholas Lane. They had a very large garden and kept chickens and sold eggs. They also let Mr Daniels who had the boot and shoe repair shop keep his old horse Nobby on their paddock. In the summer Mr Daniel would do a school run with Nobby with the cart taking us children to school. I used to get up early to be at my aunts to help him harness up Nobby and sometimes he would let me take the reins on the way to school. I loved this and I’m sure this is what has given me my life long love for horses.

The other shops I remember are Mrs Pelham’s sweetshop. We would call into her shop after school and have a penny drink. She had a small card table in the corner of the shop with tiny drinking glasses and a bottle of Tizer which for one penny she pour you a drink, it somehow seemed a very grown up thing to do.

Another shop I remember very well was Steers General Store. Mr and Mrs Steer were so good to me. I was great friends with their daughter Jean. Jean and I went to the same dancing school. Jean had pretty long red hair and was much taller then I. We were called the Two J’s and paired together as an act. One of the turns we did I remember was a couple of swells, we dressed as tramps in top hats. This always got lots of applause and was a big laugh. I always thought it wasn’t fair that Jean was always picked as girl in the act and got to wear the pretty dress, and I was always the boy. I think to this day it must have been her long red hair. To me the Steers were very rich, they had a car, something very few people had in those days, and I would get to ride in it when they took Jean and I to the venues we would perform at. Mum got all her groceries in their shop – if she didn’t have the money to pay, it was put on the book until the end of the week when dad got paid.  How trusting people were in those days. 

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  • Thank you Gloria for bring back so many memories for me. What a lovely free childhood we had in Old Laindon, we were so lucky. The boy we both loved who lived in the house between ours was Terry Bryan who also had a brother, wonder were he is now? Do you remember the long summer days when we walked to Laindon Hills woods to pick loads of bluebells, taking a picnic of jam sandwiches and tizer. We also played in the bushes on the field in the centre of the estate were now the flats stand. Or took our jam jars, string and a pin, to fish for tiddlers in the lily pond at the top of the road near the onion field. We would also play at the Prefabs on the swings and roundabout in the playground there. I could go on and on with so many memories.

    By Jean Rowe (26/05/2011)
  • We would sometimes go the back way along Railway Approach to the Crown Woods and across the old stone railway bridge at the top of Durham Rd., I wonder how many daisy chains we made. Do you recall Lungleys the little shop on the corner as you came into Berry Lane, we always got our sweets in a cone shaped peice of newspaper. Do you know that walk to Crown Woods was at least 1.5 miles and on the way back we would have armfulls of bluebells our mums never had enough vases for them. Sometimes we would save enough money for the bus home but mostly we would walk the 3 miles, happy happy carefree days.

    By Gloria Sewell (26/05/2011)
  • Jean, I so remember all the things you have just written about Mr & Mrs Steers shop and Jean’s lovely long hair. You and I lived next door to each other in King Edward Road - we were good friends. I must tell readers Jean and I found each other again on Facebook just last March after almost 50 years.  It’s wonderful talking to her about our lives in Laindon. We now live near each other in Suffolk and hope to be meeting up soon. Poor Jean still suffers from her back she broke in the 1958 steam train rail crash at Dagenham East station. That was a dreadful night; the whole street waited up all night for news of Jean. We knew a little because my dad was on the train, he was unhurt and got home the same evening. I remember going into Jean’s every night to talk because she couldn’t move I thought she was so brave, I still do. I recall one of the pantomines we did when I was a huntsman and Jean was Prince Charming. I had lost my crop on the way so all the photos had me the only huntsman without a crop. I do so remember Mrs Pelham from the days when we went in to buy sweets with our 3d and a coupon during ration time till I was old enough to buy 5 Weights (cigarettes). I don’t think I was really old enough but if Betty Davies could do it so could I. I hope Jean remembers tin can tommy we played for hours at in the street, hopscotch, five stones. What fun days they where. Jean, my brother Fred, her sister Pat and Linda, Terry next door (can’t recall surname) – we were both in love with him. The flats were opposite us in blocks of 4, they were mostly working couples or elderly. They were only one bedroom and we used to run errands for them for pennies. They were building Powell Road etc then. I wonder if Jean recalls we used to get the pieces of plasterboard and draw all over the paths with them and play runouts (follow the arrow). We had no TV but we were never bored. Do you recall Jean, the phone box outside our houses? I used to put my makeup on in there because it had a mirror and my dad wouldn’t let me wear it. It had the old button A button B system. I wonder if it is still there? I think the summer days were so much longer then. We were war babies and we really lived for the day. Oh such damp eyed wonderful memories. Bye for now Gloria

    By Gloria Sewell (23/05/2011)

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