Teenager in Laindon
A few years after I started at Markhams Chase I remember there was a bus service started. This meant I could catch the bus opposite Mrs Pelhams shop to the bottom of the hill that went up to the church. We then had to walk the still long walk for a small child, down the road to the school. When it rained or snowed we got very wet. After school, we would rush across the road to the little sweet shop opposite the school and buy sweets. We then had to run like mad to catch the bus, often missing it. The thing we loved to buy was a bag of sherbet powder, which we would stick our finger in and suck the sherbet off the finger. This made your tongue very sore and you finger bright yellow. I wonder if anyone remembers this shop and anything about the people that ran it.
About 1951 I moved to Laindon High Road School, I was very happy about this as it was just at the bottom of the road I lived in. I started in a C class which wasn’t very good, by the time I left at fifteen year old I had moved to an A class. I remember we had different teachers for each subject. This meant at the end of each lesson a bell rang and we moved onto the next class with a new teacher for that subject. I remember Mr Gay who took us for geography, a very small man I recall and Mrs Gay his wife who I thought very grumpy. She took us for needle work and I spent most of the lesson standing outside the door. Mr Lane took us for maths a subject I never got my head around. He frightened the life out of me, looking like an all in wrestler. I think he gave up trying to teach me the subject in the end. I remember in the 3rd year we had a new teacher come to the school for a short while a Mr Perry. He was my form teacher and I loved him. He was much younger then all the others and seemed to be more patient. The time I was in his class I came top of the form twice. Mr Cluff was my final form teacher in the 4th year, he also took us for science. It was well known that if you got him on the subject of the war he would talk for England about it and you never got a science lesson. We had a very good art room with a pottery wheel and a lovely art teacher but I can’t remember his name. I loved my days at the High Road and felt very sad when I came back to Laindon a while ago to see the old school had gone.
Although I moved to Suffolk my Mum and Dad lived in Laindon in the house in King Edward Road until they died. Dad in 1974 mum in 1998. It was a sad day for me when my sisters and I closed the door on their house and gave the keys back to the council.
Being a teenager in Laindon in the early 1950s was fun I always had plenty to do and would be out most evenings. There were evening classes at the High Road school, I took a typing class and country dancing. But we mostly went to have fun. There was also the cinema the films would change three times a week, and we went three times a week. But the highlight of the week was the Friday night dance at the Memorial Hall. Music was supplied by a three man band - piano, drums and saxophone they were very good and played all the latest hits. We would dance the jive, waltz, quick step and foxtrot as well as the creep. There would always be a bit of rivalry with the local boys and the soldiers from the camp, who would stand either side of the hall eyeing each other up. We had loads of fun and never got bored.
It was about this time that I meet a boy from Canvey Island, we would go to Southend on Saturdays. I would catch the train in Laindon and he got on in Benfleet. I can remember seeing from the train, a sign in a field at the side of the track saying PROPOSED SITE FOR BASILDON NEW TOWN.