Quinton and Pattle
My previous pages were more about me and the Pattle family but our life in Laindon began with Richard (Dick) and Harriet Quinton my grandparents. In the 1930s they lived in Stepney, East London with their family of seven in very cramped accommodation renting rooms with inlaws. Grandad had been in the Merchant Navy most of his early life but had left this life to work at a factory in Silvertown, East London so he could support the family. He had the chance to buy a few plots of land at what we now know as Plotlands in Dunton, Laindon. I think the idea was to clear the East End slums. This he did just before the Second World War and on this he built, with the help of his sons, a wooden hut he called Daisydene after their youngest daughter Daisy.
Daisydene was very basic, I think little more then what we would call a beach hut. Without a bath, toilet or running water you really wonder how they managed with a large family living in these conditions. But it was their life in Laindon that they loved.
Before the war the whole family spent weekends and holidays at the hut which must have been wonderful after life in the slums of London. My mother, the eldest daughter, aunts and uncles (all now deceased), told stories about the happy times enjoyed at the hut. At the start of the Second World War when the bombing of the East End became unbearable it was agreed that the whole family should pack up their belongings and move to Daisydean, Laindon. My mother who by then had married my dad Bert Pattle, went also. One can only imagine what it must have been like - so many people living in that tiny hut without mod cons, unmade muddy roads, gas lamps – it just don’t seem possible. They would all somehow sleep in the hut and then catch the train to London the next morning to jobs in London, all this during a war.
I think this went on for quite some time until larger homes were found to rent. My grandparents moved the family into Clissold, Tavistock Road, a six roomed old house in a very large plot of land. Grandad kept chickens, rabbits, ducks and scary geese that we, as children hated because they would chase us. My grandparents lived in Clissold until the late 1950s when it was condemned so they moved to The Mead on the King Edward estate. Mum and dad stayed with them at Clissold for a while. Dad was in the army and when I was born in 1941 at Clissold it was decided they would move. By luck they managed to rent the Ramblers in Tattenham Road. We all lived very happily in these homes all through the war years and for sometime after. From what I can remember the accommondation was small, the properties in a very poor state of repair without running water, drainage and only gas lamps. But I don’t think people put too much score on that - it was a roof over their heads, that was all that mattered. I feel the space outside, the lovely fruit trees and freedom for a child, made up for everything. Looking back I was a very happy child even though we had very little material wise.
It was after the war the prisoner’s of war worked on the new roads, drains, etc which would form the King Edward Road Estate. The Ramblers was only a very small holiday type home, only two rooms. By then we were a family of four, so my parents qualified for one of the new houses on the estate.
When we moved into number 60 King Edward Road in the 1940s it was brand new. To us it was like moving into a mansion. My sister and I each had our own bedroom and the bathroom and toilet were inside. We had hot and cold water running from the taps and even though we had very little furniture we could hardly believe how lucky we were. It took mum and dad weeks to get the garden cleared. It was much smaller, but we had the big field opposite and played out sometimes till dark with neighbour’s children who had also moved into the new homes.
My dad worked for Charlie Markham’s Dairy as a lorry driver. We had very little money so mum worked on the farms as a field worker. This was very hard work and she would come home very tired and dirty, her hands always red and sore – her back always ached. When I think of her life at this time I see how hard she worked for my sister Pat and I. In 1950 my sister Linda was born, the baby of the family. Even though mum had three children she still worked all she could, working all day and coming home to make Christmas crackers for the Cracker Factory. My parents worked very hard, long hours for very little money but somehow they made ends meet and on the whole we had a very good life in old Laindon.