My pre-school years

My family background

Nan and Grandad Davies and family outside Lilac
Gloria Sewell
Mens day out from Winstone Club approx 1945
Gloria Sewell
Mens day out from Winstone Club approx 1945
Nan and Grandad Davies and family outside Lilac

In my last article to you I introduced myself, now I would like to take you back to my pre-school years in Laindon. Please forgive me if anything is not quite as you remember. 

As I have said I was born in Laindon in 1942. My first memories are of my father returning home from the war. He bought home (what now seems like a big sack but I expect it was just a bag) of chocolate. This was shared with all the kids living nearby. Also for me and my mother’s younger sister who was only 11 months older than me, a white fur hat and muff (they came from Norway, this is where he was stationed in the war). My mother must have felt so chuffed walking us down the High Rd. We must have been the only kids to have real fur muffs in our village. 

The war was just over and everyone was feeling a sense of relief to have (the ones that made it) their loved ones home. My mother met my father in the Laindon Hotel, he was stationed at Langdon Hills and originally came from Paddington, London. Langdon hills camp became a prisoner of war camp. I recall the local ladies would take pies etc. for them and then in return they would make wooden toys for us kids. I recall my brother having a train and I had a doll with a loop on its head you could put a ribbon through. One wartime memory (my mothers not mine).  Perhaps someone could clarify that a German plane was shot down near the Cottis bakery and the pilot was rounded up by local women and their frying pans (even if it’s not true it’s a memory I cherish and it will always play a part in my early childhood). 

My little brother Fred was just one year old when we were allocated a two bed prefab in Worthing Road. These I think I am right in saying were given to us by the Americans for British servicemen with familes for their war effort. I remember our prefab was so comfortable we had a real bath and a gas cooker all mod cons in those days. Before this we had lived with my nanny and granddad in “Lilac” Beatrice Rd,a three bedroom bungalow. 

Next door to us were Mrs. Daisy & Mr. Jack Davies, and their eight children. Mrs. Kitty James, her daughter Kitty later went on to own the Winston club with her husband Ted. 

Mrs. James lost one of her daughters in the war and my grand parents lost a son They are buried side by side in St.Nicholas church. Mrs James and my granny tended their graves for as long as I can remember. Now my Aunty Marion does it. I hope one of my cousins that are still local will carry on. 

“Lilac” Beatrice Road has many childhood memories for many a child and an adult Toomy’s wedding reception was held there, also our first sons christening reception. Now its gone replaced by other houses with families as happy as we were I hope.

I will run though my Mothers siblings, I’m sure I will jog a few memories. My mother was Violet Davies. She married Fred Sewell, nicknamed Nobby, a popular singer in the Winston club. Next, uncle John, I didn’t get to know him much as he was killed in the war in 1943. Next was my uncle Bobby Davies. He did quite a lot of building work locally. He married Vera Turner the girl next door. In fact they lived next to us in Beatrice Rd. Vera had two sisters, Mavis and Sylvia. They both married local lads and still live locally. Vera & Bob had one daughter, Lynn. I wonder if anyone remembers our Lynn pushing her pram with her pet chicken in it. It went everywhere with her and it even wore a bonnet. This would have been in the fifies. I do hope someone remembers, as a lot of people used Beatrice Road to cut through to the station from Berry Lane. 

Next was Aunty Eileen Davies. She was in the ATS during the war. She married a local lad Joe Jones. He was in the air force when they met and they lived in Northumberland Avenue in one of the long wooden bungalows. I think as your family grew you just built another room on. I know her mother in law lived at one end and they lived at the other end.

Opposite them in the avenue there were the old railway carriges people had made into houses. They were so cute I wonder what happened to them. 

After Eileen came my sweet aunty Betty. She married a local boy Harry Simmons. They were quite a large family. Harry, Georgie, Terry, Peggy. I think there were a couple more but who could ever forget dear Johnny Simmons. He was a very special boy who needed some extra care. He would always be out with his brothers and would love to chat for hours with whoever wanted to listen to him, bless him dear John. 

Then came my uncle Ken. Now read this carefully or you might lose track.  Aunty Eileen’s husband Joe had been married before and he had a daughter Norma Jones. They met and fell in love at her dad’s wedding to my aunty Eileen, Ken’s sister. They wed so that made my aunty Eileen Norma’s step mum as well as her sister in law and made uncle Joe uncle Ken’s father in law as well as his brother in law and aunty Eileens brother was also her son in law (deep breath) and I will carry on, this could only happen in my Laindon. 

Uncle Ken did his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic at Parkinson’s garage. He later went on to open his own workshop at the back of the old fotune of war, what was it called? You guessed it “Kens Autos” does anyone remember him there?

Then came my aunty Marion. We were always very close. She was the one I always wanted to be like. She married Patrick Burr. He ran a ground working company in Laindon. I can still see his big eight wheel tippers trundling through the High Rd. Aunty Marion belongs to a local running club (I think it’s the Striders) and in her late sixties she ran the London marathon and has the medal to prove it. She still at over 70 runs locally for charity I am so proud of her.

 Last but not least there was my youngest aunt Pat. There was only 11 months between us so we always did a lot together. Pat married John White. He was not local so she moved from the village quite a few years ago but we still keep in touch. That’s a rundown on the family but you haven’t got rid of me yet. After a cup of tea I will be back to finish this early part of my life in my Laindon.

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  • My family come from Lowestoft.  My grandad Victor Sewell was brought up there.  His sister, whose name I do not know, lived in Martin’s Avenue.  She had a son Roger.  Last time I met her was in 1984, used to go to the beach along Beaconsfield Road but over the years have lost all contact with family in Lowestoft.

    By Ronald Nisbet (11/08/2017)
  • I note with interest the reference by Roger Wicking to Fred Sewell’s V8 Pilot and that he drove to Yarmouth in it in 1963. I was pretty close to Fred in that year as our girlfriends were sisters but by the summer he was driving a small Ford van as the Pilot was sold in around July or August. Certainly I dont recall him making any trips to Yarmouth, maybe it was a different time Roger was thinking of. Roger is right about the lorry though, that was Fred’s job during early 1963. Gloria and I met up in March this year in Lowestoft near where she now lives. She was on fine form and gave me lots of photos of her family which made my day.

    By Richard Haines (30/08/2013)
  • I too live in Lowestoft, seen Gloria about. Coincidence I said, ‘cos it was Fred Gray and his Girls I was with @ Markhams Chase 50s and 60s LHR and Mecca @ Basildon

    By Roger Wicking. (30/08/2013)
  • Does the name Gray ring any bells? Tim Gray, Maggie Gray, the kids Anita Gray, Paul Gray and Michelle Gray lived in Worthing Road Laindon, moved away in the 80’s.

    By gray (26/08/2013)
  • Fred drove black v8 pilot & lorry(Bedford). Took me, Ivy Gray and Maureen Gray to Yarmouth 1963 for hols. Used to live below St Nicholas Church with Brenda Gray next door and Myrtle Gray. (I was at LHR School with Robert Gray (Tyler’s Ave) coincidence?

    By Roger Wicking. (26/08/2013)
  • Barbara, I remember big Wally and you so well and your sister, did you move to the West Country?

    I have writen a piece on Bagient works you can link to it from Sewell Family on Laindon Familys page.

    Why does a caravan holiday keep coming to mind, your Dad taught me how to underpress for him we worked very well together, nice to hear from you must be 50 yrs?

    By Gloria Sewell (18/01/2012)
  • Just read this page and it brought back memories. I lived in Basildon but I new your mum Gloria and Mr Jacobs. My dad used to work at Baigents a couple of nights a week on the hoffman press. He also worked full time at the factory at Stacet’s corner his name was Wally.

    By Barbara Straderick (17/01/2012)
  • Hello Gloria, you mentioned your brother, Fred. Was he the same Fred who drove a Ford V8 Pilot back in 1963? If he is then please let me know. Rich

    By Richard Haines (04/08/2011)
  • Lovely to read about my family history, Gloria is my Grandmother and it’s lovely to read all about my late relatives. I was born in Suffolk but travel to Laindon regularly to see Family.

    By Bonnie Newrick (19/06/2011)
  • I did come to your wedding in the hall at Ballards Walk / Gt Knightleys.

    By Gloria Sewell (03/06/2011)
  • Thank you for sharing these. Gloria is my mother and it is great to read about her history and memories of Laindon. I lived in Laindon as a young child before moving to Suffolk therefore it makes it even more special to read.

    By James Muir (03/06/2011)
  • I’m not from Laindon but have quite a few connections with the area. Gloria Sewell mentioned Lynn, the daughter of Vera and Bob Davies, who had the strange habit of wheeling around a bonneted chook (she stopped doing that a few years ago). I’m Vera’s cousin from the Turner side of our family making Lynn my second cousin and in 1972 we got married moving to New Zealand in 1974. Vera and Bob came to NZ in 1980, have just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and we’re all still here. My paternal grandad was Samuel Cooper who did live in Laindon and any news of him and his family (good or bad) would be appreciated. My most vivid recollection of Laindon is rushing to make the last train back to Dagenham after seeing Lynn but any reminiscences about anyone knowing any of our families would be very interesting to read. Steve Cooper

    Steve I will also put an item on the Message Board to see if stirs memories

    By Steve Cooper (02/06/2011)
  • Hi Steve great to know your following from N.Z. I am 11 years older than my Christmas day cousin what a present she was!  I have a photo of uncle Bob and Aunty Vera’s anniversary, if you can show them on the Langdon Hills photo page the pic titled ‘bring back steam’, on the left at the top of pic behind trees is where they lived, Lynn used to wheel her chicken down this very path. I now live in Suffolk but still have friends in Laindon.  I’ll ask about Coopers.  The site is also very helpful I hope you get some response I have located a few old friends through site.

    By Gloria Sewell (02/06/2011)

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