Prof. Noall-Stevens (1906–1990)

Real name – Walter Charles Edward Stevens

Charlie Steven's squat on the corner of Second Avenue and Central Avenue, Dunton. Photo taken by Ken Porter, probably in the late eighties.
Charlie Steven's squat on the corner of Second Avenue and Central Avenue, Dunton. Photo taken by Ken Porter, probably in the late eighties.

Some people in our area may remember him as Professor Noall-Stevens.  He has recently been mentioned in a Facebook memories group and as he sounded a very interesting character, I decided to do some research.

Walter Charles Edward Stevens was born in Poplar on 21st March 1906.

The 1911 Census shows him aged 7, living at  6, Raverely Street, Poplar London where he remained until 1928 when he married Bridget McManus.  They had two sons, Charles A (born 1929, Stepney) and Maurice W (born 1939, Epping).

The 1939 Register show the family living at 635 Greenfield Road, Tottenham, Walter described as a G.P.O. Postman.

In 1965 the family were living at 3a St Stephen’s Road, Bow, E3.

Sadly Bridget died in 1968.  Soon after, one of our Archive members, Paul Gibson was called upon to move Walter and his son Charlie to 4th Avenue, Dunton.  Paul takes up the story:-

“Professor Noall and his son Charlie lived at 3a St Stephen’s Road, Bow, E3.  In the late 60s or 70s, he got in touch with my Laindon office for a telephone quote to move his furniture and effects to a property in 4th Avenue, Dunton.  Some weeks later, I took a team and removal lorry to carry out the job. Over the years doing household removals I thought I had seen it all but was not prepared for the Prof and his son, along with his retinue of animals and their meagre belongings.  The property and contents were filthy; my team wanted me to refuse to move them because of the state of them, their animals and the contents.  But a quote’s a quote and the Prof told me he was being evicted. 

On arrival at Dunton we were told to unload the effects in a rundown orchard as they were not allowed into the boarded up plotland bungalow, but a friend had let them have use of the outbuilding and garden.  Charlie told me they were going to sleep in the shed and the tent that they had just erected.

Charlie earned his money window cleaning, carrying his ladders on his pushbike, always accompanied by a dog or two running loose after him. The Prof who never got along with his son Charlie was rehoused by the Council to ‘Etheledene’ Rusticana Crescent, near the Fortune of War public house. I believe he died in his late 80s.

He was a well-known character who had extreme political views and used to share them publicly, with his poetry and verse at the Laindon Shopping Centre or Basildon Town Centre along with his old van which was adorned with his political beliefs scrolled on by hand.  Some would say he was mentally ill as he would be out in all weathers preaching and giving out copies of his musings.  The Basildon Recorder newspaper ran at least one story about him.  One I recall was when he fell out with a 95 year old Dunton resident and they were pictured in fighting pose in that week’s paper.  He was one of Laindon’s colourful characters”.

Walter apparently made a number of recordings around 1980, one was called ‘The People’s Anthem’.

At some point, Charlie moved from 4th Avenue to the corner of 2nd Avenue and Central Avenue which he turned into a squat, practically barricading himself in.  Apparently, he was a compulsive hoarder, evidence of which can still be seen at the scene – at least one broken caravan, old typewriters etc.

Walter died in Laindon on 24th September 1990 at the age of 84.  His probate records show that as in the case of many slight eccentrics, he left a substantial amount of money.

His son Charlie, moved to a care home in 2006 and died in 2012.

Editor:  If anyone has any photos or paper cuttings featuring Walter or Charlie, the Laindon Archive would be very interested to see them and perhaps add them to this article.  Thank you.

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  • Hello, My wife and i befriended Proff and visited him most weeks for several years until he died and we went to his funeral. We used to take him out in our car to Laindon and other towns and we helped him give out Tracts and leaflets which mainly were of Christian content as we are Christians. We have a few photos, i did have a copy of his single and many copies of his Book and we were promised by him to inherit all his Poems and other things but we never received any of them as his Sister we believed inherited everything, we met her on a couple of occasions and we also met his son. We have many very fond memories of him and he always called my wife his Angel as she helped him with typing and we produced many copies for him. He was a charming and he held strong Political and Christian views.

    By Robin (31/03/2024)
  • I have Charlie’s letters from world leaders, kings, politicians, Prince Charles, the receipts for the record deal for the people’s anthem, I have the lyrics, the pins they had made for their new “political” party. I sat with Charlie and heald his hand at the end. He had a girlfriend called Ermgardt in Germany and he even cycled across Europe to visit her. I have these photos too. She was a nurse. Me and Charlie used to speak in German sometimes which made him smile. He was traumatised during his service abroad due to witnessing his comrades raping women and torturing people which I won’t go into on here but he used to cry about it and felt guilty he couldn’t stop them so he was not popular with the other soldiers who had caught std’s from their crimes.

    I took him on his only holiday in Devon in 2007 and arranged a birthday party for his 80th. I have photos of everything and have been saving it since he died in 2012. I tried to give him a little sense of belonging and he was like a grandad to my son whose middle name is Charles. I will share/submit all docs when I can. Rip Chaz xx

    By Rip Chas (04/02/2021)
  • He was probably very anti war because he saw the direct results of the two world wars.

    By David Lammin (26/03/2020)
  • I remember the Professor and used to bump into him quite often around Laindon in my teens. I found him eccentric but interesting and made more sense than many of the politicians I have had the misfortune to meet since. On one occasion he gave me a copy of the people’s anthem, which I still have today.
    RIP Prof

    By Phil English (19/03/2020)
  • I’ve added two photos of Charlie Steven’s squat to the above article.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (02/02/2019)
  • Mr Stevens was living in the last plotland property called Etheldene in Rusticana Crescent in 1980.

    Editor: Absolutely correct. I discovered his real name by looking, up Etheldene, Rusticanca Crescent on the 1980 Electoral Register.

    By Gary Oliver (31/01/2019)

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