Markham's Chase School 1950s

Twins and Teachers

Why so many twins?
Nina Humphrey (née Burton)
Markham's Chase Teachers
Nina Humphrey (née Burton)
Markham's Chase Teachers 2
Nina Humphrey (née Burton)

There were 14 sets of twins in our school and a set of triplets.  I remember the day the photograph was taken in 1956/7.  There was obviously something different going on and I watched the twins being called in turn.  All but 2 sets appear in the picture, which was arranged in the shape of a question mark to depict the curiousity as to why there were so many.  The only set I can fully name are Norman and Rosemary Whitehead, because they were my neighbours. They are the second set at the start of the question mark, top left of the picture. The two girls at the very top are Elaine and Helen?, who lived in a turning off King Edward Road. I clearly recognise and remember many of the others, but unfortunately cannot recall their names.

The two photographs of teachers are from the early fifties and include my Uncle Richard Devine who left the school in the summer of 1957 to take a teaching position on the Isle of Wight. Those I can name are:

____?____?Joy VerlingMrs Sheila Sparey?Mrs Last_____?Miss Margaret BurgeMiss Balls
____?____?____?Miss Janet DukeMr Richard DevineMiss CockMiss Whitley

____?Mrs Sheila Sparey?Joy VerlingMiss WilliamsMiss Cock____?Miss Attenborough    
Mrs LastMr Stanley? Mr Finnegan?____?Mr WigginsMiss Janet DukeMiss WhitleyMr Richard DevineMiss Margaret BurgeMiss Balls
I was in Mrs Sparey’s class in the 1st year and again in the 3rd and 4th years and therefore should recognise her easily, however, I have to admit that I don’t.  I only think that is her, so have put a ? by her name.  It would be great if anybody could confirm whether I am right or not.  I believe she moved to Devon after she left Markham’s Chase in 1957 and went on to become a head teacher. 

Also can anyone name the others?

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  • My husband, Terry English went to Laindon Park school but then to Laindon High Road.
    He has often spoken of the lads that he used to meet up with.
    All of the names Ronnie mentioned were among them, plus some others,ie; Mickey Hopper.
    Terry lived in Royston Avenue, so all in the vicinity.
    I don’t know if he played football with you as all his life cricket was his favourite.

    By Ellen English Nee Burr (25/08/2020)
  • I remember playing football at Laindon High Road with Brian Whitehead, Brian Scott, Roy Webster, Derek Chapman. Re twins, also my cousins Peter & Derek Venner + their brothers Ray and Terry who I still see from time to time. I lived with my brother Tony(now sadly deceased) and sisters Rita and Valerie at 8 Powell Road. Still both thriving with their families. Also cousin Alan Taylor from Martindale Avenue. Another teacher at MCS was a Miss Ayres. My Grandparents were the Saltmarshes from the Railway Cottages, their children and our mothers were Mabel (Venner), Marge (Taylor) and my mum Rose. They also had Ern, Dot and Lil. Back soon with some more, pub time!

    By Ronnie Theobald (22/08/2020)
  • The third teacher from the left (back row) in both photos is Joy Verling, later to become Joy Roberts-Todd, my mother.

    By Geoff Roberts-Todd (04/03/2016)
  • I think the teacher on the right of the back row is Miss Attenborough.  She lived in Leigh-on-sea as did Miss Duke live in the area.  We moved from Laindon to Leigh in 1958 and use to see them around. There was also a teacher by the name of Miss Cross, my last teacher when I left in the first year.

    By Hazel Hunter (14/03/2014)
  • Hi Nina, you are right about the twins Laraine and Barbara Linard who lived in Powell Road Laindon, they are my sisters and yes they did like to dress in pink and blue respectively! 

    I am not sure if they had started at Markhams Chase at the time the photos were taken as they are younger than me and I had only been there for about 1 year. 

    They are both still around, Laraine is in Chelmsford and Barbara in West Mersey.

    By Bob Linard (01/10/2013)
  • Hi Bernard Sibthorp, thought you might be interested to know that Joan Willis, one of your classmates is my wifes Aunt. She remembers the scrapbook. She is keeping well

    By David Merchant (14/11/2012)
  • Just to confirm that the Shroder twins were Stephen & Gillian, sadly Gill died 9 years ago. Steve lives in Liverpool

    By Steve Shroder (30/10/2012)
  • I was a Laindon Park boy but I do know most of the twins featured in this article. Could the two unamed boys possibly be the Sargeant twins? I am sure they went to Markhams Chase.

    By Bob Connell (10/01/2012)
  • The article which was headed by the twins photo referred to the scrapbook made by class 1 of the year 1947/8. 41 of us signed the book to send to Australia to thank them for the food parcels which they sent during the rationing. The scrapbook was not actually sent. 

    The class was: Carol Pigram, Clifford Skudder, George Wallace, Charles Bedford, Patricia Scott, Patricia Sheppard, Roger Noble, Beryl Sharman, Brian Burford, Charles Farnham, Antony Dovaston, Margaret Hill, Brian Dangerfield, P.Radmall, Evelyn Screech, Albert Catton, Barbara Robertson, Alan Watson, Derek Croker, Gillian Hunkley, Michael Bathurst, Rachael Harrison, Janet Newman, Jonathon Coleman, Alan Davis, Beryl Almeroth,  Maureen Holding, Brenda Tice, Ann Shead, Terence Pottinger, Joan Wills, Mary Norman, Victor Basset, Norman Stokes, Derek Steele, Edward Bruley,  Barbara Tice, Kenneth Clarke, Kenneth Reeve, Pamela Bechers and me.

    By Bernard Sibthorp (30/12/2011)
  • Re. Teacher’s names. My Uncle Dick’s name is spent with an ‘e’ not an ‘a’. i.e. Devine. Thank you.

    By Nina Humphrey(nee Burton) (30/11/2011)
  • That’s Miss Williams standing directly behind Mr Wiggins in the second photo of teachers.

    By Nina Humphrey(nee Burton) (29/11/2011)
  • Hi Bob, beat me to it. Chris and I babysat the Thompson girls – Christine the eldest, and the two sets of twins as you have named. Was informed by Val Matthews that sadly Carol (Tich) and Linda are both deceased.

    By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell) (21/11/2011)
  • I forgot to mention the twins, Gladys and Teddy Llewellyn. They are sixth from the bottom, not counting the triplets (immediately below Maureen and Tony Willets). The Llewellyn family lived not far from me in Devonshire Road. The twins had older brothers, Charlie and Freddy. Freddy was my age and in my class at school at Markhams Chase.

    By Nina Burton (12/11/2011)
  • From the bottom, 2nd set are the younger Tompsons Marilyn & Carol The 5th. set are the older set of Tompson twins Barbara & Linda.

    By Bob Young (12/11/2011)
  • Nina, On your photo Markhams Chase teachers 2 we think 2nd from left front row is Mr.Finnegan not Mr.Stanley as stated. Forgot to mention this at memory day on Thursday but are also working on the names on other photos and will contact you regarding any we get stuck on.

    By Ann and John Rugg (30/09/2011)
  • Hi David, We still have not filled in all the blanks, the two boys could be John & David McNally? but I do not remember them at Markham’s Chase, only at High Road School. They are the only other twins I can remember. Nina, you will also have lived next to my brother in law Bryan Whitehead the older brother of the twins.

    By Eric Pasco (16/09/2011)
  • David and Eric. Thank you, that’s brilliant, now I remember and can put names to faces. The Slade twins’ older sister Maureen was in the same class as me. I remember one set of twins who do not appear in the picture called Barbara and Lorraine ? who lived in Powell Road. Barbara always dressed in blue and Lorraine always in pink. Have I got this right i.e., there were two sets of twins in the Thompson family?

    By Nina Humphrey (nee Burton) (16/09/2011)
  • Eric. Yes, you are right, the Whitehead family were my close neighbours for many years and I knew them very well. They lived in the bungalow ‘Rosedene’ and I lived in ‘Spion Kop’. There was just one bungalow between us ‘Pendennis’ where my grandparents lived. Our address was Alexandra Road (the unmade part of King Edward Road). We played on the top field  which bordered our gardens. Bryan was 6 years older then me. When I was nearly 6 years old, I came out of school but my mother wasn’t there to meet me as usual. Unperturbed, I started walking home by myself but Bryan caught up with me and commented that I was a bit young to be going home by myself and so we walked the very long journey home together. I felt very grown up. When my mum arrived with my baby brother in the pram, I was surprised to see she her in a terrible panic because we had missed each other at the school gates and she thought I had gone missing. I wondered what all the fuss was about! Norman and my brother Alan were mates and used to collect old scrap cars which they drove around the fields just for fun. The Whitehead family moved to Lee Chapel North in the mid sixties and I missed them very much. I understand that Bryan still lives in Laindon but the others have since moved to Ireland. You can see a few photos on a link. Go to ‘Information, Links, Contracts & Assistance’ – Links to Other Sites – Dunton and Langdon Hills, Alexandra Road:Spion Kop. There is a photo of Norman tinkering with the engine of ‘Ada’, our old jalopy (it is very dark but you may be able to lighten it). Further down there’s a photo of the old cars and one taken in the back garden of Pendennis showing Rosedene next door. That’s me standing on the left.

    By Nina Humphrey (nee Burton) (16/09/2011)
  • I think we have an adjustment to the Schroder twins’ I am certain it was Geoffrey & Gillian Schroder and that Steven was a younger brother, can anyone confirm? Also Nina, the last I heard of Norman Whitehead he was living in Pitsea. I do not know about Rosemary but Margaret does live in Ireland.

    By Eric Pasco (16/09/2011)
  • Re Triplets & Twins, Triplets are Margaret, Elizabeth & Philip Turle. Then from the bottom of ? ????? Thompson Twins (youngest ones), Douglas & David Merchant, John & Christine Slade, Thompson Twins (the elder ones but same family), ?????????, Tony & Maureen Willets, Elaine & Stella Clace, ??????????, Katherine & Janet Hughes, Norman & Rosemary Whitehead, Steven & Gillian Schroder.

    I Hope someone can fill in the Blanks

    By Eric Pasco (15/09/2011)
  • Nina, you just beat me to it in submitting the twins photo, as I was planning it to be my next entry, but I will let you off.

    My claim to fame is that I am in the photo with my twin brother Douglas. You have a better memory than me, as I don’t recall the day we were called out to have the photo taken.

    I have managed to get a few names sorted, with some help. Starting at the top as you did.

    Steve and Gillian Shroder, Norman and Rosemary Whitehead, Katherine and Janet Hughes, the two boys could be Thompson. The next two girls I have as Elaine and Stella Clace? but you could be right, then Tony and Maureen Willets. The next two sets are unknown, followed by Christine and John Slade, Douglas and David Merchant (me), the next set are unknown, but possibly Thompson again, last set unknown? The triplets were Margaret, Elizabeth and Philip Turle .

    By David Merchant (14/09/2011)

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