Coronation Tea Laindon Park School 1953

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Val Scurlock nèe Newman
John Peters

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  • Hi Jonny,

    It is only during the last week or two that I have started to look at the Laindon History site again to see what was going on, which is why I have only just found your posting of 25th November, 2018. A few days ago, I responded to another posting of yours on the ‘School Reports’ page, about ‘playing out’ in Brackenmount when we were young kids.

    As regards the Coronation Party at the St. Nicholas Lane School, it seems that former pupils of the school were also invited back to join in the celebrations. If you look at the picture at the top, these are mainly the younger kids who were still at the school, whereas the second picture shows the table with the former pupils. Sitting on the other side of me is John Comber, who was a year older than me (we were both at Romford Technical School at the time) and on the other side of him is my brother Roy, who was three years older than me and attending Palmers School at Grays at the time – so there was quite a mixture of ages. You will also see a number of other kids who were about the same age as us – like Geoff Fynn, Sheila Gregory, Pat Braithwaite, etc. who by this time were all in Secondary education. So that begs the question, why weren’t you at the bash? Surely, you must have been invited like the rest of us. Perhaps you just couldn’t make it for one reason or another.

    I also remember the air-raid warnings. On one occasion, I remember us coming out of school and being met by our Mums when a bomb dropped somewhere over in the Wash Road/Pipps Hill Road area. We also had a narrow escape in Brackenmount when a high-explosive bomb dropped on the edge of the pond at the back of the Swift’s bungalow. I was less than a year old at the time, but had lots of fun playing around that pond and the bomb crater after the War.

    And yes, I do remember my grandmother making us sing ‘You are my Sunshine’! Isn’t it amazing the things that we can remember after about 75 years – yet, I sometimes have difficulty remembering what I did yesterday! I don’t recall being given sixpence (that was my weekly pocket money at the time) but I do have a picture in my mind of you, wearing a ’gingham’ outfit, being made to stand on a table at our bungalow at ‘Danecourt’ to sing the song for her. Despite what I said in my earlier posting the other day, you do have a very good memory after all!

    Best regards,

    John Peters

    By John Peters (28/02/2021)
  • Hi J.P. I’m a bit confused ‘cos if memory serves, you are about the same age as me and I was at LH. in 1953, so how come you were still at “Donaldson’s” for the Coronation bash? I can still picture her banging a large frying pan with a wooden spoon whenever the air raid siren from Laindon Fire Station sounded.
    On a different note, do you recall your grandmother giving me sixpence to sing “You are my Sunshine” for her? J.B.

    By Mr.J.W.Birch (25/11/2018)
  • Back again! Gray matter almost expired. Might start using that as an alias: Graham Atter! John Langton, Christine Thompson, Terry Rattenbury, David Parmenter, Linda Brazier, Pat Mayhew, Kelvin/Melvin Higgs/Hughes? Also the surname Maitland comes to mind. Lastly Polly George, whose dad was a builder that she used to “help” during the school holidays. This would explain her abnormal strength and the fact that she was able to beat up most of the boys in the school. 

    By Donald Joy (21/11/2016)
  • I remember that the room for the Coronation Tea Party is indeed the one used by Mr Stone in Autumn 1957. I was with that class until the Christmas. In the New Year I was allocated another classroom and a new teacher, Mrs E Hodgson. Some of the boys in that class were Keith English, Robert McMasters, Barry Keeble and Brian Stepney. Some of the girls were Jacqui Sheppard, Janet Smithers, Carol Hudson and Jill Strutt. There was a brilliant visit to the Natural History Museum at the end of the year when we were more interested in the trays of birds eggs than any of the other exhibits. The classroom that term was opposite the new canteen steps and was more sunny than the one used by Mr Stone. Some great lessons in music given by Mr Rand and some eye candy provided by Miss Davies.

    By Richard Haines (18/11/2016)
  • Nice one Richard, yet more names of the day. Maybe a few more to jog a few more memories: Russell Stubbs, Denise Allen, Marilyn Bradfield, Linda Gilbert, Raymond Broom, Peter Stringer, whose mother had some connection to the school, I remember her playing piano at the school play and other occasions. Another name I’ve never forgotten because of the trauma she caused me and others is Maureen Hanson. She liked to play “kiss chase” by grabbing a boy and planting a big wet horrible kiss upon him and then using him as an aide in capturing her next victim. And so it went on until every boy in the school playground had been subjected to her womanly attentions. Yeuk !  More names to follow when the grey matter permits. 

    By Donald Joy (18/11/2016)
  • Back again! The more I peruse these photos the more puzzled I become. As previously mentioned classes numbered 40 plus pupils at this time and to my mind there doesn’t appear to be a large number of children in the 2 photos. Also the age ranges seem quite varied. So my question is: were these just a select few or were there other parties for other groups?

    Considering the total number of pupils who attended this school at this time, the number of children shown (of vastly differing ages) makes no sense to me. Am I missing something?

    By Donald Joy (17/11/2016)
  • I seem to recall another teacher who went on to the missing list after suffering a nervous breakdown, Mr Simpson. Now teachers were either pretty soft back then or, we children must have been quite a handful. I feel sure it was the former as I seem to recall us pupils being particularly well behaved???

    A tad miffed to not get a mention from Richard Haines but it was a long time ago and there were a lot of names to remember, as Richard said, classes were numbered in the mid 40s. Strangely enough I do recall rather a lot of those names even after all this time. However I don’t remember the room shown in these photos and just look at that floor. Were we really subjected to that?

    By Donald Joy (15/11/2016)
  • Just looked on Google Maps to see Laindon Park school and got quite a shock. This bears very little resemblance to the school I went to, but that was a long, long time ago. I then surfed the surrounding area and got even more of a surprise. Yes the graveyard can be seen to be well tended as was not the case throughout my younger years. No sign of the church hall or the vergers bungalow and it appears that many other bungalows that used to be in Pound Lane have gone and been replaced by quite a large building. Old peoples’ home maybe? I really shouldn’t have been so surprised at the changes. When I think back to all of the many changes I witnessed as Laindon lost its identity and became just another part of the behemoth that is Basildon. 

    By Donald Joy (14/11/2016)
  • I do not remember this room as a canteen or hall. In my time,( I started in 1955), the front  part of it was the library with a classroom behind. One rather sad memory of this room is of a teacher, I think it was Miss Elliott, having a nervous break down and wrecking the library.

    By Paul Stickland (13/11/2016)
  • Hi John Peters, thanks for confirming the room. It is definitely the same one I am thinking of. As you say, there were windows looking over the school playing field on the western wall. On the northern wall were more windows, all the same style, looking towards the A127 direction down Church Road. When I was in that room our teacher was Mr Stone. It needed to be a big room too, most classes were about 46 in number as we were baby boomers born in 1947. The boys I can remember were Brian Archer, Andy Darroch, Arnold Frost, Kenny Prince, Ronny Cannings, Philip Trew and Howard Davies. Some of the girls were Gillian Bull, Susan Gregory, Pamela Lane, Valerie Newman and Prudence Wakefield.

    Mr Stone had a huge flat map of the world produced in linen, hanging near the blackboard area. We used to marvel at the number of pink coloured countries of the British Empire and the hugeness of the USSR in comparison. Happy Days.

    By Richard Haines (12/11/2016)
  • I’ve just been looking at Google Street View. Some further things to report, the canteen, built in 1956 has gone, to be replaced by a car park. The windows I thought looked over Church Road alas, seem to be part of a store cupboard or similar which has narrow slit windows, these look original so I am definitely wrong there. The french windows, looking out to the school field are new and agreeing with what John Peters says I can’t recall them being there back in the day. However, here it stands, our school John and Valerie, we were lucky to have gone to study there, so long ago best wishes to you both.

    By Richard Haines (12/11/2016)
  • Richard, The Coronation tea party was held in the room facing west over the school field.  So far as I can recall, it was the largest room in the school and, in my days, was used not only as a classroom (I spent my final year in there with Mr. Alexander Blackford) but also as the school hall.  I believe that it may have been used for Assembly, Open Days and any other special occasions. The windows in photo 2 face west and I guess they are much the same now as they were when the school was built.  I did notice, however, when looking on Google Maps recently, that there are now some French/Patio doors leading out of the room on to the playground.  I am pretty sure they weren’t there in the 1940’s.

    By John Peters (11/11/2016)
  • Also I wonder which year the ‘new’ school hall was built, the one at higher level which was used for school dinners. It was there in Autumn 1957 but I guess it was quite new then. A fascinating little school, I’m glad I got my one year there 1957-1958 before going to LHR.

    By Richard Haines (10/11/2016)
  • In 1966 the old canteen which had opened in 1941, was replaced with a new canteen-cum-hall with an adjoining kitchen and classroom.  In the same year, the school took over the former schoolteacher’s house as additional accommodation.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (10/11/2016)
  • Nina, are you sure you don’t mean 1956. That would tie in with my memory of it looking new in 1957. Either way the school was brilliant, all the children were friendly and the teachers I had, Mr Stone and Mrs Hodgson were absolutely first class. My only regret is not being good enough to get my 11 plus there and I recall only about 5 children actually made it in 1958. The main memory for me as an ex-Barking boy was feeling so safe in that cosy school atmosphere.

    By Richard Haines (10/11/2016)
  • I found the information on SEAX.  Just re-checked and it was indeed 1956 when the old hall was replaced with new canteen-cum-hall, but the school did took over the former schoolteacher’s house in 1966.  Thanks for noticing that Richard.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (10/11/2016)
  • One other thing I would like to know is which room this photograph was taken in. The big blackboard area and the row of windows down one side looks a bit like Mr Stone’s room which also had windows looking out down towards Church Road and the Arterial Road direction. The green Eastern National bus used to wait for us in the afternoon after school, taking us back to the High Road.

    By Richard Haines (09/11/2016)
  • I was in Susan Gregory’s class in Autumn 1957. Our teacher was Mr Stone, a brilliant person. In this 1953 photo she would have been about 5. Also I remember Mrs Peters who used to be on dinner time duties at Laindon Park School.

    By Richard Haines (07/11/2016)
  • Also, like Valerie Newman I can’t see Susan Gregory in the photograph, can we be more specific about which one she is meant to be please?

    By Richard Haines (07/11/2016)
  • Hello again Val & Richard.  Yes, I think I may have done my best to try and confuse you.  I have just remembered that Sheila also had a sister Carol and I believe it is Carol sitting next to Sheila and not Susan who, as you say, was much younger.  Sheila is the 8th person down on the right-hand side and I think it must be Carol just beyond her at the far end of the table.  I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.  If Susan was at the party, I guess she would have been sitting on the other table with the younger pupils.

    I am pleased, Richard, that you remember my mother.  She loved working at the school amongst the children, but she eventually had to give it up due to ill-health.

    By John Peters (07/11/2016)
  • Glad you liked the additional photograph of the party, Val.  I don’t know if you realise it, but Sheila and Susan Gregory’s family are featured elsewhere on this site.  You can find the page easily by searching the surname.

    Thanks for your comments, Donald.  As I mentioned in my earlier blurb, I am the person on the left-hand side, 5th from the front of photo 2.  The person 7th from the front, leaning forward, is my elder brother Roy Peters – not Tony Breedon. Are you pictured in either of the photos?

    By John Peters (07/11/2016)
  • Photo 1 right side of table, 3rd person  from front. I recognise the face but am never going to be able to put a name to her, helpful wasn’t it ?

    Photo 2 left side of table, 5 back from front, John ? 7th from front, leaning forward Tony Breedon, brother to June ? Depending on time of year I would have been 5 or 6 years old, which would explain my uncertainty. 

    By Donald Joy (06/11/2016)
  • It was great to see the two photos together. It really broadened the party. You were quite right, I can’t recognise anyone on the table. I think I would have known Susan Gregory if I could have seen her, if she was at the front of the table. We were in the same class. I think I was 5 when the party happened. It was lovely times.  

    By Val Scurlock (05/11/2016)
  • I was very pleasantly surprised to find the photograph of the Coronation Tea Party on the Laindon History site. Like you, Val, I too have a photograph taken at the same Tea Party, but mine is of the table on the other side of the room and taken in the opposite direction. I have often wondered who might have a photo of the other table – and now I know! Although I personally have very little recollection of the party, it seems from the two photos that one table was reserved for the existing pupils of the school (those in your photo) and the other for the former pupils (those in my photo). At the time of the Coronation, I was in the 2nd year at the Romford Technical School.

    In my photo (attached) we can see on the left-hand side working backwards from the front (with apologies to anyone if I have got the names wrong!) – John(?) Dodge, Peter(?) Hutchins, Brian Fynn, Geoffrey Fynn, me (leaning backwards), John Comber and Roy Peters (my brother who I think must have been in the 5th year at Palmers by this time). A bit further back is Joan Comber and Mrs. Moore from Basildon Road who you have already mentioned. At the far end of the table on the right-hand side are Sheila and Susan Gregory, who I believe still live in that part of Essex. I cannot put names to the rest of the party-goers on the right-hand side, so if anyone can add a few names, this would be really great.

    These were happy days, largely due to the leadership of Jack Wilson and his staff. My mother was a Mid-day Assistant at the school for a number of years and very much enjoyed trying to keep order in the playground!

    I hope this further photograph will bring back some more happy memories.

    John Peters (nickname ‘Peanuts’)

    By John Peters (25/10/2016)
  • I am the fair haired boy I think 9 back on the left. In front of me with curly hair on top and short sides is William Bullock. 3 back on the left is Alan Starling.

    By John Mason (01/09/2015)
  • Where are you and the other two in the photo?  I’m useless with names.  There is a tiny bit of my forehead in sight on the left hand side of that table, I think the tenth one back, not that you can see much. My brother is just behind me, David. I think the lady with the paper hat on was Mrs Moore helping. She used to live in a bungalow a couple of bungalows back in Basildon Road.  

    By Val Scurlock née Newman (26/08/2015)
  • Lovely to see this picture from when I was 7 years old. Also recognise William Bullock and Alan Starling. Happy days.

    By John Mason (23/08/2015)

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