Hullbridge Village History
It's surprising what you can remember !.
Born in Hullbridge.
Wow, you have really set my mind working !
More and more things keep coming back to me.
Mum has an old album and here are some of the pictures with my memories.
This is one of the school prize-giving from, I think, the end of summer term 1962. I remember that being when we were all taught how to shake hands properly as we would have to do so with Councilor Long!
There are some snaps of the carnival. Not sure what year but they feature a boy called Crispin Harris who was in my class at Hullbridge School, and Beattie, who worked at the post office. They are dressed up as Noddy and Big Ears.
My parents moved to the Dome Caravan Park when my brother was a baby. No sooner were they there they got caught in the East Coast floods ( Feb 1953) and that was when they moved further into Hullbridge, to the Poole Caravan Park. That was my first home, I was born 1956, and then when I was about 2 they moved into our bungalow which was newly built (and on main drains!) just up a couple of houses from the old shop, run by Mr Smith.
My parents names were/are Eric and Joyce Booth, in case you come across them anywhere else.
I do recognise some of the names you mention from Hullbridge - Susan Macnamara, Judith Dundas and especially Barry Harper. Barry's Mum and my Mum were friends and at one time Barry went out with a girl called Valerie Baker who was my best friend at Hullbridge. He had 2 brothers, Terry, who was in my brother Nigel's year, and Micky who was a year younger than me.
I think Judith had a brother called Raymond who was in my brother's year. Was never in the Brownies or Guides myself, being a rather shy child, but my brother (Nigel Booth) was in cubs and scouts. Knew Bill Trower pretty well and his wife, Joan, was one of Mum's (Joyce) best friends. I think they met at baby clinic, as their son Paul is the same age as me. They also had a younger son, Alan. Mum and Bill have been in touch a few times lately, around the time of Joan's death, and last year when my Dad also passed away. Don't remember much about the carnivals. Must have always gone, but nothing stands out. I know I won 2nd prize in a baby contest, but don't know if that was part of the carnival or another occasion.
As for where we played, yes, the rec., of course, though more as I got older. We had a slide, seesaw, a green roundabout, 4 swings (two childs and 2 adult) and a wooden pole to keep us happy. Later they added a metal climbing frame.
I hung around my brother quite a lot. His best mate outside school was a boy called Michael Wilkinson who lived down the lane opposite Ferry Road at Coventry Corner. I think it has a name now, COMMENT:Kingsway, refer to memories of Linda Wilkinson, but in those days we just called it "the lane". We used to go down Watery Lane, great when it flooded. I also remember us playing in the fields down there, using the poor farmer's straw bales to build forts, and playing "The Great Escape", then hiding if the farmer went by in his Land Rover. Also spent a lot of time over the fields opposite the houses up Coventry Hill. The hill was great for riding tricycles (the big old-fashioned ones) and scooters down, with enough space outside the shop to stop safely before the road. When I was 4 I started going riding, first down at Rayleigh Weir at a stables run by a lady called Mrs. Major. I kept that up right into my teens. Then, when I was about 14 or so there was a lady who lived up the hill called Mrs Thomas who had a couple of ponies she kept up near Hockley Church. She used to let me take out the bigger one, Taffy, on my own while she gave some little girls lessons on the smaller one. Once we were at Sweyne we seemed to have too much work to do much else, but I have memories of many evenings spent wandering down the village to the rec., hanging around eating sweets, and then wandering back again. The people I remember are Pat Tinton (who fancied my brother), Alison Mackenzie, and Val and her sister Hazel Baker. Also remember going to a village "Social" at the Village Hall and later a real grown-up dance there! (Must have been about 14 at the time.) Also, entering our dog in a dog show there and winning 3rd prize in the hairiest dog class. Our dog was not particularly hairy, but my brother had cleverly sussed that as there were only 3 entries, he was bound to get a prize!
Shops I can't remember who owned the chip shop, although I remember the chips.
The corner shop at the bottom of Coventry Hill COMMENT:Coventry Corner Stores was owned by old Mr Smith, then his son. Young Mr Smith who seemed a real grump to us kids, tho' in retrospect we probably drove him mad. His wife was much nicer and I remember she was diabetic, but that didn't stop her popping sweets in her mouth from the jars. Also the chewing gum machines on the wall outside which you always checked when passing in the vain hope of getting a free packet. Opposite was the corner where the bus used to stop (until they moved the stop round the corner into Ferry Road) with the phone box which we all tried to get in if it was raining. Like with the chewing gum machines you would always press button B in case someone has left their money in or forgot to retrieve their change from the call. I vaguely remember a sort of antique-second hand shop being there.comment:Mermaids Down the village there was the chemist, which I think was there until recently, a hairdressers with proper curtained off cubicles and, opposite, the butcher's which also had a little grocery shop later (Barry Harper's Mum worked there at one time), then the village hall, the "junk shop", the hardware store (was that where the Post Office was originally?)COMMENT:No it was next door and called "Bijous", the doctors house (Dr. Jolliffe and Dr Kendall). Later the library was built and the police station opposite. Then Mr. Long's shop and, next door, the wool shop, owned by Mrs Barnes, which was sort of on the side of a house. Opposite was the Mayfield, great for getting penny chews on the way home from school, if you chose to walk and saved the penny ha'penny bus fare to spend instead. Remember them building the new row of shops down past the school and then a couple of odd shops further on. Remember when they first opened a Supermarket, where the Co-op is now, and what a novelty it was possibly the first time we ever had cheesecake. I also remember the church being built, my grandparents donated a pair of brass candlesticks I wonder if they've still got them.
When I started at Sweyne it was the last year it was a Grammar School before becoming a Comp., we had to get the normal bus up to Rayleigh Station and walk from there, and , if we lived inside the 3 miles limit, pay for it. It was always something that annoyed my father as there were kids with free bus passes who got on at the same stop as us. Anyway, when it turned comprehensive they put on a free bus for the new kids but us older ones were still meant to get the public bus. My Dad and some other parents had a real row with the school and eventually we were given permission to get the contract bus, on the understanding that if it ever got too full we would go back to public transport. I think by the time I left in 1972 there were 3 or 4 buses running!
My brothers mates - Terry, plus Andy Polley (who had a younger brother whose name escapes me COMMENT:Stephen) and Keith Warren.
I do remember David Carter, who you mention. I think Nigel (and I) went to play with him once or twice while Mum had tea with his Mum. I remember him having a large collection of that little metal train set that was around at the time (can't remember it's name). Nigel had some, but David had masses of it. It obviously made an impression.
School Swimming Pool
A few other memories.The school swimming pool.
My Dad was involved in the fund-raising. I remember going round with him knocking on people's doors asking people to buy bricks. I found this rather confusing especially when the pool turned out not to be made of bricks.
When we started using it, we got changed in the toilets and then walked bare foot over to the pool by which time your feet were filthy, we had to then walk into a grubby foot bath and climb up some steps to get in.
Swimming took place no matter if it was raining, obviously getting their money's worth.
I do remember the year when the river froze and there were great lumps of ice washed up on the shore. I must have been about 6 so it must have been about 1961 or 1962 COMMENT: 1962/3, refer to memories of Andy Claxton
On the subject of school I was there 1960-65 did you know that there was a term or maybe two when my class (Mrs. Goodwin's) actually went to school in the little Free church on Lower Road ? I think the school had outgrown itself and they were waiting for the "temporary" (ha!! ha!!) huts. It was all a great adventure, and, of course, very convenient for me.
On the subject of teachers Mrs Alderton lived in Rayleigh, she had a son called Paul who was one of my brother's mates at Sweyne. Mrs Longthorne was the wife of one of the Rayleigh butchers. Mr Thayer (my favourite) I think came to our school to do teaching practice. He then came to work there after qualifying and I was in his first class. I later found out that he had been Head Boy at Sweyne. He went out with and then married the girl who was working in the new library. They used to get the bus to work together and he always kissed her goodbye as she got off at the stop before the school. Very embarrassing for him in front of all of us kids. I think that would have been the year after you left so you wouldn't have known him but he was lovely. I think he later became Head when Mr Hardy retired COMMENT: John left the school before becoming headmaster to open up his own, "Crowstone" which is in Crowstone Road, Southend. After that we had Mr Rose who scared the living daylights out of me! also remember Mrs Goodwin, Mrs Fairbrass .
We left Hullbridge in 1972 and moved down to Somerset for 5 years for Dad's work.