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Hullbridge Village History

Hullbridge Memories.

The memories of Mark Hale and Family

Hullbridge Childhood.

At the ripe old age of 3, With my parents David and Gillian Hale we moved to No 85 Keswick Avenue a brand new 2 bed roomed semi detached bungalow purchased for the grand sum of £4150. From Owen Johnson who were in the process of building several estates in Hullbridge. These were the baby boom years of the 60's and the village was transformed from a sleepy riverside village with houses dotted around many of which were bolt hole for weekending Londoners of the time.
I can remember returning from a holiday on the Norfolk Broads in a rain storm that never stopped all the way home, when we arrived it continued to rise up to the door step of the bungalow placing the whole area of Keswick from Burnham road down under water.

The School Years

The Teachers.

I started at Riverside Primary school in the summer of 68 along with many other children to push the new school well beyond its capacity, the school was relatively new and the infants section coped initially but by the time we moved up to the Junior school there were more kids than the school could take which led to demountable classrooms being installed in the playground, and my Nan, who had by this time moved with my Granddad into a bungalow in Waxwell Road was drafted in by Mr Hardy the head as a specialist English Teacher to help out.
At school I remember Mr Thayer who stirred the hearts of many of the more grown up 11 year old girls, Mrs Fairbrace who was not adverse to a wrap over the knuckles with a ruler or if you weren't looking at her she'd throw a blackboard rubber at your head, and rarely missed! Mrs Chart would march around the raised outdoor pool in her blue track suit blowing her whistle and most kids were able to swim early, which she said was essential In a riverside village, we all enjoyed the swimming but not so much the changing rooms which were usual burst into by a bellowing Mrs Chart to be sure we had all dried ourselves and not left our trunks on!
Mr Hardy was a fair head but did dish out the slipper on first offence followed by the cane for persisting naughtiness, luckily I was only ever subject to several bouts of standing outside his office facing the wall to be relieved when the dressing down we eventually got was not followed by a sore bum!
We had a Mr Williams who taught geography and PE often combining the 2 by swinging his yard stick like a golf club or throwing a football in the air until someone misbehaved at which time it was a missile. On one occasion in the playground during 5 aside training he lost his temper and kicked the ball at someone (probably Nicky Watson) and missed sending it straight through an upper window, leading us all into detention!


Toilets were an old brick building in the car park with a shed behind that housed the milk bottles, these would be given at morning break by which time they had become sufficiently warm, however we found that sucking a spangle at the same time improved the flavour. Sweets were bought from Jarvins opposite along with caps and pee shooters and everything else a young boy needed.
Fashion clothing came initially from a shop owned by my parents next to Budgens (where it used to be) called the Young Generation (latterly Ivory Cosmetics) where I could get matching shirt and tie form the same mauve paisley pattern material! Or from Anne's VG Stores that sold everything else including my prized Jackson 5 vests. Shoes were from the shoe shop next to the garden association and had to be Clarks 'Commando's' with a compass in the heal.

School Trip to Belgium.

The last year of Juniors was punctuated by the annual school trip to Belgium, a flight from Southend airport on a DC 10 and a 4 day stay by the sea in rainy Belgium, Neil Weeks set his hand on fire with a lighter supposedly bought as a gift for his dad, and many of us had dodgy stomach from the horse meet we believed, but the highlight was a game of mass rugby on the beach girls and boys included giving about 20 a side!


In 74 we joined the previous year at Deanes School in Thundersley, before our years 73/74 busses had taken children to Greensward in Hockley but they were full and the new Rayleigh Park School was yet to be completed. 2 coaches in the morning and 3 in the evening coming home to include after school activities.

The latter years of Primary school saw the start of a weekly disco in the Village Hall presented by the Sheikh Mohammad mobile disco, our after school evenings would be spent in the 'little park' between Keswick and Mayfield Avenue, or outside the chip shop. In my formative years as now everyone complained that the kids had nothing to do, but actually I really enjoyed growing up in the village and would not have asked for any more to do. By this time we had moved to 21 Meadow road, our first detached house, and where I found my after school friends, Jacky and John Sturge, Mark Morrow, Peter Tims, Julie Slade, Tracy Sonnet, Stephen Pike and others of who I have forgotten the names.One afternoon my parents had a visit from Paul the policeman after a complaint that a friend and I had bricked up the doors on a building site in Hilltop! I also remember being shouted at by my future mother in law for throwing mud bombs over her fence. In in 76 on my birthday my parents signed contracts for a derelict bungalow on a large plot at 95 The Drive in which they were to build the house I finished my childhood in,

Me waiting to go into our future home.
Photo of 1975 class at Deanes the people in the picture are:-
FRONT ROW (LEFT to RIGHT):- 1) Andy Lee, 2) ? , 3) ? , 4) Neil Pearson, 5) ? .
NEXT ROW (LEFT to RIGHT):- 6) Nicky Watson, 7) ? , 8) Mark Morrow, 9) ? ,10) Mr Hutchinson (teacher), 11) Vicky Oram, 12) Mark Hale, 13) Jacky Smith, 14) Jacky Sturge.
NEXT ROW (LEFT to RIGHT):- 15) ? , 16) ? , 17) ? , 18) ? , 19) ? , 20) ?, 21) ? , 22) Denise Houghton-Tipper, 23) Sally Hennessy, 24) ? .
BACK ROW (LEFT to RIGHT):- 25) ? , 26) Debra Lazarus, 27) ? , 28) ? , 29) ? , 30) Kevin Pember, 21) ? , 32) ? , 33) ? , 33) ? , 34) ? .
Photo courtesy of Mark Hale.
Waiting with mum outside the Anchor.

This is a work in progress and I will update as things come back to me, hope you enjoyed my little trip back in time!