Hullbridge Village History
Immigrant from Hersham
I moved to Creek View Avenue just back from the Esplanade and River with my Mum and Dad in 1962 I was 8 yeard old and an immigrant from Hersham (same primary school class as Hersham Boy Jimmy Percy of pop group Sham 69. We moved to live with my Aunt Nell who had been resident there for years and joined her in a Bungalow called 'Francois'. This was a conventional Hullbridge residence:- Clapboard and asbestos structure, bucket and chuck -it toilet. No bathroom, gas lights and flaky electricity. Leaky roof and a garden that wild animals could easily roam unnoticed in as it was so overgrown. It made our 1950's council house in Hersham look like a palace but despite the lack of creature comforts I loved it.
I had also escaped from a particularly unpleasant teacher in Hersham and found myself in the tender care of Mr Hardy's teaching team with Mrs Longthorn my first class teacher. I also had the privilege of having Mr Rose as a teacher in the final year. (There was also a guy called Jones between these two but the less said about him the better! The only good thing I can say about him was he taught me and everyone else how to swim in our newly constructed swimming pool.
I won't go on at this point but I certainly can remember Jock the boatman, who lived on what I am sure was a half submerged boat moored (or grounded) just by the Anchor.
I also recollect a chap whose name I think was Finch who used to walk about with an old cart horse on a rope! This guy lived in a house around (Grasmere Ave ) I think called Orchard Cottage which actually was pretty appropriate as the house had a tree growing through the middle of it! A school mate became a gas man and read the meter some years later which was nailed to the aforementioned tree. There is also a connection here to a place called Black Tower Mill in Bungay, Suffolk which a bunch of us visited on a few occasions and had hilarious and probably quite out of order weekends in the early 70's Dave Jordan, Kevin Hodson, Norman Raines, Martin Miller, Tom Egerton, Les Lewis and Rob Denmead to name but a few. I never figured out the connection but I know it was there?
My mum worked for a while at the Wayfarers Cafe and I learned to enjoy beer at the Anchor (8 light and bitters for £1.00!!) and not a happy hour in site, certainly not with that landlord Sid!
I guess I am the Phil that Gary mentions in his memories and I remember going to Jeff Livesey's house for a farewell just before they set off for Australia!
Alan Lee and myself used to play guitar a bit together, Barry Harper was the first guy I met and was a really nice guy. Gary mentions the great night at the flats, well myself, Kevin Hodson, Alan Les Lewis and a couple of other mates from Hockley, Dick Rivitt and Roger Smellie (pronounced Smiley) set this sort of Woodstock like behaviour in motion as we ran a cable down to the flats on a few Saturday nights and (once we figured out that power starts to diminish the further it gets from the source so use thicker cable) we had some great nights. Kev's house was at the bottom of the road and we ran BT drop wire across the fields to the flats. I used to have a bungalow at the bottom of our garden which for a while played host to some pretty wild parties (for 1960/70 Rural Essex) no drugs but loads of heavy vibes, Cider, Longlife and attempts at teenage romance. Fortunately my Mum and Dad were either liberal or naive and some grand times were had. you may well have been there once or twice?
I didn't last long in the scouts, and also passed my 11 plus so along with Dave Carter and Paul Baker I went to Sweyne which was a pretty depressing experience which involved me regularly being caned for either long hair or the wrong shoes!.
I once took Sue Mcnamara to the pictures at Rayleigh Regal and walked her back across the Mount I seem to recall that Lesley Walters was there with another bloke but can't think who. Gosh it is like a tap once you turn this on isn't it? I guess Gary and I had quite a lot in common, I certainly remember him and recognised the picture when he was a lad. I am guessing we were probably taking our lives in our hands at the same time in the same stretch of the River Crouch.
I left the area around 1972/3 and have been back a few times. One day I will set aside a whole day on my own and just wander about. I remember my life there with great affection and really had some laughs. So it is great to revisit those less complicated times once in a while. The Carnival is remembered by most people and I am no different, one year that the Sealed Knot ( I was a Sergeant in Meldrums Ironsides for a bit) put on a battle? More importantly myself and a group of mates owned an old J2 van which we bought from the scrapyard (up Lower Road) for £13.00 ,did it up and got it on the road. We had just returned from the Weeley Rock festival in this purple and psychedelic painted van and found ourselves in the Carnival, we had people on the roof blasting out 'Dazed and Confused' and collecting money for an unknown cause. Although we had not entered we won a prize! The local paper interviewed somebody and it was reported that the Hippy 'Float' was decorated and driven by Fred Hodson. Fred, was my mate Kevin Hodson's dog. Good times!