Carlton Club

By Paul Gibson

In the late 1920s an eight year old lad moved down to Laindon with his parents Vic and Rose Williams.  They moved into a bungalow in Northumberland Avenue, a far cry from his birthplace in Hackney, East London.

Vic and Rose were to enter into partnership with another businessman, Joe Stevens. Their premises were almost next door, just a field away, a short walk up the unmade road to the High Road.  The new venture was the Carlton Club as it was known in those days.

The Carlton Club had no electricity, the premises were lit with gas and oil lamps, the heating a log burning stove with a metal chimney going up into the roof space, the Taylor Walker beer being pumped up from the damp cellar by hand pump.

A young Ron attended school at Laindon High Road then later to the Lindisfarne College in Valkyrie Road at Westcliff on Sea. Upon leaving College he joined a Shipping Company in London as a junior clerk.

In 1940 Ron volunteered to join the Fleet Air Arm and spent most of the war on troop ships around Cape Town and finishing his war in Mombasa returning to Scotland in transit. On D Day Ron recalls taking his parents on a special night out to the Palladium, a night he will never forget.

At one time, and Ron cannot remember the year, but due to strict licensing laws the club lost its alcohol licence and for the next few months was known as the Corner Cafe serving teas, breakfasts and lunches until the local Justices restored their licence.

Just before the outbreak of the second world war, 12 year old George Sawyer and Arthur Briley whose parents were regulars at the Carlton enjoyed one of the annual charabanc outings to Maldon, Essex to which an 18 year old Ron Williams was to look after the younger boys.

Joe Stevens passed away during the war years leaving Vic and Rose to run the club by themselves. In 1952 they sold the club and purchased an off licence in Fairfax Drive, Southend. Ron married in 1955 and moved around the Southend area where he still lives to this day. Ron occasionally visits old haunts around Laindon and is as sharp as a pencil remembering many of the old Laindon residents.

This page was added by Paul Gibson on 15/03/2015.
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