High Road Laindon 1929 - ?

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)

A photograph of High Road, Laindon which I haven't seen before.  I'm not sure which year it was taken, but a clue lies in the fact that the curbs were added to the road in 1929.

Loved seeing the old petrol pumps at Toomey's and the advertisement for Robin Starch on the side of the building.  I think I can see a weighing machine outside the chemist shop a few doors along.   

I think that must be Aston Road between the garage and the first building, I can see a sign on the wall, but can't quite make it out. I could sit and study old photos like this for hours as there's so many little details. 

Click on photograph to enlarge the image.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'High Road Laindon 1929 - ?' page
This page was added by Nina Humphrey(née Burton) on 23/06/2017.
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Just one more of my thoughts regarding the location of  the fuel pumps at Parkinson's. Looking again at the photograph, I notice/recall that the Laindon Link is virtually opposite Parkinson's which means that cars being fuelled would be parked at the kerb which would impede the flow of traffic turning right into the High Road. This was a main bus route so could have been a serious hazard to road users of the time if traffic volumes had been just a little higher. Oh, and yes, why didn't I think of vehicles requiring fuel at Toomey's using the drive-on forecourt provided. Could it be old age or am I just a plank?

Editor: Mr Parkinson relocated his premises to the corner of High Road and Durham Road in 1962.

By Donald Joy
On 29/06/2017

On the Colbear/Marchant photograph of Toomey's at Aston Road there is a black limousine pulled up adjacent to the last Shell pump, most cars of that era had their filler cap at the back and with the dropped kerbs outside the garage it looks fairly certain that filling was not done at the High Road kerbside. However, in this prewar shot there is little or no motor traffic. People are walking in groups in the High Road itself. With most people living in unmade roads and with little money available following the depression, very few could afford a car anyway. I'm amazed there would be a demand for as many as three different petrol pumps.

The garages I can remember on the A127 in about 1960/63 all had radiused entrances with dropped kerbs to form access and egress from the busy dual carriageway. The ones I remember clearest are Hatters which sold Regent petrol, sited on the London bound carriageway and the Mobilgas (later BP) garage on the roundabout junction with the High Road. In between the two was GW Jeakins taxis who had an account at Hatters.

There was another garage, Laindon Service Station on the Southend bound carriageway which had a nice coffee bar and juke box. I remember putting a coin in to hear Three Steps to Heaven by Eddie Cochran, this must have been summer 1960. The juke box in there was the best I had ever heard, an incredible bass sound which was impressive to a 13 year old lad like me. I partly recall that this was an Esso garage but I cant be sure. I believe all surfaced roads in Laindon prewar were maintained by Essex County Council under the County Surveyor in Chelmsford.  BUDC was set up later in post war days.

Characters I remember from those days are Kathy Hymas (Hatters) Carol Craft (Mobilgas) Nobby Jeakins (GW Jeakins). Fantastic times.

By Richard Haines
On 28/06/2017

It would seem much more likely that at Toomey's, cars drove onto their forecourt and were filled from the Toomey side of the pumps.

By Gerald Jones
On 28/06/2017

Donald, I would assume that the placement of petrol pumps had to follow regulations. Who set the regulations I have no idea. BUDC? I would assume they varied depending on traffic. I can hardly imagine them similarly situated on the arterial. Or were they? You raise an interesting point.

By Alan Davies
On 28/06/2017

Just looking at this photo again and then looking at the photo of Parkinson's Garage on the corner of Somerset Road. The 2 petrol pumps at "Parkies" were sited right next to the footpath as were those at Toomey's. This means that vehicles being fuelled would be parked in the road, for as long as it took to be fuelled and payment made. This shows that either traffic was much lighter then and/or that road users then were much more patient/tolerant than those of today. O.K. today fuel pumps are not sited adjacent to footpaths or carriageways but can you imagine the mayhem, arguments or even violence that would ensue? 

By Donald Joy
On 28/06/2017

For those who may be interested in the petrol pumps, here is some information that my brother sent me. “The petrol pumps are fascinating; the left one is badged as National Benzole, the centre as ShellMex, and the smaller one on the right as Shell. I have identified the taller as a Bowser Chief Sentry, which stood 11 feet tall!  And the smaller as a Bowser Red Sentry. These pumps date from the early 20's and are American in origin; I can also see MobilOil oil cabinets and a Castrol sign”.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 27/06/2017

Nina, amazingly this photograph is taken a few yards from a previous one posted by Sheila Colbear (Colbear/Marchant) in 2014. The Shell petrol pump globe is visible in her photo but is clearer in this one. The overhead wires are different in this pic and appear to have porcelain insulators or something similar which makes me think they are prewar. In the Colbear/Marchant photo the wires are more streamlined, perhaps those are postwar, the car in her picture at Toomeys certainly looks more modern. It's guesswork but I'm changing my mind to say this photo is 1939 and the Colbear/Marchant one is 1949. 

By Richard Haines
On 24/06/2017

I don't recall this incarnation of the Laindon Service Garage, otherwise known as Toomey's Garage, but I do recall the fuel pumps being sited where they are in this photo, right next to the footpath. However the pumps I recall were far more modern than those shown. Does anyone else remember there being a small kiosk on the forecourt, or have I just imagined that?

By Donald Joy
On 24/06/2017

Nina, a fascinating photo. I have got access to 1/2500 OS plans for the years 1922 and 1939, the details are as follows; 1922, no Aston Road, it hadn't then been constructed. Trees all the way left hand verge from Laindon Hotel to Somerset Road (ie the coverage of your photo). In other words in 1922 this view would just be the High Road with a tree belt on the left and scrub on the right. 1939, wow, a different picture. J Toomey's garage fully constructed, Aston Road in place, shops and houses, exactly as in your photo, all fully constructed, timber yard on corner of Essex Road, can't be seen plainly in the picture. I would think your photo is a little later than 1929 but not much so. My absolute guess is 1934.

By Richard Haines
On 23/06/2017

Never seen this photo before myself and this leads me to wonder, how many more unseen/lost photos are there just waiting to emerge? I have, in my own mind, come up with a theory. Look at many of these pictures of the area and you might notice that the writing that tells where the picture was taken all seems very similar. Each title appears to have the same backward sloping lettering, which in turn makes me think that the photographer was the same for many of them. He/she was very productive, all the photos look to be numbered in the bottom right corner. Was this a professional? Was this person local? Do we have or can we gather any information to determine who this was? If so it could possibly lead to a forgotten archive of more valuable photos. 

By Donald Joy
On 23/06/2017
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