Hutted Camp (266)

Vowler Road Rocket

By Thelma Oliver

I have read the article on the camp at Dry Street; nothing further to add to that but you may be interested to learn my Sister-in-Law, Barbara Wellington had a German prisoner to Xmas lunch.  This upset older sister Joan whose husband Fred was a prisoner of war, spent mostly on a farm in Austria after a long march over mountains.

My cousin Ivan Emson, who was in the Fleet Air Arm and trained in Canada was flown home specially after the bungalow was damaged by a rocket and his father died from the shock. Yes the bungalow 'Shelagh' on the corner Vowler Road and Berry Lane.

Joan White of 'Trecarne'; her father was stationed in Germany.  Her father was half brother to my father Fred Waters. Her mother Alice, half sister to my mother, so we do have a close relationship.  TV soaps have nothing on my family!

This page was added by Thelma Oliver on 20/05/2014.
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A couple of weeks ago I was in the UK and, with my cousin Tony Davies, wandered into the old St Mary's down the other (southern) side of the Crown Hill. We were in search of our grandmother's grave. We never did find it. However, almost out of sight under a large bush we came across a tombstone for Alice Stoneham. This is the same Alice Stoneham that we both remember as running (along with her husband) the Homestead Stores. The Homestead Stores, which no longer exists, was located in Berry Lane almost opposite Emanuel Road. Actually Emanuel Road stopped short of going through to Berry Lane in those days of yesteryear.

By Alan Davies
On 03/12/2016

Peter, after all these years memories tend to become a little mixed. My memory says that there were three stores along Berry Lane but one was closed. First, the most northerly, on the corner where Berry Lane turned left, was the so called Corner Shop. This was run by the Townsend family and later by the Lungley family. Going south, south of Vowler Road and almost dead opposite to the Gotebed bungalow, on the west side of the street, was Homestead Store. This was distinguished by a very large tree which overhung Berry Lane and had a large metal sign attached to it advertising Black Cat cigarettes. This was the store run by Charlie and Alice Stoneham. The sister, who was always helping in the store was Mrs Winter.

There was a third store which had closed down during my time. This was located on the west side of the street between Wellington Ave and Prescott Ave. This was the store I recall being called Stone's. Perhaps I am mixed up with the name Stoneham who ran the Homestead Store.

By Alan Davies
On 12/08/2016

Hi Alan yes I remember Alice and Charlie Stoneham very well from the little shop 200 yards from my house.  I used to buy my morning lemon dip on my way to school and end up with a bright yellow finger all day.  Mum used to send me there for lots of items and their glass fronted sweet counter was just full of yummy things and my best was jamboree bags. Mum used to love sherbert fountains with the liquorice tube to suck up the sherbert.

They had a sister who lived opposite cannot remember her name she was always in black and at night if i were outside i would see her potter across the road to her bungalow with a very very long front garden and disappear inside.  I never saw her during the day and thought she was some kind odd witch without the hat. I came across Charlie's grave down in the old church yard a year or so ago but cannot find it now.

By Peter Martin
On 10/08/2016

Hi can anyone tell me if there is a book I can buy regarding Hutted Camp 266 Laindon Essex. Thank You.

Editor's Note: Yes Kellie.  It’s called “German P.O.W Camp 266 Langdon Hills”, by Ken Porter & Stephen Wynn.  It's available at Amazon – search for ‘Ken Porter’.

By Kellie
On 31/05/2014

My relative Leslie Wellington was great friends with the Rose brothers who lived on the corner bungalow opposite the water tower.  Is that the same Rose who was a baker at Cottis, the Wellington family living in Northumberland Ave? Any ideas on this!

By Thelma
On 28/05/2014

Thelma, perhaps you could fill in a couple of blanks for me.

When Vowler Road met Berry Lane its continuation westward became Wellington Avenue. When Raglan Road (the first road north of and parallel to, Vowler Road) met Berry Lane its continuation  westward became Prescott Avenue. There was only one bungalow on Berry Lane between Vowler Road and Raglan Road. This was "Shelagh".

On the opposite side of Berry Lane, starting at Prescott Avenue and going southward was "Virginia" where lived the Nunn family. (Fred Nunn was the founder of the Berry Athletic Club.) Then came a bungalow occupied by the Duke family. There may have been a bungalow between the Nunn and Duke families. I am not sure about that.

Then came what I always thought was a one time shop which was no longer in business. It sat back from the road and had display windows which one typically saw with shops. Except that they were empty! There was a residence behind or above. We always knew it as Stone's or Stoneham's. If it were indeed a closed down shop it is small wonder that it went out of business.

With The Corner Shop and Homestead Stores that would have made three shops in less than two hundred yards competing for business in tranquil Berry Lane where the usual traffic flow was about one car or lorry a day and two bicycles and six to eight pedestrians an hour. Do you have any memory of Stone's or Stoneham's?

There was a final bungalow on the corner but it faced Wellington Avenue.

By Alan Davies
On 26/05/2014

Hi Alan.  You are correct. I have memories of wading in the stream, eating watercress that grew in the water and on the edge of ground, cherry trees.  It was a large ground with geese, poultry and all kinds of creatures.

My uncle Cecil Emson, was a self-employed builder and all kinds of items gave me and cousins plenty of interesting games to invent.  It was well water and we were under strict orders to stay away from top!

By Thelma Oliver
On 21/05/2014

A small point but memory says that "Shelagh" was not situated on the corner of Vowler Road and Berry Lane. Rather it was situated a little to the north of Vowler Road. The corner was occupied by the Hayes family (Mr Hayes was the projectionist at the Radion) whose bungalow faced on to Vowler Road.

From the corner, piped underneath Berry Lane, and flowing north east, was a small tributary of the river Crouch. "Shelagh" lay north of the tributary, a little further along Berry Lane, about one third of the distance to Raglan Road.

By Alan Davies
On 20/05/2014
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