Langdon Hills High St.

Station to school

By Thelma Oliver

Beginning at Salisbury Avenue, a bungalow then coal yard, a bungalow, Peperells House, the front two rooms were the paper shop and sweet shop before they transferred over the road.  The Government built a temporary bath house of six bathrooms in the space just before Osborne Road.  These were well used providing our own soap, towel and a supervisor checked the right amount of water was used!  Next was a small Co-op shop then Cottis, a few small shops, one a fish shop whose wife Mrs Williams gave music lessons.  Another coal yard, a few shops and houses followed by Elseys Cox sweet shop, a hall then a butchers, houses, a private nursing home, a school, Mr Paveys house and J P house. The Methodist Church held gym lessons once a week after school and these were supervised by a lady who was employed by the GPO as a telephonist at the Exchange on the corner of Vowler Road with the red telephone box outside.

This page was added by Thelma Oliver on 23/03/2014.
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Pleased someone else remembers the baths. I made an early visit every Saturday morning, cannot remember why or when they closed.

By Thelma Oliver
On 26/03/2014

Thelma Oliver writes "The government built a temporary bath house of six bath rooms..." Which government (national or BUDC) and why temporary? The matter of this bath house has come up three or four times in these archives but memories appear to be as murky and indistinct as I remember the waters of the bath house to be.

I can remember my brother and I being sent there for a bath. It was a distinct improvement over bathing in the old galvanized wash tub with the contents of three or four kettles of water heated over the stove. I was the oldest child and was first in. After that the water became increasingly dirty. Age has its prerogatives! It seemed to be an unwritten law that Friday night was bath night just as Monday was wash day.

From memory the bath house does not seem to have been in operation for too long. Two years maximum perhaps. Circa 1942-43. I wonder what prompted the government (BUDC would be my guess as the national government had larger things to worry about at that time) to open a bath house in Laindon? It seems a strange use of funds in the middle of a war.

Surely for a third world village (which was essentially what Laindon was in that era) a bath house should have become a hugely successful business--- and extremely profitable. I wondered why it failed and then I remembered that it was a government undertaking. Therein lies the answer.

By Alan Davies
On 26/03/2014
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