Nightingale Ave Langdon Hills

By Ellen English Nee Burr

Photo:Nightingale Avenue

Nightingale Avenue

Ellen English née Bur

The first bungalow in this old photograph is 'White Cottage' which is where I and my sister Lynda were born. Next door were the Russells then Stows, Webbs, Cousins.  I have already provided a list of the other families going down towards Park Ave.

Editor: Click here for maps showing the location of Nightingale Farm

This page was added by Ellen English Nee Burr on 05/08/2012.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

Hi Thelma

New recruit, great. I am particularly interested in your War memories as I am currently writing about the wars and am looking for as many local memories as possible. So I wait in anticipation...warm regards

By Ken Porter
On 04/03/2014

I am new to (silver surfing) I was born Dec 1930 Salisbury Ave. Walked the back way to Langdon Hills School through Osborne Rd Nightingale Ave. What a lovely photo. I intend to submit my long memories of Laindon and Langdon Hills, especially during war times. Cottis bakery. early Friday hot cross bun day.7am what a lovely smell. (they were not made any other day like today) Thelma Oliver nee Savage nee Waters.

Editor: Delighted that you have discovered the website Thelma, we look forward to reading your memories.

By Thelma
On 03/03/2014

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to identify answers to my questions about Nightingale Farm. I have seen previously that some property developers from the area had a local office, plus another in Dalston, East London. As Walter lived in Dalston, I wonder if he may have rented Nightingale Farm through the Dalston office. From the arrival of the Grove family by 1918, it seems Walter may not have stayed there for very long. Family rumour suggests he used the farm as a rural retreat for himself, his dogs and his (several!) mistresses, retaining the Dalston house for his family. I have been searching for all kinds of information about Walter for many years, so thank you all again for your help. Thank you again.

By Elaine Napier
On 24/10/2013

Elaine. Nightingale Farm was situated at the junction of the southern end of Nightingale Avenue and western end of Lee Chapel Lane (formerly known as Oxford Street). By 1918, the residents of the farmhouse were Jessie and William Grove. Today, there are about three houses built in Lee Chapel Lane on the site of the former Nightingale Farm. There are only two burial places in this area. St Nicholas Church in Laindon and All Saints in Langdon Hills. I hope this is of some help. Best wishes.

Editor: I have added three maps that show the location of Nightingale Farm to the article above.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 23/10/2013

Hi Elaine, I seem to recall you posted this query in Feb 2012 Nightingale Farm adjoined our bungalow, On going down Lee Chapel Lane the first turning on the left was Nightingale Ave and about twenty yards further down Lee Chapel lane on the left was Nightingale farm. the family that lived there when I was a child in the fifties were the Groves family. Their garden ran down next to ours. There is an old churchyard in Langdon Hills but he isn't showing as buried there on the parish burial records.

By Ellen English nee Burr
On 23/10/2013

Hi everyone I wonder if anyone can tell me where Nightingale Farm was please? I'm not familiar with the area but my great-grandfather (Walter Appleby) was living in Nightingale House Farm (guessing same place) at the time of the 1911 census. He was about 66 and seemed to have a family called Richardson (with a Scottish father) living with him. Mr Richardson was a gardener so, perhaps, he was working there? My grandfather came from Dalston in East London, where he seemed to have another house too. I believe that he kept a large number of Borzoi dogs (apocryphally eight, but who knows) at Nightingale Farm. Does anyone know anything about Walter Appleby, the Richardson family (who had four children called Grace Winifred, Hector, Stephen and William. The parents were called Stephen and Jane). Walter went back to London where he died in Hackney Union Infirmary in 1921. I have been searching for his burial for many years. I don't suppose there is a church where he might be buried in Langdon Hills, is there? I've found all your posts very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

By Elaine Napier
On 22/10/2013

Hi Chris, Great to hear from you. It's so sad to hear about the last days of our childhood homes. After our house was compulsorily purchased and we moved to Laindon, it was along time before I could bear to go back there. By that time the new road had been built and I'm sure that our house & the Burrs house are directly underneath the road. I remember 'the camel' well, you weren't the only one to fall off of it! It was just up the hill from where we used to raid the 'Cherry Plum' trees that were alongside the Burrs house. The pathway ran alongside the fence of 'The Roost' and then angled left to come out near the corner of the High Road & Lee Chapel Lane. I have seen several references to the Smith's shop. Were there two shops right next to each other originally?

By Peter Moore
On 24/06/2013

Hi Ellen and Peter, we were nearly the last to leave Nightingale Ave, I think Mr and Mrs Read were last, it was a sad time, with all the empty houses left up the road, I remember we used to get people sleeping rough in the empty houses, I remember the Moores family, there was a path, next to the roost that led to Smiths shop. Do you remember the tree we called the camel in the woods at the end of the road, I fell off it when I was about five and remember Mr Burr carrying me home.

By chris markin
On 23/06/2013

Thanks for the reminder about 'The Lighthouse' and the family that lived there. I knew that it had an unusual name, but just couldn't remember it. I have found 'The Roost' on a 1937 map, so it was built prior to that. I'll keep digging to see if I can find anything more accurate. I have found an interesting graph at http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/unit/10243543/cube/HOUSES which shows the expansion in the number of houses in Langdon Hills from 1900. This was due to the decline in agriculture and farmland being sold off in plots to build houses. I presume that our houses were originally part of Nightingale Farm.

By Peter Moore
On 22/06/2013

Hi Peter, It was lovely to read your comments,it is amazing what we have stored in the back of our brains,with a gentle push it sometimes wakes up things we thought were forgotten forever. The two elderly sisters who lived in Lee Chapel Lane were the Dunns.They lived in the property named The Lighthouse,on the 1918 Electoral Roll there is just a Thomas Dunn residing there,but on the 1929 Electoral roll there is Thomas,Gertrude,Grace and Caroline Davis who was there " maid "I only remember one of the Dunn sisters and Caroline,I think Caroline was also seen as a companion. The Lighthouse is still there I believe. I was born in 1944 and your grandparents bungalow was always there so as you say built probably in the 1940's Ellen

By Ellen English nee Burr
On 22/06/2013

Hi Ellen, It's great to read your latest thoughts. Your memory seems to be better than mine, but details are starting to come back to me. I'm not sure when our house was built, so I'm going to do some investigation. It could be difficult because my understanding is that it was initially a holiday home, so there wouldn't have been any record of my grandparents being there until around 1940 at the earliest. I've always believed that they had it built and my brother David believes that our gran moved there during the war to avoid the blitz. I was born in Billericay in 1950 and we spent some time in 'The Roost' until going back to London where dad (Bill) managed a number of bakeries, the last of which was at Greenwich. We moved to Langdon Hills in 1955 because mum & dad thought it better for the family than London. Dad worked for Ray Cottis at the bakery and moved with Ray to run the Cottis bakery in Billericay when the Langdon Hills bakery was compulsorily purchased.

It's amazing that you mention Nan's preference for unsalted butter. I've always preferred that too, but now I realise why. However, I never adopted her love of Camp Coffee, which I think included chicory. Do you remember 'Pigg's van'. It used to come out from Grays at least once a week. It used to park in Lee Chapel Lane & come down to the house with a basket of food. I remember going up to the van to collect extras.

Dad's first car was a Fiat 500. It had an engine in the back and was the only car that could get up Crown Hill when we had a lot of snow. It could normally get down the hill from Lee Chapel lane, but it did get stuck in deep mud on several occasions. It had the battery under the back seat. I remember one occasion when we were out for the day with David, Lesley Cousins and myself in the back seat. The battery connections caught fire. We exited rapidly, put out the fire & continued our day out.

Mum (Gina) was involved with the Guides all of her life. She started as a Captain in Langdon Hills and Laindon. She continued when she moved to Kingswood, Basildon where she became a commissioner for the district. When I was about six or seven, my cub leader at the St Mary's hall moved away. I talked dad into helping out until they found a replacement. He took over and continued to be involved in cub scouting in various capacities for over 50 years.

One strong memory I have of the area is visiting two elderly sisters that lived on the left hand side of Lee Chapel Lane, somewhere near the little group of council houses on the right hand side. Do you remember anything about them? I'm sure that these recollections will run for a while. David found this site recently (he still lives in the area) and passed the details to me. Every day, more & more memories are coming back to me. Thanks for starting my trip down memory lane (or should it be Nightingale Avenue).

By Peter Moore
On 22/06/2013

Hi Peter, I wondered when your grandparent's bungalow was built as it isn't on the photo, do you have any idea?  I realised the photo was quite old and have often wondered when our bungalow and the other properties were built.

I remember your grandparents and parents plus yourself and your brother, was he David? My eldest sister Margaret used to do errands for your nan on Sat mornings, then when she left school and went to work my sister Kath took over the errand run, likewise when she went to work it passed down to me. It was a sixpence for doing the errands i.e.; shopping for your nan.  I remember very clearly that on the list was Lurpak unsalted Butter, I had never heard of that before, we had Anchor or Summer County margarine. I think I used to go to Tudor Stores but am not completely certain. Your nan had such awful Arthritis I remember her poor crippled hands it must have been so painful, again I had never seen that condition.

You used to visit on some week-ends from Greenwich and then you moved in with your grandparents, your dad was a baker at Cottis's and your mum was a Girl Guide Captain it was she who got me to join. We used to meet at St Peters Hall at Hiawatha, your dad sometimes took us in his car, was it a little Citroen? How he got it into Nightingale and out again beats me, the state of the mud and ruts were awful. We used to walk home and get a bag of chips at the chip shop and your mum used to teach us about the night sky, stars etc. You could see the sky much clearer then, none of these modern street lights that haze the sky. I still have my Guide badges in a little tin.

The path as you mention went down on our side as far as the Nichols house then you crossed over a rough patch and the pathway continued passed the Borets and Hopkins down to Park Ave. It was lovely to read your comment and share the same memories, Regards Ellen

By Ellen English nee Burr
On 15/06/2013

Hi Ellen, Your photo brings back lots of memories of Nightingale Avenue, although the house that we lived in (opposite yours) isn't there yet. References like "The back Way" are so familiar. I remember walking down there to the school in winter, up to my ankles in mud. The concrete path along your side of the road only went as far as Park Avenue if I remember correctly.

By Peter Moore
On 15/06/2013

Hi Colin, That is really interesting, I never knew that when we came out of our gate and walked down to Laindon by what we used to call [The Back Way] ie Nightingale Ave I'm sure it was one straight route, mind you after many years the memory can play tricks and it is about 55 years since I did it.

I have never heard of Radcliffe Rd, again in the mists of memories I'm not sure all roads/avenues had named signs.

I am pretty sure Nightingale didn't have one, locals knew the roads just because we lived there. Did Victoria Ave and Woodgrange Ave go all the way down like Nightingale and Radcliffe? 

Having access to old maps and records really clarifies things for us.

Editor: I will be putting up some maps of the area shortly to assist

By Ellen English nee Burr
On 04/11/2012

Without giving it any attention I always thought of Langdon Hills as up the hill and Laindon as down the hill. Where was the precise boundary between the two? 

Of course there was, on the High Road, Langdon Hills Primary School and Laindon station less than a mile apart. 

The boundary had to be somewhere between the two but where exactly? 

Presumably it jogged around a bit to follow the road layout but which roads? Did the boundary change over time? Is it the same today?

Editor: I have just put up a new page that shows the parish boundaries around Laindon Station Link

By alan davies
On 04/11/2012

Nightingale Avenue ran northwards from Lee Chapel Lane to Milton Avenue, at this crossroad junction the route continued as Radcliffe Road, it then crossed Osborne Road and terminated at the junction with Salisbury Ave.

By Colin Humphrey
On 03/11/2012

Nightingale Ave ran parallel all the way from Lee Chapel Lane to Osborne Rd just before the station.

By Ellen English nee Burr
On 03/11/2012

My grandparents Herbert and Daisy Bragg moved from London to Hope Cottage, Nightingale Avenue, in 1906 with my father (b1902). In my father's papers he recalls being very relieved when their horse drawn pantechnicon came over the railway bridge with their furniture. 

Hope Cottage was behind Cottis's bakery. A Mr Hopkins preceeded Mr J.G. Cottis and he used to bake a Christmas turkey for the family in the bread oven, all as part of his service. Bill Britton was Head Baker there for many years and youngsters used to watch him knead the dough. My father spent a very free and happy childhood in Langdon Hills.

Editor: I thought Nightingale Avenue only came down to Milton Avenue which was further up the hill than the Cottis bakery

By Vivienne Salmon (nee Bragg)
On 02/11/2012

Ellen, thank you, all your photos have been nostalgic for me because my time spent in Laindon as a child was probably the best of my life. The place was perfect during the time we lived there from 1957 through to 1963. 

I always used to imagine how it was before we moved there and your photos showed some of that, especially this one and the ones you posted around December last year. I can't remember any bad times at all but that's probably the rose coloured ray-bans syndrome. 

The little Langdon Hills school is looking a bit faded now when I last drove past it. It was from there that a lot of my friends came to Laindon High Road School when I went there in 1958. 

The thing is nothing can take away our memories even though they have erased all traces of some of our vast Laindon childhood playground. 

I do hope you are keeping well and would love to speak to you at some forthcoming event or memory day - there are lots of things to recall!! 

I will try to get out some of my mother's photos of Laindon but as she is 86 now she can't always find everything!

By Richard Haines
On 09/08/2012

Hi Richard, I must thank you, for each time I have submitted an old photograph or comment you have always posted lovely comments. I wholeheartedly agree with your views on the right hand side of Langdon Hills coming down towards the station. I find it very sad that the left hand side is virtually unchanged, and I remember waiting in the playground at the front of the school for the bell to go home and looking at the properties opposite which are still there today. We were definitely pillaged and robbed of our homes and the lovely community atmosphere. 

Last year my niece, [Lynda’s daughter] came down from Cumbria and I gave her a copy of the picture of our home where Lynda and I were born. She asked me to show her where Nightingale Ave was. We went up Lee Chapel Lane, lots of memories flooded back, Nightingale Ave was first turning on the right and there is a slight slope where the turning was. So very strange to see it now. 

I remember very well there was a gas light on the entrance to Nightingale Ave that was lit every night by Mr Giess [not sure of the spelling of his surname] who with his wife were very good neighbours when my mother and father lived next to them when they were first married. They lived at the very very bottom of Lee Chapel just before the turning up to the Chase, The Chase stretched right to Dry Street and we walked and played down there often. 

My husband and I spent the first year of our marriage in “White Cottage” which was idyllic, the saddest part of leaving was having to find homes for our pets as you were not allowed to take them into flats. We had to have one of our two dogs put down as he was a bit of a handful to re-home with someone. Hope to meet you sometime maybe at a memory day.

By Ellen English Nee Burr
On 08/08/2012

I drove home this sunny evening from work in Stanford-le-Hope through Laindon. At the approach to Laindon Station I am always appalled at the monstrous estate on the right hand side. I wonder who in his right mind would have passed this for planning and how they ever got it through to construction. Compare this with the beautiful scene on Ellen's photograph and tell me which you prefer please?

By Richard Haines
On 07/08/2012

Ellen, what a fantastic old photograph its lovely. Really, this couldn't be anywhere else but Langdon Hills could it? I love the way the unmade road undulates up and down whilst the houses sit solidly along the way. I like your mention of the Cousins family, I wonder when Lesley will write on this site?

By Richard Haines
On 06/08/2012
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