Remembering walks through our Community

The pleasure experienced from every day walks we use to take

By Ian Mott

As a result of the memory walks arranged during 2012 the memories of our contributors were triggered so I have set up this article to free the memory walk pages ready for next years programme.

The following are the reassigned comments.

As Nina mentions we will be giving any suggestions for walks consideration for the future.

This page was added by Ian Mott on 18/11/2012.
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William, Nina and Eric, thanks all for your entries here. We all have our fond memories of old Laindon. The eldest here is William and he must have some fantastic memories of the place going back so far in its comparatively very short history. Next are the rest of us, separated by only a short time, Nina, me and Eric, all a year apart at LHR. 

I think it is us three that share the most common memories, Eric and I have already talked about our side of the High Road, running down through Claremont, Tavistock, Nichol, Leicester, Sandringham and Inverness Roads. It was these areas and St Nicholas Lane, Church Road and all the surrounding fields east of the High Road I was talking about. I think I am correct in saying that it was these areas that came under heaviest redevelopment, the Laindon Centre or whatever it is called is the prime area of devastation, followed closely by the ghetto housing near the station both on Laindon and Langdon Hills side of the railway where so many of my friends lived back in the day in plotland style homes. 

Moving as we did from Barking my family had never seen so much rural countryside, unspoilt as it was then. Imagine walking beside a hedge on the boundary of someones house and seeing a lizard bathing twinkly eyed in the sunshine. Imagine seeing crested newts and grass snakes swimming in a pond near St Nicholas Church. Adders beside the railway near Laindon Station. I remember Eric's tree and I think he remembers the newt pond I think it was near Ulster Road, not far up from the High Road itself. Laindon was a fabulous place back then, I loved all my time there.

By Richard Haines
On 18/11/2012

Responding to both Eric and Nina. Yes Eric I was mistaken in thinking Richard's remarks were in respect of the High Rd. itself and I do remember the areas mentioned although I always considered Kathleen Ferrier Crescent to be adjacent to Pound Lane rather than the High Road and as such inclusive of the area around the church which I mentioned. I can remember this area very well prior to the building of the estate, as in my school days my daily journey from home in School Lane to the station was via the Arterial Rd., Pound Lane and across the fields to Basildon Drive into St.Nicholas Lane and the High Road. 

I do agree that in the spring mornings it was seen to be a haven of wildlife with rabbits and larks and even snakes, foxes and stoats which may not be to the liking of everybody but were a part of country life but which were evicted with the building of the estate. 

Today being in my nineties, my physical condition precludes my revisiting areas of my childhood, which might possibly not be a bad thing as I prefer to remember them as thet were, not what they have become. 

However, having said this while I am saddened by the destruction of the countryside I understand we have no divine right to claim it as our own to the extent of depriving other young and less fortunate families of a place to live and raise their children and be thankful that we have the memories of our rustic idyll

By W.H.Diment
On 18/11/2012

Re the Eastern side of the High Rd.....I think William meant on the High Rd itself and I really have to agree on that point, however once off the High Road. 

I can recall some pleasant if not pretty areas from Nicholas Lane through to Windsor Road. Closer to the High Rd was mainly Hawthorn thicket but further back were many fine trees, houses and gardens. 

My favourite tree was a Chestnut on Kent Road / Sandringham Road which provided the best Conkers in town. It was still there even after they built the Laindon Link. Does anyone know if it is still there?

By Eric Pasco
On 18/11/2012

William. Thank you for your suggestions for next year’s walks – some good ideas there. 

A walk around the St Nicholas Church area is already being considered and I am pretty sure will be on the agenda. As requested, I will be repeating the walk around Alexandra Road for those who couldn’t make the date this year. All suggestions are very much appreciated and the other two or three walks will be decided as soon as possible. 

As for the east side of Laindon as described by Richard, my brother and sister-in-law lived in a bungalow in Gloucester Road in the early fifties while waiting for a new house on the Kathleen Ferrier Crescent estate. I found the area very pretty indeed with its unmade grassy lanes and little bungalows and gardens, lots of trees and wild flowers, birds and butterflies. I agree with Richard, it's such a shame that area is now so heavily built on.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 17/11/2012

Responding to the suggestion of Richard Haines that the eastern side of the High Road was arguably the prettiest area of old Laindon. While I remember remarking to Andrea Ash in her column that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, from my own remembrances I cannot recall anything thing between the Fortune of War and Laindon Station even remotely resembling this description. 

I can think of many areas which in my opinion could be described as such and suggest some of the following.

  • The St.Nicholas Lane area around the church. 
  • The eastern view from School Lane of coutryside right up to the top of Crays Hill, (now obliterated by Noak Bridge estate). 
  • The northern view from Wash Rd. as far as Gt.Burstead church. 
  • The northern view from Dunton Rd.
  • The rural area around Barleylands.
  • Even the northern slopes of Church Hill as seen from the A127. 

There are may more of which readers may have fond memories.

By W.H.Diment
On 17/11/2012

Eric, yes, the concrete jungle, I wonder if the architects and planners for that particular area ever revisit to see the reality of what they designed. Certainly it is the ugliest development in Essex, perhaps in the whole country. The old roads where you lived, and the ones on the Langdon Hills side of the railway could have been gently redeveloped with new housing and repaved carriageways. Claremont Road and Tavistock Road are good examples of this. Also I wonder why it was all kept to the eastern side of the High Road, such an aggressive attack on what was arguably the prettiest area in Laindon. 

The proposed walk described by Nina to Dunton on Sunday 14th October looks interesting I hope the day is bright and clear for you. I used to walk to Dunton on unmade roads past the chicken farm (anyone remember that) on my way to Keith Jackson's house in Lower Dunton Road (I wonder if he remembers those days). Certainly there were some weird characters living in some of those plotland shacks on the way.

By Richard Haines
On 11/10/2012

Lucky you Richard that the roads still exist,my part of Laindon is now under all that concrete jungle from Laindon Link to the railway

By Eric Pasco
On 11/10/2012

Richard. My daily walk to school and back was along about half a mile of unmade road through puddles, slosh and patches of thick mud until I reached the made up part of King Edward Road. I had to wipe the mud off the backs of my legs on arriving at school. (I seem to remember using ‘foot scrapers’ in the playground to get mud off my shoes. Do you remember those at all? They may have been near the bicycle sheds.) That walk took about twenty minutes. I’m not complaining though because in summer when it was dry, a completely different story and cushy for a few months. I could cut through from our garden into Devonshire Road, thereby avoiding our unmade road, walk down Bourne Avenue (then unmade), turn into Archer Road (also unmade) and go through the gate at the side of the school playing field which was left open in summer. Walk across the field, past the new building (art room) and wooden buildings (cookery) and across the back playground where we played tennis. (The main hall looked out onto that playground which was quite high up. In between that playground and the side of the school was the caretaker’s room where he kept all his equipment. I think there were some steps going down to it. I can’t recall his name right now but we once had to ask him to retrieve a tennis ball after we had hit it up on the roof and it got stuck in the gutter. He had to use an extending ladder to reach it). Then into the girl’s playground and finally the door near Mr Rosen’s classroom. That route took about ten minutes but I could do it in six, if I ran all the way. I did that four times each day from 1957 until 1962 and wouldn’t change a thing. I treasurer those memories and still like to go walking occasionally around Laindon, Langdon Hills and Dunton. Especially the bluebell woods near Westley Heights in spring and Dunton Ridge which has some of the best views in Essex. Best wishes.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 11/10/2012

I checked the other day to see if my daily walk to LHR is any different. Start out from Nichol Road turn right and head a few yards to the High Road. Cross to the other side, walk along across King Edward Road thence keep on to the school gates (now the Bellway Homes estate). Lunch time out of school head up Pauls Road, right into Claremont Road, pass some houses (one was called Dunoon) turn right into Nichol Road and home. Not too hard was it?

By Richard Haines
On 11/10/2012
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