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Basildon Stories
My Memories - Part 3
by Martin Twelftree

More Firman's memories

     One of my jobs with Mr Firman when I was about 13 years old was on Wednesday evenings after school. I would cycle from Linford Drive, Barstable to the dairy in Homestead Drive, Langdon Hills to get the egg boxes marked up, ready for the fresh eggs from the farm to be packed on Thursdays and delivered to his customers on Fridays. I would take the key back to Mr Firman and Mrs Firman would give me a bag of cakes, fresh from Cottis the bakers to share with my Mum and family. At one time I seem to remember Mr Firman used to get the eggs from Wootten House in Dry Street. (Later it became a kennels.)

     I worked for Mr Firman till I left school at 15, but I still helped him most weekends for another year. I had many great times working through all weathers. It's a pity children can't do things like that today, health and safety rules etc. stop them.

Carsons Office Furniture

     Mr Firman wanted to employ me full time when I left school but my mum was not impressed, she wanted me to get an apprenticeship. I started work at Basildon Chair Frames in Gibcracks behind Stacey's corner shops. I only lasted one week. I went to the Youth Employment office on Monday morning and they got me an interview at Carsons Office Furniture which was at the east end of Cranes Farm Road, on the Wednesday, and I started work on the following Monday. In the meantime I worked for Mr Firman again. I started work as a apprentice wood machinist in the mill and went to Southend Technical College once a week on day release. I stayed at Carsons till about 1975.

Early Years

     When I first moved to Basildon, I had to go to St Joseph's school in Stanford-le-Hope with my brother as there was not any places at St Teresa's in Basildon. We use to catch a bus from Stacys Corner down to the Barge in Vange and then catch another bus to Stanford every school day. I think I went there for about two years before getting a place at St Teresa's. When I first went to St Teresa's there was no sports field and no fencing at the back, all the sports field was covered in small hawthorn bushes, and then just about where the fence is now for South Mayne there was just trees and an unmade road which if you walked up that road it would lead to the Willow pond which I think is where the community centre at Chalvedon Square is now.

     In our school holidays and weekends we used to go to the Willow pond newting. We used to play all over that way and the back alley as it was called, it used to run from Sandon Road to Northlands Drive just about where Pitsea Library is now. Northlands Drive was an unmade road that used to come out by the Railway pub. It is now Northlands Pavement.

     Half way along the alley was a shop that used to be open on Sundays. Many a time I would have to go there on my pushbike to pick something up. It was a very narrow path with a ditch one side that always seemed to have water in it; dotted along the way were a few plotland type houses. There is still part of the alley left that goes from Sandon Road and comes out by the railway bridge in Timberlog Lane. It is situated just half way along from the Winged Horse pub on the same side just by the first bungalow on the right.

     In the summer my Mum used to take us along there to a field where we used to play and have a picnic with my younger Brother and Sister. The picnic would be Sandwiches and few biscuits and Lemonade made from Lemonade powder. We used to think that was a great treat. When the people had to move out of the house to make way for the house building which was going to take place we used to play in them and have lots of fun. We used to play out nearly all day in the Summer just coming in for lunch and then back out again. Fantastic times, kids seem to miss all that now.

     There was not many bungalows on the left hand side of Sandon Road going down towards Pitsea until you got round the corner by Stanley Road. Then there was one chap use to make sheds down there. Where the post box is now there was a green. As the road used to bend before that.

Title: My Memories by Martin Twelftree.

Copyright: © Martin Twelftree, February 2007. Updated: June 2007, August 2008 & March 2009.

Comments: This account was supplied by Martin Twelftree for use on the Basildon History website.

Page added: March 2009
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