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My Memories of Langdon Hills
by Lilian Mead

     My name is Lilian Mead. I once lived at Shakespeare Avenue just off Berry Lane. This was during the 1940s to 1951.

Langdon Hills Primary School

     When I went to Langdon Hills Primary I was Lilian Andrews. I have lots of happy memories of my time there. The teacher I remember and liked the best was Mr. Richardson. He wrote and congratulated me for passing the eleven plus even though I was then living at Southend-on-Sea. He made our lessons very interesting and once we got him talking about his travels we'd sit there enthralled. I'm afraid Miss O'Brien was the teacher that frightened me most and I didn't learn very much when I was in her class. If she asked me a question I could never answer as I was frightened of getting it wrong and having to stay after school. I can remember going to the Headmasters office to buy codliver oil and malt. The tin had a lion on the front. I was also very lucky that I loved our morning milk and school dinners. I wasn't very good with the pen and ink and I was always getting big blots on my writing book. It would have been easier for me nowadays.

Air Raid Shelters

     I can also remember the Air Raid Shelters. There was one in the boys' playground and one in the girls' playground. They were very dark inside and we didn't go in them if we could help it. They were great for playing ball up the side though.

The walk to school

     We had a three mile walk to school as there were no buses from Berry Lane. We use to hop on the back of the Bakers horse drawn cart and sit on the step to get a bit of a ride, we'd hop off quick when he stopped. We thought he didn't know but he must have felt the extra weight.

Shakespeare Avenue

     We used to walk across the corn fields to the pond to collect newts, and sometimes venture down into Dunton. I can remember there was a shortage of potatoes and this must have been about 1948. We use to go all the way into Dunton to the little shop there to buy dry potato in a packet. I don't know why they should be the only shop around to have it, but I can remember that was the only place we could get it from. Also the little holiday homes that they call plotlands now, started just a few houses up from our house in Shakespeare Avenue. They were dear little places like large dolls houses and I can remember being fascinated with them. There was also some people living permanently in them. This would have been from 1945, we left there in 1951.

     My brother who still lives in England, sent me an email with a photo of the bungalow we use to live in. It was called 'Valmar'. It looks lovely as the people who have it now must have refinished it. I can see the original front door and curved front windows each side but it looks like they've added quite a big extension on the side with a room on top. My brother recently made a visit to Langdon Hills, bluebell wood as we called it, and where we use to live in Shakespeare Avenue.

     Although I was 10 years old when I moved to Southend-on-Sea I kept in touch with my friend Isabell Beaney (she is now Smith). As I'm now 66 that's a long time. I now live in New Zealand and Isabell lives in South Africa but we continue to keep in touch.

Title: My Memories of Langdon Hills by Lilian Mead.

Copyright: © Lilian Mead, May 2007.

Comments: This account was supplied by Lilian Mead for use on the Basildon History website.

Page added: May 2007
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