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A Teenager in Basildon
by Mike Fruin

     My family moved to Basildon New Town in 1955. We lived in Danbury Down and my parents worked at Teleflex on the industrial estate. For me it was a journey to a new life but some sadness at leaving friends and schoolmates in Romford. I chose not to catch the 2A bus back to school in Romford, but instead caught the 2 bus to Grays, after riding the 244 from Whitmore Way to the Barge. In fine weather I cycled to the Barge and left my bike at the back of Tew's the shoe repair shop.

     I first of all delivered newspapers from Stacey's newsagents and on some Saturdays I helped out at his brothers hardware shop a couple of doors away. On school holidays I would cycle to Laindon to help out at a pig farm in King Edward Drive.

     Not much in the way of entertainment in those days, but youth clubs were starting up and I went to one at the community hall in Fryerns, one in Cranes farm Road, one on the Barstable estate, and one in Pitsea primary school. Some 30 years later I met a teacher in Tasmania who had taught at that school! For a while I cycled to Berry Lane in Laindon for the boxing club run by Fred Nunn.

     Licensing laws were not so strict then and at 15 I used to go to the Railway hotel in Pitsea for the Saturday night dance and sometimes we would catch a ride into Southend on a charabanc from London. The old Pitsea market was a must on Saturdays and I remember an Indian man with a turban selling ties. Century cinema in Pitsea, the Radion at Laindon and a cinema at Hadleigh were also popular.

     When I left school at 16 I was offered a job in a bank in London but I didn't fancy the travel and low wages so I started work as a hod carrier on the many building sites in Basildon. I then worked with my father painting a primary school in Laindon. When the winter came I got a job at Freemans furniture factory on the industrial estate and worked with Lew Lazar's father and brother Mark. I later got a job at Bata's in East Tilbury before joining the Merchant Navy at 17.

     I am still in contact with my teenage mates in Basildon after living in Australia for the past 40 years.

Title: A Teenager in Basildon by Mike Fruin.

Copyright: © Mike Fruin, March 2008.

Comments: This account was supplied by Mike Fruin for use on the Basildon History website.

Page added: March 2008
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