It all started two weeks before Christmas
1953, we moved to the Berry Park Estate and had a bungalow known as Camboro Lodge. When we
arrived my first job was to get some water so we could have a cuppa. We had no gas, no water,
no electricity, and no sewer and I remember thinking what have you done Dad. For a start we had
to have a tractor to tow the removal lorry round Forest Glade and then he had to go and tow the
coal truck round.
We had a 3 burner Valor cooker that had a portable oven that you took on and
off as and when. For lighting we had oil lamps and a tilley.
Not long after Christmas we found
out that our road was one of the few that had a water main in the road so we soon had the water
on. Next job was to go to Mayes of Wickford and get a Calor Gas B500 cooker
(what a luxury). We had been in about 6 months and my dad got hold of an ex army generator so
then we had lights.
I soon got a job delivering paraffin all round Laindon and quickly got to
know the roads. I worked for E. Green in the High Road opposite Cottis the bakers. I worked
there for about a year but on £2.00 per week you couldn't do much so I changed my job and began
working for A. Bedwell in Wash Road, Laindon.
A. Bedwell and Wash Road
A. Bedwell were a wholesale grocers and I worked there in 1953/54. Their
products were known as Skipping Girl.
I was a van boy there and remember the old Bedford O
model trucks we used to have.
We used to deliver all over Essex as far afield as Braintree. We
had four trucks that used to do a different area each day. Purfleet was our biggest round as
it covered all the old cement works as well as Van den Burgh's the margarine factory, and
another one was Thomas Hedley the detergent makers.
I used to get the Laindon Circular
bus from Laindon Station every morning and can remember clearly that it used to run in all
weathers; even when the Wash was in full flood. I remember all the old drivers and conductors
and can remember how cheerful they were. There were a couple of shops in Wash Road from the Old
Fortune end. There was a general store. I think the name was Flack's and that was on the right
hand side. You then had The Prince of Wales Pub. I can remember two more; one was a tyre shop and
the other was a general store outside Bedwell's both on the left hand side. I was told a few
years ago that the old Bedwell's had burnt down.
I came back to Basildon a couple of years ago to see some old friends and
could not believe what had happened to dear old Laindon. I think that the Basildon Development
Corporation has a lot to answer for how many peoples lives have they ruined. We left Basildon
for Norfolk in 1988 and parts of Norfolk where I now live are very similar to Laindon with still
quite a few unmade roads.
Title: Laindon Christmas 1953 by Fred Rand.
Copyright: © Fred Rand, June/July 2008.
Comments: This account was supplied by Fred Rand for use on the Basildon History website.