Some Pound Lane characters
I can remember a lot of
real characters who lived in Pound Lane. There was a man whose name was Tommy, this chap had only one eye. He drove a
large articulated flat trailer lorry, the tax disc on the windscreen was a label from a bottle of 'Guinness'. Tommy
was a real 'wheeler dealer' an 'Arthur Daley' of the time. He used to park his lorry at the entrance to Clifton Road,
which was the other side of our fence. I was always fascinated by all the old scrap military vehicles on the trailer of
this lorry. There was Bren gun carriers, small Tanks, and Jeeps all left over from WW2, and now heading to the scrap
man. Tommy was a wonderful driver who reversed his articulated lorry from Clifton Road across Pound Lane onto a
small bridge over a three foot deep ditch with only inches to spare, (remember he only had one eye), into Prices yard to
turn round. This yard has now been developed into homes.
Another was a lady who had no legs just two stumps, she had a little green wooden trolley
that she would sit on. It was very low with a narrow centre board, she would straddle this and move the trolley along the
road by these stumps. She used to sit under the gas lamp opposite Clifton Road and do her knitting for hours at a
time. She used to travel miles on that trolley.
Then there was Henri the milkman, whose milk float was a very old Bull Nose Morris. This
car had its back seat and upper bodywork cut away to carry his crates of milk. Henri could never pass 'The Harrows' public
house at North Benfleet when it was open in the mornings, and he did not leave until closing time in the afternoon. So as
we lived near the end of Henri's round we did not get our daily milk till late afternoon. My Mother got round this by
having a pint of milk delivered in the morning from 'The Dairy' which was opposite 'Pound Lane Post Office', and was run by
a Mr Hodges, who used to deliver the milk on an old trade bike. The reason why my Mother didn't 'sack' Henri, was his
father had been a good customer and friend when she ran Clifton Stores, so she did not want to get Henri into trouble.
Another character was Ben, a short tubby man, who was always dressed in a light green tweed
three piece suit and a matching pork pie hat. He came down from London most weekends to visit his mother, but spent most
of the time in `The Gun Inn` at Bowers Gifford. After closing time you would see him staggering down Pound Lane, then all
of a sudden he would fling his arms around in the air trying to keep his balance, then fall flat on his back. This was
repeated several times until he reached his mothers home, the funny thing was he never seemed to hurt himself. Great days!
Title: Childhood memories of Bowers Gifford, North Benfleet and Pitsea by John Wernham.
Copyright: © John Wernham, May - August 2009.
Comments: This account was supplied by John Wernham for use on the Basildon History website.