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Laindon in the 1950s and 1960s - Part 6
by Brian Baylis

Work - nightlife - and a move from Laindon

     At the age of Fourteen, we moved out of Tyler Avenue and to Compton Walk, where we stayed until 1964 when we moved to Methwold, Norfolk. I left school at fifteen and the day I did, many people said to me: ‘Wait until you have been left a few years and you will wish you were back.’ To this very day of writing this memoir, I NEVER have. I left school on 21st December 1961 and started work for Brown & Tawse Tubes as a Telex Boy on 3rd January 1962. Before leaving school, I had wanted to be a chef or baker. I had been interviewed at Cottis Bakery in Langdon Hills and looked forward to them giving me a start date after leaving school. I am still waiting for it but know it is a bit too late now as the bakery was demolished years ago.

     It was after leaving school and starting work, that, I went to see my very first ever ‘Pop Concert’ at Romford. Top of the bill were Cliff Richard and The Shadows. Also on stage were Susan (Bobby’s Girl) Maughan and The Vernons Girls. I can’t for the life of me think who else was there. I took Barry with me. Before we moved to Norfolk, I went to see several other concerts and they included Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Rolling Stones, Billie (Tell Him) Davis, The Caravelles - one hit beautiful record, ‘You don’t have to be a baby to cry’, The Fourmost, The Ivy League and I can’t remember how many other 60’s groups, Every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday night, I went to Basildon Locarno to see the Dave Clark Five play. I was to become a fan of theirs before they turned Professional. In all the time I was going to see them, there were only two weeks they never played and we had either The Migil Five or David & The Embers play in their place. I did enjoy David and The Embers. It was at the Locarno, that I was to make friends with a smashing girl that worked in W H SMITH’S in Basildon town centre. I got all of my record’s from there after meeting her, but only so as I could see Christine Crosby. We danced regularly together at the Locarno and I began to fall head over heals for her. Unfortunately, Christine would never go out on a date with me and the last time I saw her, she was getting engaged to an ex-workmate Peter Cook.

     I have been to Laindon on numerous occasions since moving away and will admit, I do NOT like the current look of the place.

     In August 1964 while still courting a girl named Yvonne and living in Edmonton, North London, I chose to move from Laindon to Methwold with Mum, Dad and Barry because by this time, Marlene had got married and was moving from Hadleigh in to Compton Walk. It wasn’t too long before I had started work with Dad for a company in Brandon, Suffolk. We were travelling back and forth on Dad’s Maroon BSA Bantam D14 motorcycle. I was by this time, learning to ride it myself. We worked for this company for a matter of weeks before we found a better-paid job in Kings Lynn. Within weeks of starting, Dad came home and announced he was being sent to work elsewhere on the Monday and that I would need transport to get to Kings Lynn by myself. On the Saturday afternoon, I had got my own first Motorcycle and that too was a BSA Bantam but a Black D7 Super and the registration number was 326 APW. I then used this bike to journey to either Laindon or Edmonton every weekend. I had only been at Methwold two months, when we went on holiday to Hayling Island. On the way back home, I called to see Yvonne and she and I split up. I still made regular trips to Laindon though and after a while I stopped because I was unable to settle in Methwold, so returned to live in Laindon again. I never really settled back there again, so moved to Basildon and stayed with a mate for a while, before going off to work at Butlin’s in Minehead, Somerset. I never truly settled and so moved around London where, like a lot of youngsters in those days, I too thought the pavements were paved with gold. Eventually, I moved back to Methwold to give it another go and surprise, surprise, I found and married my first wife, who I must add, ended up getting a divorce from in 1978. I have now, as I write this, been married and divorced four times.

     I have been back to Laindon on numerous occasions over the years since, had spells where I never came down for years, then returned to visit the area. In the 1990’s I became a Spiritualist and attended Church on a regular basis. In 2004, I was talking with my partner and she stopped me very quickly to say Laindon has a Spiritualist Church and asked if I knew? As I didn’t, I asked her why she had asked about that. It was then that she told me, a Medium I knew from this way, was there the year before. At this particular time of talking, this same Medium was very seriously ill, so I wrote to the Temple of Light at Laindon, asking them to send out their Healing Thoughts during their prayers. I also mentioned that I was originally from Laindon and wondered if anybody at the church might remember me. A chance in a million, I know. Within a matter of days, I had a very lovely letter back and enclosed with it, was a newspaper cutting. I wondered what it was all about until I read it was from the local paper and some readers were trying to find old friends from the area, from many moons ago. A couple of days later, I wrote to the paper and thought to myself, If I find ONE person I was at school with, it will be the 8th wonder of the world. The following week, I went to my weekly Church meeting up here, and when the service had finished, I checked my mobile phone. I had several voice messages on it from different people including one I HAD been at school with, were classmates and had seen the article. On getting home, there were yet more messages on my answering machine. The very first one took me completely by surprise, and that’s because it was TONY JAMES.

     Since that lovely night, I have had a reunion with several of my old schoolmates and first on the list was Tony. It was then, that I found out his birthday is actually 2 days later than I thought and that Tony is not his real name. He told me his real one, and the reason why we all knew him as Tony. I now visit Laindon as much as I can, including Tony and the Temple of Light.

     In October 2004, my partner and I connected our computer to the Internet. It was while on there, I thought I would try seeing what would happen, IF I put in www.Laindon and hit the search. I got a lovely surprise when I came across ‘Laindon History’ and now regularly look at the photographs and write-ups. I am glad I did, but above all, I am GLAD I was born in Laindon and met up with some of my old school-friends.

Special thanks

     I have one thing to say before I finish this write-up and that is, Tony James gets some of the credit. Without him, I would not have been able to write some of this article. Thank You Very Much Tony and from the Very Bottom of my Heart.

Title: Laindon in the 1950s and 1960s by Brian Baylis.

Copyright: © Brian Baylis, January 2005.

Comments: This account was supplied by Brian Baylis for use on the Basildon History website.

Page added: January 2005
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