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.