Childhood In Buckhurst Hill

A Memory of Buckhurst Hill

I lived at 4 Fairlands Avenue, Buckhurst Hill. My parents moved there just before the Second World War, and I was born in April 1939. I well remember W.C.French Ltd's yard next to Fairlands Avenue fronting the Eppping New Road. I went to Woodford Green Preparatory School, travelling by bus from the Bald Faced Stag (now a carvery!) on either the 10a or 38a bus route, paying a 1d fare! I remember being fascinated by the "Bundy Time Clock" where bus conductors had to punch their time card beside the bus stop. My mother took me to the Congregational Church in Palmerston Road, where the sunday school had a wonderful library run by Mr.Linder, who lived in a huge house in Roebuck Lane. Later I joined the Crusader class at the Centenary Hall, St.John's Church, started by Mr.W.Charles, always known as "The Commander" as that was his rank in the RNVR during the war. Later he was joined as leader by Mr. Charles Webb-sear, and Mr. Tim Lawson. Later I became a leader myself with Quentin Dawe, who I met when he came to live next door at No. 3 Fairlands Avenue and introduced me to Crusaders, and Ray Allison, who continued as the leader until the class sasly closed very recently. We too patronised "Silks" newsagents in Queens Road, as well as "Parks" the butchers and fishmongers opposite, and my father banked at the Midland in the angle between Queens Road and Princes Road. The Post Office was next door with an entrance to the sorting office yard in Princes Road. I did a couple of stints as "Christmas extra Postman" there, and got to know where all the letterboxes were! My brother went to Taunton House School, but he is 7 years younger than me. Eventually I met my wife at the Youth Fellowship at St. John's Church and we were married there and had our reception at the Bald Faced Stag!
I remember Hobleys the bakers on the corner of Church Road and Epping New Road, and Mr. Green the greengrocer who sold his produce from a shed at the side of his house, and went to Stratford Market to buy it every morning. There were two cafes fronting Epping New Road patronised by huge numbers of cyclists at weekends. Opposite was the Reindeer Pub, with a large car park in front, where when petrol was still rationed, large numbers of ponies and traps would wait patienly for their owners at weekends. The Epping New Road was very busy then, but not with motor cars. Sometimes steam lorries would come along which I found fascinating. There was a council yard halfway up Stag Lane, between Epping New Road and the High Road, where often a steam roller would be kept, and I would chat up the driver, much to my mother's displeasure!
There was a garage on the corner of Epping New Road and Brook Road, where we would go to get our bike tyres inflated! We spent a lot of time in the Forest, going down to the River Ching, and played a strange game called Podex with the Crusader boys on Daiglen School's playing field in the evenings, supervised by Commander Charles.
The Rector of St. John's church was Rev. Isaac Whitehouse, who would often describe the congregation as "my bretheren". The Youth Fellowship was very active when I was in my teens, and a great place to meet girls!
I was only at Woodford Green Preparatory School for a short time in 1944 when the roof was blown off as a result of TWO "doodlebugs" (flying bombs) landing on the Congregational church in Broomhill Road within 3 days of each other. An amazing feat of aiming by the Germans! As a result my mother took me to live with my uncle and aunt in Leeds, out of range! My father was on active service in India at the time. I suppose I returned to WGPS in 1945, and in 1950 I went on to Chigwell School, and eventually to the South West Essex Technical College and School of Art (a very catchy title) in Walthamstow.

A memory shared by Richard Moules , on Sep 23rd, 2010.

Comments & feedback

Thu Jul 23rd 2015, at 10:43 pm

Denman Lalonde commented:

Hello Richard
Do you remember the Sage Family? Mr. Sage was the Stores Manager at French's? He worked there all through the war and after. He lives on Fairlands Ave third house from Epping New Road. You can read the rest of my memories Under this heading
Best Regards M. Denman Lalonde (Ivy Cottage Epping New Road, (next to the Reindeer Pub)

Tue May 24th 2016, at 8:28 pm

Christine Ottaway commented:

I enjoyed reading this as so many of your memories are the same as mine though you are a few years older than me. I too went to Woodford Green Prep School and received an excellent education though Miss Read the Headteacher terrorised us.
We also attended Buckhurst Hill Congregational Church for many years and loved Leslie Linder's library which was a source of hours of reading fantastic books.
My husband went to Chigwell School and we were married at the Congregational Church in 1970.
Both my brother, sister and I went to Crusaders though I believe it was Commander Sharp who ran the boys' Crusaders and Mrs Sharp the girls till her death in 1957 or so. Then Miss Lois Loynes took over. She was a teacher at Walthamstow Girls School. I went to Loughton High School.
I also vaguely remember Quentin Dawes but was friends with his sister and mother Lucy Dawes attended the church for years.
I had a paper round from Silks as did my brother and sister.
Thanks for sharing your memories.

Sun Sep 11th 2016, at 4:23 pm

Geoffrey Harrington commented:

Hi everyone, I am Geoff Harrington, born 1948 and lived in Princes Road Buckhurst Hill from birth until 1963.I also remember a lot of what you guys talk about, I was a newspaper delivery boy for Gingers while at the same time delivering for the United Dairies in the afternoons and Cox's the butchers in Queens Road on Saturdays (what did I do with all that money?)
Of course I attended Princes Road school with Miss Gardener as one of our teachers, then moved on to the Brook, often in small trouble I also failed my 11 plus. Mr Head was my favorite teacher (Art,) and least favorite was Miss Sorell. I remember French's yard too, and one day cows escaped from French's farm and ended up in our back garden. We had the concrete part of the old air raid shelter in our garden where my brother Paul and I used to put frog that we had got from Lords Bushes Buxton pond. My grandfather lived in Osborne Road opposite the small pond, I recall his many war time stories as I am sure many of you also do.
My close friends were Colin Hawkins, Trevor Wood, Malcolm Mc Donald and my first love at the Brook was Suzette Yellen an awful 2 years younger than I. I am now living in South Carolina USA 'BUT' have so many fine and warm memories of those days, my wife and I even built a 5 bar gate for our garden for memory of camping days near Ongar. Anyone that knows me and may want to contact me can do so through ffoeg@operamail.com Thanks for your memories too. Geoff.

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