Happy Days

A Memory of Buckhurst Hill

i was born in Algers Road, Loughton in 1942 and moved to Chigwell in 1944, then back to Buckhurst Hill in 1947.  My dad worked as a lorry driver for W.C.French. My brother Chris and friends used to walk up to Buckhurst Hill High Road across the cricket field into Epping High Road and across to Connaught Waters.  We would go paddling for newts and in winter with mum and dad go ice skating. Buckhurst Hill shopping was Mr Atlee for sweets when off ration, Metsons for school uniform, Tanners chemist and Hobleys bakers. I used to be friendly with a girl whose dad had a funeral parlour opposite a pub.  I can't remember the name. Out the back her dad use to be chipping away at some stone.  I realise now they were head stones.  There were angels and silver pots lying around.  I went to Pinces Road School.  My mum used to walk me through the forest and go in the back way to the playground. Then on to St John's at the back of St John's church which still remains today.  I loved it there.  One of the classrooms had a huge picture of a bible scene.  I wish I could go back to see it. I remember a Miss Katlin, one of the teachers there, a real dragon, and the friendly old caretaker Mr Friend, and Miss French headmistress, she was lovely. We used to have to cross over the main road with teachers to go to the canteen for lunch.  Now all gone into flats. I loved the school dinners, I can still remember the smell on approaching the canteen.  We lived in Roebuck Lane and had very fond memories of walks on a Sunday afternoon  up to Linders field to pick bluebells, Conaught Waters,  up Queens Road (no shops open on a Sunday), Knighton Lane.  I remember one winter 1947 or 1948. It was covered in snow in Knighton Lane and there was a beautiful holly bush full of red berries.  One year I also remember Winston Churchill being driven passed our house and all the old ladies waving with lace hankies to him.  Forest Hospital was just up the road to us and is still there but not a hospital. I believe its a rest home now. There used to be a big almond tree in a front garden on the way up the hill to the hospital and me and friends use to gather all droppings from the tree and take home for mum to put in cakes.  I dont know if she ever did or not.  Now live in Wales but would give any thing to go back to my real home Buckhurst Hill.  I know half of it is developed into different buildings now but the memory will always stay undeveloped and cherished. Our doctor was a Dr Lorimore. His surgery is still there today but a bit more modern.  It was at the top of Roebuck Lane across Palmeston Road right on the corner.  He was a dear old doctor.  He had bifocal glasses which sat on his nose and he would look over the top of them at you.  His eyebrows were so thick  they gave me the giggles as a child.  He was my doctor right up until I was pregnant with my first baby in 1963.  In his waiting room, you went in, no name given or secretary approached you. You just took it on trust you were the next one to go in, then once in he had to go through his desk to find your records.  There was a big old chair which, when a child, if you sat in it you had to climb into it and your legs dangled over the edge.  I remember an old calendar which day by day you turned over a big number. I was always nervous about going to the doctor and sitting in the waiting room with mum.  I can still recall the drone of passing pop-pop bikes and cars passing in the Palmeston Road outside. We used to get the 167 to Ilford to go shopping along Palmeston Road.   We would go on trips to Woodford, the station I remember had outside a long glass cover over the roof and there was a little cafe opposite.  Still in the station area there was a greengrocers.  You could pick up a local single decker bus 254 going into Loughton and Debden.  I have very happy memories of Buckhurst Hill and they will always remain with me.

A memory shared by Roger Walker , on Feb 25th, 2007.

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