Being raised in Buckhurst Hill was a childhood experience I feel very lucky to have enjoyed. I was raised in the small cottage at 58 Epping New Road aptly named "Ivy Cottage". Located on the edge of the yard owned by W&C French Contractors. Dad worked for Mr. French for 17 years as Mechanical Engineer. I was allowed to play in the yard after working hours, as long as I didn't get 'into mischief', which I seldom did. Mother shopped at the Co-op near the bottom of Queens Road. I remember "Auty's" the clock and watch repair shop, also near the co-op. Our newspaper came from "Silks" the newsagent at the top of Queens Road, located right across from "Parks" the fishmonger. One of my best friends was John Silk, son of the owner. For our daily needs we purchased bread and baked goods from "Gowers" bakery at the corner of Church Road and the New Road. Fresh vegetables from "Greens" the green grocer right across from the "Reindeer Pub", was next door to our cottage. Another pub the "Duke of Edinburgh" was right across from our house. As you can see we were not short of 'watering holes'. Mrs Short owned a grocery, where Mum bought her daily needs. Milk was delivered by Jim the milkman in his horse-drawn cart from United Dairies, located down Queens Road.
On returning to see the old haunts in 1969 I found that things had changed a little, but on my next trip back in 1992, to the village of my memories, I found many sad changes had, or would soon take place. Ivy Cottage was slated for demolition. The "Duke" also was to be torn down, the Reindeer was now a Burger Joint, French's was going to close the yard, and sell the property to a developer I returned to my childhood home in 1995, the cottage was gone, the Duke was gone, the Reindeer was still a burger joint, Frenches Yard had become a series of several storey apartment buildings. The grocer and baker and other small shops had gone, and it all looked so different, sadness and a commercial mark has been left where heritage once stood. Thank goodness Epping Forest is a protected Green Space for future generations to enjoy.
Now my favorite piece of Buckhurst Hill is another piece of Britain that has been lost to ...."Progress and Change"
A memory shared byon Jan 28th, 2007.
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