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Violet Ayres Lodge

A Memory of Buckhurst Hill

I was put into care at Violet Ayres Lodge in 1958 with my two brothers, John and Peter. When we first went there the houseparents were Tom and Iona Leslie. Some of the names I remember were George Howe, Michael Hill, Johnny White (known as Pud). When Uncle Tom and Auntie Iona retired, Uncle Chris and Auntie Lena took over. Some of the kids who were there then were John, Steve and Rosie Claxton, June and Roy Day, Linda, Jean, Tony and Peter Wilson. When Uncle Chris and Auntie Lena left, Auntie Sylvia and Auntie Flora took over. Being a Spurs supporter they allowed me to go to some of the home games with my friend Geoff Digby and his dad. I remember the W.C.French yard further along the road, near the Angela Cafe. Another friend Jim Croucher (who lived in Stag Lane) his dad used to work in French's yard, I think he was the timekeeper there. We used to play in Knighton Woods, there was a big hollow tree there and a rock formation by the pond. Anyway back to Violet Ayres Lodge, I remember the rhodadendrons and the long driveway from the road down to the home, the big gate that swung open when you pulled the lever. I had to make a sign for the gate which said 'Please close the gate'. The back garden was in two levels, at the back of the garden was a two storey building which was used as a club house for us kids. We played in the forest a lot, there used to be a forest-keeper's house and a cattle pen the other side of the forest, if you walked along Brook Road you came to the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, back the other end was a large lake called Connaught Waters, where you could hire rowing boats and canoes, to go out to the islands, although you weren't supposed to go onto the islands because of the nesting ducks andother waterfowl. I did have some photos taken at the home, I will see if I can find them. I went to Princes Road Primary School until I went to The Brook Secondary School at Loughton, I used to catch the 38a bus to Loughton Station where we walked along a pathway to school. The headmaster there was Mr Davies. Some of my old schoolmates were Micky Blatch, Roy Edmonds, John Hollis, Chris Hutchings, I wonder where they are now? I left the Brook School at 15, it was the Easter term 1962, when I came to Southend to live my mum, my brothers left Violet Ayres at the summer term, they also came to Southend. Well that's about it unless I can think of anything else.

A memory shared by Jim Saunders , on Mar 20th, 2011.

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