Growing Up In Abridge Roger Walker

A Memory of Abridge.

We moved to Abridge in 1948, I was 8 years old, with mum and dad Pat and Stan Walker.  We lived at no 41 Pancroft Estate later re numbered 45.  My early memories of the little villiage was of Brighty's shop and cafe where all the cyclists use to stop for refreshments.  It was the dad Burt and son Fred  and I think it was his mother who looked like a gypsy.  She used to sit behind the counter with a little old clay pipe in her mouth and above the counter was a big wooden beam with a spur hanging from it.  Fred used to say he found it out in the fields the other side of the river.  He reckoned it  was a Roundhead spur from the civil war.  Also my other memories include Bertie Ferns who used to be governor of the Blue Boar pub. Whenever you went into the pub and Bertie used to be serving he would always be a little worse for wear.  Across the road there used to be a big old house which was Dr Hancock's, the village doctor, unfortunately long gone as the house caught fire, never did know the true story.  Every Sunday morning all the boys of the village who luckily had motor bikes, to mention a few Brian Mumford, Kipper, Johnny Crabb, Colin Taylor,  would meet outside Brighty's shop and each one would set off individually to Theydon Bois to see who could get there the quickest and back to the villiage. I used to attend the junior school at Hoe Lane, the school still stands there.  Then I went onto Ongar Sec School.  We used to be picked up in Abridge villiage by a coach run by Ongar Motors.  We used to play over the fields, now all gone and houses have taken over.  When I was about 13 I got a job looking after chickens and pigs for a local builder, Dick Low was his name.  The fields where the chickens and pigs were was next to Abridge junior school sadly no longer there due to more building of houses and bungalows.  My dad used to work for W.C. French and mum used to be a florist in Barking.  Our next door neighbours were Stokes and the other side was Reeves.  Next door to the Stokes there was an old gentleman.  I can't recall his name but he used to invite all us street kids into watch his TV, no one else owned a telly at that time.  Going back to the village I remember a house next door to the post office which used to be a newsagent.  Mum used to buy me my weekly comic The Eagle there.  Years later most of the village boys went to Clem Hare's 21st birthday party in the hall behind the Blue Boar which is now part of the restaurant.   There was the Flacks, the Barnes, the Cooks.  Would love to hear from any of them if still around.  Good old days, not the same any more.  Too built up but my memories will always remain.  All the shops have gone - Bayles the grocers, Brities, Trixes cafe, where we used to see the mice run along the shelves, the bakers.  Also Bayles had a drapers shop on the side by the Blue Boar.  Luckily the Blue Boar still remains though not as I remember it.  The public transport in the village used to be a no 10 bus which would come from Victoria, turn round in the market square and return back to Victoria.  The other bus service no 250 single decker used to run to Romford.  Then there was a single decker bus Greenline which never stopped in the village but used to pass through and I believe it went to Windsor.  Happy days.  Roger walker

Added 19 April 2007


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