Green Door Cafe Or Bert''''s Cafe - a Memory of Grays.

Hi All, one of my memories of Grays old High Street was the café. Walking down the High Street toward the beach, on the left hand side was the cafe, it was called the Green Door and was owned by Bert Herrington. He and his wife would serve; she did a wonderful egg and chips and a big mug of tea. There was an old juke box in the cafe, well not old then of course, it was 1960 and I remember every time I walked into the cafe 'Cathy's Clown' by the Everley Brothers was always playing on the box, great music in them days.
Bert had a son and daughter, the son was probably 18 and the daughter Lynn Herrington was more my age 16. She had a cousin Sheryl Hughes, they lived in Stifford Clays and I went out with her for a while. I remember, with some embarrassment, that we all went to the working mans club, her mum, dad, Sheryl and me. I had too much to drink so they took me home to their house to stay the night rather than get the 370 bus to Ford Place at South Ockendon, where I lived. I don't remember going to bed but I do remember waking up and being next to Sheryl's dad... OMG! Well, I was sick in the bed, cannot believe I did that and to say I embarrassed is an understatement. My relationship with Sheryl ended right there and then of course.
I can also remember the State Cinema, we used to go in as a crowd of boys and we would end cat- calling out loud and being ushered out of the cinema for causing a nuisance. The cinema employed a doorman, I believe his name was Frank, he was under strict instructions not to let groups of boys in unless they were accompanied by their girlfriends. My friend and I used to stand on the corner of the High Street and wait for a couple of girls that may pass by and ask them if we could make out we were with them. They would give us their money and we would walk up to the cinema, pay for us both and then split up when we were inside, easy uh?! Well, one particular day we got two of the ugliest girls in Grays (sorry girls) to get us into the cinema. When we got to the kiosk to pay, Frank said, "Are you with these girls?" 'Yes' was the reply of course; he followed us into the cinema and made us sit with them all night! A lesson learned...
When I left school in 1959, Ockendon Courts, Bellhus, I went to the newly opened Thurrock Technical College. This was great, I was doing City and Guilds Engineering course. The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the school some weeks after we started, he arrived in a helicopter. I was doing an experiment in the science lab, boiling oil over a Bunsen burner and stirring it round with a thermometer and taking temperature readings... didn't really know why. Anyway, I suddenly felt somebody standing behind me, it was the Duke himself. I jumped to my feet and he asked me what I was doing, I started to explain the experiment, but he said, "no, I want to know what course of studies you are doing". That was easy, 'City and Guilds Engineering', I said, "well done", he replied, "keep it up". He spoke to a few other people and was just leaving the room when he about turned and came back to me and whispered, "It looks like you were brewing tea to me", I gave him a big grin and he left. When he was leaving the college he flew the helicopter himself and we were all out on the school field to wave him goodbye; as he revved up the engine the blades caused an enormous updraft and all the girls flailed skirts flew up, a great laugh was had by all!

I wonder if anyone else remembers the Green Door Cafe, The State Cinema's Frank and the opening of the Thurrock college.

I hope I haven't bored you with the above, but they are just a few of my memories of Grays.

A memory shared by John Fautley on Oct 18th, 2013. Send John Fautley a message.

 Comments & Feedback

Fri May 15th 2015, at 3:24 pm
hjhhart926 commented:
I remember the Green Door,the State,the Ritz & the Regal,My dad was the manager of the butchers Gorsons by the level crossing in the High Street.
Sat Sep 10th 2016, at 2:42 pm
iris.surry commented:
I remember the Green door well.Its where me and my boyfriend did our courting.Regularly every Sat a crowd of us would descend on the cafe.As you said,the food was terrific. Ther were 2 Pubs at the top of the road.Ther was the Kings Arms I think,but the other one was the Rising Sun.At the bottom was the White Hart.Still going strong,and round the corner was the Theobalds Arms.Also still running.I was born in The Broadway in 1940.in Lawns Crescent,moved to Railway Cottages,behind the Half Moon.Now I live in Lodge Lane.

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