Recollections Of Pitsea From 1941 Onwards - a Memory of Pitsea.
Born in Northlands Drive, Pitsea in 1938, my first recollection was aged 3 years when I remember being put to bed in a cot under the kitchen table during an air raid. We had an Andersen shelter in the garden outside the kithchen window. It was always knee deep in water and neighbours also used it so there wasn't much room for little me.
My father died in 1943 and I was sent to boarding school at 'Tilehurst', Ingatestone near Ingatestone Hall, in a house owned by Lord Petre. About a year later the school moved back to its own building at Snaresbrook. During the winter of 1946/7 I went with other boys to the Hollow Ponds on Wanstead Flats where 'daredevil' me went through the ice. Reflexes made me put my arms out so I didn't go right through. I got myself out and slid across the ice on my front to where it was safe to stand up and headed back towards the school back gate. There was a Gypsy camp on the way where one of their children called his mother out when he saw me. She carried me into their caravan, stripped my clothes off, and wrapped me in blankets while she dried my clothes over their fire.
Holidays from school were spent living with my Gran in Rectory Road next door to the coal yard where they still had horses and I loved watching them being harnessed into the cart before it was loaded with bags of coal. Sometimes I was allowed to ride out with them. Gran's garden was quite big and had a half-acre plot alongside Maud Road. As soon as I was big enough I would mow the lawn and cut the long grass on the plot with a sickle that I've still got.
I used to play sometimes with other children from further up the road but I always had a week's holiday before and after the day schools when I had no one to play with. I recall Wagers dairies, Papworths Greengrocer, Kings Butchers, Nortons Removals, and the second-hand shop where I could spend hours looking at the goods for sale, Bedwells Cycle shop, Rawlingsons General store. During the summer there was sometimes a fair on the field behind the vicarage in Rectory Road.
When I was 14 I started working on Howards Farms, first at Jotmans Hall, South Benfleet and later at Pitsea during school summer holidays. Sometimes I was allowed to ride the cart horses to the blacksmiths for re-shoeing.
A memory shared by on Jan 6th, 2010.
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