A Walk From Shotgate Baptist Church To Wick Lane - a Memory of Wickford.
My name is Kevin Mears, I lived in Wickford from my birth in 1958 until I got married in 1980.
I shall describe my memories of Wickford as a couple of walks around the Wickford area.
My first walk is from the Baptist church in Shotgate to the the C of E Infants School on Southend Road. Turn left out of the Baptist church, which I used to attend in my teens, and proceed along Bruce Grove. Most of the housing along here were bungalows built by Carter and Ward. A little way along on the left is Lucerne Walk, where friends of the family used to live, the Bartlet family. My mother used to take me and my sister in her big Silver Cross pram to visit Ralph Bartlet and his sister Hele once a week so that we could play.
Further along on the left was a fairly modern (at the time) industrial estate, where the Keil Kraft factory was and also a factory the manufactured lengths of thin plastic tubing about 2mm in diameter and seemed to dump a lot of it. As kids we used to collect the waste and weave the tubing to make things out of. A bit further along on the left was an old junk yard, behind a sectional concrete fence. The junk yard had a furnace that belched flames and sparks in the dark evening walking back to the Bartlet's house, which always concerned me as a toddler.
Further along on the left was a scientific glassware factory, again, where we used to help ourselves to the dumped rejects! Opposite this was a row of older houses where a school friend, Robin Alden and his brother lived. I remember going to one of Robin's birthday parties which was had a Batman and Robin theme.
After these houses the road turned sharp right and became Wick Lane. On this corner a track led down to a level crossing where I often went to watch the trains. Over the other side of the crossing was the Wick where I spent many hours of my childhood playing in the fields and cycling the tracks. I also remember walking down here one winter when there had been a lot of snow when I was really small. This was also a short way home, via the Wick from Beauchamps School to Grange Avenue, where I lived from about 1969 onwards. Next to the level crossing was the old crossing keepers house, which had been abandoned and was later demolished.
Further down Wick Lane on the left was a row of old houses and some waste land that I used to play in. Near this point the railway line to Southminster passes under Wick Lane on a very big bridge. Next on the right was Glebe Road.
Further along on left was a road, Wick Beech Avenue, which when I was young was unmade. On the opposite side of Wick Lane was a short track, between the houses, that led to a field and a large house. In the later half of the 1960s the field was built on and the track became the road into the estate, called St Davids Way.
Next to this track was our neighbour, Betty Beavis, our house was next, 33 Wick Lane, another Carter and Ward bungalow. I remember one Christmas a Salvation army band playing carols in the falling snow on the corner of Wick Lane and Wick Beech Avenue. When I was young Wick Lane at this point only had a path on the west side of the road. The front path from our house lead down the bank right to the curb. Later on the bank was cut back with retaining walls and a path created.
Walking further along Wick Lane on the right was another short track that led to a row of garages, where my father kept his car for many years. A liitle further along you arrive at the junction with the Southend Road, opposite the C of E Infants School. On the corner of this junction lived another childhood friend Penny.
The first walk ends here. The next walk again starts at the Shotgate Baptist church and ends in the town.
A memory shared by on May 19th, 2010.
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