Halcyon Days! - a Memory of Wickford.
I was born in a newly built house in Laurel Avenue - and was told whilst being built my mum and dad had gotten to choose which one they wanted! The midwife who delivered me was Miss Reece, who I believe lived in Wickford until she passed away. I have so many great memories, it's hard to know where to begin. London Road - I remember Billy Foyle had a lion in a huge cage, halfway up the London Road, and when I was pre-school age, my mum would take me to see it! We as a family would often go to Castledon Road and walk up to the Norman church, it was a lovely walk. There was an old bungalow converted into a grocery store up near where the Downham Arms is, and it smelled really musty - like old rotten cabbage, but came in handy on a Sunday as it opened in the mornings. On the corner of Laurel Avenue is a shop that was once a farmhouse, it was owned by Mr Charles Andrews, who had a son called Colin. It was known as Andrew's, he had both shops, but at one time decided to make it into one. It has changed several times, at one time his son Colin managed the smaller shop and it became like a 'hobby shop' where you could buy aircraft assembly kits and such forth.
Prentice was and still is THE place to buy bicyles, and has been there as long as I can remember! There used to be a fruit and veg shop on the Halls Corner and the owner would call me Lindyloo and would every day give me a banana! Almost next to this, was the Post Office, I'm not sure if anyone else remembers this? Just across the road, actually in the High Street, was the quaintest little library, it too smelled very musty and had noisy wooden floorboards, and woe betide any kids spoke or made any noise!! I am proud to say I became their youngest member, once I proved that at the age of 3 years I could read! My sister used to take me there every Saturday morning. Names of Wickford Shop owners that I remember: Adcocks, Egans, Halls, Mayes, Andrews, Prentice, Adrians - from around 1965.
I remember the cattle market, the narrow path under the railway, the travelling fair that parked up in Market Road, every Easter, Gypsies in painted caravans travelling down London Road in small convoys, at the end of every summer, morris dancers in the town on Monday morinings (Market Day), and the Salvation Army used to play their music on the green area in Laurel Avenue every Sunday morning.
Places I loved to play - No 1 - the Brickfields, where the Wick now is, was a fantastic place, had 3 big ponds and we used to get sticklebacks, newts and so forth, every year we got blackberry and apple pie from produce thanks to the brickfields, and there were a couple of old cast iron water towers over there which were great fun to climb on! We used to play over the river a lot too, there was a big barn that all the kids used to hang around in (off London Road). I remember taking the short cut to Beauchamps by going via the Wick, we used to walk through the fields and cross at the railway crossing, which now has a massive iron bridge over it.
A memory shared by on Jan 27th, 2009.
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