A Billericay schoolboy

Growing up in the Town
By Trevor Savage

Trevor Savage
The trip to St Mawgan
Quaker Girl Men's Chorus

I was born in St Andrews Hospital, Billericay in 1954.

First of all we lived at Maplemead, at the Bottom of Bell Hill on the Southend Road. My earliest memories are in the back garden and playing toy cars with Peter Pinsion on the front step. After my sister Hazel arrived, we moved to Kennel Lane with a Large Garden and views over the fields with horses and a stream looking towards the Essex Union Hunt foxhound kennels. Tales can be told of playing in the stream on the footpaths across the field. In the middle of the field called Buckinghams field off Kennel lane, on the opposite side of the road to the kennels, there was a small anonymous brick building consisting of a tall brick enclosure topped with barbed wire. For several years during our youth we tried find out what this building was used for and to gain access we eventually found a way of climbing the wall. However it remains a mystery what this small partially roofed brick enclosure was for. The most peculiar part was that in the centre of the open yard was a thing similar to a wooden bird table.

My first school was Billericay Infants in Laindon Road, now The Fold Arts Centre. My first teacher was Mrs Arthy with a yellow reading book “Here we go” and spelling word cards. Our first class room was in what is now the pottery room and we then moved up to Mrs E Williams in the room that is The Fold’s performance space. I can remember that our class as late as 1959 used slate and chalk to work out sums, do words and of course pictures. We then moved to Mrs R Williams class and I recall she was always angry. We had horrible school dinners in the prefabricated dinner hall and for some reason there always was the radio playing the latest tunes like “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters. We climbed on the climbing frame in the summer and also a sports day. If I was in luck and dad was not at work I got a lift on his cross bar home instead of the long walk. Thankfully the new South Green School at the end of our road eventually opened under the headship of Mrs Scot Farthing and I switched schools and was in Mrs Pennels Class. Progressing as each year came along through Mrs Phelps (nee Miss Clowes), Mr Ryan, Mr McGuinley & finally Mr Ryan. My mum tells me that Mr Ryan said to her, on parents evening for 2nd year juniors, that if she could read my writing and tell him what I had written he would give me a mark for it but my writing was impossible. The school had annual Eisteddfod which was instigated by Mrs Scott Farthing, as both she and Mr Ryan were Welsh. This festival included poetry speaking and story composition, arts and crafts of all sorts and various types singing, music and cookery. One year I was first for singing and second for baking a victoria sponge jam sandwich; Mrs Scott farthing said I was the “singing chef” and I won a prize. We played shinty on the Playground as there was no playing field and we went swimming via contract coach at the baths at Hutton Poplars near Brentwood. Each year, as well as regular lectures by our local policemen, the school was visited by the Essex Police road safety bus, a very old double decker which had a cinema upstairs. We used to lark about when it came because if you touched the body work of the bus you got a mild electric shock; the bus had a mains supply plugged into the school for the cinema projector to work etc. and there must have been some sort of earthing problem

At South Green school I first met the girl who still is my wife.

After I was eleven I went to Billericay Secondary School.

I have written about my time with 4th Billericay scouts on another page, My Scouting Career. After Scouts I joined 2393 Billericay Squadron Air Training Corp; Squadron Leader Ferris was in Charge with Flying Officer Hiscox and Warrant Officer Dave Burley. Apart from flying and training in Gliders and Chipmunk aircraft at Cambridge and rifle shooting at Rainham Marshes annual camps were organised. I remember camps at RAF Ouston near Newcastle upon Tyne and RAF St Mawgan near Newquay in Cornwall, there is a Squadron photograph taken at the St Mawgan camp in the book of the Billericay School History (reproduced above). I can only name some of those in the photo; Back Row: Wing Co. Reg Ferris, W.O. Dave Burley, ?, Andrew Eve, ?, ?, Trevor Savage (me), Gary Farmer, Steven Slade, /, Cpl Kim Ferris, Fl.O. Hiscox. In the Front Row I can only name Christopher Waterman who is 4th from the left.

My youthful exploits included joining the Methodist Youth Club lead by Alan Jubb and Billericay Operatic Society which rehearsed in the 1970’s dinner hall at Billericay Junior and Infants school & performed at the Archer Hall, shows including Quaker Girl, Vagabond King, The King and I and The Gondoliers. The photo above shows the men’s Chorus dressed for the Races out side the entrance of the Archer Hall during the interval of the Saturday Matinee of the Operetta “ Quaker girl “ performed by Billericay Operatic in April 1973. As I remember the Performance clashed with the Grand National. Back row left to right: Alan Lovell, David Green, Bob Benson, Andrew Benson. Front Row left to right: ?, Fred Wood, Tony Culver,  Ron Hamlin, and Trevor Savage

I moved away from Billericay down to Basildon in 1975.

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  • I lived on Ganels Road and my neighbours were Andrew & Clive Treese and I also remember the school being built.

    I remember the wood opposite the house and we would all play in there, and the boys going up and down the road on the trolleys which they had made from old wood and pram wheels.

    By Pauline Lodge (14/12/2021)
  • Hi Trevor – The photo of 2393 squadron in front of the Avro Shackleton at RAF St Mawgan (August 1969?) brought back some happy memories.
    I believe that those pictured are as follows:
    Back row, left to right – Flt/Lt A R Ferriss (the C/O), F/Sgt. “Ab” Palmer, Duncan Greig, Andy Eve, Bob Shuler, Pete McGregor, Trevor Savage, Berny Kemp, Noel Fenwick, Cpl. Steve Hooper, Sgt. “Pip” Ferriss, and F/O K Hiscock.
    Front row, left to right (kneeling) – Brian Taylor, Graham Harley, Paul Atkinson, Dave Waterman, Rob “Sporran” Warren, Al Collins, Roger Edwards, Andy Banks, Cpl. “Raz” Terry, and John Ockford.
    My apologies if I’ve mis-spelt any of your names, but it was a long time ago!

    By Steve Hooper (20/07/2021)
  • Wow! We must have bumped into one another some time. I was a few years behind you at the infants school, I remember both Mrs Arthy and Mrs Williams.
    I joined 2393 squadron around 71/2 and remember Mr Ferris and Mr Hiscox too. Were you on the dig?

    By Bill Pipe (12/11/2020)
  • Trevor, your name rings a bell with me. I have a bad memory but I do remember Mrs Arthy as my first teacher. I think we were in the same class. I started Infants in Sept 1960 and left the Junior School in July 1966. My name is Anthony Frye (Tony). I to went to Billericay Secondary School until 1968 when we moved away. I to went to 4th Billericay scouts. The only names I can remember from my times are Mervyn Davis and Robert Gee. Another teacher I can remember from Junior School was Mr Hardy.

    By Tony Frye (05/07/2020)
  • Trevor. I went to South Green School in 1961 and eventually moved on to Billericay School. I used to live at Passingham Close in South Green. I was one of your friends and used to visit your home in Kennel Lane. My other friends were Peter Krengel and Robert Howlett.

    By Paul Roberson (03/11/2018)
  • South Green Junior and Infant School was built in 1960. I started there in 1961 at the age of five. The infant school next door was built in 1964-5 as I watched them build it out of the class room window, at my cost. I remember you Pat Ebdon.

    By andrew treece (07/10/2018)
  • South Green Junior & Infant School, as it was then called, was opened in 1960 and I started there in September 1961. I remember watching them build it as I looked over our back fence. The infant school part was built in about 1964-5. I still live in Ganels Road and have been there since Feb 1958. I remember Trevor in Kennel Lane, and when Terry Lockhart blew the old car up. I can remember most of the people that I grew up with around there, but sadly most have died or moved away.

    By andrew treece (20/09/2018)
  • Like you I went to the Laindon Road School for I think a term until South Green School was finished. My maiden name was Scott, I think we must have been in the same year group.

    By Marion Morris (01/09/2018)
  • I have just found this link to a photo of the police road safety bus I mention in my article:- http://www.sct61.org.uk/mf94

    By Trevor Savage (01/03/2016)
  • Pat Ebdon, I remember you well, I was then Teresa Evans.

    By Teresa Sanders (11/11/2015)
  • I believe South Green primary school was built in 1963. I lived at no.12 Hickstars Lane and the school in that road was being built just as we moved out in 1963. Before that it was a corn field.

    By Terry Lockhart (02/11/2015)
  • Can anyone settle an argument. What year did south green primary school open?

    By Jim Hunt (15/10/2015)
  • I went to South Green School then onto Billericay School. I lived in Grange Road, South Green - best years of my life. Now living in Pitsea for my sins.  lol 

    By pat ebdon...then (05/08/2015)
  • Hi Trevor, I was in 2393 with FLT Ferris et al and in fact was at St. Mawgan with you. I’m the 3rd from the left front row. After a leaving school spent a bit of time in RAF but didn’t like it much! After many adventures am now a Boeing 737 captain at Stansted. Still visit family in Billericay.   Great days.

    By Paul Atkinson (26/01/2015)
  • Just read recollections.  Glad to hear you enjoyed 2393 sqn, I joined in 1980. Great time, and went on to join the RAF. I grew up on Scrub Rise off Laindon Road. Thanks 4 memories. 

    By Dave Hunter (09/08/2014)
  • I thoroughly enjoyed these recollections, particularly linked to 2393 ATC – my husband knew all characters mentioned. This group of young men (and now ladies) are still going and thriving – superb organisation for young people.

    By Sylvia Kent (26/06/2014)

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