Lake Meadows in the 60s

Memories of growing up

Remembering Lake Meadows and the fishing I expect many can remember the summer of ’66 or ’67 when Basildon District Council drained the lake in order to do repairs raising the height of the bank along the south of the lake and installing the concrete and steel railing sluice at the Perry street end. Before these works were done there was a magnificent Willow tree whose branches covered the bank and a section of the lake. When the Council drained the lake they left a small pond shaped puddle of water around the two islands of the lake. Once the clay that formed the bottom of the lake had hardened we could cross over the mud and every lad in the district was to be found fishing the remaining water. Oh what a catch we had! Although the Council had transferred the bigger fish all the tiddlers had been left behind. With a few maggots bought from the fishing shop in Radford Way you had a good days sport and easy pickings. Can any one else remember this?

Other off limits fishing was to be found at the pits in Goatsmoor Lane off Potash Road, a lengthy cycle ride from South Green but you usually caught a few golden carp. I remember bringing two carp home suspended with wire or string from the bike handle bars in a empty offal tin I had scrounged from a local butcher! These fish lived a good many years in the pond in our garden.

The Walls ice cream bricks bought from the Cafe at LakeMeadows always seemed to taste better than from anywhere else!! Finally, once the lake was refilled, boating hire was again available on the lake but no swimming! Although one Sunday afternoon Mum convinced Dad to pay for me to have a kayak out on the lake. It was great for ten minutes, as I paddled my self with increasing confidence and power; but then I caught a long heavy piece of weed with my paddle and in an instance found I had capsized the canoe upside down on top of my self. Fortunately I could swim and struggled to the bank from around at least 6 foot of water. I emerged filthy with mud and stinking water, soaked to the skin and shivering. With not a bit of sympathy and retribution from Mum and Dad. My sister Hazel was in fits of giggles, soon to be replaced with disgust as she had to sit next to a soggy me going home in the car.

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