Boys Will Be Boys

Growing Up In Jacksons Lane
By Roger Whisken

 As far as I know Jacksons Lane looks the same on Google Earth. My parents moved to a new house in the 50s at the top built by a firm called Moody’s. (You can zoom and drag this image to look at the area better).

As you went down Jacksons Lane you went over a bridge over the railway. At that time the steam trains used to come out of Billericay station. We used to get bits of brick and used to try and drop them down the funnel of the engine as it came out from under the bridge, we never timed it right and it would bounce off the drivers cab and the fireman would be waving his fist at us. I  guess we thought it was a bit of mischief but I guess today we would be vandals. Thinking back we spent quite a bit of time playing on the railway line. We would put penny coins on the track and they would be twice as big after a train had gone over them. We would put our ear on the track to listen for when a train had left the station as we had seen cowboys do it in the movies to see if the train was coming. On the far side of the track on the line to London there was a long sort of concrete box a couple of feet from the track, maybe for gravel but it was always empty. One summer we had the idea that if we sat in it we would get a really close view of the train going past. Anyway two of us sat in the box and the electric London train came flying round the corner, it wasn’t until it got close that we realised the train body was wider than the wheels and we crouched down in the box. I am sure the train sucked the air out of the box because I remember I couldn’t breathe and the train seemed 10 miles long, it was probably fear that stopped me breathing. None of us ever told our parents what we got up to, and looking back now I guess I am lucky I am here to write about it, but at the time it was just having fun. Todays generation are obviously safer in their bedrooms with a playstation.

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  • We went ferreting all along the rail line, as well as in Norsey Woods….in fact anywhere there were rabbits. No shortage of them in Essex.
    Four ferrets and a bag of purse nets to catch the rabbits as they bolted out of their holes and the freezer was full of rabbit meat for months to come.
    Also we went regularly to Battlesbridge to work on my father’s fishing boat to catch eels, flat fish, mullet & bass in the River Crouch, not forgetting the bags of winkles & welks.
    Plenty of food for free…then the drive back to Billericay. I used to live opposite Balls Factory on the Southend Road.

    By Stephen Shirmer (07/06/2021)
  • Hi Roger, I used to play on the railway as well on the embankment opposite where I lived in London Road, it was a long walk across the fields and we used to use a ditch between two fields that went all the way from our place to the railway including a tunnel under London Road that we walked through. Get in touch, I’d like to catch up on what we’ve both been doing, you mentioned Geoff Platts, we used to ride together, he had a 350 AJS, I had the 250 Royal Enfield then. After that we all had mini vans didn’t we. I’ve put my email on this form, maybe the organisers of this site will pass it on to you. Or google John Kay on Facebook or John Kay on Bilpin group.

    By John Keeble (30/04/2021)
  • We too had a Moody house, ours was in Norsey Road at the top of Jacksons Lane, we were the first semi in the row. We had a back entrance via a little lane from Jacksons Lane alongside the first house, where the Taylors lived. I lived there from birth until I was 18 when my parents moved “down the hill” to a new house in Outwood Common.

    By Bill Pipe (12/11/2020)

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