Memories of Fairview, Southend Road

Growing up in the 50s and 60s
By Robert Grieve

The author at 7
Robert Grieve
The author at 60 (7 years ago)
Robert Grieve

My family and I lived at 5 Fairview where our back garden had the only access to the paddock. Lockers was empty then and the paddocks were well overgrown.
Our back garden also had access to the jungle at the rear of the Catholic Church on Laindon Road where the land had been left to overgrow into a mass of brambles, even Mother Mary stood sadly at the back, forgotten and covered in brambles. Slightly to the right and also accessible to us only, was the Water Board land that housed the old Metal water tower. This was a perfect football ground for us kids.
Needless to say, I and my twin brother had an expanse of wilderness to explore that was totally private for us.
I remember a shed in the paddock of the Lockers that was falling down and inside I found an Ostrich egg and a Sawfish Sharks Saw.
I don’t remember what happened to the Saw but the Ostrich egg was knocked off of the shelf of the lean-to that I had stowed it on, to hide it from my Father, and smashed on the concrete floor. Unfortunately the egg was full but the content was bad and the smell lasted for some months. So did my punishment.
I lived there from the late 50s to the late 60s and spent many a full day in the paddocks but I did venture once and once only, into the house. The only thing that stuck in my mind was a very narrow and windy stair way leading to what I would consider to be the Servants area, am I right?
Not long into the later 60s, the Paddocks were sold on to build a small housing estate called Weir Wynd, sadly putting an end to a wonderland of adventure.
I joined the Army in 1969 till 1975 and in the meantime my parents moved from Fairview so I never saw much of that area for a time but when I pass now, the Lockers is still there and is occupied and the tree still stands proud and erect with its strong branches sheltering the 129 Southend Road.

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  • My parents bought “Millers” from the Cuthberts in the 1980s, so I grew up next door to Lockers. I must say, the house and former grounds have always fascinated me. Therefore, I was delighted to read of your experiences in the paddocks pre Weir Wynd development. Actually, the couple who have lived at 5 Fairview for many years are friends of the family. I never knew that you could access Lockers grounds from this location. Did you ever explore the area with all the specimen conifers and the tennis court? I know it’s a long shot, but do you per chance have any old photographs of Fairview or the paddocks?
    With regards to Lockers residents, I am pretty sure that Laurie and Gladys Beeson lived there in the early 1960s. You see, I managed to look at a pile of old title deeds for the house and adjoining land from the Currys, who owned Lockers when I lived next door. I believe Alistair and family moved in after them!

    By Simon Walker (02/01/2022)
  • My dates on moving in have been corrected by my twin Brother David, along with some other notes;
    We moved in to 5 Fairview 28th September 1959.
    Richard Harington Hawes and his family was occupying Lockers Hall when we moved in but he believes they moved out around 1962 (Maybe Richard can vouch for this comment)
    Alastair Cuthbert’s family moved in about 1964 but moved out not long after. (1964 Alistair???)
    The Gardener was Len Quartemain, who lived in No 1 Mill Cottages next door to Clarks, the Hight Street Butcher.
    If any of my recollected points are wrong, please add your comment to strengthen the facts.

    By Robert Grieve (16/09/2021)
  • Hi Richard,
    Thank so much for your reply to my post.
    I will start at the end if I may?
    It would be fantastic if we (you, David my twin Brother and I) could meet up and in Billericay, maybe outside Lockers Hall???
    Thank you so much for the walk-a-round of Lockers, although I have been genuinely there only once, I don’t have much of a memory for the inside. On the other hand, David does. You invited him in once or twice and he remembers it all.
    He tells me that you and he were friends. He also reminisces about your gardener, who he often talked with.
    Dave has a wonderful memory of the original owner of Lockers Hall, or Laird-of-the-Land, and tells me that this Lord, owned all the land consisting of The Lockers Hall, Greens Farm, Mill cottages and the Mill, including Mill Meadows and Gatwick House and so much more.
    Now Richard, I’m sure you already know all of this history but if and when we meet up, he will fascinate you with his memory.

    Your offer of showing me your Mother’s paintings of Lockers Hall is one in a million offers and I would be very much over the moon to see them. I am humbled by your request to meet up and I genuinely look forward to that day.

    By Robert Grieve (15/09/2021)
  • As a former resident of Millers in Southend Road, I found the vivid description of Weir Wynd site prior to development fascinating! Are there any old photos of this area and/or Fairview from this time?

    By Simon Walker (30/07/2020)
  • The swordfish sword with rows of ‘teeth’ each side ended up in Millers. It’s possible my brother still has it, but have not seen it for a very long time.

    By Alastair Cuthbert (31/01/2020)
  • Dear Robert, fancy remembering me. In the stable block we did have a small museum with an ostrich egg and shark’s jaw, an old musket and various shells and bombs, a Butterfly collection and Zulu warrior’s shield.

    Lockers had 3 stories. At the top were 3 bedrooms and a bathroom, I was in the front bedroom and my elder sister Lucy was in another, the other was spare.

    On the first floor was my mother’s room overlooking the main road, next door was my sister Prudence’s room and then my father’s room and a large drawing room with a big fireplace,
    and an Essex corner cupboard. There was also another bathroom

    Downstairs we had a panty with a larder and a back door. In the kitchen was a coal fired Aga and and a oiler with a coal Cellar below.

    Along the corridor to the front was a library and cosy fire place. On the right was a large dining room.

    A front door looking out onto the front lawn with a conservatory joined to the house. A bomb shelter to the right was covered in nettles which my sisters rolled me down a an experiment.

    Next door lived the Brown’s was with their daughter, Linda. Someone dressed us up with fig leaves, I have a picture of this somewhere.

    Hope we can meet up some time, I have some pictures of Lockers garden painted by my Mother.

    By Richard Harington Hawes (13/09/2018)

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