Mum and Dad's photos of life in Benfleet

In the 1950s

Memories of Benfleet

I learned of this site through a fellow Norfolk choir member whose husband came from Benfleet.  It’s a wonderful treasure trove of memories which has given me hours of pleasure.

Going through my Mum and Dad’s (Peggy & Hugh Shearer) photos I found these delightful memories of their early years in Benfleet. We lived in Sidwell Avenue which, in 1952, only had houses on the south side.  The road was thick clay mud, after heavy rain, for the first few years, so I’ve been told;  I was comfortable in a pram. Mum soon joined the Young Wives and my Dad was invited to be Secretary of the Horticultural Society. I still have the spade he was presented when we left Benfleet in 1961. We were the new young family on the street and our neighbours could not have been more welcoming. Names that spring to mind, Mr & Mrs Bass,  Mr & Mrs Collicott. Also Mr and Mrs Pearcey and their daughter Margaret who would become our Godmother and friend throughout her life. My elder sister Stephanie (pictured at the Vicarage Garden Party dressed in seed packets) and I attended nursery school and later Brownies at the Hall in School Lane. Miss or Mrs Pyrer was the nice lady who taught us. Later we attended Benfleet primary and the only names that I remember are Mr Wood Headmaster, Miss Brown, Mrs Weir, and Mrs Beadle? Infant School secretary . Oh and Mrs Chapman the dinner lady who made me eat the cabbage I’d tried to hide under my knife.

One other memory, passed down to me, is of my Dad going down to Benfleet Primary where the survivors of the Canvey Island Floods were taken that terrible night. He brought back to our house a family of four, Dorrie and Eric and their two boys, who stayed with us for a few weeks. Dad remembered going with Eric the following morning to rescue their little cat.

The Photos

The first of the photos is at the bottom of this page.

To see more photos  use the links below:

  1.  Coronation party, Summer 1953
  2. Benfleet Young Wives 1953
  3. Benfleet Young Wives 1954
  4. Children’s fancy dress 1953/54
  5. Vicarage garden party, South Benfleet, 1954
  6. Children’s fancy dress 1954/55
  7. Benfleet Horticultural Society 1956?
  8. All dressed up for a village party 1958

Margaret Pearcey’s 21st Celebration

The Pearceys were our neighbours in Sidwell Avenue.  Margaret and her Mum were involved in every aspect of St Mary’s Church.
Margaret Pearcey's 21st Celebration
Julie Christie

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  • Julie Christie is my cousin.
    Hugh and Peggy Shearer were my uncle and aunt on my dad’s side. Nice to see the pictures . I was born much later after they moved to Norfolk but my paternal grandparents lived in Sidwell Avenue until they passed away .

    By Nicola smith (08/06/2023)

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