Essex Way during the 1940/50’s
The righthand side going up Essex Way where the Doctor’s stands now was all trees and very dark at night with only one streetlight. It was very creepy and then there were the old clapboarded cottages further up (which were demolished in 1960). The first one was rented by Mrs Clubb which had an outside toilet shared by three of the cottages. The coal cellar was inside the back door on the left.
Next door was a Mrs Goodwin, a Sunday School teacher, living with her son and daughter. Her next door neighbour was a blind lady by the name of Williams who played the piano in her cottage. Another family, the Abbots lived in the next cottage. The Moorings, which still stands on the corner of Grosvenor Road, was occupied by a Miss Edwards with her little dog.
Further along the road in a villa an old lady lived who was always baking scrumptious cakes – her son was an artist and eventually went to live in Devon. The clapboarded cottage next door was always having new people renting. On the corner of Highcliff Road lived the Sheppard family. The father had only one leg but was a boot mender. He had two daughters, one worked in the factory on the corner of School Lane, which made clothes. School Lane was the place to be when it snowed. The hill on the left, which is now houses, made an excellent slide on a toboggan.
On the other corner of Highcliff Road lived the Strutt family among the trees and an old tin awning was suspended over the back door. This family belonged to the Peculiar Peoples Chapel who did not believe in Doctors. Crissy Strutt (the daugher, middle aged) used to stand at the gate getting passersby to bring her back something from the shops. She never went out herself – she and her father died in the house which was in a terrible state inside.
In 1955 the bungalows on the left (opposite where the black clapboarded cottages stood) were built. This previously was two fields owned by Howards’ Dairies where horses grazed and was used by the many local children to play cricket and football.
Further up the Essex Way on the right before the junction with Norwood Drive two brick cottages stood. The Finch family (Ivy and her brother) occupied the first one. Ivy worked at the School Lane factory and has only recently died, having moved from Essex Way some while ago. The attached cottage was the Patrick family. On this site now stands two houses. A few Roman coins were found in the garden of one of the cottages.