Memories of life at 169 Oakfied Road in the 1960s and 70s

Both photographs below are of 169 Oakfield Road (‘Havenview’).

The black and white photo is taken in summer 1960, in the back garden.  You can clearly see the plot lands backing onto Kimberly Road, behind my grandmother, my great-Aunt Bebe and me – I am the baby.  Directly between our garden and the Kimberly Road gardens was a large intervening garden having the remains of an orchard (a relic of the ‘old’ days).  This was owned by Mr and Mrs Hart.  Their bungalow was accessed off Kents Hill Road, close to Mr & Mrs Brooks house, and their garden backed all the way to 181 Oakfield Road.  Today a 1990s housing development backs onto 169’s garden fence, accessed from a cul-de-sac off Kimberly Road.

The colour photo is the house from the front, sometime in the mid 1970s.  My dad’s red Cortina-mark 3 parked outside was his pride and joy!  He drove it to Coryton where he worked for Mobil in the refineries as Senior Stillman.  His name was Don Jones. He was a member of the Benfleet Camera Club along with Mr (Norman) Brooks and Don Reed (photography shop in the ‘new’ parade at Hopes Green.

The house is still recognisable today, if you look on Google Earth, although somewhat different.  Four modernist deco-style houses (like 169) were built in 1928 by a local builder.  We were the second occupants of 169, mum and dad buying in 1954 from the survivor of two sisters – the first occupants.  Mum said the house smelt of cats, and everywhere was painted a sludge green.  Dad (and neighbour Freddie at 167) had a pitched roof put on in the early 1980s (dad got tired of patching up the flat roof each summer).  And there is now a front porch as well, in front of the original 1920s front door.  The garage was built by a neighbour, Ted Gurney (from 173 Oakfield Road) – a retired brick layer shortly before the picture was taken in the mid 1970s, and replaced dad’s wooden car-port, built in the early 1960s.  I don’t think you needed planning consent then!

Stephen as a baby with his Grandmother and Great-Aunt in the back garden of 169 Oakfield Road
Stephen Seymour-Jones
The front of 169 Oakfield Road in the mid 1970s

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