Memories of Benfleet, 1954 - 1959 from Mum's Diaries (Vera Osborne)

Life in Brook Road

National Dried Milk
Jan Lane
'Dayspring', Vicarage Hill
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I started life in a downstairs flat in Brook Road. I was a very poor sleeper,  and Mum’s diaries record her many sleepless nights, trying to get me settled, only to find on some occasions the upstairs lodger started running his trainset on the bare boards. There are frequent times she got me to sleep during the day, and the rag and bone man woke me up with his call ‘old rags and lumber!’ I remember he had a horse called Dolly. At one time, Mum and Dad were so stressed they got a tonic from the chemist – Phospherine. I don’t remember that name, but an elderly friend did.

Mum used to get her eggs every Friday from Mr. & Mrs. Gates, who lived at 34 Thundersley Park Road. They also supplied chickens, and geese for Christmas. They always used to spoil me when we visited, and let me feed the chickens.

At a Young Wives meeting in 1957, they were shown a pouffee that had been made from about eight dried milk tins.  Mum collected the tins, covered them in fabric, and it gave us good use for many years.

Several times, a visit was made on a Wednesday to ‘Dayspring’. I don’t know what or where this was, so I’d be pleased if someone can remember it. It may have been up Vicarage Hill or the Essex Way, or into Hadleigh.  [Ed.] subsequently, my colleague, Eileen Gamble found the name in our ‘house names to numbers’ lists, and found a recent photograph.

January 1956 shows an entry, ‘today we had our ‘Polly Party’ – what was that?

The post was so reliable, Mum used to get letters from friends saying they would visit for a meal the next day!

Coal cost 8/5d a cwt.

Scouts came round for bob-a-job, one cleaned the pram, the other cleaned boots.

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