Remembering the shops
I was born and bred in South Benfleet in 1937. My home was in the High Road, just opposite the Methodist Church. My grandparents and parents spent most of their lives in Benfleet, probably going back to the early 1900s.
I attended King John School, where I was Head Boy in 1953. My now wife, Olive Milton (nee Smith), was Head Girl. The school was under the mastership of “Taffy Evans”; they don’t make them like that any more. At school I enjoyed sport and represented King John and Essex County in football, cricket and athletics, ultimately going on to play soccer with Tottenham Hotspur.
Being at King John in the year of the flood, 1953, I can recall the part that I played.
My wife left school a year later than I and went into nursing, following which she was lured into a more exotic lifestyle when she joined Laker Airways as an Air Hostess. Olive spent most of her younger life in Hadleigh and has a mass of recollections to recall. Her family, the Smith’s, go back four generations in Hadleigh.
I have drawn maps (shown below) of Benfleet High Road and High Street, showing the positions of the shops and businesses that I can recall. There are some that I have been unable to name, perhaps readers may be able to help fill in the gaps!
Where possible, some adverts relating to the shops are also printed, as proprietors names often help to jog memories.