Rushbottom Lane and Eversley Road 1960's

Ruts and mud - memories from Doreen Hawkins

Memories from Doreen Hawkins

‘We moved into Eversley Road, just off Rushbottom Lane in 1963, there were only eleven house at that time, partly in Eversley Road and partly in Rushbottom Lane, the land around was mostly scrubland.  We had looked at the new houses opposite St George’s Church the year before but decided not to buy one.  The new church building was almost completed but at that time nearby was grassland where cows grazed. This land was sold off later and Rushbottom Lane Doctors’ surgery was built as well as housing, one of the new roads is called Glebelands.’  (i.e. Land previously owned by the church to support the parish priest)

‘Rushbottom Lane was only made up to St George’s Church; the remainder was unmade and full of ruts.  The condition of the roads was so bad that the milkman didn’t want to bring milk down to Eversley Road. When we first moved in the vicar called and suggested that if we wanted to we could leave wellington boots in the church hall after we changed into everyday shoes, when going to work, which shows how bad Rushbottom Lane was.  A stream ran down the side of Rushbottom Lane, this can still be seen in the unmade section of Rushbottom lane on the other side of the A130. One elderly man used to take a horse and cart down Rushbottom Lane, when the weather was drier he would use a funny pre-war car.’

‘The section of Rushbottom lane that is unmade today used to be very overgrown in the 1960s and you almost had to push your way through, we used to take younger members of the family over to the fields, where the fishing lake is now, to play.  This area and even parts of Thundersley were under the control of Basildon Council.’

‘When builders were working on Woodham Ley School and new houses on the estate, Rushbottom Lane became so deeply rutted that cars got stuck, this happened to my friend’s car when they came to visit. They were forced to stay overnight and a dumper truck pulled the car out in the morning.

‘After heavy storms in 1968 several houses in Rushbottom Lane were flooded and around 1970 – 71 the rest of Rushbottom Lane was made up with a metalled surface, except the section that goes under the A130.’

‘When we first moved in the nearest shops were at Tarpots, eventually shops were built on the corner of Arundel Road.  There was an old fashioned grocer run by a Scotsman, you were able to order fresh chickens and turkeys there for Christmas.’

‘I remember the gas lamp at the corner or Arundel Road and Rushbottom Lane being lit each evening.  A man would come along on his bicycle with a ladder, place the ladder against the lamp post and light the gas lamp, he then remounted his bike with his ladder and continued on his rounds.  It must have been difficult riding a bicycle over the unmade roads with a ladder balanced on your shoulder.’

‘In the 1960s there was no green area in Eversley Road, so you were able to drive along the whole length of the road into Manor Road.’

‘There were a few houses scattered about, mostly smallholdings with wooden homes, several of them had their own wells, one even had a lake on which floated a houseboat.  It was similar to the ‘Lake district area’ near Manor Trading Estate.  One enterprising elderly lady apparently in her 90s, who lived in the ‘Lake District’ area used to deliver goats milk on a motor bike.’

‘Where the cemetery is at Woodside were open fields where we would walk on a sunny afternoon.’

Map of Rushbottom Lane area before Feb 1971, note Glebelands and several other roads are not on this map, as the land at the rear of St George's Church is still grassland. Glenwood School has not been built.
Map Benfleet Urban District Council
Map showing Glebelands and Montgomerie School, 1999.
'Atlas of Essex' Edition 1.
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