In the 1960s, Wickford’s annual summer carnival passed down Swan Lane and through the Broadway and the High Street. The carnival floats assembled in Hereward Gardens, or maybe it was Athelstan Gardens, my memory is not clear on this. The reason for assembly in this area was to avoid traffic congestion which would have been caused by the floats in Swan Lane. Having long ago moved away from Wickford, I would not know if the carnival still assembles in the same area. In the 1960s most local organisations had a float. The first four photographs are from around 1964 and show the Wickford Young Conservatives’ float. The theme of the float was a village scene from a bygone era, I have no idea why this particular theme was chosen.
Wickford Young Conservatives held meetings in the Community Centre in Market Road. Some were social gatherings, some were lectures on general subjects, very few were political in nature, probably to the displeasure of the local politicians!
I remember three lecture subjects. One was about beer brewing and wine making, by a Basildon home brewer who had a regular article on brewing and making wine in the Basildon/Wickford Times. The second was about the history of Prout Catamarans of Canvey Island, given by a member of the Prout family, and the third was by the MD of a Security Firm from Grays. There were normally 20 to 30 members who attended.
The group helped in local elections, ferrying people with mobility difficulties to the polling station. It also raised money through organising many events, particularly on the 5th November. The photograph was taken after the completion of the Guy Fawkes bonfire building at Ramsden Bellhouse, around the mid 1960s.
The group members had a holiday at ‘Gorleston Super Holiday Camp in Norfolk’. This camp opened in 1937 and closed in 1973. During WW2 it was closed and used as a military training camp, it did not reopen until June 1946. Should anybody be interested there is a similar website to The Wickford History website about the holiday camp and it is at: –
The black & white photograph is of the group on holiday at Gorleston; I am on the left of the photograph – and I now look very different, as one would after 52+ years!
A number of the people on the float and in the group met a partner through the group. As they went on and got married the group membership diminished and the group disbanded.
It would be good to hear from anybody in the photographs via the website.