Andrea Olley's memories of Azalea Avenue.

Azalea Avenue in the 1950s.

My parents and I, moved to 39 Laburnam Avenue, in March 1954, from Tottenham. My parents discovered the bungalows being built by Carter and Ward, and went ahead to buy one. My grandparents, also from Tottenham, decided to follow them, buying a bungalow in Azalea Avenue. We lived in Wickford until 1957, when we moved on to a bigger house in Billericay, because my mother was pregnant with my sister by then. My grandparents stayed in their bungalow until my grandmother died in 1980, and my grandfather died in 1984, and then their bungalow was sold.

Azalea Avenue about 1955, looking down towards London Road This photo was taken from the front garden of number 28, Azalea Avenue. My grandparents Mr and Mrs Gill Lived there from 1954 until 1984. On the left of the photo, next to the bungalow with the car parked outside, you can see the corner of the old barn which faced the Rec. I think local football teams used it to change in. there was a bench and some coat hooks inside. My Grandfather worked for London Transport in the Civil Engineers department for the Underground. He travelled from Wickford each day by train until he retired at 65 in 1962. In 1957 he was diagnosed with TB. He was admitted to Grays, Thurrock Isolation hospital, where he was treated for 9 months. At the beginning, his treatment required complete bed rest, with his bed being pushed onto the veranda for fresh air and sunshine. He also was given a glass of Guinness every day and raw egg beaten with milk! He did make a complete recovery after a year and lived until he was 84. My Grandmother was a tailor. After moving to Wickford from Tottenham in late 1954, she started doing alterations on men’s clothing, for Samsons the men’s outfitters shop, in Wickford High Street. She did the work at home. She had a Singer treadle machine, which Grandad fitted an electric motor to, so she did not have to treadle anymore. In the 60’s, she did get a new electric sewing machine.
The back of 28 Azalea Avenue, summer 1955 Note the trees in the top right corner of the photo. If you peer through them, you can just make out the corner of a prefab. There were prefabs between Laburnum Avenue and Azalea Avenue. Behind the trees was the recreation ground. I think we could get through there into the rec. The trees were cut down in the late sixties or early 70’s, I think, and flats were built.
Back Garden of 28 Azalea Avenue taken about 1959 By now the bungalows and gardens in Laurel Avenue were built and established. They backed on to the side of my Grandparent’s property. You will see the trees are still there on the opposite corner of the road. At the bottom of my Grandparent’s garden was space for a garage, which Grandad built. Access was from an unmade lane along the backs of the gardens on that side of Azalea Avenue.

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