Belmont Avenue (a), memories from the 1950s.

Sue Sage lived in Belmont Avenue in the 1950s, leaving in 1961. (She now lives in France and has been renovating her house there for the last 20 years!). She has sent this photograph of her and her mum, and a sketch of the avenue as she remembers it. In those days Belmont Avenue was horse-shoe shaped, with two openings onto London Road. This was before Tudor Way, Belmont Close and Leasway were built.

Sue added other memories:

“Mrs Roots lived, I think, in a bungalow; I was friendly with her daughter Gillian.

Mrs Lavin’s son had married a Belgian girl, Gaby (?), but he was killed in the war. I remember her visiting with an enormous box of chocolates.

Frank and Nell Raven were brother and sister.

Our next-door neighbour, name of Mr. Mole, sold his house ‘The Dingle’, about 4 acres, before my family sold their’s, and an estate was built. My family sold in 1961.”

Sue subsequently added:

“I found an old autograph book of mine, 1954 onwards. I obviously pestered everyone in Belmont! The house that was built next to our house was owned by Mr and Mrs Thirkettle, he had lost part of an arm. Opposite lived Mrs White, Daphne, and her dog Heidi. Other names of people who may, or may not, have lived in Belmont are:
Weatherburn, cub mistress
M.M. Long
Joan Meeson
Annex Chesterton
H.E. Knowles
Mrs. Nice
Valerie Gadsdon
Joan Pynn

These are all in my autograph book, so it looks like I just went around asking everyone!”

Belmont Avenue was a private road with a gate. Turning right out of Belmont Avenue, and on the right was a little shop called Latimers; it was very small, possibly the front room of a house.
"This photograph is of my mum and me standing at the far end of our garden (4 acres of it!). The photographer, probably my dad, was standing in front of a large pond. That part of the land was green belt. You can just see our house, 'Windermere'; there was a huge orchard, greenhouse and a tennis court".

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  • Note to Nicolas White. Could the address have been 52 not 32 as we have lived at number 52 since 1980 and the utility companies have always used the Ark in our address.

    By Isabel Coombs (23/08/2023)
  • Wonderful to hear the history of Belmont Avenue

    By CHRISTINE BRANNAN (21/08/2021)
  • H E Knowles was my Aunt. She lived in Belmont Manor with my parents Mr and Mrs Large. The original Manor House came with acres of ground, my father gave me a plot of land at the side and I designed and built a bungalow there called Carissima. The land on the other side my dad sold to Alan Perrin, a property developer who built a good few houses on the land. The first house was bought by a Mr and Mrs Smith; their first little boy was called Edward. I am still in touch with Edward Smith senior and his children but sadly his wife Sheila died and he remarried another Sheila. I remember Mr and Mrs Thirkettle. My son was called Gary and all the children used to play on their bikes together. My son was born in 1956. Lots more info if you need it!

    By CHRISTINE BRANNAN (20/08/2021)
  • According to the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission it was Denis Ambrose David Lavin, the son of Thomas and Alice Lavin of Wickford, Essex, who was killed during the Second World War.
    Gunner Lavin (945323) was attached to the 68 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery and is buried and/or commemorated at Asmara Cemetery, Eritrea. He died on 28 April 1941, age 22. The 1939 registry shows him and Thomas at Chigwell, Essex. It is not known if Alice was there as some of the names were blanked out to protect privacy.

    However, it is likely Thomas and Alice moved to Wickford sometime between the date the registry details were taken and the 28 April 1941. It is not clear at this time if Denis ever lived with his parents at Wickford, but it is a possibility. Interestingly the war records give the name of his parents rather than the name of a wife, which must call into question as to whether or not not he actually married.

    By David C Rayment (07/06/2021)
  • As far as I am aware Belmont Avenue has always been ‘L’ shaped, the road (or track) on the west side of the ‘horse-shoe’ being The Chase. In the 1960s the east side of The Chase was a corn field which backed onto Belmont Avenue; the west side was a field where cattle grazed.
    The property named Windermere, next to what was the late Eileen and Harry Thirkettle’s newly built family home, if memory serves me correct, stood immediately west of where Trinder Way is today. The land which belonged to that property and which backed onto what is now Leasway, was an orchard where geese freely roamed. At the end of the orchard (now The Tithe) there was open land with a small pond. The pond was adjacent to what was a cornfield at the end of Elder Avenue. The land between Grange Avenue and Elder Avenue where Grange Primary School now stands, incidentally, was also a corn field. The land immediately west of Trinder Way and south of Burne Avenue was a spinney. Many rodent skulls littered the floor of the spinney in the 1960s. The whole area was part of Downham Parish before the boundary changes.
    In 1939 a fete was held at Windermere Gardens, Belmont Avenue, by courtesy of Mr & Mrs Olahan. The purpose of the fete was to raise funds for the building of the old Roman Catholic Church in the London Road, Our Lady of Good Council. In attendance at the fete was the actor Patrick Noonan (probably he who played Captain Moran in Royal Love – 1915). Also assisting at the fete was the miniature water colour artist, Stanley Burchett, who was one of the contributing artists to Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Before then Windemere was held by the London dental surgeon, Mr Grey, until his death in 1923.
    The Dingle at the corner of Belmont Avenue was put up for sale in 1910 when it was described in The Bystander (29 June 1910) as a ‘modern house’. It comprised 4 acres of which 1 acre formed an orchard and kitchen garden. In those days there were full sized croquet and tennis lawns. There were also outhouses, a stabling area and fowl pens. The sale of the property, however, appears not to have been immediate for the furniture there (mahogany, birch, walnut and oak) was not sold until Wednesday 29 March 1911. Also auctioned were a pony, governess car, harness, poultry, galvanised tank, and a mangle with washer. Miss Freda Reed who lived with the Power family at The Dingle, emigrated to Canada in June 1910. She was a member of the Wickford Congregational Chapel and an active member of the Christian Endeavour Society. Mr Power was elected one of the directors of the Wickford Public Hall shareholder funds on the retirement of the Reverend Francis Dormer Pierce.
    A later occupant of the Dingle was Albert Wallis Offin, the livestock auctioneer who died in 1934. It would appear to be shortly after his death that William Dermott purchased the property.

    David C Rayment

    By David C Rayment (07/06/2021)
  • I am the great grandson of William Dermott who lived in The Dingle around 1935 with his 5 children, one of those -Anthony – is my father. At that time the land was 6 acres and a small holding with tennis courts etc. William was a coal merchant and the family moved to Wickford from Barking. Anthony is now about 90yrs old and suffers from dementia. A trip down memory lane made a lot of difference. If anyone has old photos I would appreciate a contact as keeping the memories alive help keep him well.

    By Mr Nigel Dermott (05/06/2021)
  • I am Nicholas White – the eldest son of Daphne White who is mentioned above. I was born at The Ark 32 Belmont Avenue in 1958 as was my brother, Howard, two years later. I am trying to trace some people from that time. Is there some way we could continue this conversation? I have photographs of the house from when it was just built and of myself as a child in the garden.

    By Nicholas White (31/12/2019)
  • Do you remember Mrs Lavin’s son’s first name? The name Lavin does not appear on the Wickford war memorial. If he was a Wickford boy we would like to add him to the Roll of Honour. Basildon Heritage

    By Jo Cullen (Basildon Heritage) (01/11/2019)

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