Downham Village

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  • In the background behind the roof of the school there is a chimney and a roof belonging to the Red House , now demolished and replaced with a modern house. It was originally built by the Martin family, the founders of Martin Newsagencies. In 1946 my parents Mr and Mrs Elvin ‘ lived in ‘ as housekeeper and chauffeur. In 1947/8 they purchased the end cottage to the right of the school building. They lived there all their married life and it was eventually sold in 2014. The original Downham School was a small building attached to this cottage. It was demolished when the new school was built. The large tank on the left of the photograph must be connected to the plant nursery which was behind the cottages and school, probably early in the 20th century. Although I have no memory of this (it had all gone by the time I was born in 1949) my father said my grandmother worked at the nursery and used to cycle up from Wick Lane, Wickford.
    Opposite the cottages, amongst the trees, there was a large bungalow owned by my friend’s grandparents Mr and Mrs Dolby. The bungalow was demolished and three large detached houses replaced it. To one side of the old bungalow there used to be a large mound of earth which was an air raid shelter. Troops were stationed in Downham during WWII. They used the old village hall, now demolished and replaced with a new brick building. It would be fascinating to know why troops were stationed in Downham. I know Madge Viscardini refers to the troops being there in her excellent memories of the area.

    By Sandra Martin (12/03/2018)

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