Debden History - 50 Years On
A PAGE FOR YOUR MEMORIES
 
 
1946 - 1959
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DO  YOU REMEMBER THIS TOO?
 
To protect your identity, I do not include names:, so please get in contact today! 
 
 
MOVING HERE
 
I moved to Debden in 1949 and well remember the shock of arriving in the country from the bustle of Bethnal Green. When we arrived there were no shops the nearest bus stop was at the old bus garage behind the Plume of Feathers (the nearest pub to Audley Gardens). Poor dad he was used to one on every corner, but most important to a young lad no schools but they soon solved that and bussed us to a freezing cold tin hut at Woodford Bridge
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I moved there as a child of 7 or 8. Unfortunately mum and dad didn't do pictures. As there was no school on the estate I went to Staples Road school in Loughton and shopping was carried out in the High Street, Loughton. Debden Station was called Chigwell Lane and was served by steam trains from Woodford where the Underground terminated. We eventually went to Borders Lane School, about 1950. There were still no shops. The land towards the station was still undeveloped in about 1950 as that was when I moved back to London.
 
One amusing incident that occurred whilst I lived there was that the house on the junction of Deepdene Rd and Cherston Road sank into the ground up to the ground floor window as it had been built on marsh land. As children growing up it was great fun with so much room to play and explore. For adults going to work it was a long walk to the station along muddy lanes and paths. In winter very little street lighting.
 
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My Uncle, who came to Debden with my Dad, moved back soon after, as they didn’t like the mud of unmade roads and lack of shops.  It was a bad move however as he lived very close to the underground and within a few years, Debden Broadway shopping precinct was built just behind his former maisonette.  It took over twenty years for him to get back.  Dad visited the Council Offices every week checking the list of people wanting Council 'exchanges', eventually he found one and Uncle Jim moved back two doors away from his old maisonette!
 
ROAD NAMES
 
There have been two attempts to chart the origins of the estate's road names, but JD told me a story about her father, which seems to suggest that names were often selected by LCC Officers. JD's father was William Etheridge. At the time the family lived in a prefab at 10 Monksgrove Crescent, Oakwood Hill and they later moved to 91 Colebrook Lane. The family still live on the estate today, but at a different address. JD recalls her father telling her that a LCC officer asked him one day if they might use his surname for a new road. They had chosen his name from the 'rent book' and so Etheridge Road was 'born'.
 
 
 
Another story, often repeated, is to do with the signs put up around the estate, and the fact that some people had missed out on valuable schooling, which meant that sometimes their literacy levels were not very good. When many people moved in the roads were still to be made up, and there were various signs around warning about unmade roads - or roads without kerbs, as a warning for pedestrians. The signs said "Beware Unkerbed Road" and it is said that some locals called one road 'un-ker-bed road', assuming that was the name of the road. 
 
 
BISF HOUSES

We always called them tin houses.  The kitchens had plenty of cupboard space and plenty of storage cupboards in the bedrooms as well.  The hallway was closed off by two doors enabling you and your little friends to take part in the very serious business of swapping comics without any interference from the adults.  American comics were the most highly prized, especially Superman and Captain Marvel!!  They were worth at least 3 of the others. 
 
 
 
LIVING HERE
 
My family roots are very much from the estate. My grandparents lived at number 28 Bushfields for over 60 years with my Grandfather dying in the house in 1997 and Grandmother later in 2007. They brought the house when it was brand new for £4,000, having previously rented a house Honeycroft, where my mother was born. She was the 4th of 6 children. To be able to afford to buy their house, they had to make the difficult decision that my Grandmother would have to go out to work, which was particularly difficult with 6 young children, but she joined the Bank of England Printing Works as a Counter where she enjoyed many years working alongside her sister, who lives in Station Road in Loughton.
 
My mother and aunts and uncle's all went to Lucton Boys and Girls School on the now Epping Forest College site. I know my mother was christened in the small church next to Loughton Hall which I always remember he telling me was owned by the Squire of Loughton Hall. Apparently all of the names of the children which were christened there were enscribed on the wall of the church. I don't believe those names remain today, but they certainly were there many years ago.
 
My grandfather was in the Royal Navy for many years before leaving to join Harrods department store in Knightsbridge as the head of bedding sales, often returning to work for them during busy times way after his retirement. I'm only 28, but I fondly remember as a child standing at the gap in houses where Deepdene Road and Chequers Road meet and being able to wave to the tube he would always be on at 6.30pm.
 
 I also always recall skipping through the cut through from Colson Road to Borders Lane and there being a sandpit on the right hand side in the field which my Mum told me had been there since she was little. I also know my Grandparents were one of the first to have a TV on the estate and their house was often packed with neighbours coming in to see what the fuss was all about rather than listening to the wireless.     
 
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DO YOU REMEMBER THE CORONA MAN?
 
 
Charles Butcher (right) the Corona Lemonade man. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
One year my friend from Pyrles Lane and I took our empty dolls prams to the oak trees at the corner of Pyrles Lane and Rectory Lane, just below the Hillyfields fields, and collected a pramful each of acorns for pigs. These were wheeled to Cramphorns in the High Road and were pad 5 shillings each, which was a fortune in those days.  I remember there was a pig bin for scraps from each home under the almond blossom tree outside No. 15 / 18.   
 
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Hi Sue - heard you on BBC Essex. Lived Thistlemead and Durnell Way both off top of Newmans Lane. Wonderful memories of walking down Colson Road crossing through Oakwood Hill bungalows paddling through Roding River then walking through the fields to Grange Farm where spend day swimming and playing so busy up their in the summer.
 
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I went to Hereward Infants and then the Juniors and remember being very happy there.  The schools were newly built and had wonderful playing fields.  One of the schools has been demolished and most of the playing fields have now been built on.  My brother went to the nearest secondary school ‘Fairmead’ but Dad got permission to send me to Lucton Girls School.  There was great rivalry between the two schools not least because of our very distinctive uniform.  Both schoolshave now been demolished.
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I spent a lot of time at Loughton Library travelling in by bus or walking if I didn’t have the fare.  The ‘Century’ cinema in Loughton High Road was a regular place to visit (I had my first kiss in the back row!)  Grange Farm open air swimming pool was a popular venue in summer.  As I became a teenager during the ‘Mods and Rockers’ era of the sixties we used to spend hours in the coffee bars at Loughton and Buckhurst Hill, making a cup of coffee last all night and feeding the Juke Box with coins.  There was a definite feeling that the people of Loughton looked down on us and if you said you came from Loughton you were corrected to ‘Debden’.  Although the postal address was Loughton, mail addressed to Debden would go to Debden near Saffron Walden.
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Dad was a long distance lorry driver but shortly after Mum died he got a job as a bus driver.  The bus depot was built in Loughton, although now it has long gone.  He had also built up a window cleaning business but had to give it up when he was widowed.  I clearly remember he had a bicycle and a built a sidecar to transport his ladders around the estate.  The bus he drove was the 38A Loughton to Victoria, he often had to take us to work – we’d sit on the bus behind his cab and his conductress used to keep an eye on us.
 
 
 
FAIRGROUND
 
 
I remember before Epping Forest College was built in Borders lane,( the land backed onto Loughton Hall) there used to be a huge Fairground turn up on bonfire night and there used to be a huge firework display as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LOUGHTON HALL
 
....we would all go to Loughton Hall and strut our stuff.   We had our very own discos - Ok, a Dansette record player in the hall, but at least it could play 8 records at a time and my did we rock and roll, swirling around at breakneck speed just to make sure the boys got a tantalizing glimpse of our suspenders  and stocking tops!! I don't know how we didn't break our necks!
 
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SHOPPING
 
 
 
The Broadway shopping centre wasn`t so built up as it is today, no Sainsburys, or blocks of flats, just scrubland, 
 
According the the Museum of London website, the Broadway's Sainsbury was opened....
 
 
 
As a part of the post-war plan to re-build Britain, a number of New Towns, ‘Expanded Towns’ and London estates were built. Sainsbury’s opened self-service stores on the first two estates built by the London County Council (LCC) to re-house those made homeless in the Blitz at Debden and Grange Hill in Essex.

The store in Debden was the first shop in the New Broadway Parade, on an unmade road. The estate was built on marshland and was so far out in Essex that the store was referred to by head office staff as ‘Fort Debden’. The new store opened to customers on November 3 1952, providing a mixture of self-service and counter service for goods which were still rationed.
 
 
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`Queeny`s the hotdog caravan used to park on the corner where the garage exit is today. Real sausages in those days, very popular with everyone of an evening, especially when punters turned out from the Winston PH.
 
 
 
 
 
Before the pub was built there, I believe there was a very old imposing building called The Rectory that stood on that site. Ferraros used to be an ice cream parlour I think about half way down the Broadway on the left.
 
 
 
 
We seemed to walk miles as children, I remember the Broadway being built and going there shopping with my mum taking the Borders Lane route. She would order her Sunday joint from the Butcher during the week,  he would keep it in his fridge and give her a ticket and it was my job to go back on Saturday to collect it for her.
 
 
 
PREFABS
 
 
The prefabs were either side of Oakwood Hill.  Those on the left, went from Debden Station to Buckhurst Hill; a series of alleyways of about four prefabs with one or two fronting on to Oakwood Hill between each of the alleys.  On the right of Oakwood Hill were a succession of closes, 10 or 12, maybe, each with about 10 prefabs. Oakwood Hill then did not follow the same line as now.
I used to live in one of the prefabs in Oakwood Hill in one of the turnings called Longcroft Close.
 
There was a small parade of shops in Oakwood Hill opposite my turning. As far as I can recall there was a grocer, greengrocer, tobacconists, a haberdashery shop (my mother did knitting for the owner to display),  a butcher I am sure there was one or two others. I remember going to the grocers when rationing was still on and getting extra eggs for my little brother.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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