Hadleigh: A step back in time: fifth pace.

King Johns Secondary School - friends there and around
by Robin Thorn

[ This continues from the previous article. ]

A brief account of school days at King Johns Secondary Modern School — Shipwrights Drive Thundersley.  I attended King Johns school from 1947 to 1951. The headmaster was Mr Evans.

The school had been substantially built when war was declared; all building work stopped.  Building work recommenced a few years after the war ended in May 1945 and I was lucky as it had just been finished for occupation at the same time as I was leaving primary school so I was in the first class of pupils to use the new school.

The school was very large having the latest sports and other facilities at the time well-planned and freshly painted classrooms on two floors.

Names of Children living in Hadleigh during the 1940s/1950s

Including my friends/acquaintances at King John School.
Terry Harmann;    David Toplis. (a really good goal keeper).

Class mates –  a boy named Cole (can’t recall his Christian name;)
Arthur Sears who lived in a house on the left-hand side coming from the London Road halfway between the London Road and New Road.
Twins John and James Clubb. (lived in Oak Road South).
Philips. (? Christian name).          Thelma Hamilton.
Iris Fern. (Lived in Castle Lane — her parents ran a shop halfway down Castle
Lane selling soft drinks and ice cream).

Peter Lasota.
Jimmy Schooling. (lived in Scrub Lane corner of Bilton Road where his parents
owned a grocery store and had a large orchard with pond full of fish).
Fred Potter.
Colin Nightingdale. (on leaving school worked at the boat yard at Leigh cockle
sheds for Johnson Sons and Jago).
Croucher Twins. (lived in Homestead Gardens).
? Sheila (Lived in flat above Central Garage).
Thomas Corby. (lived in Cranbrook Avenue).

Shirley Story.
Ben Thompson. (lived in London Road opposite the “Kingsway Cinema”).
Albert Stockford. (l remember him and his sister performing at one of the
school plays the song entitled “We’re a couple of swells”  they gave a very
good performance).
Peter Leggett. (Lived in a bungalow in Church Road next to the school).

My local friends outside of School
Basil Scott. (He lived in Arcadian Gardens).
Peter Hayward. (He lived in Woodcroft Close).
Fred Lowe and his brothers. (They lived in the tower house at the corner of
Arcadian Gardens and Common Hall Lane — before moving to a bungalow in
Scrub Lane — their father had a pigeon loft in their garden and I often
watched the birds in flight).

Derek Robinson. (Lived initially in Rayleigh Road in a house next to West
Wood “Snaresbrook” just past Beresford Gardens before moving into a
detached bungalow built by his father in Common Hall Lane).
Derek Cotgrove. (Lived in Beresford Gardens).
Ballard brothers.
Brian Speller. (Lived in Benfleet Road).

Other persons — friends of my older brothers.

Colin Bright. (Arcadian Gardens).
Ward twins. (Arcadian Gardens).
Ray Webb.

Clifford Falkus. Son of Mr and Mrs Falkus who lived on an exceptionally large plot in a large and lovely house at the end of Beresford Gardens and Common Hall Lane  –  since demolished. The plot now forms part of the estate off Falbro Crescent which was named after the Falkus Bros  building firm — Clifford in later years had a bungalow built in Eastwood Road ( London Road end) called “Little Arcadian”.

[For more tales from Mr Thorn about Hadleigh, see the sixth pace – Ed]

Aerial view of King John School, Benfleet, near view 1987. [This-file-is-licensed-under-the-Creative-Commons-Attribution-Share-Alike-2.0-Generic-Licence]
Edward Clack 
The King John School

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  • I too went to King John; I started in 1951 and now, with all this talk of the RAAC, I remember the downstairs corridor had a fairly low ceiling and we used to jump and stick our fingers in the ceilings. It made a small hole like Maltesers looked. I imagine the school has been rebuilt since those heady days. Also our headmaster was Mr Evans.

    {Ed: RAAC = reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete}

    By Shirley McQuillan née Rogers (04/09/2023)
  • I, too, went to King Johns but not until 1959 when I moved to Mornington Crescent, Hadleigh from Leigh. I only mention this because you mention a boy named Cole: there were a family of Coles further down my road; he was older than me and his name was Terry. I believe he had a younger brother and possibly a sister.

    By Ian Davidson (28/08/2020)

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