Anne's memories of Anchordown 1952-58
Memories of Jaywick by Anne Slack
I lived in Jaywick Sands for a few years in the fifties. My parents were newly married and moved to Anchordown, on the corner of Sea Lavender Way & Broadway soon after their wedding in May 1951. The bungalow which had had been used by the army during the war was pretty solid and had lovely gardens – dad grew roses, tulips and carnations. There was even a peach tree. There were three bedrooms, a pink and black bathroom, with a separate loo, a kitchen and main living room with a lovely glass area on the front accessed by French windows. There was also a separate garage and lawns to the side and back. Mum and dad used to collect mussels from the beach and cook them for tea.
I remained with my grandparents in Bedford while mum & dad set up in business working with dad’s brother in catering in Clacton. They were out at a late function (possible a 21st birthday party) on the night of the floods in 1953 and always thought that they were the last car back into Jaywick. Once they were home they helped to wake up neighbours and raise the alarm. The following day they crawled along the seafront back to Clacton to get supplies from the Restaurant. Because the bungalow was built on high foundations it did not flood nor did Mr Clarkson’s bungalow over the road but his son’s car was seen floating down the road.
My grandparents saw pictures of the floods in Jaywick in the daily paper and recognised the crooked chimney as well as the high roof of Hemington Guest House (as it was known in those days). It was owned by Mr Silver who also owned the Morroco. I can’t remember if they had a telephone or not but we had a message to say that they were safe.
I don’t know what date I started to live in Jaywick but I have several photos of me there in 1952 on the beach enjoying the sunshine. A letter written to my mum records the fact that we used to travel by bus from Bedford. They were happy times and we had lots of visitors who used to come and stay. It was great fun when some of our visitors used to ride on the bikes from the Jaywick Social Club
The golden sands were so soft and and we spent hours playing on the sand and building sandcastles. Sometimes we paddled but I don’t remember swimming. Sometimes I just played with other children. Mostly it was my grandmother who looked after me, while mum and dad were at work.
I remember collecting sticklebacks from the stream alongside the golf course or walking along the seafront as far as the Martello tower. I also remember collecting blackberries near Crossways before it was built on, of course. I used to visit Dot’s for my sweets.
Mum and my grandmother were already familiar with Jaywick Sands as they had stayed there before the war.
We lived next door to a bungalow owned by Aunty Eva – she had been in show business. Her family used to stay as well. Charles Victor, a character actor who played Doolittle on Broadway used to visit with his wife Aldra and daughter Susan. He once sent me a postcard from Russia, which I still have.
My sister was born in 1956 and her christening tea took place at Anchordown.
I used to travel to St Clare’s Convent in Clacton by bus where I was taught by the Franciscan nuns. The day of the eleven plus exam 24th January 1958 was a day filled with gloom. The whole of Jaywick lay under a deep blanket of snow. ”Eighteen inches” according to a friend’s diary. Dad tried to hire a digger to take me for my exam at Clacton High School but even that was impossible. There was nothing for it but to walk along the beach as the tide had been in. Scrambling over the breakwaters wasn’t a lot of fun but I had plenty of warm clothes including three pairs of socks. Nobody told me not to wear them all at once so by the time I got the exam centre I had three pairs of wet socks. The young lad from the pub (the Never Say Die) did call for me but I had left ages ago. I believe I was the only one in from Jaywick that day and I still did well enough to get a scholarship place for the Ursuline Convent at Brentwood. The rest of the kids from Jaywick took another exam much later.
The photos all date 1952-1958 ish except the pre-war photo, we moved into a bigger bungalow in Clacton in 1959.
Anne’s photo’s :-