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Basildon Stories
A New Life In The New Town - Part 2
by Marion Hancock

A home at last

     Fortunately then things looked up. Almost coinciding with my 22nd birthday in February we got the offer of a house: 34 Codenham Straight on the Kingswood Estate. I'm afraid to say we hadn't even known there was a Kingswood Estate. Our excursions had normally stopped at Pinmill as there was still no access under the railway. Nevertheless we found our way, via Timberlog Lane and Clay Hill Road, and realised that there was quite a lot of Kingswood already constructed.

34 Codenham Straight - Side View.
34 Codenham Straight - Side view.
Photo: © M. Hancock.
34 Codenham Straight - Rear View with shed & coal bunker.
Rear view with shed & coal bunker.
Photo: © M. Hancock.
34 Codenham Straight - Back garden.
Back garden after 1st year.
Photo: © M. Hancock.

     Codenham Straight was a cul-de-sac and No. 34 was the end house on the right hand side. It was delightful: small but compact built of traditional brick with grey tile cladding and large picture windows front and rear. To the left of the front door was a solid wooden gate leading to an attached brick structure containing a large coal bunker and decent sized shed. The garden was tiny, but big enough for two learners, and it looked out on to an area of grass we learned had been designated as a children's play area.

The black tiled fireplace at 34 Codenham Straight, Basildon.
The black tiled fireplace.
Photo: © M. Hancock.

     Inside we enthused over the pine units with masses of cupboard space in the long but narrow kitchen. There was a through lounge running the depth of the house with a tiled fireplace towards one end. Upstairs were two bedrooms with radiators, warmed from the coal-fire below, and a decent sized bathroom. The floors downstairs were tiled, so there was no immediate need for fitted carpets. Our budget was stretched already but we bought some cheap cord carpeting from a shop in Pitsea for upstairs, and a couple of rugs for the lounge from Pitsea market. New curtains were a gift from my parents, which was a great help.

Moving in

     The removal people had a job to find us, having gone round other parts of the town before discovering our out-of-the-way cul-de-sac and it was pitch dark before the van was unloaded. We slept one more night at the digs then got a taxi to take our belongings and us to Codenham Straight. Working through the day we soon got things sorted out. Our Ercol furniture looked wonderful in the lounge, with the bookcase acting as a room divider and creating a small dining area beyond. We were both very happy.

     Before moving I had left Bonallacks, with the idea of enjoying life as a proper housewife. But after a few weeks I was bored stiff. There was a limit to the amount of work needed in a new house and the money I had earned was definitely missed. Travelling around the town without wheels was still difficult. Our main route to civilisation was via Clay Hill Road to Vange and I frequently walked to the Co-op there for shopping. I was intrigued at the number of older properties en route which seemed to be out of place among the modern developments. It did not occur to me then that the owners were resisting compulsory purchase and resented the incursion of the New Town.

     Eventually I decided sign on with a City employment agency and to work 6 hours a day, two weeks on, two weeks off, as a temporary secretary. The money was over twice that being paid locally, and even allowing for train fares, it was a nice little earner. Part of me, however, did not want to keep going back to the City as it was defeating the object of our move.

A job I had always wanted

     Just as the weather was improving my big opportunity came. We had been receiving a free weekly newspaper, mainly advertisements, called the Romford Recorder. Although there were Basildon adverts. The majority of the news stories were Romford based. Therefore I reacted fast when one week the publishers advertised for 'A Cub Reporter' in the Basildon area.

     From the age of 10 I had wanted to become a journalist. Leaving college with good shorthand and typing skills I had been put off time and time again by well meaning tutors who looked on journalism as akin to selling my soul.

     Another interview, and another immediate offer - I had to pinch myself to believe my luck. I was on my way to fulfilling my childhood dream. A rather old 'cub' was to be let loose on the streets of Basildon.

Title: A New Life In The New Town by Marion Hancock.

Copyright: © Marion Hancock, November 2006.

Comments: This account was supplied by Marion Hancock for use on the Basildon History website.

Page added: November 2006
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