Friday, 5 October 2012

Blackmore: Wayside Tea Rooms (4)

Received 15 July 2012

Hi Andrew,
My name was Valerie Brown and I was being fostered by a Pat O'Farrell when we lived in Blackmore. She had me from my birth until she died when I was 17 so she was my 'mum'. I do not remember any names of neighbours though I did have neighbours children who I played with. A 'cousin' worked on the telephone switchboard which I think was located at the village post office and I was mesmerised by it all when I went to watch her at work. We come back often just for the nostalgia, and we were back last year.

We intend making another visit to Blackmore and I would love it if I could go to see the memorial plaque in the field where the American bomber came down. Please can you tell me where that might be, a grid ref would be wonderful.

I look forward to your reply, I hope my information has helped a bit.

Regards Val

Replied 16 July 2012
Dear Val

Brentwood Road, showing old cottages, and Wayside Tea Room (left)
Please find enclosed another postcard.  This one looks up the road towards the School (not in view).  If your bedroom window was the four-light one above the door then you would have had an uninterrupted view of the school.

The American bomber came down in the field opposite Fingrith Hall Cottages near to OS ref 604033. There is no memorial plaque in the field.


Received 17 July 2012

Hi Andrew,
I still feel in my heart, that I always stood and looked into the playground from a landing where the dormer window is, and not the one you have suggested, and I still got a good view of children in playground. I don’t want to get swayed from my gut feeling just to make things 'fit'. Maybe the man from NZ (whose grandparents lived in the tearooms) may remember the layout of the building. It’s certainly stirred my curiosity to see if my memory is right. I can recognise the front door which we always used, and I can see the small garden to the west of the house where I played, it’s all very familiar.

I had already guessed at the crash location and was almost spot on!

Do you know if there are school records anywhere?

Another vague memory is of a big black heater in the classroom! 

So Andrew, have I helped you prove once and for all, the true location of the wayside tearooms? I shall be chuffed to bits if I have.


Replied 18 July 2012
Hello Val

If you had looked to the left out of the dormer window you would have certainly seen the School.  The playground may have been where the former Library annexe was built in the 1960s.  Hypothesis.

I would be interested to know more of your memories of Blackmore.


Received 18 July 2012

Hi Andrew,

Yes, definitely the dormer window, I only had to look very slightly to the left to see the playground, there is absolutely no doubt about that, its imprinted in indelible ink on my memory!. Your suggestion that the playground may have been bigger makes so much sense because it could be that the tearooms were just a few feet further to the west as well. (I wasn’t aware the library was a later building and not in my time there, I hadn’t given its presence any thought at all, but as I said in an earlier email, I don’t remember seeing any buildings opposite just an empty space and then cottages slightly to right). Your hypothesis that the playground was once a lot bigger is very real to me, it 'fits' better. To put it another way - if, on my landing, I'm standing due north, then the playground was SSE and the cottages opposite were WSW and no other buildings in between. Oh dear this has got a bit technical!!

This has given me such excitement to finally see those photos. I have been through the 1911 census for Blackmore but can’t find the tearooms on it.  I did find 10 Blackmore Road but haven’t got a clue where that was in relation to the tearooms. The family name Wray rang a bell but really can’t be sure about that.

I have tried to locate the 'Ruth' who contacted you in 2008, and who remembers the tearooms as her mother was born in the village.

My husband and I wandered round the village last year and I was so pleased to see the school still there. As always I stood on the site where I used to live, thinking back to my time there. All I would like to do now is to find someone who might have been inside the tearooms and may remember the inside layout. Maybe someone occupied them when we left in 1946. I will try to think of memories but I left and moved to Ongar when I was 6.

Many thanks for your real interest in my humble beginnings. 

No comments: