Old Secondary School, Rocheway

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My memories

By Len Bickford

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Also see article by Richard Hall on Rocheway School

Although I never actually went to the school as it ceased to be a school at the start of the summer holidays in 1961 and I wasn't due to go until the start of the new term at the end of the holidays. Some of the teachers also moved schools - Mr Symes (Simes), Mr Gorner, Mr Pickering, Mr Wright, to name but a few. The new school was called Rochford Secondary Modern School and it was located in Vaughan Close, Ashingdon (later to become King Edmund Fully Comprehensive school, some time after 1965 when I left). However, as the new school playing field was not ready, we were bussed to the old school in Rocheway for our games lessons. My older brothers all went to the old school and I looked forward to going there too as I only lived just up the road in Weir Pond Rd so would not have had to travel too far.

Anyway, after the school closed it was part opened up as a Youth Unemployment office and part of the rest was opened as a Youth Centre. I used to go there as there was a cafe, snooker room, boxing etc in the old gym, table tennis, darts and lots of other activities there for all to enjoy. We even did archery in the gym in the winter months, then on the playing fields in the summer. If you wanted to just go for a social chat etc, then you could do this in the cafe area. I used to attend the Army Cadet unit that was based there - I attended for a few years. A Mr Prewer was in charge and Sgt Major Wright was 2nd in command. It was great fun and I really enjoyed the time there. We even started a small band with bugles and drums.

The youth club also did exchanges with the American airbase at Wethersfield, near Braintree -  they had dances and we held dances and each used to go to the others when they were on. As I recall, the girls got on better with the American kids than we boys did - I can't think why. lol.

This page was added by Len Bickford on 23/10/2017.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

I wonder if Dennis remembers one of the pop groups that practiced at the YC around 1965. That was after The Kiwis (later Excel Five I think) were well established. I formed The Ebonies with local friends, plus some from Leigh-on-Sea, and Dennis tried to teach us stage craft by letting us use the stage sometimes. Happy days.

By Nigel Stockwell
On 03/01/2023

I went to this school, about 1957 or 58 and left when it closed and moved to Vaughan Close which is now King Edmonds. My Grandson went there as well. He left nearly 2 yrs ago, and he's now at Southend college



By Diana Sullivan née Critchett
On 30/01/2022

Yes I was at the old school in the early 1960's and moved to the new Ashingdon School for my last two years.  Symes Jennings French Longhurst  are teachers I remember. The old school continued as the Rugby pitches of Rochford Hundred Rugby club of which I was a captain and  near founder member.

Rochford Rugby Club has certainly gone up in the world now in National League 2 same as my now local club Redruth as I have been in Cornwall for most of my life.


By John Stringer
On 08/09/2021

Yes I remember Mr Sykes @ French . The English teacher was good but name escapes me . My old name maiden name was Lutterloch 

By Heather Wing
On 08/09/2021

I believe that the Gardening teacher was a Welshman, Mr.Jones. I know he died shortly after I left, probably in 1959-60 of, I think, a heart attack. Can anyone corroborate this?

By Geoff service
On 16/02/2021

Now I remember.The Maths Teacher was Mr. Cunningham.They closed the school because it was in the flight path of The airport.

By Geoff service
On 15/02/2021

I went to this school from 1955-1958. Are there any students still around that would remember me?  I remember Mr. Symes, and Mr.French. Who was the Maths Teacher??

By Geoff service
On 15/02/2021

Hi Len - I'm Dennis Huckerby and was Deputy Warden at The Rocheway Youth Centre during the 1960s and your time there. Pleased to see from your comments that you made use and enjoyed the facilites we had there and especially our link with the USAF at Wethersfield but sorry to hear that the YC lasses liked them American fellas better than you lads. However hope you had a happy rest of life. I'm now well retired and living out in Hampshire enjoying life with our grandkids. If you can let me know how you are getting on these days that would be great. Best wishes to you and any other YC members still around

Keep happy and smiling...…..Dennis

By Dennis Huckerby
On 01/02/2019
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