Platform One, Station Road, South Benfleet, Essex SS7 1NG
1976 – we bought a very one-off house here. It was called ‘Platform One’, a previous owner having salvaged a railway sign from South Benfleet station located just down the road (it’s in the above pic).
It was a reversed house. We lived upstairs and slept downstairs. This took advantage of the fabulous views of the Thames Estuary. A house below us very effectively blocked the view of the industry on Canvey Island.
Just around the corner was a famous pie ‘n’ mash stall where you could buy jellied eels and pie, mash and liquor – while we there someone was shot, from a passing car, while waiting for an order. But this was exceptional; the area was quite suburban otherwise.
My wife and I being from Bristol we had grown up with a trip to Weston-super-Mare as a regular day out and as a result we’ve always loved an occasional trip to the traditional English seaside resort with its promenade, pier, arcades, donkey rides and the usual candy floss, toffee apples… So the proximity of Southend we felt was a real bonus.
KeyMed helped the theatre in Westcliff-on-Sea by paying for a new sound system and as a result we got tickets to every production. This meant we went to see many things that would not normally have attracted us, and found them almost universally to have merit and interest. This led to us develop a long term interest in attending West End plays and musicals. Fortunately friends we’d made in Byfleet produced curtains and soft furnishings for many new shows and we managed a few first nights too.
KeyMed also had me travelling extensively through Europe, the Middle East and the States. While visiting aerospace companies in California I ‘rediscovered’ the thrust in microcomputers and set about getting in to that business.
I obtained a key role in the development of personal computers with Texas Instruments, but this meant we needed to move to Carlton.