Sadly Christmas in Rainham appears to be much quieter these days with only the dull street decorations and in contrast the colourful lights in the houses to remind us of this special time.

Christmas in the 1950s, for those involved in the Church, was always a time of organised carol singing round the village behind the Vicar's elderly Austin 7, towing a trailer upon which was tied an old piano. Choir boys and girls in their surpluses followed the trailer with the Sunday School Staff making up the rear including Miss List and Mr Dennis accompanying the piano on his squeezebox accordion. Some would carry improvised lanterns. It was I recall a very festive sight.

Another annual event at this time of year was the Sunday School Christmas parties at the Church Hall in Orchard Street. The Vicar, the late Rev Jordan, nearly always played the part of Father Christmas. One year I remember he wasn't able to do it. Miss List who always organised such events with military precision asked me to be Father Christmas. Dressed in the time honoured way, Miss List said make a lot of noise as you enter the stage by the back door, then she continued 'I can tell the little ones that Father Christmas is coming'. After being duly announced by Miss List I began to hand out the presents. The remarks of those little children, who must be in their 60s now, as to who Father Christmas really was still make me smile. 'It's the Vicar' 'No it's not, it's Mr Cumberworth from Ivy Street' 61 think it's Mr Dennis from Station Road' said one little girl, 'No it's not said another 'He's too tall.' One little girl, I recall said it all 'it really is Father Christmas.'
Happy memories of old Rainham

John K Austin School Master (retired).

Ludlam's stores on Station Road/Solomon Road junction was bought by proprietors Sid and Ivy Ludlam in 1954. These photos were taken by their son Frank. The store later became Paynes Motor Spares and Owen Hair Design but has now been converted into flats.

Ludlam's Stores Station Road Rainham



Ludlam's Stores Station Road Rainham Owen Hair Design

Until the late 1970s/early 1980s there was a household waste landfill site otherwise known as "the tip/dump" just outside Rainham. The site has long gone but the location is still visible when you walk past and from the air.

The site was between Otterham Quay Lane and Seymour Road with the access via Otterham Quay lane and Canterbury Lane. I remember trips there with my dad when we had rubbish to get rid of from the garden clearance and house rebuilding project that he was working on from the mid 1970s.

Unlike current household waste dumps where there are separate bins for different materials and you load the waste into the various skips to be taken away off site at this dump there was a low wall that you reversed up to and then literally just chucked your waste from the back of the car into the tip so it filled up the massive hole in the ground over time.

If you go past the site now it is mainly grass but with ventilation pipes popping out across the site which are for venting out the gases from the decomposition of the waste underneath. Building of new houses is taking place nearby but planning permission has been refused for some due to the proximity of the landfill site to the proposed development.


This information and photo was kindly sent in by Jade Parker.

I managed to find a photo from July 1977 of the Silver Jubilee Street Party. The photo attached is on my nanny's road. Bettescombe Road, where my nanny, grandad, mum, aunt and uncle lived since '72. 

My mum remembers there was a fancy dress competition where my aunt and uncle participated, they dressed up as a pearly king and queen and their outfits were made my great grandmother that was from east London. The time of the jubilee competition was changed and sadly they missed the start and they had already chosen the winner. It was disappointing since my great grandmother spent many weeks sewing their outfits. 



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