The Life & Times of Maurice Buxton – Class of 1960
I realised at an early age, that since my grandfather was disowned by his family and thereby let a small fortune slip out of his (our) grasp, I would need to throw away my ban the bomb badge and strive to make my own living. Just like the demise of the Holborn Empire (which my great grandfather owned) I heard of the demise of my grandfathers inheritance.
It all started with my birth in a small pretty village on the Yorkshire moors called Rotherham. Shortly after birth I realised my geography was somewhat awry and looking down from the hill overlooking Sheffield and, being greeted by thick smog blanketing vision above five yards, I decided a move was necessary.
So, at two weeks old I persuaded my mother that a return to Surrey (my mother had travelled north when I was due to escape the German bombing raids on Surrey – only to find that it was even worse up there) would be better if only for the lungs. So, I arrived in Ewell and spent the next few years there. At the age of five I felt I needed to mix with the world and decided Essex was full of go-getters and that would be a good educational experience. Within weeks my family had relocated after purchasing a business. This was the start of my education, and after Goodmayes infants and primary schools I went to Mayfield. I still remember some of the teachers who included Mr. Maguire (Maths), Mr. Bradley (English), Mr. Frankland (PE) Mr. Jackson (Geography), Mr. Carrick (Maths), Mr. Cutting (Science) Mr Hicks (Headmaster) and Mr Ivey (Deputy Head). Some of the pupils I also remember; Tann, Motley, Murphy, Wilson, Scott, Bromage. and Trevalyan.
At this time I took my first paid job as a paper boy for Hollicks in Goodmayes Lane. I learnt well, but realised I needed to escape school and earn a proper living at the earliest opportunity. So a few weeks before my sixteenth birthday I gained my first proper employment. Starting at Union International Company (part of the Lord Vesty empire in Smithfield Market) and shortly after, moving to A J Collins and the Re-Insurance Corporation in Leadenhall Street.
Now life was starting to zip along, but I felt the pace could be faster. So I changed into selling. What a great life! Over the next eight or nine years I worked for a variety of companies including Gestetner (where I was the youngest salesman they had ever employed), Diversey, Pedigree Petfoods, Roneo, Rank Zerox, Smith Corona and Abbey Life.
I married Lesley in 1969 and together, with the wealth of experience gained from the successful companies we had worked for, we decided the next step was our own business. As I felt I shone as a driver, I decided that would be our first venture. We started the Solo School of Motoring based in Goodmayes Road. Within two years we crafted this business into probably the third largest driving school in the country. It was at about this time that Britain suffered a recession and we felt that, as driving schools were suffering, we would start a second business to help supplement the first. So we opened a travel agent in 1973, christened it Four Seasons Travel and gained ABTA membership in 1974. Within two years we sold the driving school to concentrate on the travel, well at least it was an enjoyable way of life and we could get good quality holidays free. Well that was 1973 – and our history in travel has been hard work, enjoyably and successfully striving for all that is best from the world. We later opened three further offices and the world was rosy. Quality was our keyword. Looking back over 43 years in travel it is satisfying to see the numerous awards we have won.
In 2012 Lesley sadly passed away and I carried on with Four Seasons Travel – but without the previous enthusiasm and, at Xmas 2016 I decided it was time to sell the business and to set a new course. So here I am in January 2017 in retirement but with a lot of things yet to fulfill. My best wishes to anyone who remembers me from those early years
1959 Mick Popplewell
Ilford High Road circa 1959, does it bring back any memories?