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
Very interesting Maurice. I also went Goodmayes Primary and a rather stern Mrs Jackson was my form teacher in the 3rd year. Living in Kilmartin Road I remember Hollicks very well as it was our nearest Sweet shop!
Hi Maurice nice to see you have done so well. I remember your mother, when I worked for a short time at auto electrics in Green Lane, and her red Skoda car. Remember you popping in from time to time. Funnily enough I also worked for Hollicks as a paper boy in the morning, and did grocery delivery on a bike, for shop on corner in the evening. I also lived in Kilmartin Road and
went to Goodmayes Primary.
Hi Dawn – “a stern Mrs Jackson” – perhaps she was the wife of Mr Jackson a form teacher at Mayfield Boys School? Who knows? Interesting tho’.
Hi Steve – Yes you got my mother right. I do not think we actually spoke at this time though. Seems we were following a similar path to each other. Wasn’t life good fun in Goodmayes then. A bit different to the PC world of today.
Best wishes to you both
I also worked at Auto electrics as a mechanic for a year or two in the middle 1960’s. I remember your mum Maurice and her red Skoda, she got me out to get it going a couple of times. As for you Steve old bean I remember you very well, along with Dave, Bob and not to mention Gordon the foreman. Mac in the office and Vic in the shop. We had a good few giggles there though, didn’t we? I walked out of there when Mr Grant the owner after a lot of hassling offered me halfpenny an hour extra. I then went self employed ending up with my own garage. All the very very best chaps.
I also remember your dad Maurice, he drove a Bedford CA van for GB Electrical that Mr Grant was also the owner of. I remember your mum telling me that you’d just landed the job with Gestetner. I remember travelling to school on the No 62 bus when low and behold Mr Jackson leaped aboard, well hardly that, but he blooming well sat next to me! As the bus pulled up at the stop near the school I got up and trod on his foot. I said ‘sorry sir’. He ignored me whilst looking puzzled, I had trodden on his false foot, for he had a wooden leg and didn’t feel a thing.
Not to mention Alice the tea lady Steve who would smuggle out cups of tea for us. Were you there when I put a Daimler Conquest through that hardboard partition wall when its pre-selector gearboxes clutch lock disengaged itself and flung me out of its open drivers door. I nearly fainted with shock, knowing that behind that partition were numerous electrical workers captained by Mr Coburn, the overflow of GB Electrical. It was a steel filing cabinet behind there that halted the Daimlers rush. Mr Coburn and about 4 of his workers were trapped alongside it. I dread to think of what would have happened if the cabinet hadn’t been there. Dear old Alice was not fazed though, took it in her stride and promptly put the kettle on. The whole issue was hushed up, I never heard another word about it. Of course there should never have been a hardboard partition between a garage and a workroom. The Daimler was undamaged.
Well it’s so nice to hear from people that were at the same school(s). It certainly is nice to recall our youthful years. Antony, I cannot remember the exact conversation but I do seem to remember my mother mentioning the workshop accident. I don’t think it was thought of as too serious at the time, as everything worked out OK. Not the way things would happen now, H&S would be be out in force. I also remember Mac was always winning prizes in raffles and that used to make my mum peeved as she never won a raffle. She left Auto Electrical to work for Yates in Selinas Lane. I always remember his strapline. You bend ’em we mend ’em. Seemed the sun always shone then.
Nice talking to you all. Keep well.
Ginger Yates, I remember him. ”You bend em, we mend em” was painted in huge letters on his workshop wall. Auto Electrics had a couple of celebrity customers. Sean Connery and Kenny Ball the jazz musician. These two and Bobby Moore were in partnership with Gidea Park Motors the Jaguar dealers but only Bobby Moore took his own car there for maintenance, the other two to us. Sean Connery had a Jensen CV8 which a friend of mine ended up owning and Kenny Ball a Jaguar Mk10. Kenny Ball went to Mayfield school and lived on the Goodmayes bungalow estate with his mum at the time.
Happy New Year everyone.