Kershaw/Hughes/Simkin Family Album

Muriel Simkin's Life in Photographs: Part 2 (1939-1964)


Mrs Muriel Simkin photographed in 1948

Muriel Simkin (Hughes) born 1914 - died 2010

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Part Two : Mrs Muriel Simkin 1939-1964


Part Two : Mrs Muriel Simkin 1939-1964 - The Mother


[ABOVE] A studio portrait of Mrs Muriel Simkin, photographed on 22nd March 1949 when Muriel was thirty-four years of age and expecting her third child. When this photograph was taken, Muriel had been married to John Edward ('Ted') Simkin (born 1914, London) for nearly ten years and was the mother of two children, with a third child on the way.

After her marriage to John Edward 'Ted' Simkin in August 1939, Mrs Muriel Simkin set up home with her new husband at 98 Rogers Road, Dagenham, Essex. At the time of her marriage, Muriel was employed as an "Examiner and Finisher" at the London tailoring firm of Horne Brothers, earning 8s 6d a week. Muriel's husband, Ted Simkin, worked as a porter at a London fish market.

Following the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, both Muriel and her husband were called up for war service. Ted Simkin was conscripted into the Royal Artillery on 15th July 1940 and Muriel had to take up war work at the Briggs munitions factory in Dagenham, Essex.

During her marriage to Ted Simkin, Muriel gave birth to three children - Patricia Ann Simkin (born on 7th March 1942), John Terence Simkin (born on 25th June 1945) and David Edward Simkin (born on 12th May 1949).

[ABOVE] Muriel and Ted Simkin in 1943, photographed in the back garden of their home with their first child Patricia Ann Simkin, who was born on 7th March 1942.

Muriel's Husband in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War

[ABOVE] Ted Simkin photographed by his wife Muriel in 1942 while he was on leave from the army. John Edward Simkin, known as Ted to his friends, was twenty-eight when this photograph was taken.

[ABOVE] Ted Simkin photographed in his back garden by his wife Muriel in 1942 while he was on leave from the army.

[ABOVE] A group photograph taken of John "Ted" Simkin's Royal Artillery unit while based at "Hell's Corner" during Christmas 1940. Private Ted Simkin is pictured standing in the third row from the front, the fifth soldier in from the left. During the Second World War, Private Ted Simkin manned anti-aircraft guns at Biggin Hill, Rochford, and Dover.

[ABOVE] Private Ted Simkin in a detail from the photograph of the Royal Artillery unit taken in 1940 at "Hell's Corner" (see the group photograph above).

On 15th July 1940, in the second year of the Second World War, Muriel's husband John "Ted" Simkin, then working as a fish market porter, was called up to join the Armed Forces. Ted Simkin was enlisted in the Royal Artillery and for most of the war he manned anti-aircraft batteries on the South Coast.

Following an infection to one of his hands, sustained while on active service, Ted Simkin was admitted to Roehampton Hospital in 1944. Ted Simkin's hand became damaged during radiation treatment and as a result two fingers on his left hand were amputated. A family story recounts that while Ted was in hospital receiving treatment the rest of his gun team in the Royal Artillery unit were sent out to France. It was while serving in France that his gun team received a direct hit, which killed most, if not all, of his former comrades.

 It is likely that Private Ted Simkin was discharged from the Army on medical grounds after he was released from Roehampton Hospital. The missing fingers from his left hand prevented Ted from returning to his former job in the London fish market, a job that he thoroughly enjoyed. Ironically, the amputation of his fingers probably saved his life ( Ted's comrades in his gun team had been killed in France), but his "disability" also meant that he had to give up a job he loved and say farewell to all his workmates, including close friends like Izzie Wright. After the war came to an end, Ted Simkin was obliged to take on routine and humdrum employment as an unskilled factory worker. Ted was never to be happy at work again.

[ABOVE] Ted Simkin photographed in a dugout with his gun team while stationed with the Royal Artillery on the South Coast around 1942. [ABOVE] Ted Simkin in a detail from the photo on the left

[ABOVE] Bomb damage in World War two. This photograph shows a scene of destruction in Mare Street, Hackney in September 1940. Muriel Simkin worked as a tailoress near Mare Street, Hackney in 1939.

[ABOVE] The Briggs Munitions Factory was housed in the Briggs Motor Bodies plant next door to Ford's car factory in Dagenham, Essex (see above). Briggs Motor Bodies Ltd. established a factory alongside the Ford motor car plant in the early 1930s . The Briggs factory was adapted for munitions production after the outbreak of the Second World War. Dagenham, which was located to the east of London and was the home of  important factories, such as Ford Cars, Briggs Motor Bodies and the chemical firm May & Baker, was an obvious target for Luftwaffe raids. Despite the factory rooftops being camouflaged to look like fields, 200 bombs fell on the Dagenham plant during the Second World War.

[ABOVE] "Women of Britain - Come into the Factories", a wartime poster issued to encourage women to do 'war work' in factories. Muriel Simkin was compelled to leave her tailoring job to work at the Briggs munitions factory in Dagenham, Essex, in 1940.

[ABOVE] Two women producing RAF ammunition belts at a munitions  factory during the Second World War. Muriel Simkin did similar work at the Briggs munitions factory in Dagenham, Essex.

[ABOVE] Civilians take refuge in an London Underground Station during an air raid. Muriel Simkin's three year old cousin was crushed to death at Bethnal Green underground station when a sudden wave of  panic caused people to fall down the stairs of the tube station.

[ABOVE] Anderson Shelters. Two families building Anderson shelters in their gardens as protection from air raids.

[ABOVE] "Britain Shall Not Burn - Beat Firebomb Fritz" -  a poster issued  by the British Government around 1941 to combat the effects of  incendiaries or fire bombs. Muriel Simkin's home was targeted by fire bombs, but fortunately none of the incendiary devices went off.

[ABOVE] Jack Hughes, the younger brother of Mrs Muriel Simkin, as he appeared in a hand-tinted photograph taken in Rome, Italy, in 1944. John ('Jack') James Hughes was born in Hackney, East London, on 11th March 1920 and joined the armed forces in 1940. A serving soldier in General Montgomery's Eighth Army, Corporal Jack Hughes fought in North Africa in 1942 and then took part in the Italian Campaign from 1943 until the end of the Second World War.

Muriel Simkin's Wartime Experiences

 (in her own words)

[ABOVE, LEFT] Muriel Simkin photographed in 1939 on the eve of the Second World War. Nearly fifty years later, when she was in her mid-seventies, Muriel Simkin was interviewed by her son John about her wartime experiences. [ABOVE, RIGHT] Muriel Simkin with her son John Simkin, photographed around the time the interviews were made in 1986.

Muriel Simkin's War

[ABOVE] Nell and Tom Hughes, Muriel Simkin's parents, photographed in the Summer of 1939.
[ABOVE] Muriel Simkin photographed in the Summer of 1939, just weeks before war was declared.

 An Early Air Raid

"I went with my parents to London to see off my husband and brother. They had both been called up by the army. After we left them at the railway station we got caught in an air-raid. We had to get off the bus after it caught fire. We ran for shelter. While we were running I looked at my dad and he appeared to be on fire. I said: "Dad, you're alight." He nearly had a heart attack and I was not very popular when he discovered that I was mistaken and that it was only the torch in his pocket that had been accidentally turned on while he was running."

An Air Attack on a Munitions Factory

"I lived in Dagenham after I was married. I worked in a munitions factory. We had to wait until the second alarm before we were allowed to go to the shelter. The first bell was a warning they were coming. The second was when they were overhead. They did not want any time wasted. The planes might have gone straight past and the factory would have stopped for nothing... Sometimes the Germans would drop their bombs before the second bell went. On one occasion a bomb hit the factory before we were given permission to go to the shelter. The paint department went up. I saw several people flying through the air and I just ran home. I was suffering from shock and was worried about whether my own house had been hit. I was suspended for six weeks without pay. They (the workers in the paint shop) would have been saved if they had been allowed to go after the first alarm. It was a terrible job, but we had no option. We all had to do war work. We were risking our lives in the same way as the soldiers were".
Humour in Wartime

"People on the whole were more friendly during the war than they are today - happier even. People helped you out. You had to have a sense of humour. You couldn't get through it without that."

[LEFT] Muriel Simkin and fellow munitions worker Florrie French enjoy a laugh in front of the camera in 1940.

"I'm not here all day - I have to go and do part-time housework"

A Cartoon from 1943 [Courtesy of Spartacus Educational]


The Death of a Cousin During an Air Raid

"Rosie, my mum's sister, had to go to hospital to have a baby. Her mother-in-law had to look after Rosie's three-year-old son. There was a bombing raid and Rosie's son and mother-in-law rushed to Bethnal Green underground station. Going down the stairs somebody fell. People panicked and Rosie's son was trampled to death."

Alone in an Anderson Bomb Shelter

"First of all we had an Anderson shelter in the garden. You were supposed to go into your Anderson shelter every night. I used to take my knitting. I used to knit all night. I was too frightened to go to sleep. You got into the habit of not sleeping. I've never slept properly since. It was just a bunk bed. I did not bother to get undressed. It was cold and damp in the shelter. I was all on my own because my husband was in the army".

A Basket-load of Fire Bombs

"You would go nights and nights and nothing happened. On one occasion when my husband was on leave, I think it was a weekend, we decided we would spend the night in bed instead of in the shelter. I heard the noise and woke up and I could see the sky ( fire bombs had perforated the ceiling). They had dropped a basket of incendiary bombs and we had got the lot. Luckily not one went off. Next morning the bombs were standing up in the garden as if they had grown in the night."


Fears for Loved Ones in Times of War

"The worst part was having your husband and brother away from you. We never heard from Jack, my brother, for five months. He couldn't communicate at all because he was involved in important battles in North Africa. It was very worrying. We knew a lot of his regiment had been killed. Then we saw his picture in the "Daily Express" newspaper. He was being inspected by General Montgomery. It was not until then that we knew he was alive."


[ABOVE] General Bernard Montgomery (centre-right), the Commander of the Eighth Army, inspects troops in North Africa in 1942. Corporal Jack Hughes, Muriel Simkin's younger brother, stands on the far left of the row of soldiers. This photograph later appeared in the Daily Express newspaper, providing evidence to Muriel that her brother Jack was still alive. Jack's family later obtained an original print of the  photograph from the Daily Express.

The interview with Muriel Simkin first appeared in John Simkin's "Voices from the Past: The Blitz", published by Spartacus Educational in 1987. I am grateful to my brother John for allowing me to use extracts from his interviews with our mother.

[ABOVE] Muriel and her husband Ted Simkin photographed in their back garden in 1941 when Ted was on leave from the army. On 7th March 1942  Muriel Simkin gave birth to their first child, Patricia Ann Simkin. Two months before the end of the Second World War, Muriel became the mother of a second child, John Terence Simkin. John was born on 25th June, 1945, a couple of months before V-J Day.

Wartime Family Photos



[ABOVE] Stella Hughes (born 1926), Muriel Simkin's younger sister, photographed with her boyfriend George Hume in 1945. Stella Hume married George Hume two years later in 1947.

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of two couples taken on 3rd February 1942 at the Columbia Studios in Dalston, East London. The soldier standing on the right is William 'Bill' Simkin, the brother of Ted Simkin. Seated on the right, in front of 'Bill' Simkin, is his wife Winifred Simkin (née Hodge).


Ted and Muriel Simkin's Family

When Muriel Simkin gave birth to her first child she was living at 18 Manor Farm Drive, Chingford, Essex. The baby girl, who was born on 7th March 1942, was christened Patricia Ann Simkin on 29th September 1942 at The Parish Church of St Peter & Paul, Chingford.

[ABOVE] Eleven week old David Simkin in the arms of his maternal grandmother Mrs Elizabeth ('Nell') Hughes. Sitting alongside Mrs Hughes and Muriel's baby son is David's older brother John Simkin. This photograph was taken in the back garden of the Simkin family home at 42 Bernwell Road, Chingford, Essex in 1949.

Muriel and Ted Simkin's second child, a boy named John Terence Simkin, was born on 25th June 1945, six weeks or so after V-E Day which marked the end of the Second World War in Europe. The couple's third child was another son, David Edward Simkin, who was born at the Sun Trap Maternity Home, High Beach, Waltham Holy Cross, Epping, Essex, on 12th May 1949. At the time of David's birth, the Simkin family were living at 42 Bernwell Road, Chingford, Essex.

[ABOVE] Muriel Simkin, photographed with her first child Patricia Ann Simkin, who was born on 7th March 1942. The photograph was taken in the back garden of the Simkin family home in Manor Farm Drive, Chingford, Essex.

Muriel and 'Ted' Simkin's Three Children

[ABOVE] Patricia Ann Simkin, Ted and Muriel's eldest child, who was born on 7th March 1942. Patricia's friends tended to call her 'Pat', but her immediate family preferred to address her as 'Tricia'. [ABOVE] John Terence Simkin, Ted and Muriel's second child and eldest son, who was born on 25th June 1945. [ABOVE] David Edward Simkin, Ted and Muriel's third child and youngest son, who was born on 12th May 1949.

The Simkin Family at the Seaside - Snaps taken on 'days out' to the coast

[ABOVE] Mrs Muriel Simkin takes a paddle with her three year old son John. [ABOVE] Patricia ('Tricia') Simkin with her younger brother John Simkin at the seaside in 1950.
[ABOVE] Mrs Muriel Simkin (at the far right of the picture) arrives at the seaside with her brother Jack Hughes and his wife Eileen. Three year old John Simkin holds his aunt's hand, while six year old  'Tricia' walks between Eileen and Jack. This photograph was presumably taken by Muriel's husband, Ted Simkin (1948)

[ABOVE] Five year old 'Tricia' Simkin and two year old John sit on the lap of their father, Ted Simkin. Flanking 'Ted' Simkin is his sister-in-law Mrs Eileen Hughes (left) and his wife Muriel, standing on the right of the picture. This photograph was presumably taken by Muriel's brother Jack Hughes, Eileen's husband (1947).

[ABOVE] Mrs Eileen Hughes, Jack Hughes, two-year old John Simkin and his mother Muriel Simkin line up for a holiday snap. John's sister, Tricia, is edged out of the frame of the photograph and only her arm and hand is visible. This photograph was presumably taken by Muriel's husband 'Ted' Simkin (1947).

[ABOVE] 'Ted' Simkin took this evocative photograph of his family as they paddled in the sea in 1951. The figures appear silhouetted against the illuminated sea and sky as the Sun goes down. Six year old John stands a little way apart from his nine-year old sister, 'Tricia', who, together with her mother, Muriel Simkin, holds the hand of two year old David (me).



The Simkin Family in Chingford, Essex

During the early 1950s, the Simkin Family lived at 42 Bernwell Road, Chingford Essex. Because of the injuries to his left hand sustained during the Second World War and the subsequent loss of two fingers, Ted Simkin was prevented from returning to his beloved job at Billingsgate Fish Market. After the war, Ted Simkin was forced to take on routine and monotonous work in factories. In 1952, Ted Simkin went into a business partnership with Albert Johnson, the husband of his half-sister Lily White, and set up a shop selling electrical jobs. The electrical goods shop did not flourish and, by 1954, Ted Simkin was working as a 'plastic moulder' at the 'Ever Ready' Electrical Batteries factory in Edmonton, North London.

Muriel Simkin, Ted Simkin's wife, was bringing up three children, a girl and two boys, at their home in Chingford. In 1952, Muriel's eldest child, Patricia ('Tricia'), was 10, her eldest son, John, was 7 and her youngest boy, David, was 3 years old. Muriel Simkin's parents, Elizabeth and Thomas Griffiths Hughes also lived in Chingford, as did her younger sister, Stella, who had married George Hume in 1947. In 1952, Mrs Stella Hume (nee Hughes) was the mother of a three year old boy, Keith Hume, who had been born on 16th May 1949, just 4 days after the arrival of Muriel's youngest child, David.

On 12th January,1954, Muriel Simkin's father, Thomas Griffiths Hughes died at the age of 73. Mrs 'Nell' Hughes, Muriel's mother, was given the opportunity to move to a property in the newly constructed council estate in the Debden district of Loughton, Essex. Mrs Hughes' son, John 'Jack' Hughes was already living in the main town of Loughton with his wife Eileen and their son Peter Hughes (born 1948).

Bernwell Road, Chingford, Essex

The houses in Bernwell Road were built during the late 1930s. Situated some 10 miles north-east of the centre of London, Chingford was originally a village in rural Essex but it was developed into a London suburb and in 1894 it became an urban district. Chingford gained the status of a municipal borough in 1938.

[ABOVE] 'Ted' Simkin with his youngest son David Simkin (born 12/05/1949) photographed alongside a neighbour, Arthur Whitehead around 1953. When this photograph was taken Ted and Muriel Simkin and their three children were living at 42 Bernwell Road, Chingford, Essex. This is one of the very few photographs where I was pictured with my Dad (John Edward Simkin - known as 'Ted' Simkin).

[ABOVE] John Simkin, Patricia (Tricia) Simkin and David Simkin photographed in Chingford, Essex, during the celebrations marking the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953. In adult life, all three of Ted and Muriel Simkin's children became staunch republicans. [ABOVE] Patricia (Tricia) Simkin, John Simkin and David Simkin posing in the centre of this photograph which was taken at the traditional Christmas Party put on by the British Ever Ready Electrical Company (BEREC). 'Ted' Simkin was employed as a "plastic moulder" at the Ever Ready Battery Factory in Edmonton.

The Simkin Family in Debden, Essex

[ABOVE] Members of the Simkin Family photographed in the back garden of their home at 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, near Loughton, Essex, around 1955.
[ABOVE]: (left to right) Mrs Muriel Simkin; Patricia ('Tricia') Simkin (born 1942), Muriel's daughter and eldest child; David Simkin (born 1949), Muriel's youngest son; John Simkin (born 1945), Muriel's eldest son; Mrs Elizabeth ('Nell') Hughes, Muriel's mother.
The Simkin Family in Debden, Essex

In 1954, the Simkin Family (Ted and Muriel Simkin and their three children - Patricia, John and David Simkin) moved to No. 27 Audley Gardens, a newly constructed council house on the Debden Council Estate in Loughton, Essex.

The estate that came to be known as Debden was originally a rural area which covered land to the east of the Essex town of Loughton. Situated on the borders of Epping Forest, Loughton was set "amid rural and picturesque scenery", but only a dozen miles from central London. Because of the acute shortage of housing after the Second World War and the many families that had lost their homes during German bombing raids, the London County Council concluded that the stretch of land south of the village of Theydon Bois would be an ideal site for a new council housing estate.

The Simkin Family's new home at No. 27 Audley Gardens was situated in a 'banjo' shaped cul-de-sac. Their council house, like all the other houses in Audley Gardens, was constructed with prefabricated concrete units and therefore had a distinctive and unusual appearance, particularly as the upper storey was tiled as if the roof had been extended to form a kind of hood over the top floor of the house. This mansard type of roof was often referred to as 'Dutch Style'.

[ABOVE] During the 1950s, Debden Broadway was the main shopping parade for the Debden council housing estate at Loughton, Essex. Debden was also fortunate enough to be served by its own London Underground tube railway station. Debden tube station is a few stops away from the northern terminus of London Underground's Central Line.

[ABOVE] Four members of the Simkin Family photographed at the back door of 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Loughton, Essex (c1957)
BACK ROW (left to right): Mrs Muriel Simkin; Mrs Elizabeth 'Nell' Hughes. FRONT ROW (left to right): John Simkin (born 1945) and David Simkin (born 1949), Muriel Simkin's two sons.

[ABOVE] Jean Sheldrake and David Simkin (born 1949), Muriel Simkin's youngest son, pictured in the back garden of 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Essex with the family pet budgerigar 'Joey' in his cage (c1956). Jean Sheldrake was a playmate of David and lived next door to the Simkin family.

[ABOVE] The header of  David Simkin's school report from The Hereward County Junior School, Loughton, which served the children on the Debden Council Estate. (July 1958). David Simkin and John Simkin attended Hereward School between 1954 and 1958.

[ABOVE] Members of the Simkin Family photographed in the back garden of their home at 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Essex, around 1957.
BACK ROW (left to right): Mrs Elizabeth ('Nell') Hughes (Muriel Simkin's mother); Mrs Muriel Simkin; John Simkin (Muriel's eldest son). FRONT ROW (left to right):  Gordon (a visitor) and David Simkin (Muriel's youngest son).

[ABOVE] 'Ted' Simkin, Muriel Simkin's husband, working on his motor scooter in the backyard of his house in Audley Gardens. It was on this motor scooter that 'Ted' Simkin was to lose his life. In the early hours of the morning of 16th October 1956, 'Ted' Simkin was hit by a lorry while travelling to work on his motor scooter. He was rushed to hospital, but died as a result of a fractured skull and general head injuries. 'Ted' Simkin was 42 years of age at the time of his death.




The Simkin Family at No. 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Essex

[ABOVE] Tricia Simkin on the front doorstep of her new home at 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Essex, photographed around 1955. When the houses were first built they were constructed with prefabricated concrete panels.

[ABOVE] No. 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Essex, photographed in 2013. The exterior wall is now faced with bricks and there is no evidence of the concrete panels that existed in the 1950s [See LEFT].

Audley Gardens, Debden Estate, Loughton, Essex, in 2013


[ABOVE] No. 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Loughton, Essex, photographed in 2013. The majority of the houses in Audley Gardens were constructed as prefabricated "Cornish Type" units between 1947 and 1952. The original "Cornish Unit" houses were based on the designs of A. E. Beresford and R. Tonkin which were produced for the Central Cornwall Concrete & Artificial Stone Co. [ hence the nomenclature "Cornish Unit" and "Cornish Type" houses]. The houses in Audley Gardens were developed by the building firm of Selleck Nicholls and John Williams, a subsidiary of  English China Clays (ECC) Ltd.

[ABOVE] No. 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Loughton, Essex, photographed in July 2013 during a family pilgrimage to the Debden Estate. John Simkin and David Simkin (who lived with their parents and sister Tricia at 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, between 1954 and 1959) made a nostalgic visit to Audley Gardens and the Debden Estate at the end of July 2013. This photograph clearly shows the mansard type of hip-roof, which residents referred to as 'Dutch-Style".

[ABOVE] No. 27 Audley Gardens, Debden, Loughton, Essex, photographed in July 2013. The original house was built around 1948, utilising an unusual "Cornish Type" design characterised by the use of a distinctive, Mansard style of hipped roof which covered the upper storey. At the time of their construction, the walls of the houses in Audley Gardens were built using prefabricated slab shingles  manufactured with a special concrete made from china clay. [See the Simkin Family photographs above to get an idea of the physical appearance of the houses in Audley Gardens during the mid 1950s].  The exterior walls of the houses in Audley Gardens were faced with brick cladding during the 1980s when the original concrete slabs began to deteriorate.

[ABOVE] A view of Audley Gardens in the Debden Estate, Loughton, Essex, in 2013. In the centre of the photograph is John Simkin and his partner Sue MacMillan surveying the area in front of the houses which was previously a continuous green lawn, but in recent years has been encroached by residents' car parking spaces. When the Simkin Family lived in Audley Gardens in the 1950s hardly any of their neighbours in the 'cul-de-sac' owned a car. John Simkin and his younger brother, David Simkin, have fond memories of playing games on the "greens" which fronted the houses in Audley Gardens. The two brothers and the other children in Audley Gardens would use the surfaced paths around the central green as a race-track for improvised "long-distance" running races. Because Audley Gardens was a cul-de-sac and there was no through traffic, the  street was used as a playground, with all the children in the neighbourhood playing 'street games' or taking part in improvised football or cricket matches.

The Changing Face of No. 27 Audley Gardens, Debden Estate, Loughton, Essex. Prefabricated Walls in 1956 /  Brick Clad in the 1980s

27 Audley Gardens (back) , Debden Estate, Loughton, Essex, in 1956

27 Audley Gardens (front), Debden, Essex, in 2013


The Death of John Edward ('Ted') Simkin (Muriel's husband) in 1956

By the mid-1950s, 'Ted' Simkin, Muriel Simkin's husband, had found employment as a 'plastic moulder' at the 'Ever Ready' Electrical Battery works in Edmonton, North-East London. Ted worked in shifts, sometimes working through the night, returning to his home on the Debden estate to catch up on his sleep during the daytime. Each day he would set off for work on his Vespa motor scooter.

'Ted' Simkin was killed in a road accident in October 1956 at the age of 42. Travelling to work on his motor scooter, Ted Simkin was struck by a lorry in the early hours of the morning of Tuesday,16th October 1956. Ted Simkin did not die at the scene of the collision. The father of three was rushed to hospital, but died as a result of a fractured skull and associated head injuries.

 Muriel Simkin was left a widow with three children to support - Tricia (Patricia), aged 14, John, aged 11, and 7 year old David.

[ABOVE] 'Ted' Simkin, Muriel Simkin's husband, working on his motor scooter in the backyard of his house in Audley Gardens, Debden, Essex.

[RIGHT] 'Ted' Simkin photographed in 1956. A heavy-set man, Ted was nicknamed "Laurel" by his workmates as a joke. Stan Laurel was the small, thin man in the Laurel & Hardy comedy duo.

[ABOVE] 'Ted' (John Edward) Simkin photographed at a family wedding in 1947. Although christened 'John Edward', he was known in the family as 'Ted' . As a young man he had ironically been nicknamed "Laurel".

The Simkin Family Move to Dagenham

In 1959, Mrs Muriel Simkin and her three children (Tricia, John and David) left their 3-bedroom house in Debden and moved into a prefabricated bungalow at 106 Gale Street, near Ripple Road, Dagenham, Essex.


[ABOVE] The 'bungalow type' prefabs in Gale Street, Dagenham, in 1961. This photograph was taken in the garden of the Simkin home at 106 Gale Street, Dagenham. The three children are (from left to right), Keith Hume (born 1949), his young sister Gillian Hume (born 1959) and David Simkin (born 1949). Keith and Gillian Hume were the children of Muriel Simkin's younger sister Mrs Stella Hume (née Hughes).



Part Three : Mrs Muriel Simkin 1964-2010


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