A happy life lived in one Becontree home

CHANGES may have come and gone but one ordinary-looking home in Dagenham has housed a loyal resident – and her family - since it was built as part of the massive Becontree Estate project in the 1930s. Ada Morgan, 80, has lived a happy and content life in

CHANGES may have come and gone but one ordinary-looking home in Dagenham has housed a loyal resident - and her family - since it was built as part of the massive Becontree Estate project in the 1930s.

Ada Morgan, 80, has lived a happy and content life in the house on Aconbury Road, since she was two years old.

She and husband Roy will have lived there together, as a married couple, for 60 years in September.

It is a special year for them in many respects.


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Ada has just celebrated her 80th birthday, Roy's 80th birthday is coming up in August, and both have been invited to the Queen's Buckingham Palace garden party in the summer.

They will also attend the Trooping the Colour ceremony in June and celebrate their Diamond wedding in September.

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Ada said: "I'm very excited."

She may not be able to recall her first memory in the house but one of her most striking recollections was the dropping of an incendiary bomb which came through the roof of the family home during the Second World War.

She retold the dramatic incident with a good dose of humour.

"My father was a fire watcher on that particular night we were bombed. He was standing outside.

"When the two incendiary bombs were dropped, he did not realise they had come through the roof. Mother tried to get to one of the doors.

"When she finally managed to get out she was really annoyed. She told my father: 'I don't know about fire watching out there - we were bombed in here!'"

Ada and her siblings did not allow for fear or despair to take over their everyday lives. They mastered the threat of the Nazi bombs with playfulness and a sense of fun.

She said: "It was not a tormentous thing because it was all an adventure. When we went into the bomb raid shelter we used to take and read books."

From her vantage point in Aconbury Road, Ada has seen the borough change from the small village it used to be to an east London borough with a thriving industry, as the fashions and the passions of post-war life came and went.

She said: "I have seen a lot of alterations. I remember there was castle at the end of Castle Road. We used to walk over to the River Thames for a day trip and we used to cross over what is now the Ripple Road.

"We had a lovely childhood and a lovely mother and father."

Every Saturday morning the children would walk to the shops in Barking where their mother would sometimes buy them 'exotic' fruits - the kind that children today have to be force-fed with.

She said: "It was really a treat to have a banana or an orange."

Other health benefits were to be gained from daily walks to school as public transport was in its infancy - to Manor Infant School, Sandringham Road, Barking, and later, Bifron Secondary School in Axe Street.

When she was 16 she met the love of her life at the Bifrons Youth Club. She said: "This might sound a bit strange but I met him when I was unconscious."

"We used to go to Bifrons Youth Club and when it was snowy and icy, the children used to make icy slopes. One evening I ran to the youth club. I slipped and was knocked unconscious.

"My husband was putting snow on my forehead to bring me around."

In 1950, they were married at the old St Johns Church in Goresbrook Road, which has since been knocked down.

Roy had joined the merchant army in 1947 and left in 1956. Ada worked at the large Co-operative department store - "a terrific big building in East Ham" for 12 years before she had the first of her two sons.

When the boys were old enough to be left alone, she started work as an accounts clerk at Andrews furniture store in Becontree Avenue - a job she did for 28 years until she retired at the age of 63.

Roy, meanwhile, worked for John Shaw - a wire rope firm - on the A13 for many years.

Ada Morgan's story is surprising because it represents scolidity in a time of rapid change, and spatial stability in a time when moving away up, away or escaping seem to be on everybody's mind, when repossession and buy-to-let schemes encourage or force people to abandon their homes.

Not many people can claim to have lived in the same property nearly their whole lives but anyone who believes to have outdone Ada should contact the POST on (020) 8477 3900.

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