When I’m not walking my dog or driving around town trying to find somewhere to park my Cadillac, I’ll often be painting. Harlow New Town, even from its early days, had a strong artistic flair. One of the numerous art and culture groups that sprang up was the Harlow Society of Art. I was a member for many years; at one stage the treasurer. The society was founded just shy of fifty years ago. During its heyday it thrived – with such enthusiastic and talented members, we held exhibitions all over the place. However, in recent years numbers have been falling; without fresh blood joining there are just three of us remaining. Sadly it was no longer viable to hire a venue for such small numbers, but I guess the society lives on in name. I now much prefer to paint from home. It’s therapeutic for me – I paint whatever comes to mind, but occasionally I get the odd commission.

Art has always been an important part of my life. In my teens I received a scholarship at London’s Ealing Art College – notable alumni being Freddie Mercury, Ronnie Wood and Pete Townshend. It was a four-year course and I managed three of them before I got sidetracked by boys. Although I could have, I never made a career of art – once I was married I had more than enough to do bringing up four children.

I came to Harlow in 1962 by way of my husband’s job. He worked for Rockware Glass in Greenford, London, so was ideally suited to get a job at Key Glassworks in Harlow. The bargaining chip, to stop us jumping ship too soon, was a step onto the property ladder after a year of living and working in the town. 

Despite all the knocking the town receives, I still favour it as a good place to live. I consider myself fortunate to live somewhere that, compared to many towns, still has so much space and greenery.

© 2018 CHRIS HADDON

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