Jeff Avery - About, page 4 of 5

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At sixteen, I entered the sixth form at Latymer and here is a class photo. I’m third in from the left in the back row.

In Gilpin Grove, Edmonton, we were renting two floors in an old victorian three-storied terrace. When I was fourteen, with loan from my father’s sister Emmie, we bought a house in Bush Hill Park, Enfield, Middlesex. On the right is a picture taken 26 years later. It’s the house with the red car.

We had stopped taking our holidays in Jaywick by now and had bought a caravan that was stationed at St. Osyth, Essex, a few miles from Jaywick. After the extensive East Coast flooding of 1953, a sea wall had been built and our caravan was situated in front of the sea wall on the beach. It was a great location for boating, swimming, fishing and a host of other pastimes. In the winter, the caravan was moved behind the sea wall onto a field.

Above is a photo of me with Ted Price who owned a neighbouring caravan. Notice the good old Seagull outboard. I also joined Clacton Sailing Club and learned to sail and race dinghies which I did for several years.

From Latymer, I went to Queens College in the University of London to study for a Chemistry B.Sc. I didn’t really want to go to university. A friend of mine had left school after the fifth form and got a job as a television repair man. That seemed like heaven to me. But my mother applied pressure and I went to university instead. For me university was a great social life but chemistry did not turn out to be my thing. Instead, I left after a year and took a job as an Actuarial Trainee at an insurance company. It’s not that I chose insurance, either. It happened that my sister worked there and heard that they were looking for people. At this stage in my life decisions were made for me! I believe that the photo on the left is the one taken when I joined the insurance company at age nineteen.

Now, as in university, I had two sets of friends. On the left is a photo of me with George Etherington who lived near me in Bush Hill Park. George had a great influence on me. On the right is a photo of me at twenty-three trying out as a bullfighter during a trip to Spain with friends from work.

I loved my job in the insurance company and didn’t want to go home  after work. The mathematics of insurance work, working with old mechanical Friden and Monroe calculators, working with other young people: this was the stuff of life and they insisted on paying me for it! If only the rest of my career had been in the same vein... but that’s jumping ahead.

There was a staff of about four hundred in the office and about three hundred and fifty of them were female and most of them young. I was seldom without a girlfriend. But then, at age 26, I met Jacqueline Pewtress in the New Business Department and my roaming days were over!

Here is a picture of us at a field between Jaywick and Clacton, Essex, when we took our first trip in an aeroplane.

On the left is a picture of me in the backyard in my school blazer. It was taken in the year we bought the house.

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