He was born, John Edwin Lengemann, to his German father, Henry Lewis Lengemann and his wife Alice Elizabeth in 1892 in West Ham. His father was a baker and had a shop in St Katherine Road where the family lived until after 1913. In 1913 his father became a Naturalized British Citizen and the family changed their surname to Longman.
There was a move to Westcliff where in 1917 John had a tobacconist, newsagent shop in London Rd. He married his wife Lilian in 1920. By 1922 John’s father had joined him and took over the tobacconist, John opened a music shop next door. Up to this point there was no connection to Canvey but by 1929 things had changed.
The family still lived in Westcliff and as far as I can tell never lived on the island. However they did have a shop in the High Street which was run by his mother Alice. We only have small snippets of his interests on Canvey over the following years hopefully we will find out more later.
As a businessman on Canvey in 1933 he stood for the council and was elected, becoming the Chairman in 1937. The shop on Canvey moved to Haystack corner still run by his mother.
John was associated with the Canvey carnival as the following from the Southend Pictorial 21 July 1934 shows:
It was just after 9 o’clock that Miss Kate Carney, who was accompanied by her daughter (Dolly) and escorted by Mr. H. J. Dellaway, readied the dance floor, being received by Mr. J. E. Longman and Mr. W. Johnstone, the organizer and assistant organizer, of the Carnival. Several of Miss Carney’s musical successes were sung, including “White Wings” and “Three Pots a Shilling.” The ballot was opened and Mr. Longman congratulated the Island on the large entry received.
He is mentioned in an article about the formation of the first Canvey Cricket Club which was founded in 1935:
Johnny Longman the owner of The Mascot tobacconist and confectioners (now Sketchleys at The Haystack corner).
The following are from comments on our website:
I remember visiting Canvey model village in the 1940’s when it was situated behind the sweetshop known as ‘Longmans’ at the haystack corner, it had a working model railway as well as various model buildings depicting areas of Canvey [albeit with a bit of licence!).
Longmans sweetshop was known for it’s lollies [Longmans Long Lasting Lucky Lovely Lollies] and also for it’s “spanish wood”.
Thanks Ian, your comment has completely encapsulated my nostalgia, standing as a toddler in the Model Village at that time. Even down to the taste of Longman’s ” spanish wood” (liquorice roots for the uninitiated). Can you imagine a 4 year old chewing on what appeared to be small tree branches!
John’s mother, Alice died in 1941 and I suspect it was sometime after that John moved his business away from Canvey as I have not been able to find more. I may be wrong I am sure someone will let me know.
As well as being a councillor on Canvey he was a councillor in Southend and in 1952-3 he became their Mayor. In 1968 he was made a Freeman of Southend-on-Sea.
The photo we have of him is from an obituary by the Palace Theatre:
A keen theatre-goer, ‘Teddy’ Longman was mayor of Southend from 1952-53. For many years he headed the carnival committee; he is pictured here with Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, on 17 May 1955, when she unveiled a plaque at the opening of “the old folk’s bungalow estate, for which money was raised by Southend’s famous carnival” (according to the caption to this Echo photograph). On the left is that year’s mayor, Alderman Bride.
He had been the President of the Theatre from 1957 until his death in 1976.