Edward Charles Pond was an artist who lived in Romford and studied in Dagenham for seven years. He made many famous paintings of various local places such as Dagenham Docks. He attended South East Essex Technical College and School of Art as well as the Royal Academy of Art. He was famous for his textile designs which he later used in businesses such as Polypops Products Ltd.
Edward Charles Pond was born 12th March 1929 in Hackney, East London. In 1935, his family moved to Romford, returning to his grandfather’s Essex roots, who was originally from Dagenham, unknown to Pond until later in life.
Before discovering his passion for art, Pond moved to Devon and worked on a farm. On returning home, Pond had various jobs such as at Briggs Motor Bodies, Dagenham and an office boy for Goodman Monroe and Co. Solicitors, Covent Garden. In 1947, Pond joined the Army in Bury, St Edmunds, and as jazz music was “influential” all of his life, he began to lecture on it whilst in the army.
However, in 1952, he decided to pursue a career in something he “really loved” – art. He was accepted into South East Essex Technical College and School of Art. The “college was quite close to Valence House… which had a famous librarian named Mr O’Leary”. He was “famous amongst the art students” and would “purchase pictures of local scenes and made the attic in Valence House available as a studio”. After passing his intermediate exam at college “quite easily”, Pond was invited to the home of Lady Nichols of Lawford Hall, Manningtree and met Sir Alfred Munnings, the president of the Royal Academy of Art where he was later accepted to attend in 1955 with “textile printing in Essex” as his subject.
Whilst at college, Pond would earn a living doing “odd jobs”. These included window cleaning, selling ice cream and tomatoes on Romford market, labouring and working in the post office during Christmas and summer. ??Pond was also extremely sporty and enjoyed rugby, hockey, cycling and swimming. He captained the college Rugby and Hockey teams and was once asked to trial at Wales Rugby team. He was awarded the National Diploma in Design and a silver medal on his thesis on Essex architect A.H. Mackmurdo which was published in the Architect Review in 1959.
Pond left Dagenham in 1958 after becoming a royal scholar and leaving college. He moved to Blackheath in London with his wife Jane (where they lived next door to pop singer and Dagenham girl Sandy Shaw).
Pond once stated that he “never walked past an art gallery without looking in” and his passion for art grew more with age. His work was mainly focussed on different scenery. After living in Devon in his earlier years and Cornwall for a short while in later years, he may have been influenced by the farm areas. He painted many local areas such as Hainault forest, Chadwell Heath allotments, Rose Lane Farm, Furze House Farm, Becontree Heath, Dagenham Docks and Dagenham Parish Church.
Before attending college, Pond set up his own business painting head scarves and sold them to make some extra money as he did not receive a grant.
At college, Mr Wellings ran the art department and was a big influence on Pond, who believed there was “no process he could not or would not do”. He called him the “master of drawing and painting” who other lecturers feel “inferior” and he taught Pond the skills for life drawing. Beryl Cole taught him textile design and was a lifelong friend of his after this, influencing him to become a designer in textiles. He was first involved in textile design after Mr Taylor of South East Essex Technical College and School of Art asked if he was interested in it. Despite knowing nothing about it, his answer was ‘yes’, and his interest was sparked from that moment.
He later designed many textiles, wallpapers and ceramics with various patterns which were famously used in Heathrow airport and in carriages on trains for the British Rail.
Edward Pond sadly passed away on 27th July 2012 at the age of 83. Valence House Museum held a retrospective exhibition of this works in 2013.