Brentwood in old picture postcards volume 2

Brentwood in old picture postcards volume 2

:   Frank D. Simpson
:   Essex
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-4794-1
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Brentwood in old picture postcards volume 2'

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I am pleased to say that the book 'Brentwood in old picture postcards' evoked sufficient interest to require a second and third edition, and also some enquiries asking if a further selection of old pictures of the town and neighbourhood could be publisbed. Although the book gave fairly wide coverage of the district, examination of my collection showed there were still sufficient hitherto unpublished photographs, postcards and other material to fill another small volume which I feIt should be made available for the enjoyment of all who are interested in the town and the way it used to look.

Much contained within the introduetion to the original volume holds good here and need not be repeated. However, the use of some earlier material does call for a few additional remarks. The corning of the railway shown within did have a profound effect on the town, its convenient distance from London and its exceptionally pleasant location produced an irnmediate demand for residences by 'city gentlemen', and new housing soon sprang up. lts other effect was to draw off all but the local traffic from the Great Road to all parts of East Anglia which passed through. Fortunately the new development on the town largely mitigated the above effects which caused a serious decline in some towns dependent on the road traffic.

During preparations for the railway, the directors took a survey of the road traffic on this road in order to estimate the traffic potential. This was taken over several weeks at the Whalebone Gate (Chadwell Heath) and at Widford (near Chelmsford) from which the following daily numbers have been extracted, after deducting traffic which either turned off or did not proceed beyond Romford. There were 41 coaches proceeding beyond Brentwood and a further 12 which stopped or tumed off to Southend, Billericay, Ongar or Herongate. Two worked from the town by Mr. Murrell, who had a coach office near the cross roads, anticipating the

travel agent as he booked passengers for all coaches passing through.

Private carriages, gigs and the like totalled 85, also 4 fish vans came through from Leigh or Maldon, and 11 stage waggons and 14 taxed carts passed. Livestock travelling on the hoof reached the large daily totalof 265 bulls, 522 sheep, 35 calves and 48 pigs, almost all destined for the London markets. At Christmas time large numbers of turkeys and geese could be seen, some driven all the way from Norfolk.

The original civil parish of Brentwood was formed towards the end of the last century frorn quite a small portion of the large and ancient parish of South Weald; it comprised only 460 acres whereas the latter still contained 4,654 acres. At first it was designated the Brentwood Urban Sanitary Authority, but in 1897 elevated to the status of Urban District Council.

Why its boundaries were so drawn is now difficult of comprehension for at the time offormation the town was already spilling over into those parts of Shenfield, Great Warley or South Weald contiguous with the town. As these parishes were administered by the Billericay or Romford Rural District Councils some anomolous situations arose in conneetion with such matters as sewage disposal, burial of the dead, fire fighting and so on which required the setting up of joint committees.

A sketch map showing the disposition of the former parish boundaries fellows this introduction. Among the peculiarities ofthis arrangement is the fact that the whole of Brentwood railway station lies within Shenfield parish, and that the west side of Warley Hill was administered from Billericay and the east side came partly under Billericay and partly under Romford! There was a point in the centre of the road ne ar the Essex Arms public house where one could be standing in all three administrative areas at the same time. Fortuitously, any complications arising in local govemment

were to some extent simplified by one man: he was the redoubtable C. Edgar Lewis, a local solicitor with a thriving practice who was already holding the office of Coroner for South Essex, who now became Clerk to both the Brentwood U.D.C. and the Billericay R.D.C., and of the dependent joint committees. It will be seen that Lewis will of necessity spent a good deal of his time addressing letters backwards and forwards to hirnself, in one of his various capacities which would be re ad by bimself at the next meeting, and receiving the instructions for what was to be replied to himself, etc., etc. ' To overcome the problerns of clerking and attending the numerous committee meetings he devised the simple but ingenious expedient of arranging for all committees to be composed of the entire council which could thus at any time in the course of its normal meeting resolve to go into committee of 'whatever' whereupon the public and press would retire from the chamber, the Chairman of the Council would exchange seats with the Chairman of the Committee, and proceedings so continue.

Lest any reader should feel that Lewis already held more than sufficient public appointments for one man to handle, he would indeed be mistaken tor the foregoing represents but a small part of his multifarious public offices which all carried their appropriate emoluments, The next most important was the Clerkship of the Billericay Board of Guardians which administered the Poor Law for 26 parishes stretching from South Weald 10 Bowers Gifford, and managed the Workhouse at Billericay. He could also find the time to perform the duties of Clerk to the Justices at Brentwood Police Court, and similarly for the Billericay Magistrates. In between the above comrnitments he fulfilled the position of Superintendent Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the Brentwood and BiI!ericay sub-districts.

Outside the sphere of public appointments e.e. Lewis was Chairman of the Brentwood Town Hall Company in which

building the Council rented one room for its office, but only hired a room as its eouncil chamber as required, He was also a director of the local gas company and served on the loeal hospital management committee. It wil! therefore come as no surprise to readers to leam that it was generally held that no public meeting of any importance could be arranged until Mr. Lewis had consulted his diary. No doubt these arrangements wil! have saved the ratepayers a good deal of money, and as a corollary it will have been an equally lucrative arrangement for its incumbent.

In the early 1930's the whole pattern of local government changed as a result of a Government Review Order out of which the enlarged Urban District was forrned, and Billericay elevated to the status of an Urban District Council. The work of the Board of Guardians of the Poor also terminated about this time when it was transferred to the Public Assistance Committee of the Essex County Council and the workhouse now became St. Andrew's Hospital.

It is hoped this collection of pictures comprised in the two little books taken together will pro vide readers with a fairly comprehensive view of how the town and district appeared during the period covered. Cross reference between the plates in this book and those in the first volume are distinguished by placing a figure 1 with an oblique before the relative plate number, thus 1/ ... for a plate in volume one.

I take this opportunity to offer thanks to all those people who helped me to build my collection of Brentwood pictures, postcards and ephemera, and to hope that readers will find this volume to be no less enjoyable than its predecessor.

Llanvair Kilgeddin, Gwent

Frank D. Simpson

1. A sketch plan to show the limits of the enlarged Brentwood Urban District, together with the boundaries of the former separate parishes. It will be readily seen how smal! was the area administered by the first urban authority.

2. A historie picture of one of the first railway trains (Eastern Counties Railway) to come to Brentwood in 1842 copied from a contemporary painting in the author's possession, said to be painted by a member of the Palmer family which had a flourishing business shoeing the horses for the coaches and other raad traffic much of which was lost to the railway. On the train is the Bury coach which completed its journey that way until it was found it was easier for its passen gers and baggage to be placed directly on the train.




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3. If you had come to Brentwood by the train in the previous plate you would have been given a ticket like those shown above, these were torn from a baak, hence the term 'Booking Office', and you would have chosen YOUf train from the timetable above in force from the opening to Colchester. Note that there were then only eleven stations on the whole line; each had its own colour of ticket which had one, two or three black lines at top and bottom to indicate yoUf class of coach for easy checking, but soon rendered obsolete when the number of stations exceeded the colours available.

4. A now vanished scene taken from the former station bridge in the 1920's showing that old favourite place of entertainment, the Parade Cinema which closed its doors about 1940: it was used later by ? firm of motor factors bombed out of Southend-on-Sea. To the left is Barrett's Co al Office, later Hudson's, next is Smith's Domestic Store which continued by a van round when the shop became Herbert's Fish and Chip Saloon. Nothing now remains of any of these buildings, all is demolished and re-developed,

5. Ingrave Road about 1929 showing the new dormitories and changing rooms which linked the 'Old Big School' to the headmaster's house: compare with plate 117: note also the newly planted pair of replacement 'Sister BIms'.

6. An early 1930's view of Wilson's Corner for comparing with plate 1112. Here we have the newly erected high level gas lamps which were extinguished forever in 1939 for the 'black-out' and replaced post-war byelectric lamps: note also the high but short lived lamp in the centre of the cross roads which caused more traffic problems than it solved. Notice also that Belisha Beacons have arrived, but the double telegraph poles have not yet been removed.

7. A 1933 view looking into St. Thomas Road trom High Street showing the farmer garage of Rippon Bros., of which only the front two storey portion remains as part of The Arcade. Compare with the view taken from the other way in plate 1116: the bus is one from the City fleet obtained from Westcliff Motor Services when the City took over its LondonSouthend route.

8. A 1930's postcard view of the north side of High Street showing the properties th at were erected on the site of the Manor House which can be seen in plate 1120. The modernised 'Palace Cinema' mayalso be clearly seen.

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