Chelmsford in old picture postcards

Chelmsford in old picture postcards

:   Stan Jarvis
:   Essex
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2734-9
:   112
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

Delivery time: 2-3 weeks (subject too). The illustrated cover may differ.


Fragments from the book 'Chelmsford in old picture postcards'

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9. Fred Spa1ding took this photograph in 1933 because the scene which had been unaltered for a century or more was about to be entirely changed by the demolition of the cottage on the right. The 1930 Directory shows Mrs. Pannell as the fishmonger and Mrs. Jane Turner as a 'fancy draper'. The latter was the widow of Robert Turner who had carried on his upholstery business and sold toys in this shop. Back in 1881 Alfred Barnard was greengrocer where Pannell's sign now shows, and from the same address Alfred Fenn offered his services as a carpenter and joiner. Very soon after this all these buildings were demolished to make way for the block which now accommodates Essex Radio's Duke Street office, the Post Office and the hairdresser's.

10. Though the houses on the right-hand side of Duke Street have all been demolished since this rare photograph was taken by Frederick Spalding, senior, in 1870, the left-hand side of Duke Street remains very much the same in its architecture, though the ground floors have been turned into shops. Modern building all down Duke Street beyond the railway bridge now hides the church (later Cathedral) tower from view. The cottages on the right have been replaced by the library block of the Civic Centre, erected in 1935. The rest of the Civic Centre was completed in 1962. Occupants of those cottages have gone unrecorded, but it is known that in about 1895 Edward Hunt Carter was living in Fairfield House, just beyond the tree, which the bus station now covers with its concrete apron.

11. This view was taken from a position roughly opposite the present library in Duke Street. In the distance the old omnibus station appears as a recently built amenity, and the two houses before it are awaiting demolition in the interests of its further extension. Fairfield Road, running off to the right, marks the site of the field, where, in former times, the town's important trading, hiring and just genera1ly enjoyable fair was held. It was still open land down to at least 1876. The house on its corner, noted previously as Fairfield House, belonged up to its demolition to Dr. Henry Newton, who also acted as Public Vaccinator.

12. The NationalOmnibus Company's first garage was under one of the arches of the Chelmsford railway viaduct. In June 1918, the Company bought the yard and premises belonging to Messrs. Wells and Perry, timber merchants, adjacent to the viaduct and fronting on Duke Street. In June, 1930, the old buildings were demolished and the present covercd-in garage was opened in July, 1931. On the right is the house, now demolished, said to have been lived in by Daniel Defoe. lts last occupant was Mr. H. Banks, the Manager of the Company. The original National Bus Company was the brain child of Thomas Clarkson, designer and manufacturer of steam buses at a factory on the site of the present Eastern National Head Office and depot off New Writtle Street.

13. The problems facing early photographers are clearly shown in this picture where the speed of the development of the plate is not quick enough to cope with the movement of a cyclist, who appears only as ablur. The public toilets on their tight little island are almost ernbarrassingly prominent. They were built in mock-Tudor style in the early part of this century and were a boon to bus passengers and to rail travellers, for the station is on the viaduct rising directly above them. It was from the platform that the photograph was taken about 1920. It has caught three busmen chatting outside the Counting House where the conductors paid in their takings.

14. This postcard was never sent. The only inscription on the reverse is: 'Church parade, Duke Street, Chelmsford, 1914.' The soldiers are probably men of the Essex Yeomanry who went to war straight fr om their annual training camp at Clacton. The point of view in Duke Street today can be established by reference to the Plough Inn at the right-hand corner of the photograph. The shop next to it, J.G. Bond's. is a branch of the well-known drapers established in the High Street that deveIoped into a departmental store and in recent years was taken over by Debenham's. A business review of 1890 states that Mr. Bond, is also about to open another branch at 29, Duke Street, to meet the wants of an increasing neighbourhood. The fust street leading off to the right is wens Street, and the next on the right, in the far distanee, indicated by the sign post, is Broomfield Road. The gardens on the left-hand side are now taken over by the bus station, the Civic Centre, and the memorial to the dead of two world wars.

15. The railway reached out from London to Chelmsford in 1845. This view, taken around 1910, shows the fa├žade of the second railway station, built in 1856, replacing a small timber structure erected between the 'up' and 'down' lines some two hundred yards further to the north. The bus peeping out from behind the notice board on the right is almost certainly a Clarkson steam bus made at his works a mile or so away across the river. The station is a lofty building because it had to be built to the height of the railway itself, which on approaching Chelmsford runs across the river valley on a high viaduct. One of its arches can be seen on the left behind the car. This arch is used today as a very convenient taxi rank.


16. Here the photographer has stepped aside from the main street to walk down Park Road to the Recreation Ground which he crossed to come to the further end of the lake which is such a popular resort of Chelmsford's young fishermen. The lake, hardly more than a large pond, was made by the excavation of material to form the embankment for the railway and to provide drainage for a troublesome spring. Nowadays an island in the lake, raised to provide sanctuary for the many water birds, prevents a further view from this direction. Dating of this scene is assisted by the presence of the two towering masts so clearly reflected in the lake. They were being erected in 1912 at the New Street headquarters of the Marconi Company and stood as a locallandmark until their dismantlement in 1935. The background of this view today is a blur of colour as traffic speeds by on the ring road which was built across the recreation ground in the seventies.

17. Passing under the railway bridge, this was the view which greeted the tra veIler of the 1930's as he looked down lower Duke Street. The sign on the wall shows how, long before the bypass was opened in 1932, through traffic was encouraged to avoid the town centre by turning left into Victoria Road to piek up Springfield Road, the old Al2, on the other side of town, The house was known as Brewery House, later Dorset House. The dignified railings conneet it with the brewery itself, seen here with scaffolding about to be erected for its eventual demolition. By 1936 the brewery had gone, but the house lingered on as a dentist's surgery, then a youth club and finally as a sad ruin until it was demolished in 1981.

18. The brewery built for Wells and Perry is seen here in a sorry state. The clothes of the workmen put the date around 1930 and it is known that by 1936 the entire building had been flattened. The brewery was adjoined on the further side by the Lion and Lamb public house which was later pul1ed down and rebuilt much further back from the street, In the brewery yard which stretched away behind it, parallel with Victoria Road, an extremely large and deep well was sunk. It was not re-discovered until it became a surprise and a problem when the whole site was being re-developed in 1979.

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