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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19. Further down Duke Street on the left is a building which still exists, It housed the Essex and Suffolk Equitable Fire Insurance Office when this photograph was taken at the turn of the century. Today it houses an insurance business with a wine bar cunningly contrived in the basement down steps which were open in this photograph, but which had been boarded up for years since. They are tucked around the corner, where the splendid wrought-iron railings are still in existence. We know that a MI. G. Mason was Superintendent of the fire office at this time and that the Essex and Suffolk was established as long ago as 1802. There is great variety in the businesses carried on in the shops preceding the office, including Spencer the watchmaker, Slipper the dentist, Barnes the china and earthenware dealer, and Mrs. Clara Barnard, the umbrella maker.

20. At one time visitors to Chelmsford came specially to this place with their transport problems. It was a blacksmith's shop and shoeing forge, providing not only horse-shoes but also all the iron adjuncts and rep airs required on the farm, in the home and in the workshop. As the town expanded and the internal combustion engine ousted the horse business fell away and the site, so near Tindal Square, became ripe for redevelopment. Edgar Saltmarsh took it over and turned in into a juweller's and he was succeeded by W.J. Webber sometime early in this century. The shape of the smithy could still be detected, but that section of the business was entirely demolished in a roadwidening scheme illustrated in the next photograph.

21. Here a wider view shows how the demolition of the smithy and buildings alongside it has given a clear view from the street of the churchyard and of the frontage of the parish church of St. Mary, now the Cathedral, whose tower can be seen above the roofs on the left. Debnam's, insurance brokers, did business under the sign of the Ocean Accident Corporation. Just in the photograph next to them is a branch of Eastman's, the dyers and cleaners. In the distance the rear of the four-square building of the Shire Hall can be seen, Webber's, goldsmiths andjewellers, continued on this site until1983, when, once again, time and circumstance made further development attractive. In front of it, Duke Street still has the wider piece arising from the demolition of the old smithy and it has become very useful as stopping places for the buses,

22. On the right-hand side of Duke Street, going towards Tindal Square, there stood, in 1900, an old inn called the Coach and Horses. Even at that early date it was standing empty, doomed to demolition in order that the first offices for the new Essex County Council might be built. The red brick building also elbowed out the boys' school built in 1629 in continuation of the ancient school first founded in this town by the Blackfriars back in the thirteenth century. The school was continued in Broomfield Road from 1890 as King Edward VI Grammar School. In the gateway on the left 'cheapjacks' took up their pitch, selling anything from a thimble to a pocket knife with six blades.

23. The new block of County Hall was being built in 1930 adjoining the red briek-built block completed in 1909. The foundation stone was laid at the angle of this extension at the junction of Duke Street with Threadneedle Street, opposite the Golden Fleece, in 1933. The County Council was constituted as a governing body in 1889, and its fust offices were those adjoining, already mentioned, to house the office of the Education Committee. The new building, viewed by Nikolaus Pevsner in 1954 for his 'Buildings of England' series, is described as, ... a sad anticlimax. The height of the building ruins the skyline of the town from many points by depriving the Cathedral tower of its pre-eminence. But later building of a big extension to that County Hall, and of huge office blocks in the vicinity has rendered that criticism invalid.

24. The former public house, the Golden Fleece, standing on the corner of Threadneed1e Street and Duke Street, opposite County Hall, awaiting the hammers of the demolition squad. By 1932 it was gone and the new building, as seen in the corner of the previous photograph, had arisen. When the old building was being dismantled there was found behind the pannelling a copy of the London Gazette dated April, 1699, in which the following advertisement is printed: The Golden Fleece Inn at Chelmsford, a freehold and welt repaired, hath convenient stables & outhouses, stands in the Market Place, is to be sold at a reasonable rate. The last landlord of the Golden F1eece in its old form appears to have been Albert A. Barnaschina.

25. By 1933 the local paper was reporting: The latest addition to the new buildings of Chelmsford is that of 'The Golden Fleece' Hotel. It stands on the site of the old inn, on the corner of Threadneedle Street, which leads to the Market, with main frontage to Duke Street. The illustration above shows how the new hotel enhances the architectural appearance of the town ... The County Hall, when the extensions have been completed will he alongside it on the other side of Threadneedle Street... The frontage of 'The Golden Fleece' has been set back sa as to allow for the widening of Duke Street, thus effecting a great improvement ... The external design of the building is 18th century in character, while features of the earlier Hast Anglian traditional works are in evidence.

26. The parish church of St. Mary, now the Cathedral, has been reverently built, rebuilt and restored through far more than five hundred years. There is evidence of a thorough-going restoration in 1424 when a message of thanks to all who helped in the work was picked out in flints with the words running all along the front of the church just below the roof of the nave. That message was lost when a large part of the roof fell in 1800 through a particularly unfortunate accident. Workmen dug a grave in the church floor for a burial next day. They placed it too near a pillar. During the night the pillar slipped into the hole and brought roof and walls crashing down. This photograph was taken before 1878. It looks very much as it does in the print of 1831 in Wright's 'History of Essex' except that the doek has been added and the crenellation of the nave removed.

27. Here the Cathedra! is seen from the same angle just a few years later, in 1884, after the addition of the c1erestory above the chancel in 1878, and the restoration of the church porch by Frederic Chancellor, the local architect, to his own design and at his personal expense of four hundred pounds. Chancellor had come to Chelmsford about 1847 as an articled pupil in the firm of James Beadel and Son. He surveyed and drew plans of the first archaeological excavation of a small part of Roman Chelmsford in that year and stayed on in the town to become its first Mayor after incorporation as a Borough in 1888. As Diocesan Architect Frederic Chancellor made the most valuab1e contribution to the constant maintenance of what was then his parish church, as he did for churches all over the county,

28. This view of the Cathedral was taken some time befere 1926. All the railings on the left-hand side of the churchyard have since been removed. The porch has been further embellished and the oid wooden dOOIS have been replaced by graceful iron gates befitting a parish ChUICh raised to the status of Cathedra! in 1914. Though origina1ly dedicated to St. Mary, the saints Peter and Cedd were added to the dedication in 1954 in honour of the thirteen hundredth anniversary of the conversion to Christianity of the East Saxons by the evangelist St. Cedd, who founded his Cathedra1 Church of St. Peter at Bradwell-on-Sea, The Cathedra! is described in the town guide as: The church is a typical specimen of an Essex parish church of the Perpendicular style of the 15th century, witn lts rectangular plan, south porch and western tower surmounted by a copper spirelet.

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