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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49. An historie view of the Marconi Works, built in 1912. Five hundred men were employed by the contractors to complete the work in the record time of seventeen weeks. The aerials which for twenty years were such a landmark on the Chelmsford scene are only in the process of erection. One writer tells us: These aerials were used during the Fitst World War to communicate witb the Fleet on behalf of the Admiralty, and later to transmit programmes trom the high power, experimental broadcasting station 5XX which was housed on the works premises and operated by the Marc01ti Company for the B.B.C. The aerial masts were 450 feet high, and when it was decided to demolish them in 1935 the Company had to engage the services of a steeplejack,

50. The much-restored mediaeval Bishops Hall is seen here towards the end of its life. It was demolished in 1928. In Fred Spalding's photograph it is still lived in and in good repair. It stood off Reetory Lane near the river on which Bishops Hall Mill stood. The name arises from the ownership of the Manor of CheImsford by the Bishop of London down to the sixteenth century. He probably had the first house built on the site as a kind of weekend retreat, Hoffmann's chose this area for their factory because water was easily available from the river and the railway sidings were close at hand.


51. The Hoffmann Manufacturing Company was registered in 1898 as a producer of ball bearings. lts factory was sited off New Street where it met Reetory Lane in a right-angle turn. It kept company with ether engineering firrns in this area, inc1uding Marconi's. The flat land, and the railway being nearby, allowed the extension of sidings to the factory yard. The anticipation of the outbreak of the Great War brought expansion of the works which, according to a sketch of 1898, were already, in part, four storeys high. This postcard gives a good impression of that huge factory as it appeared in 1906. All the fields and trees are gone and the foreground has been covered with further extension.

52. Chelmsford's importance as a centre of business, trade and administration is shown in this photograph of buildings put up in a big expansion at the beginning of the century. At the extreme left the edge of the Shire Hall and the stone bollards at its foot show that we are in Tindal Square, looking down New Street at the town Police Station, built in 1908. Waterloo Lane divides it from Bank Chambers, which had been put up by 1893. Beside the Chambers is the Post Office (1908), followed by Barclays Bank, a neo-Georgian building which is shown in a plan of 1905. At least two other banks were opened in the town at this time reflecting the new prosperity.

53. Angel Yard was the original entrance to an inn of that name long since demolished, though it does appear on John Walker's map of Chelmsford produced in 1591 to accompany bis survey of the Manor of Chelmsford commissioned by the Lord of the Manor, Sir Thomas Mildmay. The archway under the inn itself allo wed access to the stables and to tenements and workplaces which slowly spread around the long inn yard. In 1927, just before its demolition, the entrance gave access to a printing works, an account book makers and to a couple of rather mean dwellings. The Spotted Dog public house stood on the site of the Angel for very many years, but it was ousted in the great redevelopment of the town in the sixties, Today it is just part of the vast area covered by the Boots' superstore.

54. Fred Spalding made comments on his personal copies of some of the photographs he produced as postcards. He wrote of this view: Site of the Half Moon Inn, Chelmsford, now converted into shops. The shop showing on the left of the picture was a greengrocer's while the one on the right was a fishmonger's. Just beyond the doorway the old Salt Hall much in use when salt was a bonded artiele and sold for a guinea a bushel. An archway visible down the narrow passage beside the shop where the old salt bins stood. This property has been acquired by Chelmsford Corporation and when the lease expires will, no doubt, be pulled down for street improvements. Unfortunately he did not record the date, which must have been about 1930.

55. New London Road will never again appear as peaceful as it does here about 1895. The bridge, known as the Iron Bridge to distinguish it from the old Stone Bridge at the bottom of the High Street, is actuaily a replacement of the bridge built in 1837, which was cornpletely washed away in the Great Flood of 1888. The lamp-posts indicate the activity of Colonel Crornpton, 'an inventive genius of the early electric age', in his CheImsford factory. In 1880 he produced are larnps and lighting equipment for King's Cross Station. CheImsford benefited as an early directory records: ... the public streets of the town are lighted by electricity supplied from their works by Messrs. Crompton and Co. Limited. The wires for this purpose are run overhead from standards 50 to 60 yards apart ... the lights were first switched on April, 1890.

56. This view of Chelmsford High Street in 1880 was a very popular postcard. The long development of the plate in the camera of those days has caused the ghostly repetition of the horse and trap which moved, halted, and moved again while the camera was still open. The Saracen's Head is undergoing an overhaul and long ladders in two other places indicate a period of renewal and development of the shopping street. Meggy and Thompson, printers and proprietors of the Essex Chronicle, operated behind the unusually decorated shop front, third in from the right, which stands today as offices of the Abbey National Building Society.

57. Where a previous photograph showed Barc1ays Bank overlooking Tindal Square, 'there once stood the house shown on this postcard. It was taken because it had been so beautifully decorated to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The difficulty in dating the photograph precisely arises from the fact that Edward succeeded his mother, Queen Victoria, on 22nd January 1901, but his coronation had to be put off until 9th August because of his illness. Frederic Chancellor, Che1msford's first Mayor, lived in this house. It was demolished by 1905 to make way for the present four-storeyed neoGeorgian building.

58. With an address like no. 4, High Street, it was inevitable that this town house should eventually be turned into shops. At this time, around 1880, it was lived in by Mr. John Champ. His next-door neighbour, at no. 5, was Dr. Gibson. Both houses came into the possession of Frederic Spalding. He established himself as photographer and dealer in fancy goods at no. 4 and Henry Cleale took the other house, turning it into a china and glass warehouse and showrooms. Though these elegant houses had their ground floors altered into shops as the town developed, even now a glance above the glitter and the glass shows that many of those houses' upper storeys remain just as they were built.

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