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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69. In the last days of 1983 there stood on the corner of Duke Street and Victoria Road a sweetshop. Then it, with the adjacent County Motor Works were demolished in a big, new development. It should be remernbered, however, for it was the retail outlet of Hawkes Brothers, wholesale confectioners, and sweet makers in their own right. Here the original partners can be seen. Charles Hawkes is on the left with his brother-in-law, John Burles, beside him, and Albert William Hawkes at the extreme right. They flank assistants Arthur Gladwell, the youth, and Dick Skinesley. They have been loading the van at their warehouse in Rosebery Yard, Springfield Road, behind their shop at no. 211, in 1900.

70. By 1910, when this photograph was taken, the business of Hawkes Brothers had prospered and expanded to the extent that they could go into motor transport on a large scale. They were making a wide variety of sweets and confectionery, and selling them to shops in and even beyond Essex. This is a view of their headquarters, including the factory, in New Street. The drivers are, left to right, Joe Pudney, Len Burles and Albert Hawkes. The latter's uncle, Charles Hawkes, is looking on.

71. The King's Head Hotel started life as an inn in mediaeval Chelmsford. This picture of it basking in the early morning sun about 1930 is most valuable because very shortly afterwards it was demolished so that a Woelworth's store could rise upon a prime site in the High Street. The sign-painters have made an early start on refurbishing the vast advertisement on the wall. The policeman on point duty could weil be the celebrated 'Kruschen', nicknamed from the advertisement which claimed that Kruschen salts 'worked like c1ockwork'; for P.C. Henry Baker's smart and efficient control of traffic at this busy junction where East Coast traffic turned on or off the High Street was just like clockwork. At weekends a crowd of Chelmsfordians gathered on the corner simply to enjoy the precision of his signals, which gave him the air of a drill sergeant.

72. This photograph, taken a couple of years later, is an interesting foil to the previous picture. Comparison tells the story of Chelmsford in a glance. Expansion of the old market town, with an excellent train service to the heart of the City of London, brought new residents, and new shops and busmesses anxious to serve them. The Fifty Shilling Tailors have given Collins' former china shop a bright and brash new treatment with plate-glass and chrome and Collins' has retreated into Springfield Road. More important is the record of the demise of that ancient hostelry, the King's Head. In two years it has been completely demolished; and from the rubble and the dust there rose in record time a new branch of Woolworth's in th at characteristic architecture which was repeated throughout the land.


73. In this postcard, origina11y a photograph of 1895, the pedestrians had to be asked to stand quite still while the plate developed, giving the scene a strange, stilted appearance. The building is the former Cock Inn, seen here in its death throes when it was closed up as an inn but used by Robert Henry Hare, the corn dealer. lts fate is shown in the next photograph. The balustrade spans the river as part of the Stone Bridge. lt is the River Can and not the River Chelmer which runs through Central Park and under the town bridges. lt joins the Chelmer way east of the town, due north of the Army and Navy roundabout, famous in present times for its traffic congestion. In 1962 the river was temporarily drained, its banks graded, and in places concreted, to eure the problem of flooding which up till then had affected the town to a greater or lesser degree every winter.

74. By 1898 the Cock Inn had disappeared under the piek and hammer, to be replaced by the Methodist Church seen here at the moment of its completion in that same year. It co st the princely sum of :t8,000 and was carried out in red brick with white stone facings. There were seats for 800 people and in the rooms at the rear some 400 children could attend Sunday School. But this church, in its turn, was doomed to demolition and the use of the site changed dramatically again when Cater's super store (now Presto's) was erected in 1971. The old lantern holders on the ends of the bridge had been superseded by the e1ectrie light on the tall standard. Chelmsford had a system of street lighting by e1ectricity as early as 1892 because of the presence here of Crompton's, the nationally known electrical engineers.

75. An unusual view of the old Stone Bridge photographed from the new Iron Bridge, which was opened on 1st November, 1890 after its predecessor was washed away in the Great Flood of 1888. A curious wind-pump has been constructed in the garden on the Ieft bank to draw water up from the river for the greenhouses which even as late as this, around 1900, occupied gardens running down from the houses and shops in the High Street.

76. The Old Stone Bridge, the very sign and symbol of Chelmsford's pride and prosperity as the county town of Essex, captured in all its sturdy strength in 1930. The date on the keystone (1787) shows that this bridge had carried all the traffic through the High Street for 144 years, Today, more than fifty years on, it continues to bear all the loads which modernjuggernauts impose upon it. It was the first bridge built on this site around 1100 A.D. on the order of Maurice, Bishop of London, which made Chelmsford accessible from all directions, bringing trade and profit. That bridge broke down under increasing use and was rebuilt in 1381. By the eighteenth century it was again needing repair so John Johnson, county surveyor, was commissioned to design a new one, the one we see today.

S 1731


77. For this postcard the photographer found an unusual point of view - the back garden of John Dixon, Chelmsford tanner, well known at the turn of the century, who lived at no. 1, Moulsharn Street. So the Stone Bridge is seen from downstream, with the High Street to the right and Moulsharn Street to the left. The Methodist Church, new-built in 1898, stands on the opposite bank. An interesting point about the Bridge is that the balusters themselves are not of stone at all, but of a kind of concrete produced in the eighteenth century called Coadestone, supplied from the Coade factory in Larnbeth. Across on the ether side of the High Street is Nickols and Jeffreys, the gentlemen's outfitters who appear in the Chelmsford directory of 1894 and, as Jeffreys, were still there in 1937. This postcard was actually posted in 1916.

78. In 1927 Gerald Balls was manager of the Regent Theatre seen here, Seats ranged in price from tourpence to one shilling and sixpence. lt can be seen that by this time the cinema, with mms like 'Salambo' here advertised, was taking over from the live theatre. The advent of 'Talkie films' was celebrated with an advertisement in the Essex Chronicle declaring that Chelmsford lead the county in this amazing novelty and that 'The Singîng FooI', starring Al Jolson, would be shown from 26th August 1929. The theatre, a complete rebuilding on the site of the Crossed Keys Inn in 1916, is today as much a relie of a past age as was the inn. Decorated in a busy, rococo style it is a gem of the period, but cinema-going is no longer a public recreation and so the place has been adapted to the demands of a bingo club.

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