Brentwood in old picture postcards volume 1

Brentwood in old picture postcards volume 1

:   Frank D. Simpson
:   Essex
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3053-0
:   112
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Brentwood in old picture postcards volume 1'

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Though I cannot claim to be a true Brentwoodian by birth, for I was just three years old when my parents came to the town in 1913, all my upbringing was in Brentwood and my schooling obtained at the Grammar School (as the present Brentwood School was then always known), I feel I can at least claim to be an Old Brentwoodian in that capacity.

I lived and worked in Brentwood for forty-five years during which time I acquired an affection for the place and its environment which has remained with me ever since. Over the years I gathered a quantity of old picture postcards and photographs of the district and some of local events which have travelled with me to wherever I have lived since, and I can say that I have never tired of turning over the leaves of my album from time to time. Distance, age and the fact that no longer does any member of the family reside in the district now regretfully precludes more than a very occasional fleeting visit.

A number of the postcards were kindly given to me, or loaned to me for copying by residents who knew or shared my interest for which I have been ever grateful. I have always cherished the hope that some day it would be possible for others to share in the enjoyment these old postcards have given me. Happily, the European Library has provided me with the opportunity to make a selection of scenes from my collection for publication, this little book being the result. My earliest recollections of the town are of the 1914-1918 war period when our then rather quiet country town was quickly transformed into one vast garrison - not only on account of the great military establishment at Warley, now no more, but also because a military camp was set up on Shenfield Common and the Highwood Hospital was occupied by the military, and the Poplar schools (now the Hutton Residential School) became the temporary home of the Duke of York's School evacuated from Dover, and almost every household had one or more soldiers billeted upon them. Army mule-waggons appeared to be everywhere and motor

ambulances, some fitted with balloon like containers carried on the roof, which enabled them to operate on town-gas, could often be seen as several of the large houses around the town were converted into military hospitals and war injured soldiers in 'hospital blue' became a common sight in the town.

There were very few motor vehicles then, only an occasional lorry or steam hauled vehicle was to be seen: almost everything that did not travel by the railway was horse-drawn or manuaily propelled. The gentry could be seen in their carriages with a coachman or groom, gigs.xiog-carts or ponytraps were the usual mode of conveyance for the less opulent who lived out of town: the bicycle or 'Shank's Pony' sufficed for all ethers, Almost every shop keeper had his delivery cart or van or an errand boy who rode a carrier cycle or perambulated a barrow or handcart for deliveries. The motor-bus was still unknown though there was one small horse-drawn closed conveyance which was known locally as the 'fever box' because it closely resem bIed the vehicle used for taking patients to the isolation hospital at Billericay, which trundled somewhat sorrowfully between the railway station, the town and Herongate two or three times daily untill920 when the first motor-buses arrived in the town. FIOm this time forward the automobile has steadily ousted the horse until we have now reached the point where it completely dominates our whole existence.

Since the coming of the Eastern Counties Railway in 1840 the development of the town has been almost excIusively of a residential character. No single industrial activity has ever been a major factor in the life of the district. This is due chiefly to its favourable location at a convenient distance from the Metropolis for commuting daily. The healthy atmosphere and elevated situation besides attracting former London residents has also brought a number ofhospitals and similar establishments into the district. These, coupled with the service, distributive and ancillary trades have been the

chief providers of employment in the town: though brickmaking and the agricultural machinery works of Burgess & Company deserve mention. Other factors favourable to the growth of the town are the beautiful open spaces or cornmons which escaped enelosure such as Shenfield and Childerditch: the goodly number of large private estates and parks which happily still remain - some in public ownership for pleasure uses - though in other cases their usage has changed. The schools too have saved much land from the hands of the builders, and preserved a number of fine houses which otherwise could not have survived, particularly near the town centre. This has done much to break up that continuous and monotonons growth of 'bricks and mortar' which many other dormitory towns now have to endure. Until the telephone came into general use, the postcard was the accepted medium of communication for all manner of purposes where a short non-confidential message required transmission. It was cheap, twopence (pre-decimal) would buy a packet of five pictorial views which cost but one halfpenny each for postage until about 1917 when it rose to one penny, though a five word greeting could still be sent at the old charge. The business world also found great use for the postcard; it was used by customers for sending in orders or for acknowledgement of the same and for advice of despatch: commercial travelIers never failed to acquaint their anticipated places of call by sending a postcard stating the date and time of the next intended visit, and they saw extensive use for advertising purposes. Except for sending a 'Wish you were here' or similar message from those on vacation the postcard has, sad to say, now practically vanished from every day usage.

The world today owes an enormous debt to those pioneer producers of postcards - their photographers have left us a rich heritage of inestimable value: many of the views and scenes they captured for us of a bygone age would otherwise have never been recorded and made so readily available for

later generations. Many of the old railway oompanles were also responsible for producing picture postcards in vast numbers extolling the beauty and objects of interest in the territories they served, which today are now collectors' items as indeed many other postcards are now becoming.

Selecting the cards to give the broadest aspect within the space available has not been easy, so I have endeavoured to avoid using the better known subjects which feature more frequently in magazines and similar publications, and have also largely eschewed church views for no other reason than that they get used a great deal, and happily are the most enduring and unchanging edifices in our environment.

The cards have been arranged mainly as though the viewer has been taken on a contemporary perambulation of thc town and district commencing at the railway station, then proceeding up to the town to follow a fairly logical itinerary, complementary views have where possible been placed in juxtaposition for ease of comparison. Because newer residents of the town may have some difficulty in identifying the precise location of some now vanished premises, the street numbers concerned have been quoted in the captions to the postcards.

It is hoped that this little collection may stimulate past memories and some nostalgia among older viewers and also that the younger generation may gather something of how the town has developed from the time when 'grandma' stepped out to go shopping, or perhaps took a quiet walk with 'grandpapa' through some of the pleasant ways which then abounded. Others may perhaps feel obliged to take a closer look at parts of the town to see how much of the past still remains identifiabie.

I have made no attempt to deal with the early history ofthe town, this has already been done by far more competent hands than mine.

1. Ta begin this little baak on a light note here is Ye Old Brentwood Tramp's Band which played in the annual carnival or at similar events to raise funds for loeal charities. It flourished unti11914, and attempts were made after the war to revive it, many of its former members did not return from the war and it soon faded away. It is photographed at the rear of the Rallway Hotel. The gentleman who supplied the card was unable to identify which of the players was himself! This is not surprising when one looks at the heavy disguises adopted.

2. Brentwood and Warley railway station about the turn of the century, the site for the development of Rose Valley and Alexandra Road is being cleared. The high building in the trees is the former Industrial School, later it was Hibbards furniture warehouse and saleroom, recently demolished. The original signal-box is on the platform in the foreground where timber is being prepared for a new footbridge to conneet the platforms, passengers hitherto having to walk across the rails. The bow roof of the engine shed can be seen at the end of the platform. As yet no building has commenced on the Cornsland Estate in the background.

Brentwood Station. (0. E. R.)

3. A later view eard of a1most the same loeation: the houses in lower Rose VaIley and Alexandra Road are now eompleted and the raad is made up. This also shows the 'up' platform with its little belfry; until 1 July 1900 the bell was rung a few minutes before every train departure. The roof of the engine shed has been renewed for a gable type and the end of the new footbridge ean be seen (bottom right); four cabs stand on the station foreeourt where a new shelter for the drivers has arrived. There is still no building at Cornslands.

4. Proceeding towards the town, on the right is the Railway Tavern at the junction of Kings Road with King Edward Road whilst still in the ownership of Hill's Brentwood brewery (see card 77), to the rear is Ellis's carriage building shop with forge and wheelwright shop, left is Arnold's mens clothier, later Stokes followed by Caton and then a D.I.Y. store: these have now all gone, the site covered by Ewing House. Notice the stone cobbles laid for foot passengers to cross the road which appears to be in a dreadful state. The Railway Tavern is now transferred across the road near where the Railway Hotel once stood.

5. Now a little farther up the hili this card of circa 1927 shows the junction of Kings Road (left) with Queens Road and Gresham Road (right), the two shops have recently been dernolished for new developrnent, were then Holland's café and Gutteridge the baker and post office: left is the garden of The Shrubbery, home of the Fielder farnily who owned the brewery (sec card 55): later the lower part of the garden became Rendle's Garden Centre. Note the old sign indicating there was a public telephone inside the post office.

6. Now near the top of Queens Road about 1910 looking west, since when the scene has not changed significantly. The large house with twelve chimneys, known as St. Mildred's which housed the telephone exchange for many years, has now been replaced. At this time the Spread Eagle pub!ic house was owned by Smith Garrett's Bow Brewery, passing later to Taylor Walker before coming to Ind Coope more recently. The !ittle railed enelosure in front has long been taken away: notice the stand-pipe with swivel for filling the water carts for sprinkling the streets in dry weather.

7. Now turned into Ingrave Road towards the cross road, this early card shows the school chapel, the oid school room and the master's house. Notice the immense size of the martyr's tree before it was enclosed with an iron railing; left are the three sister limes which were planted circa 1820, now only two remain though much larger, Almost all the scholars, anxious to get in the picture, wear mortar-board hats - the day of the Eton collar had not yet come, the suits are very varied. The head of a master can be seen peeping over the wall to the right.

8. This card taken a few yards west and fifty years later than the last at the time when many buses took lay-over in Ingrave Road at the point where the new Hambro Road has been made: from the left the first and last are Hillman's famous coaches to Bow, second is an 'Old Tom' from Laindon, next a London General for Stratford, and fourth is Simpson's bus from Leaden Roding which ran to Dunmow. Of the shops facing, the one left of the tree is Maddison's coffee shop, he founded the pioneer holiday camp at Caister Norfolk; right is Rogers hairdressing saloon and the sister lime trees are on the right.

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