Dunmow in old picture postcards

Dunmow in old picture postcards

:   Stan Jarvis
:   Essex
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3417-0
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Dunmow in old picture postcards'

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59. The country lane, albeit the main road to Thaxted, now classified as the A130, is still very primitively surfaced. An equally primitive drain opens at the edge of the unkerbed verge, but deep puddies have formed in the roadside ditch. Street lighting, seen on this site in the next postcard, has not yet been provided. Being on the edge of town, just up Beaumont HilI beyond the Causeway, this is not surprising. In the thatched cottage on the left lived Mr. George Ellis, carter and small farmer who, by 1906, was succeeded by his son Harry. It now has a modem extension. When Henry Bradley came along in 1912 to add this view to his collection, the house in the foreground was already hundreds ofyears old. Since the date ofthis postcard it was allowed to deteriorate until it feil down and was replaced by the present house.

60. Having seen the previous postcard we ean now note the transformation. for this is claimed to be the first road in Dunmow to be made of poured, reinforeed concrete. It was made, as was the postcard, just before the First World War. It was later called Beaumont Hill, honouring the Beaumont family of Clock House, just down the road and round the bend. Their conneetion with the town goes all the way back to the man who was Vicar here in 1678. The gas lamp, of funetional yet dignified design, is a recent extension of the town's originallighting by gas which started as early as 1846. Rainwater still drained into open ditches, as seen beside the footpath on the left. Today the road is uniformly metalled throughout and the early concrete is coneealed.

61. Onee again, in 1912 or thereabouts, Henry Bradley recorded a moment in the story of Dunmow - and a strange little happening. Under a magnifying glass it can be seen that the woman in the road is carrying the head and foot of an iron bedstead, while her cornpanion on the footpath carries the connecting pieces, In those days such a bedstead was a prized object, handed down in the family. But for this little cameo of the past, the view today is almost exaetly the same from halfway up Parsonage Hill, or Beaumont Hill as it was later called, though the road is now kerbed. Mr. Archer lived in one of the further cottages and Mrs. Sadler in the nearer, which today has been extended and is called Stormy Cottage. A white picket fence has replaced the rambling hedge.

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62. At the top of Beaumont Hill on the Thaxted road the cottages look across to a little pool in a hollow, known locally as Cricketer's Pond after the public house on the other side of the road. At the time of this postcard, around 1910, James Clarke was the landlord and the local baker, selling his bread and confectionery in the shop with the blind down which is still an integral part of the Cricketers and a shop no longer . The pond was a faveurite playing place for the children round about. The view today is much the same, though the pond has shrunk considerably and its banks are now overgrown with young trees and undergrowth. The thatched cottage at the extreme left has been replaced with a modern house and the tree beside it has gone in the interest of providing an extended car park for the Cricketers.

63. A view across the Cricketers Pond taken by Fred Spalding about 1910 shows the Cricketers being given a thorough redecoration, although business appears to continue in the baker's shop which is part of it. It may be that the wall of the shop front was lowered at this time, down to the threshold level, to give a larger, more modem window to tempt in the customers. James Clarke was baker and beer retailer at this time. The wagonette is waiting for the lady seen through the shop doorway. Today the sign has been moved down the road just a little and the pub car park spreads out beside it on the lefthand side where at this time there was a cottage garden. The cottage bebind the hedge on the far left has been replaced by a modern dwelling.

64. Richard Bowyer is mentioned in 1489 in the national 'Ministers' Accounts' kept in the Public Record Office. It is assumed that the bridge named after hirn was built to his order originally to carry the Thaxted road across the Chelmer below Elmbridge MiJl. On the large-scale map of 1897 it can be seen that there was little to choose between what we call the main road and that which goes to Thaxted via Little Easton. In fact, the present ABO was a turning off the main road at this point. Bowyers Bridge Cottage as it is now called is the house seen on the postcard, but today it has been altered and extended out of all recognition. The road and the bridge have been widened and realigned and those fine old trees have met their fate in the process.

65. At Little Dunmow the lorry and the electricity cables help to date this postcard to the late 1920's. Buildings then were still showing the natural, local materials used in their construction - thatch from reeds by the river, wattle and daub from hazel copses and Essex clay, tiles from the brick earth found in the clay and clapboard from the trees which grew all around. Every building in this picture is the same today, except for two windows added to the front and side of the !ittle extension on the clapboard house. By the lorry the Flitch of Bacon public house presents its eighteenth-century windows to the world. It was run by Frederick Hockley from as early as 1910 and then by his widow Alice down to the Second World War. lts sign perpetuates the ancient custom of giving a flitch, or side of bacon to a couple who could, on oath, swear that they had lived in perfect harmony and not repented their marriage for a year and a day.

66. The Priory Cottages, Little Dunmow, subject ofthis postcard of about 1920, remind us of the famous priory founded here in 1104, according to David Coller, writing in 1861, who continues: 'The buildings have long since been razed. The walks and grounds, where the friars paced to and fro muttering their offices, are now com fjelds. That quiet row of cottages, formerly a farmhouse, representing the dignity of the Priory Manor, stands on the site of the buildings within which the guest was welcomed and the feast was spread on saints' days and high festival. ' The cottages grew more shabby and were practically falling down in the 1960's when Mr. Wilson bought them and had them thoroughly restored as the one house they were originally - a twelfth-century hall house of very unusual timber construction.

67. The oid house in Grange Lane, Little Dunmow, seen in 1922. Once of great importance as the seat of the Iocal ruling family in Elizabethan times, it descended to the status of a farmhouse, with a fine, thatched cart Iodge which ean be seen to the Ieft of the postcard. By 1906 the agricultural depression had hit Essex so hard that amalgamations were inevitable. Grange Farm was then being held and worked in conjunction with Brook End, Bourchiers, Bayles and Rookwoods by the Metsons. The house had been converted to cottages for farm workers. Here the continuing dilapidations can be seen. It appears that the cottage nearest the camera is unoccupied. Today that section has completely disappeared and the whole building, now called Monks Hall, has reverted to one large private house. It now includes the two gabled sections and the centre section where the roof still sweeps down Iow; a sympathetic and attractive restoration.

68. One little girl, all alone, looks dwarfed by the wall of the church of St. Mary the Virgin at Little Dunmow. The postcard produced about 1920 shows the church in very good repair . It is the last surviving part of the Augustinian priory founded here in 1104 - just a small portion of the priory's original church; except, that is, for the slim tower built by James Brown, a Braintree man, in 1872, and called by Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectural expert, 'a silly turret'. Today's church, the Lady Chapel of the old Priory Church, survived because the villagers had used it from the earliest days as their particular pi ace of worship. The view of the church today is identical, though now, unfortunately, it has to be kept locked, but the key can be obtained locally, as shown on the door.

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