Maldon and Heybridge in old picture postcards

Maldon and Heybridge in old picture postcards

:   Peter Came
:   Essex
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3224-4
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Maldon and Heybridge are two adjacent settlements, connected by an ancient causeway, on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex. Both gained historically from their respective importance as lowest bridge points on the River Chelmer and the River Blackwater. Heybridge is much older than Maldon with pre-Roman and Roman sites.

Maldon, meaning the hili marked by a cross, has been since Saxon times the more important of the two settlements. lts steep hili formed a defensive site for a burgh built in 916 by Edward the Elder, whose troops resisted the Danes in 917. Even later, the Danes were raiding this area and in 991 they sailed up the Estuary for Maldon. In the battle that ensued, immortalised in the Saxon poem, The Battle of Maldon, Brihtnoth, Ealdorrnan of Essex, was slain,

Heybridge was also a Saxon settlement, called Tidwoldington, but took the name of Heybridge c1200 when a high-arclied bridge was built across the River Blackwater. Maldon and Heybridge, although so close, developed as two distinctly different settlements, but there was always rivalry and interaction between them. For one thing, until 1934 Maldon had been politically separate from Heybridge. In the Domesday Book, Maldon was the second most important town in Essex and since 1171 had enjoyed many privileges incorporated by Royal Charter, privileges that did not extend to Heybridge.

Maldon did not enjoy continuous prosperity and there is evidence that the fortunes of the Borough declined from the rnid-sixteenth to the late eighteenth century. lts riyal was always ready to take advantage. In 1618 coal was being imported into Heybridge without payrnent of dues to Maldon, with the resuIt that The Poor Porters attending to

merchandise at The Heith and other tradesmen and Innkeepers have lost much ...

In character and political organisation, Maldon was always more urban, whereas Heybridge remained essentially a village until well after the opening of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation in 1 797. In population, too, Maldon was always the larger settlernent. In 1801 its population was 2,360 and by 1841 it had reached 3,967.

Heybridge was much smaller, but its growth was faster. In 1801, its population was 368; but in 1841 it had reached 1,177. Once the Navigation had opened, Heybridge industrialised rapidly with sites being occupied by Bentall's Works (1816) and by Maldon merchants who had moved to Heybridge. Maldon now had an industrial rival. The new docking facilities at Heybridge Basin enabled Heybridge to capture much of Malden's mercantile trade. This is clearly shown in the increasing amounts of coal alo ne reaching Heybridge Basin compared with Maldon Hythe. In 1810 the figures respectively" were 26,711 and 12,380 tons. Heybridge's prosperity enabled some entrepreneurs to enter into Malden's polities. Edward H. Bentall became Malden's Liberal MP from 1868 to 1874.

The depression of the 1880s and railway competition were to have their effe cts on both Heybridge and Maldon. Both settlements relied, though not entirely, on the coastal trade for their livelihoods. Most raw materials came by sea, but as more goods were moved in and out of Maldon and Heybridge by rail, so the coastal trade gradually declined. The reduction of coal imports at Heybridge Basin demonstrate this clearly, In 1865, imports amounted to 34,751 tons and in 1885, 10,574 tons. The decline in trade at the Basin was felt in

other ways, In 1885, two public houses closed and 12 out of 27 of the Navigation Cernpany's properties were unoccupied. Nevertheless, the depression did not absolutely stifle the development of Maldon or Heybridge. Maldon's population continued to increase from 5,468 in 1881 to 6,559 in 1931 and Heybridge's from 1,677 to 2,061 over the same period. By the 1890s and the later more relaxed Edwardian age, when postcard views became popular, this picturesque area was becoming important for holidaying, bathing and yachting and in 1894 the new Mill Beach Hotel was catering for such visitors. Heybridge Basin became important as a yachting centre and the nearby Blackwater Sailing Club was founded in 1899 by E.H. Bentall.

Maldon, too, was realising its potential as a watering and bathing place and had its Promenade laid out in 1895 and 9,000 people were attracted to the opening of its Marine Lake in 1905. These facilities were clearly aimed at visitors from far away. Victorian and Edwardian Maldon developed physically well beyond its mediaeval limits and Heybridge became more urban in character.

The economie changes of the Victorian and Edwardian periods also brought about social changes. It is noticeable that elementary education figured large with both the religious societies, the National and the British, building and enlarging their schools, but the Literary and Mechanics' Institute of 1841 survived only till 1886. After 1902, the County became involved in education and built a Grammar School in 1907 and elementary schools in Wantz Road in 1911 and at Heybridge in 1913 replacing Heybridge Iron Works School. The established churches were also restored and nonconformist churches were either rebuilt or built

anew. In addition a new Roman Catholic church was built. Piped water, turned on at 6 a.m., and gas, were provided and after 1912 Sadd's supplied electricity to Maldon and Heybridge. Cycles and, later, cars, especially after the First World War, made the population much more mobile. Although there was some unernployrnent, Maldon was housing an increasing influential and affluent society, some members of which were related to the mills and works of Maldon and Heybridge: but increasingly Maldon was also becoming the residential area for the retired and those who were working outside the town. It was not until 1934 that Heybridge and Mill Beach were included within the Borough of Maldon so no longer was Heybridge just 'a suburb of Maldon' but part of it.

In the pages that fellow, an indication is given of some of the social and economie influences that changed the fabric of Maldon and Heybridge between 1880 and 1930.

My grateful thanks to the following for their help: Miss J. Barford, Miss C. Bate, Mrs. M. Binder, Mr. R. Bird, Mrs. J. Cook, Mr. and Mrs. M. Earnshaw, Mr. Victor Gray and Staff at the Essex Record Office, Mr. S. Jarvis and Staff at Chelmsford Central Library, Mrs. V.J. Knightbridge, Dr. A. Knightbridge, Mrs. F. Lucy, Father A. McKintosh, Mrs. E. Mott, Mr. S. Nunn, Dr. W. Petchey, Mr. D. Punchard, Mrs. Richardson, Mrs. G. Shacklock, The Plume Library and Mr. and Mrs. C. Tait. Lastly, to my wife, Wendy, who has completed all the typewriting. Without her help this volume would never have been completed on time.

1. This pastoral scene epitomises the fact that so much of Maldon beyond the built up area was truly rural and this was very true in Victorian and Edwardian times. Maldon Wycke just off the Spital Road is probably a house of seventeenth century date and this is where MI. Henry Hance, a Maldon merchant, retired to in 1770 where he possessed 'a very handsome house'. In 1777 it is recorded that MI. Hance gave for 2 or 3 years a kind of Fete Champaitre; the young folks and most of his neighbours were invited and after tea in the house they danc'd in the bam, where fruit and other refreshments were partook by the company. Spanning the years from c1890 to the First World War the Wycke was occupied by Miss Mary Staines who was one of the principal landowners in Maldon.

2. A large farm yard surrounded by barns stood to the Maldon side of Spital Farm. In 1913 the dilapidated barns were pulled down to reveal the ruins of St. Giles' Hospital. This Ieper hospital was founded towards the end of the twe1fth century and much of the structure is of that date or slightly later. The hospital was granted to Beeleigh Abbey in 1481 together with 90 acres of land, but with the closure of Beeleigh Abbey the hospital ceased to function and later became a barn. The de-roofed ruins remained in a dangerous state until purchased by Mr. Thomas of Beeleigh Abbey in 1925 who then presented the ruins to the Maldon Corporation. In January 1927, the Corporation commenced work, with direct labour, to restore the ruins and work was completed on 3 June 1927. It is difficuIt to realise that the hospitalruins were beneath this huge barn.

3. A zeppelin raid on Maldon in 1915 completely destroyed Arthur Smith's brick built workshop next to Rose Cottage in Spital Road. Arthur Smith was a builder , but fortunately his home was at 17 Spital Road closer to the town. Here the photograph shows many interested spectators kept at bay by soldiers and Mr. Thomas Bate, cycle maker and member of the local volunteers, standing with his fixed bayonet. In the distance can be seen the buildings ofWilliam S. Markham, aerated water manufacturer. The weather boarded Rose Cottage is probably of eighteenth century date. Between that and the large tree can be seen the cupola of Maldon Grammar School built in 1907.

4. The Union House, complete with workhouse, infirrnary, hospital and chapel 'stands in a commanding position and is quite an ornament to the town'. It was built in 1873 at the cost oLt21,500 by Mr. Ebenezer Saunders, a loeal builder, from plans by Mr. Frederick Peck. The premises cover five acres and the house was calculated to hold 350 inmates. The Union House was operated by the Board of Guardians of the Poor, but in 1929 the Guardlans were dissolved and the relief of the paar beeame a County responsibility, Until then the Union had covered 3610cal parishes. In 1899 Charles Timperly was master, Reverend T.L. Pearson, who previously had been the master of Maldon Grammar School, 1870-1895, chaplain, and Dr. Thomas Tomlinson of 24 High Street was surgeon and medical officer. This view shows the neo-Tudor Union building, centre, and the chapel on the right.

Spital Vil/as, Maldon.

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5. In this view of Spital Road c1905 the cows on the right are emerging from Ware Pond. Spital Villas, right, were built in the late 1870s on what was orchard land. The six bar gate shown led into 2 Spital Road which in 1900 was owned by Joseph Payne, coachbuilder, 'where new and secondhand vehicles of all descriptions are exposed for sale', The notice near the gate advertises: 'Traps for Hire.' Later these premises were taken over by Clifford Thomas Orth, coachbuilder, who also kept the horses which pulled the wooden fire engine that was then kept in London Road. Out of the sixteen Spital Villas eight occupants regarded themselves as 'Private Residents' in 1899. On the extreme left, can be seen parts of 3 and 5 Spital Raad. Number 5 is where Mr. T.S. Bate the cycle maker and racer had his Eureka works in c1876 and later these premises were taken over by Mr. John Gozzett, builder, who was there in the 1890s.

6. Coronatien celebrations 21 June 1911, viewed at the top of the High Street. Following services in the town's churches and a 21 gun salute and feu de joie on the Grammar School Field, at 2 o'dock a parade of decorated earriages, motor cars, trade carts, cyeles and tableaux on trolleys was judged in London Road. The Maldon Town Band then led a procession comprising the G. Company of the Essex 5th Regiment, here assem bIed, the 1st Maldon Company Boys Brigade, Scouts, Fire Brigade and the decorated vehicles down the High Street to Mili Road and the Promenade. In the evening there were celebrations with fireworks; and a torchlight procession wound its way up Mili Road and the High Street to a bonfrre on Tyler's Hili at what is now the top of St. Giles' Crescent, The site of the proposed police station is on the right.

7. The original Moot Hall is shown on the extreme left. Silver Street leads through what was the Fish Market in the middle ages. The Blue Boar takes its sign (boar=verres) from the heraldic device of the de Veres, the Earls of Oxford, who owned this site in the middle ages. Behind the white brick front of cl800 and through the arch there is some magnificent timber construction of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. At the turn of the century this was one of the two principal inns in Maldon and was kept oy Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth Hickford. The inn was then described as 'a commercial hotel and posting house; hearse and mourning coaches for hire' and in 1894 'omnibus attends trains', one of which is standing in the street. Behind the trees is All Saints' church tower which is of thirteenth century date and triangular in plan, a shape unique in this country.

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Golf' f:z'frks, Maldon.

8. This enormous viaduct photographed c1900 was constructed to take the new railway line from Maldon East to Maldon West which then Iinked Maldon directly with Woodham Ferrers and London via Shenfield, The idea was to have a through service from Colchester to Southend via Maldon but this was never a successful venture. The huge embankments were made of waste from London and very good specimens of pots and bottles thrown out as rubbish by Londoners are buried here. The line was opened 30 September 1889. In the distance ean be seen the golf course which was laid out by Thompson of Felixstowe in 1881. The course comprised 9 holes of 2,189 yards. In 1900 there was a club house and there were fifty members each paying a yearly subscribtion of lOs 6d. The president of the club was Reverend E.R. Horwood, vicar of All Saints, and the secretary was Mr. E.E. Bentall of Heybridge,

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