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Hullbridge Village History

The memories of Hazel Denton

Arrival

My husband and I moved into Hullbridge in Dec 1965 along with our daughter Michelle aged 2 and son Christopher.
My mother in law and father in law moved here from Edmonton in May 1963.
We moved into a brand new chalet in Elm Grove built by Doug Boreham who became great friends of ours. In 1967 son Sean was born, he was delivered by local midwife Mavis Watkins.

ELM (extremely lousey mud) Grove

When we moved into the village it had many unadopted (not council owned) roads and so were in a very poor state, mainly mud. Elm Grove was one of these unmade roads and it was often unpassable in places, in fact Ken Beckwith was always being called out to tow cars out of the mud when cars were stuck after attempting to get through into Malyons or Ambleside. He was very accomodating like that. Living on such a road did not make us very happy but it was wonderful for our sons who were always going in the mud and puddles which would come over the tops of their wellys. I'm surprised they have not grown up with webbed feet !
We hade very narrow and broken footpaths on the corner of Elm Grove and Malyons Lane outside Annes bungalow (the home of the Low family) and there was a ditch there as well, this made it very hard to negotiate a pram along there and I had to resort to going into the rutted road to get to the shops and clinic etc.,
Eventually we the residents of Elm Grove had a concrete strip put in our road at a cost of £25 for each of 9 properties, so that was a great improvement to us.

1968 Local Review showing Malyons Lane, in the background right hand side is the entrance to "Anne's Cottage the home of the Low family. The 1974 Echo clipping mentioned below. 1979 and still little change to road.

The village shops and facilities

The baby clinic and library was held in the village hall on differant days of the week.
I used to go to Ken Beckwiths farm to get my eggs and remember getting chased by the big sheep he had up there, I didnt like that very much I can tell you!
Percy Cottis had a small holding in Elm Grove, he was such a nice man and I would buy my tomatoes from him. Thats when tomatoes tasted like tomatoes. not like todays.
Behind us on Ferry Road is the parade of shops in particular Wortley's the butchers. Jack Wortley the village's butcher married June 1940 to Lilian Harding, her parents owned Hardings pies. They had a son Neville Stuart Wortley on 22 5 1947. He unfortunately came to an untimely death around 1991 when he was electrocuted whilst working dj in Southend.
Jack eventually sold up and the lease was taken up by Linda and Keith Griffiths. When they first started up they were always burning cardboard boxes down the bottom of his garden, he would set light to the boxes throw them in the air and hit them with a stick sending ash and burnt cardboard everywhere. I had baby Sean born 1967 laying in his cot with the window open and I went up to the bedroom to find Sean and cot covered in burnt paper. I complained to the council about this and eventually got it stopped.

The least expected things in Hullbridge.

I was told that our back gardens running from Malyons Lane along Elm Grove was where children had little boats on it but do not know how true this was. When a television company came down here to make a documentary on Beattie , I came face to face with Anthony Armstrong Jones.The same one that was married to Princess Margaret. He was directing the film. My husband was constantly driving in and out of Malyons Lane. One day and after going through the ruts time and time again his suspension on the car gave up. He was out looking for a new car when the Evening Echo came down and interviewed me and he didn't believe me till I showed him the article in the paper (see above). Funnily enough I went on to work for the Echo, for a delivery supervisor from 1983 until 2009 so got to know most of the children in the village.

We had a tortoise for the children by the name of Bonie(short for Bonaparte), it was always wandering off so I came up with the idea of putting our telephone no. on his top shell with nail varnish. Of course on his many travels around the village through loads of bracken, shrubberies and neighbour's gardens etc., it got a bit worn and then one day I had a phone call from P.C. Paul at the police station. He asked me to come and collect Bonie as he was being held there for robbery of lettuce from the Police Station garden. On collecting him I got a bit of a lecture about being more responsible and not to put the number where it was so prominent. It certainly Tort Oise a lesson !

Schooling

My three children went to the village infants and primary schools, Michelle went on to Deanes and the two boys went to Park. Sean was great friends with Martin Beckwith and spent most of his time at the farm. Just as well I managed to buy a good washing machine !

1970
photo taken at the school showing children including Ian Burfield (the king). Ian is now a professional actor, the old saying from little acorns do big trees grow is true in this case and our son Christopher is the shepherd behind him with mouth half open.
1973
photo taken at the school showing children inculding our son Sean in the middle holding hands with Martin Beckwith (next to scarecrow).
1970's
photo taken at school, our son Sean is second from left at the back and next to him with arms folded is Martin Becwith.

They took our school coaches away

In 1982 Essex County Council decided that our children should no longer have a coach to ferry them to school at Park as part of their Budget cuts. In May the village protested against this decision by walking the three miles to school with a reported over 600 adults and children walking the route The children were meant to take. At this point in time the footpath along Hullbridge Road was worse than it is today. The village got some good press coverage (COMMENT:An account of this event and pictures can be seen here)Rawreth Park School 1980's On this first march I was at the front and so missed out on being in the photo that appeared in the Echo.
The council did make a concession and that was they would provide the coaches if the parents paid £20.00 a term. That was far too expensive so we protested again, several times. Once we hired coaches that would be used to take out children to school to ferry us to Essex County Council Offices.