Hullbridge Village History
Hullbridge in the 50's.
Like many people of her time Pam has very fond memories of her life in Hullbridge below she recounts some of them.
"I remember Hullbridge with fond memories, My parents George and Gladys Morland
and my brother and I moved there in 1944 to "Poolehurst", Pooles lane which was
between the Tower and Davis (Halcyon) caravan parks. We lived in a
bungalow with a pond in the front on the left as you looked at the property.
It was where a close is now built as far as I can guess, the village has altered
so much since I lived there it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location,
the drive was more or less opposite a gate into the field across the road.
The property next door was the home of the Wilby's, a childless couple, it was a
bungalow called Crowhurst it was a mirror image of our place, they were
originally built for a father and daughter. I know the Wilby's, Peggy and I
think Bill, were still there when we left but I think they also sold to Bill Caton.
I think his eldest son built a house where the pond was, Crowhurst was the last down
our stretch of the road to have Electricity, the people further down had to use oil
lamps, it was also the last to have piped water and there was a well on our property
which was used by them, they brought their water tanks up on trailers and filled up.
I remember Len Ford who had a small holding further along the lane I often used to help out and got free vegetables for it. I also recall Len driving his boar around to cover sows, there was another Ford in the village Frank? who lived in Ferry Road, Whiteways I think.
When we left in 1954 the Catons, ho owned the Tower, bought the house and land which ran from Pooles Lane right down to the river.
The school in 1946, it was just three rooms being used, the secretary was a Miss Crabbe and the headmistress Mrs Smith, Mrs Street was my first teacher and lived up at Coventry Corner, Mr Riley another teacher came on his motorcycle from Rawreth
The kids I remember from school were Georgie Boul and his nephew Johnny Ashton, Margaret Simmance, the two Caton boys, Len the son of Millie who ran the Grocery store near the School, Valerie Claridge who went to Kennylands with me, Clfford Downes,Arthur Gatehouse who lived in the cottages along Pooles Lane, there were two girls in my year named Riya an Heather but I can't remember their last names.
My brother Peter and I used to hang out with Jock a lot especially when my brother was home from boarding school, we had great fun on his boat but sometimes we were not allowed on board as the night before he had gone out to the sea and smuggled some goods in SHHHH!!!. One day some pieces of a human body were found on the marsh and the police arrived in full force and asked Jock to take them around which Jock cheerfully did but was on tenterhooks as he had just come back from one of his forays and had a full load of smuggled goods, we all laughed about it afterwards saying haw stupid the police were.
We saw a policeman in the village once a week on Wednesday he cycled down from Rayleigh to make sure we were being good boys and girls !
At the corner of Pooles Lane and Ferry road was the grocers shop and we got our vegetables from Millie who ran the shop. Nearly opposite the school we could get home made flavoured ice lollies for a farthing. Closer to Pooles Lane was a sweet shop and boy when we heard that they were coming off ration my brother and I saved like mad and bought a whole load and made ourselves sick'
We used to put on pantomimes at the Free church hall in Lower Road. We were produced by Clifford Downes's father and I also remember going with a whole group in a coach up to London to see the Coronation lights.
Every week my mum and her friend Peggy used to go square dancing in Rayleigh and I was allowed to go as well. They never started until we arrived and sometimes they were all ready for the Virginia reel, which they always started with, and we would walk in to clapping and cheering. On the way we used to pass my dad heading home and I would wave like mad to him as we passed. Coming home we caught the last bus to the village and there was one man who played the mouth organ so we had a good singsong and the bus conductor would join in banging his ticket holder on the handrail.
One day a ship loaded with hemp came up the river and sank at the bottom of our property, they salvaged the hemp and put it on our back field to dry and kept turning it was like a compost heap and it wasn't long before it caught fire and the Rayleigh fire department arrived but went to the river front, meanwhile members of my family and neighbors were using shovels and sacks to try and keep the fire from reaching the house finally the fire department arrived and saved the day but for many weeks we could smell roasted rabbit from the warren which had been in the bottom field.
There was wreck along the river bank between our place and Brandy Hole where we used to go winkling at low tide, The Bodgers lived up that way but only at weekends she was a fashion buyer for a large department store.
In the winter of 1947 it was very cold with lots of snow, even the river froze over, out on the ice was a pair of gull legs it must have stood there too long and got frozen but obviously an opportunistic fox decided it was a great chance for free meal and just left the legs there.
George Boul had the garage opposite the pump at the Anchor and his wife Nell was a seamstress and her and her daughter Clarissa Ashton made dresses for the market in Rayleigh. Round the corner from here stood the Smugglers Den were we went for ballet and tap lessons.
The newspaper was delivered by Beatrice who was a little person somewhere I have a photo of her when she attended my birthday party.
Every year was the carnival with a parade from Coventry corner down Ferry Road around the pump at the Anchor and back to the school grounds. My family always dressed up and mum and Peggy went together, they had collection boxes and a lot of people waited to put their money in their boxes, once they even stopped the bus and went through making a collection from everyone, they would not get off until everyone had contributed. My father made a lot of the games for the fete. He also designed the village hall and as he worked for a builders merchant got a lot of the building materials at a discount. He also belonged to the Buffaloes.
One Halloween mum and dad dressed up for a party at the Smugglers Den, mum all in black as a bat and dad all in black with a rubber skull face and walked to the party scaring a few villagers along the way.
I played knock down ginger along the 10 cottages in Pooles lane and kick the can down at the pump with village pals and roamed all over on my bike leaving after breakfast and coming home for dinner accompanied by my dog Pip.
In 1953 I left Hullbridge school and attended Kennyland Park School in Sonning Common and was there for a wonderful 4 years but our time in Hullbridge was coming to an end and we moved in 1954. I have been back a couple of times when I have been in England but it no longer resembles the village as I remember it, even out house is gone and a close has been built there but the field opposite is still untouched and only missing the old carthorse I used to ride sometimes to the bottom of the school field when I was late.