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Hullbridge Village History

in Hullbridge.

The memories of Margaret Simmance.

We move

Dad was John George Bennett Simmance and mum was Florence Woolgar and originally the family came from Walthamstow, North London.
When dad joined the Army, I believe he wanted the family out of London so Mum moved down to Plumberow Avenue, Hockley where some relations lived. We moved into a beautiful bungalow with a fabulous garden.
I don't know for sure why we moved to Hullbridge, but we did after dad came out of the Army. Possibly we moved because things became harder for dad to earn a living. At Hockley we had a horse in the garden which dad used on his Greengrocer round.

Unfortunately the bungalow we moved to was no where near as nice as that we were used to. It was in Hilltop Avenue and was a little bungalow that had been built onto. I was 7 at the time, 1949. By this time I had a sister Jennifer born 1946 and brother John 1949. The original name of the bungalow we moved into was "Kufa" but because Mum liked Colinton, a suburb if Glasgow it was re named "Colinton.
It was the first property in on the left coming from Lower Road end. It had an outside loo and tin bath orchard, no hot water. Mum and dad bought the property and we rented the piece of land at the back of us which was in Crouch Avenue and we had every animal under the sun.
To give you some idea of the plot of land, when Mum and Dad sold it they put three houses on it.

Dad used to play in a band down at the Village Hall when a Square Dance was held on a Friday night. The band consisted of my uncle Fred Watkins on drums, dad on the accordion, Mr Hardy, Mrs Withers (not Kitty) from Rayleigh and they were called " ".

Mum became the manageress at the Carlton bakery in Leigh and as a result we temporarily moved to Leigh in 1952 for about 6 months. It was awful, we didn't have a garden and stuff like that ! So we moved back.

My Dad and I belonged to St George Ambulance.We used to go over to Canvey for it.


Aunts and Uncles

Uncle Fred Watkins was married to Aunt Jessie and they had two daughters, Mavis and Patricia. Aunt Jessie was in a wheelchair because she had lots of strokes. Mavis was mid-wife as was Pat, I think. Pat lives now in the lovely named Midsomer Norton in Somerset. I was a bridesmaid at either Mavis's or Pats wedding. Looking at the photos taken by local photographer Jeff Hills of Mavis's wedding it must have been Pats.


The School

I joined the school in June 1950 having attended Hockley Primary School near Hockley Woods previously. In late 1952 we moved to Leigh and my sister and I went to Leigh Primary School for 6 months before returning back to Hullbridge school in March 1953. At school we had Mrs Groom, Mrs Dolly Sutton and Mrs Holder as Dinner ladies. Dolly lived in the large bungalow next to the Free Church. Mrs Groom lived down the Drive. Mr Riley was one of my teachers and he was really nice. Mrs Smith was the headmistress.

In my class I remember the following:-
RITA NEWELL: she was one of my closest friends she lived at "Raydene" in Hillcrest. Her mum was musically very clever, she could play any tune on the piano. I kept in touch with Rita till we were grown up and after we had both had our first baby. She married Tony Harris who lived in Rayleigh Market Square. |He became a milkman in the village for United Dairies.
ELAINE THUNDOW: was in class but I was not that close with her.
JOHN CLARIDGE: John had a sister Lynn and a brother Roger. HARRY RANDOLPH: TERRY SHORT: Peculiarly, Gary pointed out that they also lived in a house called "Colindale" but in Grasmere. A photo of myself and some of my classmates can be seen at 1951 Gallery.

The top of Lower Road


When I got married for the first time (my first husband died), we bought the property opposite Mum and Dad. Then it was called "Silverdene" and the garden went round onto Lower Road. It was built by 2 Chippys and on the piece of land that went round to Lower Road there was a small Putting Green. It had an outside loo so we didn't stay there long. We did put in main drainage before we sold it to the builder that built the three houses on Mum and Dads and we bought one of his on Lower Road in 1964 where we are today and called it "Bella Vista" because the view from there was wonderful. Opposite was just green fields, we could see the Mill at Rayleigh and the Church at Hockley. If we walked by the church where my husband's ashes were we could actually see our house which obviously was really nice, unfortunately we can't nowadays because of all the development.

On the opposite side of the road to us were 2 semi-detached "Agricultural Cottages" meaning the occupants had to be involved in the Agricultural business. I think they were taken over by the council some time later.
The one nearest to us was owned by a couple who came from Islington, the "Canter" family. The one next door I can't remember their name, but the property was bought / rented by Mr and Mrs Edwards, he was a bus driver. Down the side of the properties was a cart track which went on for miles and there was a pond in the corner of the field next to them at the front.
Mr Edwards grew prize winning Dahlias. His garden was full of colour and all the plants were staked with bamboo canes. We were really close to them.

Next to the pond was a small holding, originally a pig farm and small holding owned by Mr and Mrs Vickers and then the small holding was owned by Mick and Muriel Norriss.

At the top of the hill was the Garage and next door was a bungalow. Both were owned by Ethel and Bert Knight. Stan and Vera moved in and had 2 daughters.

Around the Village.

Anne's Boutique.

In the 70's this was situated at the back of the shop on the corner of Pooles Lane and Ferry Road. I used to get all my going out gear from there. Her shop eventually became a Greengrocers and the couple who took it over were called Jess.

Rydal Villas

When these were first built Mr Long lived in the end house on the corner of Ambleside, next door to him was

Village Hall

As young girl I went to the Hall with my dad to do " Friday Night Square Dancing ".
Later we went there for Youth Club.
I have a vivid memory of going to the Village Hall for a "Skiffle Dance", The band was made up of Dave Withers, Johnny Warner Gary ? and they had a string bass.
It was also one of the only places that dancing could take place as the Free Church Hall had restrictions on usage, so it was the only place for any social celebration like Wedding Receptions.
When I had my first baby, Stephen, there was a clinic held in the Village Hall that I attended for a while. It was called the "Young Mothers Club" I think ? I would wheel the pram in and there was a door by the stage in which we would take our baby to see the doctor and health visitor. It was not our normal doctor. Miss Slaughter ran the clinic and I did not like her much.
I think I had so much support from my mum and aunts that I most likely felt I did not need to go very often, only when I had to, like for immunization.
Ron and Jean opened R&J's a club and diner for teenagers.We knew them quite well as we went to parties around their house.

Ivory Cosmetics

I got to know Nena very well. You could get anything in her shop, it was wonderful.There was a one time when we had a Scottie dog and we went out on a Saturdayt night and left it indoors. Well it wet on our bed linen and Nena was ever so kind, she opened up her shop on the Sunday morning so we could buy some new bed linen. We must have only had one quilt etc.,How embarrassing! Nena became very ill and had to give up the shop.

Old Families

LEGGATT: The family lived in Colliston Villas.Frank and Colin were brothers.
HUTTON: Patricia ran a hairdressers in between R J Harris Turf Accountants and the Vicarage on corner of Thorpedene Ave., She had two daughters Beverley and Ann who were both Carnival Queens.
WREN: There was several daughters, Iris, Christine
FARNELL:Lived in a wooden bungalow / holiday home opposite High Elms.They had a son David who was in my class at school. He married Margaret Rowland who lived next door to the school but one in one of the "L"shaped bungalows.
BASHAM:They moved into the village later than us and they had a son Tony that I knew.
McLAREN:Eric and Joan nee Chown lived in Conniston Villas.
LAY: John was a coach driver and had two daughters Sandra and Julie
CHARLTON: Mrs Charlton lived in the big house at the top of hill in Ferry Road, High Elms Farm. We bought a Blue Persion cat off of her, she had so many animals ! The cat was ever so vicious almost Ferral. ADGER:I was friends with Babs Adger. One time Babs,Lyn Melaine and myself spent £25.00 each and went to see a Spiritualists. She was unbelievable medium. She told me I had a cat, a Blue Persian at first I denied it but now because she was right and I came to realize she was, I was so shocked I always remember now how we came to get the cat. We had so many animals it would have been like many of them very easily forgotten.