Hullbridge Memories

By Beryl Nichols

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In 1962 a newly-married couple from Kent visited us at our bungalow in Leigh-on-Sea. The two men had been together for their National Service, mostly in Germany and had remained friends. They told us they were buying a plot of land in Hullbridge, on which they planned to build a bungalow, the cost of the land was £500. We went to look at the plot of land at the top of Oakleigh Avenue there was no footpath but it was just drivable with a car and covered with brambles.

Hullbridge was mostly uninhabited along Ferry Road, which went from Coventry Corner to the River Crouch which at one time had a ferry across to Woodham Ferrers. There was a bus service to Rayleigh. The shops were a dry-cleaners, butchers, household wares, a Post Office and Mr. Long, the newsagent and confectioner. There was a village Hall which was well used, but no chemist. A building supply yard was at the corner of Ferry Road and Coventry Corner.

Dr. Hume Kendall lived with his wife Susan (also a doctor) and four children in a small bungalow with a surgery attached to the side where the Medical Centre now is. Towards the river was the school it had three classes. The headmaster was Mr. Hardy.

The only main drainage was along Ferry Road. Over the whole area there were many plot-land type dwellings which had been purchased before the Second World War for £10 a plot.  These were mainly lived in by the original purchasers. I was told that the owners had travelled down from the East End of London by train to Rayleigh Station, and it was not unusual to see small trees poking out of the train carriages. To get to Hullbridge they had to use horse drawn vehicles. We bought our land, submitted the plans. Materials were ordered and artisans approached for Quotations. We put in main drainage up Oakleigh Avenue. It was a long haul and very hard work, we employed a bricklayer, plumber, electrician, plasterer. My husband did all the woodwork and the roof. When the plans were submitted the council were not happy that there was no chimney. As we were one of the first people to have central heating we did not feel a chimney was needed.

My children were very happy in Hullbridge, as well as a large garden they were free to roam the countryside and play near the river.  We all felt very safe.

This page was added by Helen Barnard on 15/06/2012.
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We moved into a new house at Hullbridge in 1965.  Only our oldest daughter went to school at first.  It was a lovely place to live and as they got older the children had plenty of friends and places to play.  I remember the Parent Teacher Association holding events to raise money for a swimming pool.  The new housing estate was built on land which had had some plot land development on it and there was one elderly man (maybe not so old, just seemed it to me then!) who kept a pony and refused to sell his land.  I suppose he did in the end; we moved away in 1972.

By Sue Horncastle
On 14/06/2015
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