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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Rochford on Sea

A christmas gift was this wonderful picture of "Rochford on Sea" taken approx 100 years ago (click on the image to enlarge). The location is recognizable, the river's edge to the east of the old Stambridge Mill. The river is far narrower today but many people still walk to the relative peace and quiet of "the beach".

A friend commented that it's quite likely that people may recognize their great grandparents in the photo?

The irony is that when this photo was taken, Purdeys Farm existed across the river, to be gradually replaced by the industrial estate fifty years later and there were obviously no planes flying overhead. These are some of the environmental issues that now face planning officials as they consider the demolition of the Mill and the housing scheme to replace it.


  1. I would not be so sure about the 'no planes flying overhead' comment! Since 1909 onwards Rochford has had one of the earliest UK airfields/airports within its boundaries, indeed most of London Southend Airport is within Rochford. In both WWI and WWII it was an important forward fighter airfield.

    I quote an extract from a RAF Rochford internet search:
    The flat and well-drained fields and buttercup meadows of Westbarrow Hall Farm are known to have been used in 1909 by two Leigh men, Victor Forbes and Arthur Arnold, who tested out their home-made monoplane, which was largely made from bamboo poles. The site was founded as an airfield in the autumn of 1914 when almost a square mile of farmland between Westbarrow Hall and the Great Eastern railway line at Warners Bridge 2½ miles north of Southend Pier was acquired for RFC training purposes.

  2. And, of course, lets not forget that Supermarine, the aircraft company that created the SPITFIRE, started off making aircraft in South Fambridge and that there were also THREE airport sites before the one that now stands inc RAF Canewdon (Before the Radar Station)