Edie Winch: Hadleigh Cafe Owner and Post Lady

In conversation, 2nd February, 2012

Edie was born in Tooting, London (then Surrey), in 1918, and now lives on Canvey Island.

In 1960 she was running the Crown Cafe, in Hadleigh High Street, with her chef partner Dick and her mother Maria.  The business was very successful, but the lease on the premises ran out after only 18 months.  The Cafe and neighbouring cottages were demolished by the Local Authority and replaced with the present Hadleigh library.

Edie then ran a small general store along the London Road, but with increasing competition from local supermarkets, sold the business and joined the Post Office.

In 1964 Edie became a Post Lady and delivered parcels on her bicycle from the sorting office in Hadleigh to residents.  When the sorting office was moved to Church Road, Thundersley, and vans were used to deliver parcels, Edie delivered the mail.  She left in 1974.

Edie’s cat was often found sitting on the windowsill in the resident fireman’s house, but here he is posing with the Kingsway cinema in the background. The photos show the Crown Cafe facing the High Street and one view of the back garden abutting the London Road.

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  • To whoever may find this of interest…hope I have it correct? Before this lady in the café there was a Mrs Pratt with two children; Maureen, I think, was the daughter, the son being Geoffrey who I went to school with at Hadleigh Primary School…he went in the building industry for a nice bunch of local Irish guys who I knew well. Sadly he no longer lives…

    By Raymond Frost (17/10/2020)
  • I lived with my mother in the Crown Café from about 1947 to 1952. There were some disused bakery ovens in the ground floor back room. At that time in the morning all the Co-op milkmen used to stop in on their way to deliver and then later on the way back to the depot in Leigh. Lunch was busy with local businessmen and frequently Mr Allen at the Kingsway would ask for delivery. Sunday afternoons and evening were very busy with all the local younger people gathering for toast and snacks; remember that well since I did the toast on a wire toaster over a gas ring. At that time for Cup Final, Jack Bardell over his garage had a group in to watch television on a small screen set, one of the few about.

    I might have some old photos somewhere in my computer, if I can find them.

    By Edward Brock (21/08/2016)
  • It was great to welcome Edie to Hadleigh Old Fire Station on 29th January 2014, now aged 95, as a guest of honour at our nostalgic slide show of old Hadleigh.

    By LM Editor (02/02/2014)
  • Is this the same cafe that was called the Zambezi and was it a bakers at one stage?

    By Rob Keen (30/06/2013)
  • Remember visiting my Aunt Edie when she was at the cafe when I was only in my teens and the bus drivers and conductors asking for a cup of Rosy Lee which was foreign to me.

    By Doreen Larking (22/07/2012)
  • I remember visiting the café in the mid-50s, the 1950s that is! when in my teens; probably before Edie Winch was the owner;  and hearing Little Richard on the juke box there, singing “Good golly Miss Molly.”

    By Pete Robbins (23/03/2012)

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