The Good Companions Café

Dancing in Hadleigh High Street

Partial view of the Good Companions Café
Mrs. Maureen Packham
A model of Hadleigh Corner c.1950 kindly loaned by Peter Hammerton
Tessa Hallmann
Dancing in Hadleigh High Street, 1954

Thomas Hearn asked in July 2015 –“Does anyone remember the Good Companions Café at the side of the church? My father, Tom Hearn ran it through the 50s and early 60s. Any pictures?”
Pete Robbins replied in the same month, “Yes, I remember the Good Companions.  Used to go there with my mum after Saturday morning pictures at the Kingsway for a special treat. A bottle of pepsi with a straw and a cheese roll. Good old days.”

This picture shows The Benfleet Hoymen dancing in Hadleigh in 1954 and was given to our sister site, Benfleet Community Archive by Mrs Maureen Packham. The photo was taken close to the old bus stop, east of Hadleigh Church.  And there in the background – between Hadleigh High Street and the trees of St James The Less is a partial view of The Good Companions Café.
At that time,  the High Street curved sharply northward to the east of St James The Less.
The next picture is of the helpful and beautiful  model created by Peter Hammerton showing a 1950 view from the east looking towards St James the Less across the bus stop.  We can also (almost) taste the tea and see the Café in colour with the benefit of Mr Pearce who recalls:

“The first shop was the Good Companions café,  cream painted with its name in green writing; it is always busy!   Though narrow, it goes back a fair way.  Through the front door, we pass the pin-ball machine on the right, to the left is the counter, where we pick up our breakfast or dinner and cup of tea from the large tea urns.   Later in the day, the tea starts to taste “stewed” as it has been heated from early morning.  We carry it all through to eat at the tables in the back, both to the left after the counter, and to the right after the pin-ball machine.”

The full 2012 article from Mr Pearce is here.

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