During the warm weekends, which seemed to be all of them, friends and relations would again gather at Dorlie No.72 Castle Road West for the walk down to the jetty; passing Hadleigh Castle and crossing the railway line on a cattle crossing beside the old manual signal box. Here we would spend the day swimming in the creek. I learnt to swim in the small creek between the sea wall and Two Tree Island and to dive off the top of the jetty. Fred Harris, a local painter, decorator and family friend, lived in a house called Strathmore in Castle Lane just before the junction with The Endway. He built a Canadian type canoe, which was carried down to the jetty. During the week it would be hidden in one of the cow sheds between the railway and jetty. We met up with some friends Mr. and Mrs. Dexters and their family who came round from Grays on their converted lifeboat “Bimbo.”
During the holidays I would camp at the jetty some weekends with Fred Harris, he was a great naturalist and taught me a lot about wildlife around the marshes. The tent was made up by the shoe repairer Alfred Adams who had a workshop near the site of the gymnasium which he ran. The Catholic church was later built on this site. I have two autographs of boxers who trained in the gym; George Cook, heavyweight champion of Australia and Alex Bell, Scottish Amateur middle weight, light heavy and heavy weight, 1929—1934. The tent pegs were made by Harry Bird the blacksmith in Ash Road.
The barge photo is of a working barge passing the jetty on its way out of the creek after unloading ballast and sand at the Benfleet jetty of Leigh Building Supplies.
The jetty was used around the late 1900s to off-load and load goods including bricks produced by the Salvation Army brickworks at the bottom of Chapel Lane, these were transported by rail down to the jetty via the bridge over the main LMS line.