Hadleigh Salvation Army Jetty

Summer months 1920s and 1930s

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.

Tonk Dexter, Erica Hawks, Leslie Hawks, Ian, Vi and Fred Harris
Ian Hawks
Ian Hawks
Fred Harris
Ian Hawks
Ian Hawks
Ian Hawks
Bing, a family pet
Ian Hawks
Working Thames barge
Ian Hawks
The jetty in 2011
Autograph of George Cook
Ian Hawks
Autograph of Alex Bell
Ian Hawks
The jetty around 1900

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  • Spent many a night out on the jetty fishing and in the old dykes before it was drained; eel fishing mainly and doing all the things mentioned by the man from Castle Road West. Incidentally, my maternal Great Grandfather worked in the brickfields as some sort of engineer and is buried at Hadleigh Church. My dad worked there for a short time just after being demobbed from the 2nd World War.

    By Rob Keen (20/06/2013)

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