Cross Farm, M Horder & Co

Benfleet Road 1948

Cross Farm was situated around the area which is now the Benfleet Road entrance to King John School and Alder Wood.  The farm was sold and built on about 1872.

The farmhouse was still standing in 1948 and was occupied by Mr.W.Bridge who owned Leigh Building Supply Co. Ltd.   Freddie Bridge, his son, was M.D. of  Church Road Engineering, the local agent for Dodge  trucks. The Bridge family also ran the Benfleet and Canvey Bus Company from the bus garage at Victoria House corner.  The redundant farm buildings  were let out,  part to a slaughter house and part to my father-in-law, Mr Maurice Horder who ran a coachbuilding and sign-writing firm with his brother Cliff Horder. After National Service,  John, Mr M Horder’s son joined the firm.

Mr. M. Horder was the sign writer, he was also a gifted artist and a member of the local Benfleet Art club. We have many of his paintings in the family. In 1951, the firm M Horder & Co. moved to the Dears Farm Estate on the west corner of High Road and London Road opposite Tarpots.  The farm was sold and developed in around 1923. Mr Horder and family lived in ‘Valcasta’ a bungalow on the east corner of Shipwrights Drive and London Road now known as Five Oaks Estate after the large oak trees that were in the original garden.The bungalow was built in 1943 on a builder’s site. Catherine Horder, Mr. M Horder’s wife, embroided service badges during the 1939 war. Catherine also sang in Madam Freda Parry’s choir and sang old folk songs, solo.

Cross Farm Farmhouse, 1930s [according to Ian, but this differs from the image photographed below, so where was this building? - Editor]
Cross Farm from a framed hand tinted family print

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  • C Sayers: I too am a great niece of Frederick and Elisabeth Woodford of Cross Farm. (Being a great niece isn’t hard as they were a very large family. So I expect a lot of nieces and nephews.) Any other Woodford relatives?

    By Linda Page (04/02/2024)
  • I came across this page and was fascinated to read the details. I am John Bridge one of the grandchildren of WRR Bridge (Bill). The second picture, the tinted one, is Cross Farm. My Grandparents purchased Cross Farm in 1925 and sold it in about 1951/52 and moved to Leigh House, Common Hall Lane, Hadleigh.
    I have a recollection of the Horder Brothers, as although only a boy at the time I went to Church Road Motors a lot and I think they had an association with Fred Bridge who was the MD of Church Road Motors Ltd. I thought they were partnered up in some way and they did the vehicle body building within Church Road Motors ??

    I saw the insertion by Ian Davidson. I think I remember his Mum (was she Gladys?) who was a neighbour of ours in Glenmere Park Avenue. If I am correct then I went to Hadleigh Junior School with Ian’s sister Jean? I remember Ian’s mum being at Cross Farm and she was a very good friend of Ebba, my Grandmother.

    The Round Gate House that is spoken of in an earlier insertion, I remember as a boy the house was lived in by the Byatt family and Arthur Byatt was the Dairy Herdsman as there was a thriving Milk business out of Cross Farm all through the 30’s and 40’s
    I have a lot of happy memories of Cross Farm as a boy.

    I have to say I was dismayed at the planning authorities as the house was a classic Farm House of architectural merit and earlier, perhaps than 1872. I would have thought it might have been worth some listed protection.

    By John Bridge (17/06/2023)
  • Hi, my Great Aunt and Uncle Woodford owned the abattoir. I would visit as a child. I would certainly like to find out more.
    I was always taken around the abattoir and farm with my Uncle. We would visit regularly.
    I have stories to tell. My Great Aunt was a Bridge prior to marriage. I would certainly like to find out more.

    By C Sayers (16/10/2022)
  • I used to see trucks in the mid 80’s with Cross Farm meat supplies written on them, were they the same company ?

    By Gazza (16/02/2019)
  • I worked at Cross Farm Abattoir from 1963 to 1979 when the Woodford family who owned it at that time. I also lived in the Round House from 1964 -1976 where my youngest son was born.

    By J.ASTLEY (18/01/2018)
  • Having stumbled on this page, I feel the need to respond as I am linked to Cross Farm Slaughterhouse, yet strangely, the only building I know of as Cross Farm Slaughterhouse is the roundhouse that is still there; perhaps this roundhouse was originally the gatehouse to the property? My mother use to clean for the Bridges (who lived in the roundhouse at the time) in the 1950’s and they became known to me as my grandparents. How long the Bridges were living there I do not know.

    I have a lot I could tell regarding Cross Farm Slaughterhouse and the Bridges if you are interested.

    Ian Davidson

    By I Davidson (13/03/2016)
  • I met a lady in Victoria, British Columbia, when I went to play golf in a Rotary Club event. Her husband was then the Victoria Club president.  At one of the hospitality events, she found out where I came from and was so pleased that I could answer questions about Essex as she told me that her father was born and lived in Essex before going to Canada. It transpired that her father was born at Cross Farm and as a youth worked on the construction of Benfleet Water Tower. The following year Rotary held their convention in Birmingham and I attended. Much to my surprise I met her at the event.  And I invited them to visit us when we returned home. Of course I had to take her to Cross Farm. We knocked on the door and explained the story to the Lady of the house and she invited us in. My friend from Canada was overwhelmed to think that she had been to her father’s birthplace I also took her to the watertower; I do not know her father’s name unfortunately.

    By David Guy (01/10/2012)

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