Former Poorhouses on Essex Way, South Benfleet

Nothing is sacred

Former poorhouses on Essex Way when it used to be East Street, on the corner of Grosvenor Road, were sold by the parish in 1843. Only one survived, the farthest in this picture from my South Benfleet History, a beautiful old cottage called ‘The Moorings’. The owner died and as is often the case when profit is concerned, it was left to decay until people began clamouring to have the honorable survivor pulled down as it was an eyesore among all the mundane newer constructions. Now, I understand, the breakers have moved in.

It’s odd, that, and so very sad. Such cottages, beloved and steeped in flowers, draw appreciative visitors in their droves to traditional villages all over Britain. It could and should have been preserved.

Perchance my daughter stopped and took some pictures of ‘The Moorings’ on 6 June 2014 (when it was up for sale).

South Benfleet poor cottages before all bar the farthest one were replaced.
The Moorings, with knapped flints and a Tudor rose.
Tessa Hallmann
The Moorings, side view
Tessa Hallmann
the Moorings, rear view
Tessa Hallmann
The Moorings, detail
Tessa Hallmann

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  • I have two photos of the three cottages to the west of your photos; that I took when I lived there. These were Nos. 1,2 and 3 End Way that became 62,64,66 Essex Way, Sth Benfleet. I lived in No. 64, from about 1945 to 1961. I am certain these were much older than the Moorings. I was told about 1500s to 1600s These are the only photos in existence of these all oak beamed cottages.

    By Malcolm B. Goodwin (20/12/2015)
  • I, along with many others who have an eye for intrinsic beauty and a sense of history, share Robert’s deep disappointment. A concerted effort was made by local historians and enthusiasts to preserve this building, but to no avail. The (much maligned) Borough Council Planning Department have some over-arching influence, of course, as to what gets built or knocked down, but they are obliged to work within Planning Law and this building only enjoyed the very lowest level of protection – on the “Local List”. All this means, in practice, is that a “warning flag is waved” to remind councillors that this building or edifice is of some local interest or importance. When push-comes-to-shove the Local List carries little weight. Indeed, buildings are removed from the Local List at whim, should it suit the Council’s agenda. For instance, the Crown Pub in Hadleigh town centre used to enjoy “Local List” status until recently (coinciding with when the Council took ownership) and the aesthetically pleasing (but woefully run-down) “Locally Listed” cottages outside the Salvation Army in the High Street are shortly to be replaced with something of more use to the community.

    Unfortunately, this is partly a symptom of living along the Thames Corridor, on the approach to the Capital: the die was cast a long time ago. It is no coincidence that the first OS map ever drawn was of the Thames Estuary!

    Great pictures, by the way. …Got any more, Tessa?


    By David Hurrell (11/06/2015)

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