The Builders of Daws Heath

1867 Daws Heath Ordnance Survey Map
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
1919 Haresland Estate Area Ordnance Survey Map
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
1938 Haresland Estate Ordnance Survey Map
Jack Felton bricklayer at Fairmead Avenue
Thundersley & Daws Heath by Robert Hallmann

Daws Heath has a history of isolated farms, probably with medieval origins, and a scatter of early Victorian housing.

Daws Heath has always been in Thundersley Parish and even by the 1891 Census, it only had a total of 46 dwellings dwellings (with 17 of them along the Heath Road).

The hamlet’s population continued to rise slowly throughout Victoria’s reign as more homes were built on the fringes of the old fields, roadsides and heathland, but by 1901, in addition to the farms, there were still only 50 dwellings.

The first surge of new dwellings occurred between 1901 and 1911, with the number of families tripling in 10 years, by which time there were about 150 dwellings. This was a time when better health and diet were leading to many more children surviving to adulthood and maybe expanding local families made up most of the increase. (This would be a good subject for future  research to track local families whose children stayed in Daws Heath to raise their own families).

Being before extensive records were kept and largely beyond the memories of the current residents, little is currently known about who built those extra 100 dwellings in that time.

The larger Daws Heath community of today was mainly built after the First World War by builders such as the Carruthers brothers, Jack Felton and in later years, the Broom brothers. This may have occurred when farmland became widely available as cheap building plots.

(See this article about the Carruthers brothers for more about the building of the Haresland Estate and here is the article about the Broom brothers. )
By 1938, maps show that building had taken place along the main Daws Heath Road with a few properties also starting to appear in Thorington Avenue.

Felton Builder
Following the First World War, bricklayer Jack Felton returned from France and in 1933 built himself and his family a house at 294 Daws Heath Road and a bungalow next door. That house had plumbed water, so the old well in the front garden to the former thatched cottage was filled in.   Jack Felton was also involved in building properties in Fairmead Avenue.

The photograph of Jack Felton building in Fairmead Avenue was taken from plate 186, page 144,  in Robert Hallmann’s book, “Thundersley & Daws Heath”,  detailed here.  The book also has information about other local builders such as CS Wiggins in Thundersley.

{ The Archive would be very interested to know who built your house in Daws Heath. Was it one of the above,  when and where was it built? If you have this information or can find it in your deeds, please add a comment below or e-mail the Archive. The roads will be added in time to this article to build up a picture of the builders of Daws Heath. – Ed}

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