Tarpots Remembered

Some Extra Memories

Sledging at dusk on the 'Green Hill' Early 1960s
Harry Emery
Bread & Cheese Hill, the 'Green Hill' just out of the picture on the left. Early 1960s
Harry Emery
A very early photo of Rushbottom Lane. Possibly 1920s
Tarpots looking towards Southend. c.1930

We entered the school over a bridge which spanned the ditch and there were further bridges down the lane for entry into farmers fields or small properties.

I recall milk in half pint bottles thawing on the radiator in school. I was told it didn’t taste very nice. We experienced very cold winds and snow in winters and went sledging “up the Green Hill” (to the side of Catherine Road and Bread & Cheese Hill) and went home after dark with chapped legs and your coat stiff with ice banging on your legs. The back roads behind Church Road were unmade and residents tipped out their fire ashes to make cinder paths. We seemed to live in wellies!

Coal was delivered in summer before the road became impassable for the coal lorries.

Milk supplies

Milk for many came from the small farm at the top of Woodside Avenue where it joined Seamore Avenue and was delivered by horse and cart or collected from the farmer’s dairy where it was bottled on the premises.

Sturdy bungalows

Some of the bungalows were sturdy and well built but others were little more than shacks. Most had large gardens that were cultivated. Vegetables played a large part in our diet as meat was severely rationed. As a result most people kept rabbits and chickens – which also produced eggs of course. I remember being sent to buy tomatoes from a man with a large greenhouse. Straight from the plants. Lovely!

We lived in Church Road in a bungalow with mains water and a flush toilet but those in the unmade back roads made do with well water and bucket toilets.

Woodside Park

Where Woodside Park is now situated I recall there being 40 acres of waving, golden corn growing and also when the reaping and machines had finished in the fields off Rushbottom Lane, local folk were permitted to glean for the odd ears of corn left, to make a special treat for their chickens. I helped my mum on several occasions and this was a real chore plus the dry straw scratched your bare legs.

From its junction with Rushbottom Lane to Kennington Avenue, Church Road was bordered by tall elm trees which arched at the top completely over the road and when sunny, the trees made a dappled, shaded tunnel which made the walk pleasurable. Edging the road by the big fields each side of Lambeth Road junction ran a ditch and border of bushes and saplings where children made camps, jumped the ditches and roamed the little paths. A childrens’ paradise.

Tarpots village

Tarpots was then a village with small gardens each side of the A13 and in front of the shops. There was also the Tarpots Hall where a dance was held each Saturday with live band and singer. The ATC held meetings there and each winter the San Toy Dance Group put on a pantomime.There was little traffic and everyone knew everyone else and usually had time for a chat.

Do you know, there was a large static water tank at Tarpots at its junction with Lambeth Road? It was outside the then A.F.S which doubled as a garage and was there, uncovered, for many years and nobody adult or child ever fell in!

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  • Can anbody help please? Hello, I live in Newfoundland, Canada. I am hoping to find some information and locate lost family members. My grandfather’s brother, Dennis Walsh, left Fleur De Lys, Newfoundland, Canada and travelled to England. I don’t have a date of departure. He married and had a family there.

    While my grandfather was living he was in contact with him. My grandfather passed away in 1994. After that, the family lost contact with uncle Den and his family.

    I am completing my family tree and would love to find some information for my grandfather’s brothers. The only thing I know is that he lived in a place called Tarpots in England. I have had no luck so far in my search until I found this site. I would gladly accept any help anyone can provide.  We know he has daughters, and his wife we believe is named Nell. We believe he was born in 1919 although some family members believe 1910. His mother was Mary Elizabeth McDonald (they called her Minnie – born 1884 in a place called Burnt Islands Newfoundland. ) and his father was Michael Walsh born Dec. 1877 in a place called Fleur de Lys, Newfoundland. His father and mother were married June 7 1901. His father died in 1954. His mother died in in 1938. His siblings are John Louis Walsh, Edward Walsh (Ned), Agatha Bailey, Mary Francis (Anne) Barry, Michael (Mick) Walsh, Bernard Walsh, Gregory Walsh, Bartholomew Walsh and Ellen (Nellie) Reardon. Some of my family believe he died in Dorset, England. If there is anyone who can help, please add a comment at the bottom of this page.

    Thank you! 

    By Margie Lewis (25/04/2016)
  • Thanks Mike for mentioning the air raid shelter in Rushbottom Lane and the fact that it was later converted into a public convenience. I was beginning to think I was the only one who remembered these toilets. As a further update, I worked at Atlas Express for a number of years at this site, these toilets now being included as part of their yard, were adapted further to become the gatehouse/security office for the company. So what had been originally constructed as an air raid shelter to protect people from the Germans, was fully utilised right through to its destruction by Germans (Aldi). Laughable really ?

    By Don Joy (30/10/2015)
  • I have lived in Rushbottom Lane all my life.  

    There was an air raid shelter where the Aldi supermarket now stands.  I remember being taken there to sleep when a bad air raid was taking place as the Anderson shelter which was half buried in our back garden was always full of water and unusable.    We later had a Morrison shelter in my bedroom, as this took up almost all the room I always had to sleep in it.

    The Air Raid Shelter in Rushbottom Lane was later converted into Public Toilets which were demolished when the DIY store was built.

    There was another identical Air Raid Shelter in Lambeth Road, after the war this was purchased by a builder Frank Mount who built a house onto the side of it.  The shelter then became the garage after having the end wall knocked down. This took some doing as it was 18 inch solid brickwork with a thick reinforced concrete roof.

    By Mike Street (30/03/2015)
  • My family moved to London Road Tarpots, from Clarence Road in Benfleet, in 1951 we lived in a house called Barradine.

    My two brothers Roger and Martin Stevenson were both working and I was still at Benfleet Primary School. My brothers, with their friends, used to organize dances in the back room of the Tarpots Public House, which were very well attended.

    When I was about 12 I did a paper round, for which I got paid 9/6d a week, which I then used to go roller skating on Southend pier.

    My father was a builder F.B.Stevenson, and indeed built many houses in the area and also on Canvey.

    I remember my father taking me up on the downs to see the floods in 1953, which was a terrible sight.

    We moved from Essex when I was 15 but still have very happy memories of Benfleet,and I still tell everyone I am an Essex girl.

    Some of my memories are fading a little, but reading all about Benfleet in the B C A does help to keep me in touch, so thank you one and all. 

    Janet Pain Nee Stevenson

    By Janet Pain (09/03/2014)

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