The Changing Face of Tarpots

Over Seven Decades from the 1950s

The area now occupied by Aldi has  been home to many different businesses over the years.  In the 1950s the haulage company, Essex Carriers (later Atlas Delivery) had a large and successful business operating there.  From the 1980s the site was occupied by a number of DIY stores, firstly, Do It All, followed by Payless and finally Focus.

Focus closed down around 2011.  The building sat empty for three or four years and then it was purchased by Aldi, who bulldozed the building and built  their current store, which opened in 2015.

Where Tesco Express now stands was a garage and petrol filling station, selling various different brands of fuel over the years.

The building housing Cycle King, with flats above, is on the site where Max Motors once stood. Max Motors used to display their cars on the corner, where Beck Wealth Management now trades from. The Beck Wealth Management offices were previously occupied by the solicitors, Nairnsey, Fisher & Lewis.  With the closure of Barclays Bank the solicitors moved over the road into the old bank building.

Between Cycle King and Beck Wealth Management used to be A W Alden, the funeral directors. This building is now occupied by Essex Double Glazing.

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  • My story is almost identical to Jacqueline’s. I’ve lived in Benfleet all my life, and still do. I too went to Rushbottom Lane School and to Appleton in 1969. My uncle worked at Atlas Express, (it was originally called Essex Carriers). The couple who owned Aldersons were Grace and Ernie, who were friends of my parents. My Dad was born in Lea Road in a bungalow built by his grandparents. We lived in Hatley Gardens and then moved to Gowan Close, where my parents spent the rest of their lives. My mum also had her hair done at Joyce’s and my mum worked at Halwins in the evenings. I spent quite a lot of money in The Tarpot pub and I met my husband in there in 1978. Benfleet has changed so much over my lifetime, but it’s still home to me and I love it.

    By Marina Lightbown (nee Lazell) (21/05/2020)
  • I grew up in Benfleet, I went to Rushbottom Lane primary school and in 1968 to Appleton comprehensive school. I remember as a child being in Tarpots library and looking down into Atlas yard, they had a guard dog in a cage, it always frightened me. My mum bought our first radiogram in Stanwoods electrical shop. We used to buy our clothes from a shop called Aldersons run by a nice couple, and mum used to get her knitting wool in Eileen’s. We always got our sweets on the way home in the Newsbox. I used to get three pence to spend, and that’s where we bought our fireworks for bonfire night, we’d buy a few everyday, they were only small, snow storm, mount Vesuvius, jumping jacks, Roman candles etc. I think there was a self service shop called Greens, as a child it was my ambition to work there. Mum used to have her meat delivered from the butchers, we lived in Lea Road and they used to deliver to us. Mum used to have her hair done a Joyce’s hairdressers sometimes. I remember dad going into the off license at the back of the Tarpot Pub. And later there was a factory shop called Halwins I think, where mum used to buy our nighties, they were made of nylon and very static. My first job after leaving school was working for C H Cross and sons Chemist. I left Benfleet when I was 18, but have very vivid memories of that very happy time.

    By Jacqueline Preisig (31/03/2020)

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