Benfleet Shops

What Was Here Before These Shops?

Brook Road Area

Can anyone name the shops that were just along from the stream that runs under the road by the pumping station going up the slope and on the right hand side?

The first one I recall was right on the edge of the wall of the stream and had a rather deep, recessed doorway.  One more shop I think and then a greengrocers.  The son’s name was Leslie and he lived with his family down Rushbottom Lane in Tarpots, the first  turning to the left going down the road and over a concrete slab which acted as a bridge.

The last shop as I recall was a bike shop Croissetes? I bought a small motor from there called a Powerpac.

Then a road and on the opposite side was an optician’s, after that I don’t remember any more until the Co-op.


The location of the shops. 2012
Eileen Gamble

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  • The opticians was Mr Williams, and where I went as a child. He moved from here to Tarpots in the late 60s/early 70s – a 1930s detached house opposite the petrol station by the A13 London Road/Benfleet Road crossroads. He was still practicing up until at least the 1980s.

    By Stephen Seymour-Jones (10/02/2022)
  • I’m searching for what was Central Ave in Benfleet in 1939 in particular number 281, is this now the High Street and if so are there any old pictures of the shops?

    By Sharlene Decke (28/08/2020)
  • I had a Saturday job at Smiths Bakers in the early 70s (on the corner of Thundersley Park Road) and the Smiths were great to work for: we came home with any leftover buns at the end of the day and a birthday cake each year! The shop had a lovely sweet counter, with big jars of fruit drops, fruit salad chews, chocolate mice – the children had a great time spending their pocket money. Happy days!

    By Alison Jones (28/05/2020)
  • My cousin makes comment about her nan at the dry cleaners, her nan was my auntie Win and her mum was my cousin Joan. Also her dad was my cousin Brian.

    By kevin braithwaite (20/03/2020)
  • Most of my memories are late 70s to early 80s.

    I remember the Wimpy restaurant in the shops by Brook Road early 80s, Searson’s shoe shop which was like Grace Brothers – all full of lovely wooden fixtures and fittings. Also remember Nice’s, Co-op with the green shield stamps where the flooring shop is. The old hall in the Rec, where my Grandparents Jim and Gladys Collins, ran the old people’s club, the holiday clubs in the grubby building over the far side of the Rec near the railway line.

    Benfleet Primary when it was seperate Infants and Juniors – Miss Brown taught top Juniors (year 6) from before my Mum went there til long after I left (1984) – Scottish, 4’8″, but formidable! Mr Prince was the first headteacher I had in Juniors, in the days before uniforms. He once picked a child up by the scruff of their neck in assembly for being naughty! Uniforms came in, Mr Prince retired, Miss Batty (!) replaced him with her crazy purple hair and single block colour clothes – complete sets comprising dress, tights, shoes and cardi in lurid colous such as canary yellow and purple!

    My friends were Evonne Moss and Rachel Day. Evonne lived in Wincoat Drive and her Dad was from Liverpool. Rachel lived in the High Road and had the most smazing long dark hair!

    Also remember Dr Tindall whose practice was in a huge house up a long driveway off the High Road. Fiona Tindall, his granddaughter, was in my class and was an amazing athlete.

    There was also Smiths Woodyard in Grove Road which made a monumental racket all day long and had the traditional horn to sound the start and end of shift times.

    Salt box cottage near South View Road – never seems to have changed! As kids, we found it mysterious and imagined a witch lived there!

    The old library directly opposite Benfleet Primary – it was tiny!

    My Nan, Gladys Collins, worked as a machinist at the clothing factory, but not the one in Brook Road – there was another one accessed by some unmade tiny lane roughly opposite the Brook Road shops. Would love to know what it was called and exactly where.

    St Mary’s Church Hall near South View Road held ballroom dancing lessons. I learnt the cha cha cha there!

    Remember the Dairy to the right of Benfleet Primary – used to get Corona pop in glass bottles that you could return for 10p. Went there with sledges to get milk and food supplies when we had 6 foot of snow.

    Worked weekends and evenings in Gateway supermarket by Thundersley Park Road whilst still at school.

    By Sara Speller nee Higginson (29/02/2020)
  • Lived in Kents Hill Road from 1967 – 1997, but still in Benfleet now. Seem to recall a hairdressers next to Music and Toys, called Hairama. There was also a Joke shop in the little parade near Searsons. Further back I recall a cafe where you could have roast dinner, seated upstairs, with waitress service – black and white waitress uniforms. Possibly near where Nash printers used to be.

    By Wendy Pedder (21/12/2018)
  • Super! Thanks again. Do you know when Croisettes record shop in Hadleigh was sold and what it then became?

    Editor: Sorry, cannot help with this question but perhaps one or our readers may know!

    By David (28/10/2018)
  • Thanks, but wasn’t Croisettes in High Rd Benfleet? I am looking for the 1968 record shop in Hadleigh High Street. Is that where Croisettes was? Many thanks again.

    Editor: Croisettes had several shops in Benfleet and one in Hadleigh, they were all called Croisettes but sold different merchandise. Their record shop in Hadleigh was in the Kingsway Parade. An older 1950s photo of this parade of shops can be seen on our sister site by viewing this link. The last photo on this page shows Kingsway Parade. Croisettes was the fourth shop in from the far end.

    By David (27/10/2018)
  • Anyone remember the name of the record shop in Hadleigh High Street about 1968? It’s where l bought my first single for 6s 8d.

    Editor: The name of the record shop in Hadleigh was Croisettes, they sold records and also operated a television rental service. My parents rented their television from this shop in the mid 60s so my mum and I would have to visit once weekly to pay the rent. I bought my own first record there around 1967, happy days. The Croisette family also had shops in Benfleet, this link will take you to the page on this site.

    By David (27/10/2018)
  • I worked as a Saturday girl in Burnetts chemist about ‘63, the alley that ran up the side went to the park. Opposite was a greengrocer, my mum Vera worked there, would be late 50’s, they fought with tarantulas in banana boxes, cooked beetroot etc.
    My dad was big friends with Ted Rand who worked in Croisettes the TV shop and we could buy singles in there 6/9d I think.
    Mid 60’s worked for 2 yrs at the chemist till I worked in Bond St.

    By Lorraine (Graham) Mitchell (10/03/2018)
  • My Mum and Dad, Joan and Frederick Sands used to own the newsagents on the corner in the 1960’s, before that it was owned by someone called something like Freeths or Friths I think. I might still have some photos of the front of the shop in that time, I’ll see if I can find them. 

    By Stephanie (26/03/2017)
  • I used to work at Searsons, it was a wonderful job, lovely to read everyone’s comments.

    By Jenny Chamberlain (08/03/2017)
  • Who remembers old Ken that ran the library in South Benfleet opposite the school AO?

    Editor:  Please click here to see a page on Ken Deacon.

    By Christine Ahrens (13/01/2017)
  • What a wonderful trip down memory lane reading all these comments. I grew up in Benfleet and I can recall all the shops mentioned. 50 years on I can still remember Folley’s the toy shop (I may have the spelling wrong) opposite the Police Station  in the High Road) a few doors down was a Drapers Shop where my mum would buy her knitting wool. Happy days!!

    By Jana (25/08/2016)
  • My Dad, R. J. C. Bird owned the Newsagent, Confectioners, Tobacconist shop at 123 High Road from 1963 to 1977.  Many happy memories of those days. 

    By Pamela-Jeanetta (20/08/2016)
  • Is there anyone that has old photos of Mac’s cafe, near Tarpots corner, it was run by the King family, and was demolished in the late 60s.

    By Leon King (28/11/2015)
  • I used to work for Mr Eaton (Tom) greengrocers, they lived in Louisa Avenue a few doors away from me. I was only 14 and worked all day Saturday for 2 shillings. Happy days. Would of been 1965/6.

    By Janet Clough (01/11/2015)
  • I moved to Benfleet in 1977 and from the photo remember around that time Benfleet electronics was where the Hairdressing shop was in  the photo.

    In the early 80’s at the far left of the Parade was a shop hiring out Video’s etc but that did not last long. I remember the green grocers there too.

    By Steve Johnson (08/10/2015)
  • I believe the building was a clothing factory. My mother used to work there in the early/mid sixties I think.

    By Denise Neale (16/09/2015)
  • Can anyone tell me what used to be where Hopes Green Residential Home is now? 

    By Kelly (15/09/2015)
  • Who could forget the aroma of freshly baked bread coming out of Smiths’ Bakers opposite the school almost on the corner of Thundersley Park Road.

    Benfleet Primary/Junior School Student 1947-55

    By Richard Hayden (20/08/2015)
  • Does anyone recall Vincent Wilby (his wife was Joan and they lived on Benfleet Road)?  He had a shop selling carpets, I believe; he died suddenly in January 1964.  I am his niece.

    By Sally Willby (16/08/2015)
  • Tha clothing factory in Brook Road was called “The Ironguard” my mum Gladys Baptist was a machinist there. They made jeans etc., my first pair of sky blue polished cotton jeans came from there I thought they were so cool. But on reflection with winkle pickers I looked like a demented spider!

    By Alan Baptist (29/05/2015)
  • We moved to Benfleet in 1966. I remember Wards hairdressers ( my mum took me there once!) also Knightleys newsagents. At the bottom of Thundersley Park Road was a bakers whites I think? They made bread and delivered it by van twice a week. I can still remember the smell of fresh bread and cakes when the van pulled up outside our house and the doors opened! 

    By Janice Carrington was Sandiford (29/05/2015)
  • I can remember the Tobacconist shop just past the Co-op, I used to go there to buy cigarettes as a lad of 15! He used to sell all the odd cigarettes, LuckyStrike, Camel, Sobranie, Black Russian and the like. Very exotic.

    By Frank Daley (20/05/2015)
  • I can remember a few shops as I was born at the ‘old’ Searson’s shoe shop in 1957 182 High Road. The new shop was built approx. 1962/3

    Nice’s @ 180 and Moysies(?) bike shop at 178. The bike shop became Hurren’s central heating. I was at Benfleet Primary school with Sara Hurren. Teenette’s (owned by Mrs Harrison) was the haberdashery @ 190 which was the other half of what was a semi with Ron Surplus at 188. When the semi was sold on it became Dowlings Insurance and a barbers. This again was sold on and knocked into one for Belgravia florist. Elaines hairdressers was a new build! and was where the dentist is now.

    By Gil Gibney nee Searson (11/05/2015)
  • Can anyone remember Garons bakery ? I lived in Benfleet most of my early life, by Benfleet station on a houseboat, on Benfleet Creek in the mid 50s. I was born in 1954, it brings some very varied memories, I now live in North Wales. 

    By Ann Mintram (Yeo) (25/03/2015)
  • I do indeed remember Garons tearooms on the corner of Southchurch road and the corner of Victoria Circus with many an afternoon tea been consumed there by my Mother and myself, along with our next door neighbours the Bray family after we had walked from Mimi Greens school of Dancing to the cinema, where we paid sixpence to sit up in “The Gods” on uncushioned wooden benches and after the show retire to Percy Garons for tea before catching the bus back to Tarpots corner.

    Percy had a Butchers shop just under the railway bridge at the station and across the road was Rossi’s ice cream shop which to my mind served the finest ice cream ever.

    By Colin Mac (25/03/2015)
  • I moved to Benfleet in 1971 when I got married and lived on the Bird Estate.  I remember there were three main food shops on the High Road. The Co-op where the flooring shop is now, International Stores where the big co-op is, and Wallis, then Gateway, then Somerfield where the smaller co-op is now.

    I worked in London and used to trek across Richmond Park and along Fleet Road to the station. On the way home I would pop into the corner shop on the Bird Estate on Woodham Park Drive. My hubby and I lived opposite the shop. I think the chap who ran it was Mr Hedges.

    My favourite shop on the High Road was Richardsons. A lovely lady called Jenny worked there. Sometimes skived off work, go to Richardsons, spend ages looking at patterns and material in that shop. Heaven.

    Another shop opposite the present big co-op was a shop selling wool, tights, clothing, schoolwear. There was a real fire in there. No elf and safety then.

    Happy days.

    By Joy Coombes (14/02/2015)
  • There have been quite a few answers to this question thank you but most seem to be around the 60’s and my recollections seem to be in the 45’s onward.

    Going to the Co-op with my Mother sticks in my mind and I’m sure that was further on the way into Benfleet and on the right hand side or have I got that wrong?

    By Colinmac (01/08/2014)
  • Can anyone remember the Albany where nan worked in Benfleet High Road and my mum worked in the launderette all in the 60s. Win Ahrens was my nan and Joan Ahrens my mum.

    By Christine Ahrens (31/07/2014)
  • That was Albany dry cleaners over the road from Clarks shoe shop in the 60s.

    By Christine Ahrens (31/07/2014)
  • I used to live in the sweetshop next to the brook which was owned by my mum it was called the Candy store. Mrs Mockeridge was my nan who unfortunately is no longer here, and she owned a sweetshop with the same name further up Benfleet High Road, just before Southview Road, there was a parade of shops on the right my nan’s shop was there. Does anyone know of any photos of either of these shops. I would appreciate if anyone has any.  I used to go to school at South Benfleet and I had a boxer dog who used to follow me to school and he used to run around in the playground. I remember the Wimpey and would often go in there. There used to be a factory down Brook Road and my best mates mum used to work in there as a seamstress. Opposite my mum’s sweetshop there used to be a wood yard not sure if it is still there.

    By Lorraine Harris (29/07/2014)
  • I remember the Candy Store by the brook, also a greengrocers, a sports shop, the Wimpy and Music And Toys. Can’t recall what was there before the building though.

    By Jock Peaequana (08/06/2014)
  • Along the same side as Knotts, I remember my mum taking me past a very odd looking hairdressers, very dark and very black shop front windows, on the way to Knightleys. I cannot remember the name of it.  I also recall a hardware store called Greens, I think, along there where my dad used to get the paraffin and wicks for the old Aladdin heaters.

    By Heather N (27/02/2014)
  • I remember the parade being built and there was if I’m correct Moores the shoe shop and a Wimpy Bar in the new build?

    Just down Brook Road there was a couple of yards on the left with a Plant hire company and Wilson the builder or were they the same?

    On the right of Brook Road there stood a big factory I can’t recall the name.

    By Paul Johnson (22/02/2014)
  • That was called Knotts most people thought they were married.

    By Brian Heale (15/12/2013)
  • Could that have been Knotts?

    By Bill West (15/12/2013)
  • What was the name of the store opp Knightleys run by, I think. a brother and sister? Food store that used to have ham on the bone, broken biscuits. I was only young so in the 60’s.

    By Shirley Farmer (14/12/2013)
  • Next to the Stream (or Benfleet Brook) opposite Smiths wood yard was a sweet shop where I used to buy 8 Black Jacks or Fruit Salads for 1 old penny (or indeed 4 for a halfpenny or 2 for a farthing) around 1952/3. I used to spend my bus money here every Friday, then walk to my Uncle John and Auntie Maureen Stockwell’s Houseboat next to the Bus stop and café on the creek. On the corner or near the corner of Brook Road a few years later, I guess about 1960 , was a Flower Shop where my Mother Eileen Reed, worked as a florist. The other side of the Brook was Benfleet School.

    By Michael Reed (18/11/2013)
  • I remember the post office being next to the Hoy and Helmet it moved in the 60s near St Mary’s Drive. I also remember my dad working for Len the grocer on the corner of the High Street and St Mary’s Drive.

    By Celia Slate (07/10/2013)
  • I well remember Barnes’s shop! It was an Aladdin’s cave for kids and I used to buy all my fishing tackle there.

    By Bill West (27/09/2013)
  • I’m sure Nices was up towards Knightleys newsagents but across the road on the other side of Kents Hill. It had the strange manequins in the window – or is this something else that I remember. Next to Pollards?

    By Phil (27/09/2013)
  • There was a shoe shop called Seasons. My mother and her two brothers were born there, they then moved to a house in the High Road.

    By Mavis Ann Thurley nee Turner (28/07/2013)
  • Don, we have a page on this site about Vic Barnes. He was a very well known local character remembered by many. View the page here.

    By Eileen Gamble - Editor (14/07/2013)
  • Does anyone remember Vic and Yvonne Barnes? They had Liberty Market, a shop selling all sorts, fishing gear, guns, books, secondhand stuff. They had a houseboat in the creek too, daughter’s Jackie and Roberta (Bobbie).

    By Don Thompson (13/07/2013)
  • My brothers in the early 80’s owned W H Smith butchers – now a cafe and my twin brother ran Peachey’s greengrocers next door, both opposite Kents Hill corner.

    By Maxine (19/05/2013)
  • Nice to hear some nice comments about Sharmans, my aunt and uncle Stella and Dave Sharman owned it, sadly neither with us anymore. Very keen to get photos, info, stories etc, if anyone can help I would be very grateful. Thanks Richard

    By Richard Tunbridge (19/03/2013)
  • Green grocers? Tom Eaton, Louisa Avenue.

    Reference paragraph 2 of article.

    By John Rogers (17/03/2013)
  • To the east of Sharmans was an alley or lane, and then to the east (or left) of that was a butcher’s shop, owned I think by the father or grandfather of one of the Barclay boys (big lads with ginger hair). It was quite a large premises compared with those around it and I would think it was Edwardian since it was at least early C20th. The Barclays or one of the boys known as ‘Ben’ went up to the King John School around 1958-9.

    By Christopher Davis (01/03/2013)
  • It certainly was a sweetshop. In the 60s it was called “Dolbey’s”, I didn’t use it that often as Mr and Mrs Dolbey seemed to share one characteristic that mitigated against sweet shop ownership; they hated kids. We all went to the sweets counter in H W Smith the baker’s on the corner of Thundersley Park Road.

    By Steven (15/02/2013)
  • Nice’s was on the other side further towards the church, a few doors away from Searson’s where we all got our shoes.

    By Steven Heath (14/02/2013)
  • I do believe that Headlines also used to be a sweet shop in the seventies run by a lady called Mrs Mockeridge and her family (I think). On Sundays I used to take my empty R. Whites lemonade bottles back there to claim the refund.

    By Mark Smith (14/02/2013)
  • What about Nice’s where you got your school uniform from?

    By Annette (12/02/2013)
  • Next to the stream was a shop called Hadleigh Library when I was a boy (I think)

    By Dave Cowan (12/12/2012)
  • When I first came to Benfleet there was an antique shop where Headlines Hairdressing is now.

    By Barbara Avis (30/11/2012)
  • Clarkes shoe shop was the other side of Brook Road there was a launderette, newsagents and I think it was Richardsons fabric shop there too. Does anyone remember Suggs opposite St Marys Church and also Mrs Batero??? in the chemist along by the church, which is now just a bit of garden??

    By Annette Taylor (22/10/2012)
  • Also here were Eaton’s the greengrocers and Nunn’s the butchers.

    By Robert Scott (27/04/2012)
  • Definitely remember Sharmans. My aunt, Dolly Dyer, worked there for a time before moving on to the Post Office at Hopes Green.

    By Denise Neale (26/03/2012)
  • Don’t forget Sharman’s the hardware shop. You could get anything in there and it smelled of soap, paraffin and the wooden floors. And the Labour Club was on the corner.

    By Steven Heath (16/03/2012)
  • Music and Toy was on the corner of Brook Road and I brought my first record in there in about 1975.

    By Melanie Graham (16/03/2012)

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