Mummerys Nurseries in Kiln Road, Thundersley, opened at that site in the late 1970s, according to the article in the Evening Echo of 1st August 2007. I moved to Thundersley in the early 1970s, but did not really use them until I was introduced to Mrs. Mummery by Stanley Cooper, and Bernard Cooper, in the late 1980s. The Cooper brothers were two of a local business family, – a daughter and five sons. Their father Albert had run the Post Office & General Stores in Kiln Road in the 1930s. The Cooper family had shopped at Mummerys since the business started.
I had been aware of their Barling Branch, which my father had often taken me to as a child in the late 1950s, when we lived in a villa in an L-shaped corner plot in York Road, Southend-on-Sea. We had frequented Mummerys at Barling a lot, as my father had grown his own vegetables, and my mother had flower gardens at the front and side of the house.
The owners of the Kiln Road nursery were Judith and Michael Mummery, and her elderly father also lived in the Edwardian property that stood fronting the road.
I remember on one occasion on a visit to the nursery one summer, that Mrs Mummery had an unruly golden retriever puppy. She said it was like Tom & Jerry in the house, with the puppy chasing the cat and driving her poor father mad. She laughed as she told me that a customer wearing expensive dangling earrings (who luckily loved dogs!) bent down to make a fuss of the dog, and the dog promptly swallowed one of her earrings. They agreed to let nature take its course, and in a couple of days, the customer’s earring, duly disinfected, was returned to her.
In 2007, the Mummery family decided it was time to retire, and they closed the nursery in August. The site was sold for development, and in August 2012, Castle Point Borough Council approved a new 150 home housing estate, ‘Ashcroft Place’. An Evening Echo article of 31st July 2015 says, ‘just six homes left and new estate is not even finished’.
An archeological dig by Oxford Archaeology East was commissioned by the developer. It started 2nd April 2013 and ended 10th June 2013. Nothing of significance was found, a few post-medieval pottery shards (1540-1901), a peg tile and a clay pipe. The site (which was part of the late medieval Thundersley Deer Park) was water-logged, and only six trenches out of the proposed eighteen could be dug because of proximity to services, felled trees, and active badger setts .
Ashcroft Estate was completed in 2016.