Ode to the Anchor

Written in Italy 1918

The Anchor, 90 odd years later.

“I Know an Inn”

I know an inn where they will take you in,
If you only like to try;
So call at the “Anchor” at Benfleet-on-Mud,
When you’re feeling extra dry.
Teddy Land is the landlord, a jolly old sport,
You will always find him there;
He’ll serve you in, and he’ll serve you out.
But he always cheats you fair.


So here’s good luck to the home brewed stuff,
And good luck to the thick and thin.
You can get what you want,
If you don’t want tick.
At the Benfleet “Anchor inn”.

The whisky’s good and the beer not bad,
But the square-face is the best;
There’s good entertainment for man and beast
At this ancient smuggler’s rest.
You may play at crib, if you want a game,
And have plenty of time to spare,
But watch old Ted ,when he shifts the pegs
And see that he’s marking square.


You’ll hear such yarns in the private room
That you’ll open wide your eyes;
They will tell you tales of the Buster days,
And a pack of blooming lies,
They will talk of the time of the Canvey plots,
When good lunches to all were free;
Of Amsterdam and of Rotterdam,
And of many a damn good spree.

From Bygone Benfleet by Norman Chisman

Samuel Soddy Background

Samuel Soddy born 1860, married to Eveline born 1872, two children –  Doris (b. 1900) and Colin (b. 1901). By 1901 census living in Benfleet, and owning two properties in the Hopes Green area – Caterine Villa and Providence Villa.  His job is listed as “Works Manager …………Factory.”   If anyone can make out the vital missing word, which looks as if it begins “Expl—–“, please enlighten me.

By the 1911 census Eveline and the children are living in Herne Bay, Kent. I suspect Samuel was absent on business at the vital moment. Whether he ever returned to Benfleet I do not know, but it seems strange that he put pen to paper in 1918 so many years after he left. All I can say is that the Anchor must have made a big impact on him!

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  • Hi,  I’m Samuel Soddy’s grandaughter, my mother was Doris Soddy, Samuel´s daughter.  You only mention two children; Eveline and Samuel had another girl called Rosemary, she married George Harrington, and lived all her life in Sydney Australia.  I live in Mexico City, my mother married a Spanish gentelman called Marcelino Duffour (my dad) here in Mexico. 

    I am the youngest one of six children and the only girl. My Granpa Samuel was a chemistry engineer, he worked for the Dupont Company, and he travelled all around the world, he was the founder of several explosives factories. That is the reason why we are in Mexico, he was the founder of Dinamita Durango. All the family came to see him in Mexico, and then my mother met my father and she has stayed in Mexico since 1921. I believe he died in London in 1940, I never met him.

    By Dorismary Duffour Soddy (23/11/2011)

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