'Formosa', Roseberry Avenue
The last of the few! Do you have any information about this property and its original owners?
[Editor’s Note:] In 1939 there were only four properties in Roseberry Avenue – ‘Alleyn’ (Glover family, who were a retired couple with a poultry keeper son); ‘Almedia’ (Prynn family – a couple who worked making scientific instruments); ‘Nexta’ (Bishop family, but they were not in residence) and ‘Formosa’, which is the only original property still standing. The 1937 Electoral Roll marked ‘Formosa’ as being resided in by Walter Charles Jones, a Groceries Provision Assistant and his wife Florence Rose, together with Emily Patience Jones. By the time of the 1939 Register, their ten year old son, Oswald was added, and Emily Patience no longer resided there.
Unusually, ‘Formosa’ managed to avoid Benfleet Urban District Council’s edict of 18th September 1957, which stated that all properties were to use the number allocated to them.
Here is the current owner’s story:
“My wife and I bought ‘Formosa’ on Roseberry Avenue in 2005 from the Panrucker family who bought the property about 1984, we think, from the original family.
The original two bedroom house was extended in 1969 with a Swiss Cottage style rear extension with a large overhanging roof to create another three bedrooms, upstairs bathroom, and a balcony. However, we don’t know when the original front part was constructed, we suspect late 1920s, early 1930s by the materials and construction, but there was possibly something more temporary here before that, as described in some of the other plotland stories .
In the 1980s, the land south and west (rear) of the property was divided up, and a Doctors surgery and three detached houses were built with a private drive to access them.
Local people who were children in the 1970s say that the house was thought to be haunted. It was completely enclosed with trees (the stumps of which are still present in the back garden). They would run past the house, scared of it. We can confirm, however, that the house is haunted, as a number of incidents have occurred over the years. Matching descriptions of the ghost – a man standing at the top of the stairs in the old part of the house in denim dungarees – have been given to us by people who have visited, as well as from our youngest son who could see him. Indeed, we heard the ghost calling our oldest son’s name one evening when he was just a baby. We got up and ran upstairs to find our son crying, so I guess its a good ghost.
Other incidents include things like car keys being moved around the house, or going missing for months and then re-appearing in obvious places, and the large loft hatch being pushed shut, although things have been quiet for the last few years. We also used to hear footsteps moving around our bedroom floor when we were sitting in the lounge below.
We have gradually changed the property from its stark and bare gravel drive and open access rear garden, to a well planted set of front borders, and enclosed rear garden with Rowan trees, Laurels and large shrubs and an allotment area for vegetables and herbs”.
Can anybody provide any more information about this property or its original owners?