Hall's, Corn and Seed Merchant, (1)

“Hall’s corn and seed merchants started in 1903 in Timberlog Lane in Basildon. Grandfather bought the Old Croft House which was behind Adrian’s. He went to a sale and bought three acres of land which led down to the river. There were three sons: Peter, Sidney and John.  John being my father. He built the Old Croft and the New Croft House, which is now The Duke. Then he built three more terraced houses and my mother and father lived in the end one, Bridge End, where I was born. Twenty four years later I got married and went back to live in the same house. Things started to develop and we had about five or six acres. We would make hay during the summer months. Gradually my uncles dissolved the partnership and my father took over and he brought me and my brother in, while Peter went into engineering.  We formed a limited company and went from strength to strength and served most of the farmers in the district. My Father bought me a lorry and I did the London trip for twenty-two years, driving up to Victoria Docks early in the morning with corn and bringing back animal feeds. There was no traffic on the road in those days, especially at that time in the morning.  It has all changed now: the docks have gone. As Basildon Development Corporation compulsorily purchased the farms in the eighties, business started to fall off so we diversified and went into gardening”.

 

Sidney Hall standing in the doorway of the shop 1930
donated by Chris Hall
Clarks shoe shop mow stands on the same site 2011
Jo Cullen

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  • That part of the High Street was busy with produce-merchant shops in the 1950s and 60s, as not many doors away was the Cramphorns shop. I believe that Halls diversified to selling shotguns, cartridges and fishing tackle. As a youngster it was great as you could by a single fishing hook, for example, and they’d carefully drop it into a tiny paper envelope too. I know some of the local lads were able to source heavy duty elastic to make up homemade wooden catapults with.

    By Philip Merrin (08/06/2018)

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