Old times in Wickford recalled

Four in hand coach making its weekly visit to The Castle

On 1st April 1949, Miss Jephson gave a talk to the women’s section of the British legion, at The White Swan, Wickford.

Old times in Wickford recalled.
She recalled the days when Wickford was a typical English village , devoid of a shopping centre and depending on a village pump and private wells for water, or upon a Mr Tilbrook who carted water from Runwell in a large butt. Transport then consisted of horses and carts, horseback or bicycles, and when a four in hand with full regalia and passengers came to the village everyone turned out as soon as they heard the horn.

There being no railway at Wickford, Pitsea or Chelmsford were the nearest points for those wishing to travel by rail. Carrier carts visited Wickford on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Education was at Runwell Road School and came at a cost of 3d a week, while older children were sometimes sent to Rettendon Board School. Miss Jephson said life in those days was quiet but everyone was happy and found something to do; they were more contented than the present time.

In the olden days, cricket was one of the major attractions and drew large crowds. During harvest the church bell was tolled at 8 a.m and 8 p.m and was termed the “gleaning bell”. Gleaning was forbidden before or after these times. (Gleaning means to gather (leftover grain) after a harvest. “The conditions of farm workers in the 1890s made gleaning essential”).

Mail was delivered once a day, brought from Battlesbridge by a postman who went on to North Benfleet. He returned at 6 p.m and collected the outgoing mail, which he took on to Battlesbridge. On Sunday it was necessary to walk to Battlesbridge to post a letter.
In this old photo you can just make out the four in hand coach and four white horses outside the Castle pub opposite the market..

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