Rochford, Stambridge Mill c.1955
Memories of Rochford, Stambridge Mill c1955
Two Clubs ran at The Kings Head - they were called Folkus & Folk Blues and Beyond. Later they moved to the Horse and Groom. Such guest singers were Sam Mitchell and John Martin. The room at the Kings Head was upstairs and nothing more than a large bedroom. There were no chairs, we stood or sat on the floor. It was sometimes hard to see the performers or anyone else come to that, due to the cigarette smoke. Health and safty would have had a field day. Many a local folk singer cut their teeth at those clubs…me included.
Although we lived in Ashingdon, my mum used to take me and my siblings swimming at Stambridge Mill. The Cherry Tree pub nearby was where I used to go under-age drinking before I left school. As a very young child I remember visiting Rochford Market and seeing the farm animals there. In 1972 I used to go to a folk club in the Kings Head, Rochford Square. One of my earliest jobs was in Clemments Bakery, Rochford.
When I was a kid about of about 10 we used to swim from the sluice at the mill. It was great for swimming as the current was strong at the gates. Also the beach was more popular, we used these sites till we had left school - also the sandpit at Doggetts was a frequent site for swimming. Great times.
I remember Stambridge Mill very well. My Father, Frank Sutton, used to moor his barge, called The Anglia, here. He used to load his barge with Corn and Wheat. I was around 7 or 8 at the time and we used to travel with him to deliver the corn. I remember a sweet shop being there and we used to buy candy bars, and if the bar had a stripe through it we got a free one. We lived in Sutton Court Drive, Rochford. My name then was Rita Sutton.
When I was about 5 or 6 my dad worked at the mill, and we lived in one of the mill cottages in Mill Lane. I used to play around the mill and one day found strange washers in the old pond across from the blacksmith - later I discovered them to be Chinese coins - with square holes in them, they had been used as ballast for the grain barges. I have many fond memories of this mill and the area - we moved later when I was about 7.
When I was about five years old my parents used to take us kids on a Sunday walk. Always remember it was to Stambridge mills. Back then the roads leading to the mill were not more then a country track. On the way to the mills dad would dig up horseradish to take home to mince up in mums mincer. I can smell the aroma of the place now. Corn fields wild flowers. When we got to the mills the smell of grinding corn hit you. Wonderful. We would walk through the mill and onto a place called Broom hills. After a good ramble around the place dad would take us to the Cherry Tree pub. Him and mum would go inside us kids were outside with our lemonade and crisps. Wonderful memories.