Opposite the cottages this house was once a shop. Sam Purkiss arrived in 1900 and opened a general store and post office. He and his son also operated a “tally” round by horse and cart, and later motor van. From 1959 until 1972 the shop continued as Pam’s Stores.
On the bend by the chapel you will pass Iona Cottage on your left. A little way beyond is a terrace of 3 cottages.
Until 1943 2 longer terraces of cottages stood here.
On the morning of 11th January 1943 four bombs were dropped on the Basin. One of these landed on the two rows of cottages. Five villagers lost their lives that day and a sixth died in hospital 4 weeks later. All are remembered on the Heybridge War Memorial. Should we have something to remember them here in the Basin?
Cross Chapel Lane and there is the sorry sight of the old chapel. Opened in 1834 it was used for worship until 2004.
The Reading Room, to the left of the main chapel, was used for local elections and meetings. Perhaps you attended Sunday School, or the Basin Play Group or Youth Club here.
When the chapel closed brass plaques commemorating the three men who died, and 60 men who served in the first world war were transferred to St George’s Church.
The Old Exchange, on the corner by Chapel Lane, was a public house during the 19th and into the early 20th century. On 23 March 1874, the tide was extremely high, causing the canal to overflow and flooding parts of the Basin to a depth of 2 or 3 feet. The then landlady, Emma Joslin, despite being assured her 3 children were safe with a neighbour and urged to retreat upstairs to safety. was found drowned at the foot of the stairs. The coroner said it was painfully clear that she must have fallen from the joint effects of drink and excitement, and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
This block of four terraced cottages were built around 1850, and featured in a postcard showing the flood of 1928. The photo features Rose Cottage, and shows food being handed up to a woman and her children in Rose Cottage, who had taken refuge upstairs.
Until the sea wall was built, properties in the village were frequently prone to flooding during high tides, thankfully no longer an issue in The Basin, but those of us who live in the older properties are used to the accumulated salt in our bricks showing up from time to time!
Continue past Barn House and on your left is Tinker’s Cottage. This is named after a previous resident, Charles “Tinker” Clark. He spent most of his working life on the navigation and Tinker was the name of his barge horse. He and his wife ran a shop selling tobacco and sweets in a lean-to beside his cottage.
Cross the road from Tinkers and you may catch a glimpse of the original cottage through the arched gateway next to this modern extension. Dora Batty (1891-1966) lived here from the 1930s until her death. She was an influential teacher at London design schools from the 1930s to the ’50s, head of the Textile Design Department at the Central School of Art. She is best known for a series of posters she did for the London Underground.
She named her cottage Starlings and this is one of her textile designs- also called Starlings.
Two door further on is Barn House. Here Heybridge Basin Dairy was run by the Hume family who had moved to the Basin from Goldhanger soon after 1901. This continued until the 1930s.
Opposite these buildings is the entrance to the old timber yard. In 1946 Walter Burr started his business in the village, felling and bringing in English trees to be sawn, amongst other things, for pit props to be used in the mining industry. The business eventually closed in 1985.
Continue along the road and on your left is the old butcher’s shop. Mr Wakeling from Goldhanger operated a butcher’s round by horse and cart and, in the 1930s, opened a shop in the Basin. When he died in 1940 his nephew Mr Leonard continued to run the shop and delivery round (by motor van now) until the 1970s.
Pass the council houses, built in 1951 to address the shortage of houses after WW2, on your right and you come to Spray Cottage which was one of a number of shops operating in the village in the 1930s and 40s. Jesse Chaney sold sweets and tobacco here.
Next door but one during the 1970s and 80s Mrs Sheldrake ran the last village shop in the front room of Veronique.
On the opposite side of the road the houses in Maritime Avenue and Spinnaker Drive were built on the site of May & Butcher’s timber works when it closed in the 1980s.
Head further along Basin Road to the bus shelter, popular meeting place for local teenagers since it was built in the late 1950s. Behind the bus shelter is St George’s Church. This building started out as the sergeants’ mess on Goldhanger Airfield during WW1. When the airfield was closed it was purchased by Mr Bentall, of the Heybridge agricultural engineering firm, . The building was moved to the Basin and opened as a “chapel of ease ” in March 1920.
The adjoining Community Room was opened in 2015 funded by grants and fantastic local fundraising. visit the church website for more information.