Plans from the past

that never happened

o  Redoubt at Bounds Farm

o  Reclamation of the estuary a Goldhanger

o  Railway between Tollesbury and Langford

o  Mains gas from Maldon to Goldhanger

o  Captured field guns in the Churchyard

o  Goldhanger Creek private hire

o  Wesleyan Chapel conversion to a butchers shop

o  Flying boats on the Blackwater

o  Cricket pitch at Follyfaunts

o  Estuary bird sanctuary

o  Housing estate on the school field


A Redoubt at Bounds Farm

In 1795 eight Redoubts were proposed around the Blackwater Estuary as a defence from an attack by the French, which the document points  out is only 38 miles from London. A redoubt, or redout is a fort consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement, in medieval times an  earthworks but later of brick or stone. Many were built around the south and east coasts during the Napoleonic wars and still remain.

1795 - Redoubt plan for Goldhanger


Reclamation of the estuary between Osea Island and Goldhanger in 1852

In 1852 the South Essex Reclamation Bill was put before Parliament to reclaim land in four areas including the north bank of the Blackwater from Colliers Reach for a distance of 12 miles which would drain 4880 acres of land. This would have linked Osea Island to the main land between Mill Beach and Goldhanger Creek. The proposal claimed to have the effect of not only of £improved navigation of the river” south of Osea Island towards Maldon but also of improving drainage and “the caused of malaria and other unhealthiness would be removed”. The Admiralty opposed the plan and it was not approved by Parliament.  A map of “Goldhanger Flats around Northey and Osea Island”  associated with the Reclamation Bill is held in the Essex Records Office (ERO T/M 264/1).

1852 - Reclamation Act of Parliament


Railway line between Tollesbury and Langford

There were two separate proposals for a railway from Langford to Tollesbury, the first in the 1882 and second in the 1890. The 1882 plan was for a line adjacent to the seawall running through Goldhanger, Mill Beach, and Heybridge to join up with the Maldon to Witham line at Langford. It was proposed that it would “open up Mill Beach as a water side resort” The cost was estimated at £50,000. Guarantees were required by the railway company but the Tollesbury people were said to have “liberally subscribed to the Guarantee”. However the plan was abandoned.  An extract from the local newspaper in1882…

1882 - Railway abandoned

The 1890 plan was for a line from Tollesbury to Tolleshunt D’arcy, Tolleshunt Major, Beckingham, Lt and Gt Totham to join up with the Maldon to Witham line at Langford. Goldhanger was said to be one of the villages that would benefit as Messrs Belsham sent 600 tons of flour to Maldon at the time and it would become only be 1½ from the proposed line at Beckingham. The Tollesbury Light Railway finally opened in October 1904, but went through Tiptree to join the main line Kelvedon to provide Wilkins & Sons with greatly improved goods transport. The Tollesbury section closed in 1951. An extract from the local newspaper in 1890…

1890 - Railway from Tollesbury


More information about the local rail lines is at... Local railways in the past


Bizarrely, the plan for a rail line through Goldhanger was used by the East Ham Model Railway Club to construct a model railway and photos of the layout have been on the internet for many years, including a “Goldhanger Station” and the remains of the Snowdrop barge in the Creek. The club’s current website photos are at… 

model railway


Main gas from Maldon to Goldhanger

The paper achives have a copy plan from the early 1900s in bring mains gas to Goldhanger along the Maldon Road. At the time the distribution reached the caravan sites at Mill beach before the project was halted, maybe due to WW-1, and the Goldhanger Road from Heybridge to the caravan sites enjoyed gas street lighting for many years. In the early 1970s when the Queen was planning a visit Maldon all the Maldon gas lights were quickly replaced with electric lighting and the old gas lamp post were ignominiously stacked up in the Maldon Council yard for several years….


Two of these lamp posts finally made it to gardens in Goldhanger where they remain.


Captured field guns for the Churchyard

In 1919 when the rector was planning and fund raising to built the war memorial at the front of St. Peter’s Church he also had the idea of installing two captured field guns either side of the memorial with imposing new gates and pathway.

From the Parish magazine of December 1918…

Our Fallen

     A meeting was held at the Rectory on Thursday afternoon, November 14th, of the Parents and Relatives of those who have been killed in the War…  The Rector (Revd Gardner) presided, the object of the meeting was to consider the erection in the Churchyard, in front of the Tower, of a suitable Memorial.  Various designs were considered. All were unanimous in adopting a representation of the “Great Sacrifice” to be executed in stone and about 20 feet in height, which it is hoped will be completed next July, and which it is their intention to erect. The Rector, in the face of the splendid record of Goldhanger in the War, has applied to the Authorities for the grant of a German Field Gun to be placed in front of our Parish Memorial which is to be erected in front of the Church Tower…  It may then be possible to have new wide gates and a wide path from the road to the Tower, to place the Memorial in the centre of the path, and with the Gun in the foreground if granted would be a noble completion.


At the same time the Revd. Durrent Field wrote letters to the local newspaper and The Times publicising the plan…

Gun    1919 - a captured gun2


Goldhanger Creek privately hired

In 1919 the local newspaper reported that a fisherman had attempted to hire Goldhanger Creek. The application was refused by the Council…

1919 - Hire the Creek

Now one can only speculate why anyone would want to “hire” the Creek:  to create a fishing fleet harbour?  oyster beds?   a salt extraction facility?   a yacht club marina?


Blackwater estuary bird sanctuary

In 1938 Crawshay Frost made a proposal for parts of the Blackwater Estuary to made into a bird sanctuary which was publicised in the Essex Chronicle... 


Essex possesses a natural treasure which should be more widely featured. A few notable Essex people, including the late Dr. J. H. Salter, have said and written much to popularise  the saltings that stretch away from the River Blackwater along the Essex coast. Dr. Salters famous Diary enchants us with delightful peeps of very early risers shooting the wild duck and geese, which  thrive in their very own haunts around Tollesbury, Osea Island, and Goldhanger. Do the majority of Essex people realise, though that these saltings offer the prospect of one the finest sanctuaries for wild fowl in the county? The banks of the Blackwater can show us the best breeding grounds of the hardiest flocks of shell duck, wild geese, the cormorant and other wild birds.

Mr. H. Crawshay Frost, of Sea View, Goldhanger, is one of a small group of Essex natural history enthusiasts who look forward to the day when the Blackwater shall be a sanctuary for the birds of the water preserved for ever as their rightful home to all see, study and admire. Mr.  Crawshay Frost loves the Blackwater and every yard of its saltings. At Sea View he has built a  look-out over the house which gives him an uninterrupted view of the water. He spends many delightful hours, too down on the saltings watching the bird life, fresh marvels of which reveal themselves at every visit. So entranced is he with all he sees that he wants to pass on to others some of the beauty spots. Public attention of this sort will hasten the day surely not far distant, when Essex will be able to boast its own sanctuary for wild water fowl amid surroundings second to none.


A flying boat airport on the Blackwater with a terminus on Osea Island

After World War II the UK Government sought to improve long distant air transport and in 1945 Saunders-Roe were asked to design a suitable plane. The SR-45 "Princess" flying boat was produced. Steps were then taken to find a suitable site for a new flying boat airport to close to London. Chichester, Bradwell, and Osea Island on the Blackwater were suggested locations. The Osea Island proposal was that the terminal would be on the island itself with a new causeway constructed to give road access to the A12. 

By 1952 only one Saunders-Roe Princess flying boat was flying and the proposal came to nothing.  At the time it was said that large land-based aircraft and airfields would be more economically and safer. However it was also said that the government was influence by the USA which had no interest in flying boats as middle America had no suitable stretches of water.


Cricket pitch at Follyfaunts

In 1952 when the cricket pitch in “The Park” behind the Rectory ceased to be financially viable because the farmer disposed of his milking herd and converted the field to arable, Mr Julian Jenkinson offered to build a new pitch and clubhouse in the field in the front of Follyfaunts House. However the cricket club committee could not reach an agreement with Mr Jenkinson on how the field would be managed, so the plan was not pursued and the club was wound up.


Wesleyan Chapel conversion to a butchers shop

The Wesleyan Chapel in Head Street closed down in the 1967 and in 1970 the building was sold to the owners of The Limes next door. They applied for planning permission to convert the Chapel into a butchers shop. There were many objections however and permission was refused. The Chapel became derelict and remained unused for many years.


Housing estate on the school field

In 1977 the village school closed and the Church of England sold the building and the adjacent field to “Romford, Hornchurch, and Havering Church School Trust” who ran a “study centre” there for ten years. In 1989 they applied for planning permission to build houses on the field and there were many objections and permission was refused. This is part of an article that appeared in the local paper…

1989 - Anger over school



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