Southend Airport – by air ferry and by rail

This blog contains another two advertisements from the July 1967 Essex Countryside magazine. The first is an ad for British United Air Ferries flying from Southend Airport. Whilst the idea of an air ferry flying from Southend Airport is not alien to me – the company name was – I’d only ever heard people speak of “British Air Ferries” – i.e. without the word ‘United’.

As ever, the all-knowing combination of Google and Wikipedia come to the rescue, and it appears that BUAF changed its name to BAF in September 1967, as a result of a re-organisation by grandparent company B&C (British & Commonwealth). The intermediate company (i.e. the parent to BUAF) was Air Holdings.

British United Air Ferries
British United Air Ferries

The journey time of 30 minutes to Calais seems mighty impressive – I guess the plane would hardly have hit cruise altitude before it would be descending again. As ever, when old prices appear, I feel compelled to make an inflation-based conversion into today’s equivalent prices – and they really are not bad at all – especially if you compare it to the prices on the previous blog for the Whirline.

  • Calais – £60.03
  • Ostend – £71.57
  • Rotterdam – £120.05

BAF finally closed up shop in 2001, though it had not been operating car ferry services since 1977. It changed its name to BWA (British World Airlines) in 1993.

Well that’s the propeller heads fed for a while. So now lets give some food for thought to the commuters and trainspotters too. First, lets take a look at that fare from Liverpool Street to Rochford station.

  • July 1967: 10/9 = £8.27 in 2014’s money.
  • Today’s actual prices (2014): Peak: £16.30; Off-peak: £15.50

I’m stunned actually. Not necessarily by the fact that in real terms, the price of the travel has doubled – but by the paltry difference between a peak and off-peak single ticket. It may, of course, be that the difference is more pronounced for a return.

Anyway – here’s the advert…please scroll down for more of the blog!

British Rail serves Southend Airport
British Rail serves Southend Airport

There is no mention of what mode of transport the link between the station and the airport is. But 1/- equates to 77 pence in today’s money – so it would sounds like a public bus.

The Belgian Arrow service to Brussels works out at £166.23 in today’s money. Nowadays, on Eurostar, a non-flexible ticket for one adult costs between £50 & £89 for an advance booking – whereas a flexible booking costs £141.

 

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Grays Building Society

Building societies are nice fluffy, trustworthy places, aren’t they? Well, they seem to be today – with the likes of Nationwide being ‘on our side’ and preaching that they are a bank without ‘the bank’. I like Nationwide though – our mortgage is with them – and it’s hard to beat. But this blog isn’t really about the Nationwide.

Again, the advert below is from the July 1967 Essex Countryside. I was going to moan about the £7’8’11% thing again – and the ‘free of income tax’ bit – rather like I’ve done with some other building societies. I didn’t think there’d be much more of interest – especially not for boring old Grays. But as ever, before writing the blog, I’ve done some Googling – and I am impressed with the scandal I’ve uncovered. Read on…

Grays Building Society
Grays Building Society

It seems that for over 40 years, the chairman and secretary of ‘The Grays’ – a Mr Harold Percy Jaggard, had been defrauding the society of funds – which had been spent on women and racing. He’d got away with it until a routine audit in 1978 suddenly started to unravel his malpractice. On the day of the audit, he told his staff he was going out, and would return after 20 minutes. He never returned. He was found dead in his bath, having left his wife a suicide note which said “Do not go to the bathroom alone. For 40 years I have tried to put somebody else’s misdeeds right and I can take no more…”.

What Jaggard actually did was to take advantage of his staff’s general lack of understanding of financial processes. He amended books following staff reconciliation, and also banked large mortgage cheques, ensuring that although the society was not receiving the money, the mortgagee was not out of pocket, and the mortgage was marked as redeemed. You can read more about Harold here.

Although New Road, where the Grays was situated, is practically demolished and rebuilt nowadays, with mainly Thurrock council’s offices on the north side, and just two premises on the south side, it seems that the old Grays Building Society building still exists. You can see it here…along with a delightful local giving the Google camera ‘the finger’.

For reference, following the scandal, the Grays Building Society was taken over by the Woolwich Building Society. Which has since been acquired by Barclays Bank. Thus any old Grays Building Society accounts that have never been closed will reside with Barclays Bank.

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D.H. Stevens, Soft Furnishers, 91-93 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea

Another advert from the July 1967 Essex Countryside.  There’s no trace of D.H. Stevens today using Google. However, the second picture below (from Google Streetview) nicely confirms that Leigh Road Supermarket occupies the premises today. The shop front, in particular the windows, looks identical to the D.H. Stevens image. Even the framed white board, to the right of the furthest door looks the same.

D.H. Stevens Furniture Store, Leigh-on-Sea
D.H. Stevens Furniture Store, Leigh-on-Sea
Google Streetview of the D.H. Stevens premises today.
Google Streetview of the D.H. Stevens premises today.

The Streetview image does give us a clue to the premises past – in that the sign above the shop fronts advertises Parker Knoll furniture. The other side of the sign answers the question of the name of the most recent furniture vendor, with the large letters “LILLY” down the centre. Whether Lilly took over from D.H. Stevens, or whether there was an intermediate store on the premises, I do not yet know. Maybe the stack of Essex Countryside magazines that I have will have the answer.

Addendum: Since posting this on Ros Southend Past Facebook site, I have received the following information from Tony Hall: Lilly’s of Leigh took over the shop direct from Mrs Stevens and only closed in 2008. The convenience store only lasted 1 year max. Mr.Lilly still owns the property.

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Exmoor Hunt Pipe Tobacco

Get lost? Well tobacco advertising certainly did get lost eventually. Some prices for a 1oz pouch and a 2oz tin allow us to make some comparisons here again, using the Historic Inflation Calculator. This advert is from July 1967.

At 6/6, the 1oz pouch would cost £5.00 in today’s money, whereas the 2oz tin, at 13/- would cost £10.00. Looking up today’s prices for pipe tobacco, it is surprisingly close. From the online store I found, the only pipe tobacco whose name I recognised (Condor) costs £5.88 for 25g and £11.71 for a 50g pouch.

Exmoor Hunt Pipe Tobacco
Exmoor Hunt Pipe Tobacco
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The Heybridge – Restaurant & Country Club, Ingatestone

This restaurant and country club appears to have become the Heybridge Moat House, and then in 1994 became the Heybridge Hotel, following a management buyout from Queens Moat Houses. It now seems to have disappeared without trace. Sadly the advert below contained no address.

I do like the bold statement just after the times…”Dress optional”. That must have meant something

The Heybridge Restaurant & Country Club, Ingatestone
The Heybridge Restaurant & Country Club, Ingatestone
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James Finch Ltd, Duke Street, Chelmsford

A strange advert, with the usual dodgy photograph thrown in. I’ve no idea what’s meant by the concept of an “itinerant foot-fitter”.

Sadly, although this retailer seems to have both a website and a Google+ page, the website does not work. A quick look on Google Streetview seems to show a shopfront that is in the process of being completely replaced – so it looks like this company is no more, though only relatively recently gone. The surrounding premises seem to be takeaways and charity shops, so seemingly Duke Street is somewhat away from the main shopping area.

James Finch Ltd
James Finch Ltd, Duke Street, Chelmsford
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Williams & Griffin, Colchester’s Newest Department Store

Williams & Griffin department store originally opened in Colchester High Street in 1963 – a merger of two independent stores founded in the 19th century. Since 2008, it has been one of Fenwick’s department stores.

Williams  & Griffin is seen below advertised in the July 1967 Essex Countryside magazine.

Williams & Griffin - Colchester's Newest Department Store
Williams & Griffin – Colchester’s Newest Department Store
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Walthamstow Building Society

Another mind-boggling building society advert from 1967. I think this is actually pretty much the same as saying 4.25% net interest. Though the language here almost implies that the saver receives the gross interest, and the building society, out of the goodness of their heart, pays the tax due.

If I understand this correctly, then tax at 8/3 in the pound is equivalent to 99 old pence in the old pound (240 pence) – which is equal to 41.25% income tax! So taking 41.25% of 7.25p does leave 4.25p or thereabouts.

As to the Walthamstow Building Society itself – well it seems that was taken over by Cheltenham & Gloucester in 1990, with C&G being taken over by Lloyds TSB in 1997. As a result of the de-merger of Lloyds TSB, any old Walthamstow Building Society accounts are now effectively held with the newly formed TSB.

Walthamstow Building Society

Walthamstow Building Society
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