Town Views-Events Sawbridgeworth Fire Brigade 1897 - to the early 1970's and beyond.
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Page last updated: 28/05/2021
Views of or around the town captured by a Kodak bellows camera of around 1928 - plus other contributing cameras, earlier and later.
If you have 'old' Sawbridgeworth pictures that you would like to contribute please contact the Webmaster.
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Town Views
Sawbridgeworth Listed Buildings (The listing includes the base of the crane in the pictures below)
Wharf-side Crane - Station Road This Wharf-side crane once stood on the green area almost opposite the Orchard Maltings in Station Road. As can be seen, it was used to offload barges on the River Stort but it is not known who for - perhaps the Maltings? A very early picture of the crane in use and complete with, what looks like a canvas 'roof'. The 'main' maltings are in the background and Bridgefoot Farm to the right.
Wharf-side Crane - Station Road
Left - The Wharf-side crane seen from across the river Stort, taken from the slope on the towpath from the road bridge. This shows the Orchard Maltings on the West side of Station Road. This malting was severely damaged by fire in the early hours of December 10th 1921 but there appear to be no 'photos of this. Most of the vehicles parked are owned by enthusiastic fishermen, two of whom are on the bank. Wharf-side Crane - Station Road  
Wharf-side Crane - Station Road
Amazingly, the crane stood for years in this almost fully workable condition, all of these photographs being taken in around 1956. The pictures were taken on a Sunday. A414 Road Bridge over the River Stort Left: Another view taken from the tow path on the East of the river, opposite the Wharf. The Bridge takes the old A414 over the river. In the distance the R5 malting has been substantially modified. It had been developed into a second Malt Extract Factory for the British Diamalt Company, part of the H. A. & D. Taylor group.
Left: Yet another view of the maltings leading down towards R5. This time showing three Faggot Stacks on the 'island' used expressly for that purpose. Faggots# were cut in the Essex woods and were burnt in the malting kilns to roast the barley grain. The type of Faggot used influenced the flavour of the final malt product. # Bundles of thin saplings about 12"(30cm) Diameter x 48"(120cm) long.
(Picture kindly supplied by Joseph Fizgerald)
Memorial Hall to the Fallen of two World Wars. Started life at Sawbridgeworth aerodrome and was rebuilt at The Forebury. This was the official opening day. Memorial Hall and Council Offices The Council Offices (now the Public Library) and the Memorial Hall (beyond), within a few years of the latter being built. The Memorial Hall site was school dugouts during the 1939-45 war.
Barns on Station Road
These two barns, believed demolished early 60's, once stood on the Station Road Wharf almost opposite the South end (Nearest) of Orchard Maltings, about where the far end two or three cars are parked in the picture above. The Shadow cast on the road is presumably from the Maltings. By this time the Maltings no longer belonged to H. A. & D. Taylor but had been purchased and substantially changed internally by Chisholm Fox and Garner Ltd., a company manufacturing sacks. George IV Public House, Knight Street The George IV Public House at the North end of Knight Street. The street lamp dates the picture - this was still the pre-war design of which there were about three only in the whole street.
The Railway Inn, Station Road
Left - The Railway Inn, Station Road sold Shell and BP Petrol - the days before the two companies separated. Station Road in those days was the A414 main road, St. Albans to Chelmsford! The Fox Public House, Station Road Another Public House in Station Road, The Fox. Used heavily in the days of the barges on the river, by bargemen who stayed overnight and stabled their horses in the buildings on the right.
London Road - Early 50's London Road facing South - the road sign indicates the Bell Street junction, then a two-way road. Once again the Streetlamp in the foreground indicates that this was early 50's. There is a passage way immediately to the right of the Lamp Post leading through to the Cinema in Sayesbury Avenue/Road. The Man with the bicycle is Harry Read, a Fireman, and the other the Webmaster's Paternal Grandfather. The building in front of which they are standing was a sort of antiques emporium and just further down the road is the Public House called "The Prussure [sic]" to which one entered by descending about 3 steps from pavement level.
Walnut Tree Corner looking South Walnut Tree Corner facing South - junction of Cambridge Road and London Road, Station Road and West Road. This picture taken long before the alterations to cater for the increase in traffic the road now carries, probably early 50's. Close scrutiny of the left hand side shows the corner sweet shop operated by a Mr. Beavan. On the opposite corner stood Quinney's [sic] Antiques and next door a chemist shop, both owned and operated by Mr. M. W. Bush.
Walnut Tree Corner looking East
Walnut Tree Corner - looking down Station Road. The facing buildings were Nelson J. Lawrence Builders Yard. The sweet shop mentioned above is on the right. 'Jutting out' into Station Road is the Taylor's shop of Arthur Hill - it became a butcher's when Arthur moved to the little shop on Knight Street 'behind' the George IV Public House. Walnut Tree Corner (West Side) Another view of the corner, this time the Bus Shelter and West Side Stores.
Quinneys Antiques
Quinney's [sic] Antiques in London Road. To the left was a chemist and next to that, E. Emery & Son, Electrical Contractor's  Shop. London Transport 396 Bus Route Epping to Bishop's Stortford. The 396 Bus Route was a frequent service in the 50's, about every twenty minutes - half hour. This was indispersed with the Green Line Coach Service that ran between Aldgate (London) and Bishop's Stortford, every hour. Many times there was no room to get on, the alternative being the Green Line - not so many stops but more costly!
The High Wych Road widening
The A414 road looking West, (left), as already mentioned above, ran right through the town. From the West it joined the A11 as a very narrow and winding road, particularly past the entrance to Rivers Nursery just by the tall Redwood tree in the photograph. The picture shows work started on widening. Improved Junction A414 - A11   The photograph (left) was taken facing East, with cars on the A11 going towards the town. The new wider road and improved junction now complete.
  The enlarged road sign on the A11 as shown in the photo left.
Town Events
V2 Rocket incident
This picture was taken towards the end of August 1945 and was a children's party held in Springhall Road, for the children of that road and Vantorts Road, to celebrate the 'final' end to the 1939-1945 war - Victory over Japan - V.J. Day. The Webmaster is in this picture aged 10 and many other faces could be named. At the rear of the semi-detached house on the right of this photo is where a huge part of a V2 Rocket - the rocket 'engine' - landed in the back garden (August 1944*), the remnants of one that thankfully exploded before reaching ground level! *More recent information (2021) has determined that the date of the explosion was in January 1945 and was actaully between High Wych and Sawbridgeworth in the vacinity of what is now Falcolners Park - see map postions HERE.
Source: Via Newspaper Article
More Town Views
The picture left and that below it, and below below right, are taken from a publication "The Story of Sawbridgeworth" which appears to have been published around 1964. The Market House is on the left and the cottages on the right were adapted to shops in the late 1950's. Left, Bell Street again but now in around 1950. The Cottages mentioned against the picture left are still there and of course the road was still two way traffic. The picture was probably taken on a Sunday because of the lack of shoppers and traffic. The shops to the left were a hair dresser's (Miss Joyce M. H. Neal) and The Star Supply Stores. The Bell Public House is beyond the cottages.
Above - Bell Street 1834
The picture left of Bell Street was probably either the end of the 1940's or early 1950s! The malting on the left was now used only as a store but the sack hoist would have still been operative at this time. Another shot of Bell Street probably around 1965 where the Cottages mentioned elsewhere have now been converted into shops. Run by Chris Elliott, Chris Elliot's was a Television and Radio shop the proprietor having previously been the TV engineer at White's Garage in London Road.
Left - The Square in about 1900. In this picture the Market house is on the left opposite the horse drawn cart and immediately on the right what became Forrest Stores and in the early 1960's Fine Fare supermarket. The shop on the right of The Square became Charles Riches Ironmongers. On the left of The Square is the Bell & Feathers Hotel. After the 2nd world war it became a furniture shop operated by Charles Riches.
Left - The Bell and Feathers - Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer (*).
Left - Corner of Bell Street and London Road 1887 or 1897 celebrating Queen Victoria's Golden or Silver Jubilee. Surprisingly showing a telegraph pole on the right which would seem unusual for that period! The Store on the left predates what later became Gages Department Store in the 1930's and much modernised in the late 1950's or early 1960's. The Public House on the corner was later replaced by a new building - used largely by Harris's Bakery (See the 1905 photo). Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer.

Right - Apparently King Edward VII travelling through in 1903 - probably on the way to Newmarket Races. Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer.

Right - The London Road Bell Street junction before the changes to Gages, probably late 50's. This was the main A11 - London to Cambridge road. What a difference in traffic to later years!

Left - Bonks Hill in winter c.1905 (The main road through Sawbridgeworth!) Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer.
Above: Knight Street c.1905 Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer. (*) Richard Dyer's father ran a butcher's shop (the photographer's side of the tree) in Knight Street prior to WW2. Above Left - Knight Street ,Barclays Bank on the right with the Bell & Feathers in the distance.
Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer.
  Station Road c.1910 - in the distance the George IV public house.
Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer.
The Square again, probably in the late 1950's early 1960's. A better view of the Market House - the Feathers Hotel now in use as a quite large furniture shop operated by Charles Riches Ltd who had the Iron Mongers shop opposite and a china shop in Knight Street. Here, around early - mid 1960's is the junction of London Road and Bell Street again facing North towards Bishop's Stortford with the new Gages Store on the left and Thorogoods tobacconists and sweet shop far left. Harris bakers shop is on the corner of Bell Street and the sign of the Lion Hotel can just be seen. The sub Post Office run by Mr & Mrs. Richard (R.A. Dicky) Burton is behind the man standing on the pavement.
No 5 Bell Street is at the London Road end of the street. The Butcher's Christy (photo early 1900s) later became Christy & Blake in the 1950's, one of around three butchers shops at that time. Bell Street almost certainly late 1940's or very early 1950's on a Sunday morning. The gentleman walking on the left is the Webmaster's Paternal Grandfather and the cyclist in the distance is thought to be Albert Butcher who worked at the time at Vantorts Farm.  
Photo courtesy of Mrs Edna Richardson

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Sawbridgeworth Scouts c.1919. The Scout Hut was in Station Road at this time, moving to Springhall Road before the 2nd world war. After the war the Scout Master, for many years was Captain Harris of Harris Bakers whose premises are mentioned in the above right picture. Another venue another day but the Scout membership seems to indicate that the date is similar to the picture left. Many of the Scout members became Firemen either a little later or later in life as part of the National Fire Service in the 2nd World War.
◄----- More views of the River Stort in the late 1950's -----► Also see: Miscellanea
River at Sheering Mill looking North East towards the lock. Walter Lawrence in the background. The Sluice opposite the maltings (R5) one of the popular swimming places for locals. The waterfall at the Moors - another popular bathing/ swimming venue. The Moors as left but looking back towards Sawbridgeworth The Mill (Sheering Mill Date unknown)
Picture courtesy of Richard Dyer.
Check out This Link for a 1914 -15
View of the Mill!

(also see Note left)
Check out this Video
Note - The Mill 'Greasy Pole' was a well know 'facility' used for Social Events held at the Mill Pool! Some interesting views of the adjacent Lock House & its history are available HERE  [With Acknowledgment to The History of Lee & Stort Navigations Web Site] If the video does not play check the version of Adobe Flash you are running!
Post Card of Sawbridgeworth. The River Stort at the The Moors. By the ladies attire it would seem to be the early 1900's. This view is along the footpath towards Harlow - about a half mile prior to the Water Fall that was used a great deal as a bathing place for many years - see photo immediately above. The imminent demolition (c. 1970) of the large 'cottages' that once stood on the junction of Bull Fields and  Station Road that were removed to allow the widening of the Bull Fields junction - originally a very narrow lane.
Photo by a Mrs Connell and provided by Andy Ballisat (March 2021)

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The Fire Brigade were usually in attendance too!
Carnival Programme 26th May 1969 The town carnival or fete held usually on the Whitsun, later the Spring Bank holiday, became very popular in the late 40's and with quite high attendances, matured through the 50's and into the 60's as will be seen by the Programme for 1969 shown left. Even in the late 50's attendances were around 5,000, quite an attendance figure for a small town with less population than that at that time! Carnival Programme 26th May 1969 Carnival Programme 26th May 1969  
A 1930's Photograph A 1930's Photograph Getting them involved A "Country Fair" attendance
Firemen Left to Right: Harry Taylor - Bill Horsnell - Frank Wright Firemen Left to Right: ? - Frank Wright - Sid Morgan    
Country Fair - "Help, save me!" Support wanted Getting them involved A "Country Fair" attendance
Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Celebrations 1977 held in Sawbridgeworth. The station had entered a team for the Pram Race - Left to R: Andy Ballisat, Firemen Paul Burrell, Johnny Williams plus non members to make up the team being: Neil Matthews and Johnny Williams' brother. The team came second with the team 27 beside taking first prize.
Photo provided by Andy Ballisat (March 2021)