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Hi I used to play with Kenny Keil, the son of Edward senior when he lived at Thisselt Lodge until his mum died in 1954. He was 10 years old, then taken to Tottenham to live with relatives.

He did an engineering apprenticeship and inherited the KeilKraft firm which he ran in Wickford with 200 staff. Thisselt lodge was a bungalow on the corner of Thisselt road and Linde road and was full of great furniture that his dad had made including a lounge with a beautiful polished wood floor that Kenny and I used as a skating rink when his mum wasn't looking.

The house was demolished many years ago and the site was still derelict when I looked a couple of years ago. Ken told me this was because rights to the land came into dispute on his mums death. Ken has no knowledge of the Coronation throne [one of at least three] that lived there but heard that it "disappeared" when the house was demolished.

I made many of KeilKrafts kits which I bought from Timbercraft on the corner of Oxford and High street when we were kids----I still had to pay full price though. His dads furniture company made parts for the Mosquito bomber during the war.

I was re-united with Ken recently after 50years. He is now retired after several years manufacturing double glazing. Regards Sparrow

By Sparrow
On 11/12/2010

Hi Sparrow Thanks for all this info, I live just a few roads away from the site of Thisselt Lodge so I'll take a walk and have a look at what's there now. Re Timbercraft I've just postponed a meet-up with Dave Smith (who ran Timbercraft with his Dad) and other mates, hope to reconvene sometime in the New Year, I'm sure KeilKraft Kits will be one of the subjects of conversation. Regards Graham.

By Graham
On 12/12/2010

Hi Graham I went there again on Saturday and it is still just a load of brambles. I forgot to mention that the father on Edward Keil snr served in the British army in WW1 as a naturalised briton. The family had changed their name from the original spelling of "Kiel" because of religious persecution in Germany. Regards Sparrow

By sparrow
On 13/12/2010

Edward (Eddie) jnr was the son of Edward Keil and his first wife Eva Clara Sapsworth.

Ronald (Ron) was the son of Edward Keil and his second wife Elizabeth Lilian Lloyd. Derryk Keil is Ronald's son.

Kenneth (Kenny) was the son of Edward Keil and his third wife Violet Elsie Bunnett. Kenneth was only five when his father died and only ten when his mother died.

By Janet Penn
On 13/12/2010

I was a mate of Kenny Keil in the Billericay 4th Rover Scouts, he got the Queens scout badge, wouldn't mind saying hello again. We also used to go to the Mecca at Basildon with our prospective wives and danced to the Dave Clarke Five, last saw Kenny at South Woodham Ferrers, then lost touch. If he see's this Hi kenny and Carol hope you are both fit and well. Best wishes Roy & Jean Kendling

By Roy kendling
On 04/03/2011

Yesterday evening I was watching a programme called 'Victorian Upstairs Downstairs featuring Scone Castle, the original home of the much-travelled Coronation Stone, which for many centuries lay under the King Edward Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. When,lo and behold, standing in an outbuilding was a replica Coronation Chair. The presenter, antiques expert, Tim Wannacott said it was thought to be a former film prop. Could this be one of the missing chairs produced by Mr Keil Senr?

By Graham Stevens
On 15/03/2011

Hi I am an indirect relation to the Keil family I was looking into the Keil and Gude connection and came across your info I live in Chingford London would love to hear if you have any info on Henry Kiel from Hackney and Walthamstow he married my great great step-grandmother about 1900s and lived Clapton east London

By sue wood
On 23/04/2011

Facinating history of the Keil family. Know I know why I was named Julia

By Julia
On 18/08/2011

Elizabeth Lilian Lloyd was my Great Aunt- her brother was my Grandfather. My father used to tell me about my great uncle "Teddy" and that when he was younger how he used to Cycle (yes cycle) from Walthamstow to Canvey to visit with his uncle and cousins.

By Lynda M
On 22/10/2011

My name is Nigel Haddock. My Dad worked at Keil Kraft. I think as sales manager. We lived in Wickford at the time. I have some photos of the factory inside and out as well as trade shots. Probably circa 1960 ish. I only met Mr Keil once as a small boy he came to our house to see dad. Apparently I pointed to him and said. You'll burst. ... my dad was not pleased.

By Nigel Haddock
On 03/03/2014

Hello to all I am a granddaughter of Eddie Keil snr from a little farming town of Thorpdale Victoria Australia My parents Alec and Iona Leitch nee Keil came to Aus in 1948 I was born in London in 1946. I have visited U K twice and stayed with cousin Derrek. I would love to find out more about the coronation replica chairs I do have a photo of one would love to know where they ended up if any one knows. I also have been able to purchase some Keil Kraft balsa models which I treasure . Cheers Valvhuof

By Val Blackshaw
On 06/08/2014

Hi Val

Any chance we could have a copy of the photo for the archive?? You can email it to us at

By Janet Penn
On 06/08/2014

Hello Val

I grew up with Ken Keil in Canvey and recently regained contact with him after 50years. He was taken to London when his mum died in 1954. He eventually inherited the Keil Kraft company. He told me that there were three replica coronation chairs made by his dad and is at a complete loss as to what happened to them [it seems he was kept in the dark about several things]

Sadly their old home of Thisselt Lodge is now just a piece of waste land.

Good luck

Robin Howie

By sparrow
On 06/08/2014

Hi Val, Thanks for your contact from Australia. It would be really exciting if we could see a photo of one of the Coronation Chair replicas. As to whether they are still extant and their present whereabouts maybe there might be a vague clue in my comment of 15/3/11. Regards, Graham.

By Graham Stevens
On 07/08/2014
By Janet Penn
On 07/08/2014

I was born in 1935 in Windsor Road, Leyton. Not long after; my parents became licensees of The British Lion, Hackney Road, Shoreditch. One day my father picked me up and carried me next door to see the cabinet maker. His Name was Eddie Keil, and one of my lasting memories was to stare in wonder at the large array of rubber driven model aircraft suspended from the ceiling of his workshop, while Eddie and my father chatted. Now, at the age of 79 it is one of my fondest memories. In later life (after the war) I bought and flew various Keil Kraft models, and reading the stories on this website has give me so much pleasure . . . thank you.

Ted Hobbs

By Edward Hobbs
On 15/11/2014

In the Autumn of 1952 I was on an extended leave from a three year stint in the Far East. I learned that the teaching staff at what was then known as the Long Road Primary School on Canvey Island was experiencing problems due to overcrowding. 

By this time, seven years after the end of WW2, the increase in the Island’s child population occasioned by the influx of wartime refugees from London coupled with the “baby boom” that followed the end of mobilization meant the existing school accommodation was proving woefully inadequate. As very similar problems had afflicted other schools throughout the UK and there was also a general shortage of teachers, an emergency teacher training scheme lasting thirteen months instead of the standard two years had been adopted for discharged Military personnel and this was just beginning to bear fruit. Two such new teachers had been recruited to the Canvey staff and I was to aid one or other of these as, over time, they gained more and more experience.

To attend the school, I cycled each day to and from my family home in Laindon. This entailed a journey via Pitsea as far as the “Tarpot” thence through Benfleet High Road, over the level crossing at Benfleet railway station and onto the Island by means of the bridge. I vividly recall noting that, on one such journey at high tide, it meant that the water level close by the bridge was very near to reaching the top of the sea wall.

At the school the shortage of classroom space meant that the school’s assembly hall had been divided into two by suspending a heavy curtain across its middle and two separate classes of some two dozen pupils each had resulted. It was a rather uncomfortable environment both for the teachers as well as the pupils, conversations taking place in the adjacent room constantly being overheard and no doubt causing confusion in the children’s minds. But we did our best.

To my lasting regret, I was at the school for only a bare five or six week stint and cannot now remember any names, except one, among either the teachers with whom I worked nor the children in the class. I do recall that all the kids were a great delight to deal with as mostly they all are at the age of seven or eight even now. The one pupil’s name I do recall, however, was that of Kenny Kiel. He was one of the class with whom I had dealings and, of course, his family connection with the Kiel model making firm made him particularly memorable. He was even then a knowledgeable little chap and a delight to talk to.

In the years following the terrible events in the winter of the following term, I have often wondered about the fate of those youngsters, as they were then but who, like me, have now grown old. My memory lapse has meant it was difficult to establish but now, after reading this blog, I know the fate of at least one of that class, thank you.

By John Bathurst
On 29/06/2015

Thank you John for adding your memories of your connection with Canvey even if it was only a few weeks. You have given us an insight into the conditions in our schools during the post War/pre flood period which we have not heard about before. We are also pleased you have found out about the member of the Keil family from our pages.

By Janet Penn
On 29/06/2015

Thank you for the chance to gather much info about the Keil family & model business in Wickford. I really would love to have contact with friends/family & work colleges of E. Keil & co. I too was a budding aeromodeller in the late 50`s, who went on to finally get my own shop in Colchester in the 1980`s, teaching newcomers the art of building & flying radio control model aircraft. If anybody can spare the time, please E-mail me at:  Thankyou. James Weir,[retired] formally of Collier Row, Romford,Essex. Now near Colchester, Eseex.

By James Weir.
On 02/02/2016

Having lost a woodyard in Chiswick to fire, my grandfather emigrated to Florida and was wiped out by the Great Miami hurricane. On his return to the UK he met Kiel and introduced him to Balsa wood. Born in 1919 my Mothers earliest recollections are demonstrating cross style boomerangs in Harrods. Charles Archie Brown was known as Jimmy and worked for KielKraft for many many years.

By Tim Broxton
On 10/11/2016

Thanks for this . Great to see we're still getting info re this page. Graham.

By Graham Stevens
On 16/11/2016

Here is an interesting bit of information related to the Keil family home in Thisselt Road. They had a Hillman car that was left in the water of the 1953 flood. Interestingly, when the water had subsided and people returned to the island the old Hillman started with no bother.

By Dr Alan Whitcomb
On 02/12/2016

I was a very enthusiastic model builder through out the 1970s and loved Keil Kraft kits. My KK Dolphin left the school playing fields in a thermal and disappeared over Croydon and I never saw it again. I attended a promotion course at Met Police Training School Hendon in about in the Spring of 2008 one of my class mates had the surname Keil. Unusual and but familiar name I thought. Sure enough he was the grandson of Eddie Keil. To my shame I can't remember his first name now but he did tell me about the loft full of unopened kits he owns and how he was particularly fond of a plastic control line Keil Kraft Hurricane.  

By Andy Keyte
On 03/02/2017

I've just started piecing together my family tree and this page has been a wonderful insight, thankyou to everyone for their contributions! My great Grandfather is John Bone, son of Claude Bone and Julie Evelyn (Dolly) Keil. John had one son, Keith Bone who went on to have three children; two girls and a boy, my father! Although born in Australia, John moved back to England when he was about 5 but moved back to Australia again when his son was a teenager. From there on the rest of the family have been born in Western Australia. My grandfather remembers growing up at Canvey Island well but also recalls being told that the Keils are originally from Germany, does anyone know how far back that connection begins? 

By Shari Bone
On 03/08/2017

According to the 15th Nov 1923 Poor Rate Book for Canvey.

E. KEIL was described as occupier and Owner of a "Bungalow, Brown with Red Roof" located Oysterfleet Next Gregson. The Gross Estimated Rental was £8.


By Martin Lepley
On 03/08/2017

The 1923 Autumn Electoral Roll for Canvey (15th Oct 1923) Shows KEIL Edward, and KEIL Elizabeth Lilian living in the Oysterfleet area of Canvey. They are not in the 1922 Electoral Roll 

By Martin Lepley
On 03/08/2017

Thanks Shari for the additional info re the Bone branch of the Keil family. I can confirm that the Keil family are indeed from Germany.

Edward Keil snr was born in Bethnal Green, Middlesex in 1881 to Henry and Julia Keil. Henry who was born in Germany, naturalised and aged 37 and was a cabinet maker in the 1881 census. In the 1871 census it confirms Germany as Henry's birth place this time also giving the place name Kriess Giessen.

Henry and Julia Domney were married Sept qtr 1864 in Hackney District. Henry was naturalised in 1878.

By Janet Penn
On 03/08/2017