Leigh Beck 1911

A new life

Afternoon tea on Canvey

When my mother passed away some years ago, She left me some old photographs relating to her fathers side of the family. The family name was “Crow” and the place was Leigh Beck, an area of Canvey on Sea. When these family members were alive, I was too young to remember much about them. Due to the recent increase in the awareness of being able to trace one’s family tree with progammes such as “Who do you Think you are?” on television, has led to my interest in tracing my own family tree. I soon realised, the power of the Internet, by typing in names and places which I thought may be in some way connected with the various branches of my “Tree”. Web Sites such as Canvey Island Archive have been a tremendous help to make more sense of the history surrounding people’s past, giving an interesting background to simply, Birth, Marriage and Death dates. Hopefully the few photographs, names and dates I have, will return in some way the benefits I’ve received from other people’s contributions.

W.G.Crow, Jobmaster

Joseph Edward Crow (Senior) was born in the East End of London in 1856. His father and His father before Him were involved in the “Public House” profession. Something I’ve only recently learnt, is the employment description, “Chop House Keeper,” which I discovered, refers to a meeting place for businessmen where good quality food and wine was made available. Joseph, followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming Landlord of the Blue Anchor Inn in the old Limehouse area of Stepney, the year was 1899. Joseph was married to Emily nee’ Bull and they had five children, William Gordon, Gertrude Emily, Joseph Edward (junior), John and Maud. The exact length of time the family lived at the Inn, I’m unsure of, what is known, by 1911 the family were living in the Leigh Beck area of Canvey on Sea.

I’m grateful for the information linked to this web site, which provides information and pictures of memorials within St. Katherine’s Cemetery. The first reason being, the death of Joseph Edward Crow (Senior) is recorded, the year, 1911. Why had the family moved from London to Canvey? I do not know, so far I have not been able to trace the death of Joseph’s wife, Emily, did she die in London? if so would that have encouraged the move?

The next event I know of, is the death of John Crow, also buried at St. Katherine’s. John was born in Stepney during 1892, he died during 1914, only 22 years of age.

Gertrude Crow is the link to the first proof of an address that I have. This is a “National Registration Act” card, dated around 1915, it reads- Gertrude Crow, Barmaid, aged 22 of St. Aubyns, Canvey Island, Essex. I know from old letters that Gertrude was indeed a Barmaid, although during this period in time not on Canvey but in the Romford and Ilford areas.

According to the 1911 census, St.Aubyns was the home of 30 year old Bricklayer, Alfred Wainwright and his Family. I assume that during the period of the First World War, Maud Crow also lived at St.Albyns, I do know from an old photograph, Maud was an Ambulance driver, furthermore a letter I have is addressed to- Maud Crow, Jobmaster, Canvey on Sea. A Jobmaster as I understand, is a person offering to provide transport of people or goods by horse-drawn carriage.

Joseph and Eleanor outside Tearooms

This now brings me to William Gordon Crow, I know once again from old photographs, he too was a Jobmaster. Further more I have always been led to believe that he opperated the first Omnibus service on Canvey under the name of “Black Knight”, do any readers of this article know different?

The photographs which accompany this article and in the gallery below, cover a period ending in the late 1950’s . As can be seen, there are various scenes linked to horses, also tea rooms feature. I know one or other of the “Crow” family were involved with a tea room, whether their own business or working for others and the actual whereabouts on Canvey, I’m not sure. Once again, over to anyone reading this article who may be able to help?

Other information I have is that Gertrude was living at a home called, St.Cliffords, also Yamburg Ave is mentioned, the time period was around 1948. Six members of the “Crow” family lie buried within St.Katherine’s Cemetery. Joseph Edward Snr. and John already mentioned, William Gordon 1884-1946, Albert Richmond 1898-1951, Gertrude Emily 1886-1959 and Maud Mary 1896-1960. Joseph Edward (Junior), met and married my Grandmother, Eleanor Butt. Joseph bought a farm in the nearby village of Runwell, sadly he died whilst my mother was still a young girl, so I have no personal knowledge of him. As a young boy, aged three I can just about remember my two Aunts, Gertrude and Maud staying at the farm where I lived with my parents and widowed Grandmother, the year? 1953 and the reason, the “Great flood”.

Travellers Rest

(Editor) Because of the discussion in the comments below I have added a picture of Travellers Rest to show against the picture above. It does not look like the same building)

See Part 2 of this story HERE

Comments about this page

  • What fantastic pictures thank you for adding them to the archive. It is nice to see photos of the people I have been researching.

    By Janet Penn (06/01/2010)
  • Hi John,
    Thanks for this great contribution of family history and photos. This is what the Archive is all about! I at first hesitated to make a comment but some of this info might be of interest: The property on the corner of Yamburg and the High St is very clear in my memory and was re-placed by a pair of semi-detached chalets in 1960. In one of Geoff Barsby’s books there is a similar slightly earlier picture which shows ” Traps for Hire” also there is later picture c.1950 but with the wrong caption. The workmen are lowering the High St in 1927, it was then called London Rd and as illustrated by the photo of Mr Crow with the horse and trap originally ran along the top of a counter-wall almost as high as the sea-wall. On the photo map on Dave Bullock’s original Canvey Island.org.uk site there is a great selection of photos from the early 60s of this area with many of the pre-war buildings remaining. I have put an enquiry on the Forum hoping to attract Dee Weightman attention as she might know a little more about the houses mentioned.

    By Graham Stevens (12/01/2010)
  • TheTea room isn’t the Traverlers Rest on the High Street in Woodville Road is it? This was demolished about 1978

    By David Bullock (13/01/2010)
  • Had a look at a picture of the Travellers Rest in one of Barsby’s book and the windows upstairs are totally different. There are three seperate windows whereas this one here has two.

    By Janet Penn (13/01/2010)
  • You’re right Jan – I’m sure Graham will know!

    By David Bullock (13/01/2010)
  • Thank you for your interest and useful comments Graham. Your recollections of the property on the corner of Yamburg Street being replaced by new homes in 1960 would tie in with the death of my Gt. Aunt Maud in Jan 1960, leaving the property vacant.

    By John hawes (13/01/2010)
  • Sorry Graham, I can’t remember much more, either. I certainly recall the house at the corner of Yamburg Road and its later replacement but no name for it. St Aubyn sounded familiar and elsewhere on this site is Kelly’s Directory of Essex, 1933, added by Janet Penn. Listed under the Commercial section is Jn Ward, Fruiter, of St Aubyn’s, Station Road, Leigh Beck. Perhaps that was it .Was it possibly still there in the 50s/60’s?

    Regarding the reference to William Gordon Crow and the Black Knight omnibus company, there is an interesting picture in one of Geoff Barsby’s books. On page 108 of “The Archive Photographs Series – Canvey Island” is a photograph circa 1920 showing a bus owned by a Mr Knight with BRIGHT KNIGHT sign – written along the side.

    I wonder whether Joan Liddiard (Bishop) might have more memories?

    By Dee (16/01/2010)
  • Thanks Dee, that’s a good bit of detective work, coincidentally in 1920 Alfred Wainwright bought a large portion of land on the N.side of the High St opposite the top of Station Rd. I’ve got copies of documents with his signature pertaining to the sale. I have written a bit about A.W and his house in ‘A Shopping Basket etc(pt2)’ in the Memories section.

    Re the Tea-rooms; I have a feeling that they were not in direct Hooton’s Corner vicinity. There were 4 in that area in the 50s that definitely existed pre W W2; Ray’s Cafe, The Travellers Rest and Nobby’s Woodville on the north side of the High St but they all had to be approached by crossing the ditch in some form. The Roadhouse was right opposite the Travellers so therefore, in the photo, the photographer being molested by the pony would have been standing on the boardwalk of the Travellers or in the ditch.

    By Graham Stevens (18/01/2010)
  • I’m so pleased too see the interest arising from a few old photos and memories. I now realise I had the name of the first Bus company wrong, it was indeed “Bright Knight”. In the next few days I hope to add some more photographs that I’ve found, also a newspaper cutting. These will help to fuel more discussion, who did run the first Bus? I also have the year the Bus was registered. TW9309 May 1927, I also have the Hackney Carriage Licence for that year. John Hawes.

    By John Hawes (21/01/2010)
  • Graham, weren’t there Wainwrights who ran the Jellicoe and lived in the bungalow between the pub and the shops opposite Station Road?

    By Maureen Buckmaster (06/03/2010)
  • Hi Maureen, I don’t know if you’ll pick up this reply as I’ve only just come across your comment. That’s the only problem with this site, unlike the Forum, it doesn’t flag up any additional comments. Re Wainwright I must admit I don’t know of any Jellicoe connection but if the info came via your family I’m sure it’s quite valid. In the gallery of ‘Shopping Basket Pt 3’ there’s a photo showing the back roof of A.W.’s house. Can you remember the name? Graham.

    By Graham (14/06/2010)
  • The picture of the tearooms , im shaw it was the travellers rest ,i lived in hope road which was ones haynult rd at No 37 the house my parents had from new from 63 until 71/72 ,i was 7 then now 54 and living in suffolk . i went to leigh beck school & furtherwick park ,head master was Fred Watkins ?. I moved off canvey in 97 to thundersley for 4 years then to suffolk . When i moved to canvey there was only about 10 thousand people ,when i moved off there were about 40 thousand . The first person i made friends with was Paul Adams & i know he still live”s there, as is my own son still lives on canvey.

    By Andy Scrivener (06/04/2011)
  • I have tried to read the writing on the side of the building, looks like a word beginning with M and ending with Y. But cannot fathom out the rest. Could it be Methodist? There are pictures on the notice board as well

    By Joan liddiard (05/04/2013)
  • I remember Mrs Crow living in an old bungalow in Yamburg Avenue. It was just behind where the two semi-detached chalets have been built. My family used to live further down Yamburg, by the dyke, and my mum was friends with her. I think she had an aviary for birds in her garden, same as us. I remember she died about 1961 and in her will she had left my mum a ring, which made my mum proud but also sad.

    By Keith Farrow (01/01/2014)
  • Below are additional comments from Keith Farrow.

    I lived in Yamburg Road when I was young and I have read the Crow story and although it all happened before my time, this is my take on it.
    I think Maud Crow (Jobmaster) lived in the property at the junction of Yamburg & the High Street. and the property was the base to hire out pony & traps and then later became the Bright
    Knight service. I don’t know if this property was called ‘St.Aubyn’ as it had been demolished when I was a kid (it was just foundations left there) and then later two semi-detached chalets were built there (approx 1963). However, I think ‘St. Clifford’ was another bungalow immediately behind this property i.e. the next one along down Yamburg Road,
    (opposite where Gertrude lived until she died approx 1960. i.e. The Crows had 2 plots).
    Gertrude’s property had a white wooden gate too, with its name on it and an arch over the top.
    I think this may have been called St. Clifford. I seem to remember asking my dad what ‘St’ meant and he said “It’s the abbreviation for Saint”.
    The tea rooms pictured & mentioned in the story was definitely the Travellers Rest(aurant) a bit further along High St. (shown in pic).




    By Maureen Buckmaster (15/03/2016)
  • The Crows are not in the Rate book dated 2nd Nov 1911 but W. G. CROW is present in the 2nd May1912 book at St Aubyns.

    I also have a map that locates where St Aubyns was if this helps.

    By Martin Lepley (29/01/2017)
  • I have just checked and have a newspaper article about the sad demise of John Edward Percy CROW.

    A separate article regarding William Gordon CROW.

    And a further Advert of a Miss CROW selling a pony in 1919

    By Martin Lepley (29/01/2017)
  • Surely the photo of the house labelled’Where is it?’ is the tea rooms but with several of the trees removed. The photo of the tearoom still has one of the trees in front of it.

    By Maureen Buckmaster (16/04/2021)
  • The building on that photo Maureen looks very different to the tearoom. I can make out a large roof area behind the trees.

    By Janet Penn (17/04/2021)

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