Clement's Dairies

Proprietors Ernest and Maud Clement

This photo of the dairy was taken after the road was lowered in 1928. The dairy was located on the corner of Chamberlain Avenue that is still there today, see picture below. The building has been substantially rebuilt as the roof is different and the brickwork at the back is now very modern.

Thought to be the same shop as above on the corner of Chamberlain Avenue

Clement’s Dairies was run by Ernest Clement. Ernest was born in Brixton in 1888 to Frederick William Clement and his wife Alice Maud (nee Hill), the family were originally dairymen. Frederick moved his family to Leigh-on-Sea sometime before 1911 and started Howard’s Dairies. In the 1911 census Ernest aged 22, along with his twin Frederick and younger brother Arthur was working for his father as a dairyman. Ernest married Maud Ethel Catchpool in June 1914 at Westcliff-on-Sea their first child Allan was born in 1916. The couple lived at ‘Arcadia’, Margarite Drive, Leigh-on-sea.

The same building when it was Chambers Dairies

In 1917, during WWI, Ernest was mobilised and attached first to the 5th London Rifles then later to the 18th London Rifles. On the 6th July 1917 Ernest was sent to France he went missing in action and eventually found to be a POW he was held from 24 March 1918 until the 26th November of that year. He was shipped home soon after serving the rest of the war in this country where he was eventually demobbed in October 1919.

This picture was taken in the High Street in 1925 looking East towards Smallgains corner before the High Street road was lowered (1928). This picture confirms the location of the dairy as being on the corner of Chamblaine Avenue/High Street. The dairy is located on our left in this picture and further down the road on the right at Florence Road junction you can see the parade of shops where the Kynoch Club was located. These shops are still there today.

From family references it would appear that at some point after the war Ernest broke away from his family and moved to Canvey setting up Clement’s Dairies. His second son Peter (b1923) was born about this time. From what we have so far been able to put together he was definitely living on the Island in 1925. The picture of Clement’s Dairies, High Street above we believe to be dated after 1928. The shop in London Road (High Street, Leigh Beck) shows up at the record office with building plans for additions to that shop, although the owner is stated as Mr A Clement, perhaps his younger brother Arthur. Both addresses are confirmed in the 1929 Kelly’s Directory. (Clements Ernest, dairyman, Leigh Beck & High st.) Also in the 1929 Electoral Register, Ernest and his wife are stated as residing at ‘Bus Terminus’, High Street, Canvey Island, Essex. The Bus Terminus is the area the London Road shop was located.

This is the Clement’s Dairy building in London Road (High Steet, Leigh Beck) taken in the 50’s not long before it was demolished. According to the Electoral Register this is where the family lived.

When exactly the family left the Island we do not know but according to George Chambers (of Chambers Dairies) the shop in the High Street was bought by his family when Ernest was in financial trouble. Also from comments made on other pages it would seem that Ernest owned other businesses on the Island, such as the Commadore fish restaurant on the corner of Seaview Rd and they had something to do with the fish and chip restaurant at The Cabin down the seafront. Perhaps he had spread himself too thinly.

We do know for sure the family were in Felixstow in 1939 when his wife, Maud died. At that time Ernest was living at 1 Holland Road, Felixstow and his occupation was cafe owner.

If anyone can add to the story please make a comment below. Ernest’s Great niece is looking for information.

Comments about this page

  • This may or may not relate to the Clements dairy but may be of Archival interest. During the late 1940’s milk was delivered to homes in the Parkway, Driveway and Marine Approach area by one of the local dairies. It was delivered on a “hand pushed” cart, 3 wheeled I think. Our favourite was their “Sterilized Milk”, a rich and creamy good tasting milk which came in a tall bottle with a slim neck and featured a unique “flip” opener which was attached to the bottle neck and had a rubber seal which was probably washed and recycled with each fill. You could hear the milkman coming by the clinking of the empties as the cart started and stopped at each delivery. The milkman, as I remember, was very friendly and cheerful chap and was sometimes accompanied by a “physically challenged” female helper. Have never tasted milk that nice since.!! Gerald Hudson

    By Gerald Hudson (16/04/2012)
  • Sterilised milk is still available today Gerald. I thought it was horrible.

    By Janet Penn (21/04/2012)
  • Hi Janet: Just goes to show how people’s tastes are so different. I remember drinking it down by the glass, it was great on Porridge and made a cup of tea look marvelous.!! However, I was just a boy….and everything tasted good. Regards. Gerald.

    By Gerald Hudson (21/04/2012)
  • I reckon that must have been the Co-op in the 40s they had seperate rounds for bread and milk then. Our family firm Stevens the Bakers also used to do a bread round in that area,with a similar hand-barrow, the roundsman’s name was Mr Partridge. Do you remember that winter of 46/47 when the milk was delivered on sledges? P.S. Nothing wrong with sterilized milk, I used to have it all the time when we sold it in the shop,til’ about 2000, it was still in glass bottles then!

    By Graham (29/04/2012)
  • I remember we always had the sterilized milk, in those tall thin bottles, delivered by the Co-op, and they had the “divi” number. (once you had enough “divi points” you could trade them in, probably about a shilling for every hundred pounds spent or something like that) I can’t remember what the top was like though. The only flip top bottle tops i can remember were the Corona fizzy drinks that also used to be delivered and you got something like 3 pennies for returning the empties. Happy days!

    By George Smith (29/04/2012)
  • One last comment about the Sterilized milk bottles (1940’s) They were the only “flip topped” bottle that I remember from those days. You had to push up on the metal ring around the bottle neck which automatically released the rubber sealed cap. You could pour some milk then place the cap back in place and push down on the metal ring…..”voila.!!” resealed. Quite an innovation now that I think back. regards, Gerald

    By Gerald Hudson (30/04/2012)
  • Just for you Gerald, click here to see a picture of steriled milk bottle

    By Janet Penn (30/04/2012)
  • HI Janet: You did it again.!! Yes, that’s a good picture of the Sterilized milk bottle as I remember it being delivered on Canvey. The “Milk bottle collector” article is great too, and what a coincidence, his name is Hudson .!!!! Thanks again, Gerald.

    By Gerald Hudson (01/05/2012)
  • Perhaps I can add a little to this story. Peter was about my age & on one occasion went to his birthday party at the High Street end of Sea View Road it must have been because of the Dairy connections, as around the late 20’s as far as children were concerned the Island had sort of zones ( The Village area, the long road, Furtherwick Road north & south of the Haystack, May Avenue/Maurace road then Leigh beck a different world with 7/8 year old legs).

    My fathers first shop was at Small Gains corner managed by my mother & later Freda Hall, who was deeply involved with the Girls Brigade & is in one of the Photo’s standing on a plank connecting the shop to the road when it was lowered. I remember Clements dairies moving & it being taken over by B. Butler still trading as Clements Dairies. I still have one of their one pint bottles. In the early 30’s They sold out to my father & Freda became manageress there, as my father closed the Small Gains shop. My father was given the opportunity to purchase the freehold after WW11 & did some improvements, including the canopy at the front, so that mothers could park their prams & babies out of the rain while shopping. He then gave the property to me.

    In 1970 I extended the shop & in 1972 divided the shop into two & they are still occupied by the same businesses. In the conveyance it stated that apart from the milk & provisions etc “we could serve teas in high class style” Chairs can be seen in the photo.

    At the same time as the Rio was built My father built the shops in Furtherwick Road, together with a bottling plant which was made possible by the new main drainage system. The Marine approach, Parkway, Driveway estate was built on part of Furtherwick Farm & we delivered milk all over the Island except Winter Gardens perhaps (if there is anyone still around who can correct me I will be grateful). I understand & I will be happy to be corrected that Chamberlain Avenue was to have been Chambers Ave. “But” In the beginning Milk rounds were by Horse & Cart, later when the roads were made up by milk floats.

    There is a little story which is probably safe to tell now. In the days of the horse & cart deliveries a roundsman did not turn up so dad went & I went to keep him company, there had been a heavy frost & going down May Avenue which was unmade with the ice breaking under the wheels, we stopped out side a bungalow Dad went to the door came back with a Jug then deliberatly turned his back & dropped it on a piece of concrete & broke it. At that age you did not ask parents why they did strange things but I was driving him somewhere not long before he died & we were talking about the old days, & I asked him about it. He said that was a case of thing fast, the Lady gave him a jug & said a quart of milk please Mr Chambers. He said that there was no way that it would hold that much, but if he told her that she would have said that the roundsman has been charging me for a quart for years, but if he did nothing & she found out he would have been in worse trouble so he broke the jug & gave her a Shilling to by a new jug.

    Sterilised milk bottles had other uses, my mother used them for home made wine. The worst coffee that I can remember was at the cafe at bus stop at the bridge made with Camp coffee & sterilsed milk. E&O E

    By george chambers (12/06/2012)
  • Our Co-op baker with the cart was, Mr Knapp.1950ish ?

    By Margaret (14/07/2012)
  • I am very happy to see this page. I’m Ross Clement, the son of Peter Ernest Clement, and grandson of Ernest and Maud Clement. Peter emigrated to New Zealand after marrying my mother Mary, and I was born there. I currently live in Leicester in the UK. I’d heard stories of the dairy on Canvey Island, but had never seen a picture of it. I don’t have a lot of information about the shop or their life in Canvey Island, but I can be contacted @ RossClement _at_ gmail _dot_ com  

    By Ross Clement (08/08/2014)
  • Great page. Ernest and Maud were my grandparents.  Their son Peter (my father) was in the airforce for many years. He returned to the UK, but met my mother (a New Zealander) and returned to New Zealand. They drove overland in 1958 with my brother going through the middle east, down through India, across Australia and then to New Zealand. They intended it to be a round the world trip, but by the time they got to NZ had two children.  My father often talked about the dairy and it’s fantastic to see this picture. He went back there in 1972, but found that it had been demolished and something was being built in its place that looked like a public toilet. 🙂 If anyone knows what sits on the site there I would be pleased to find out and also even see a picture of the modern building.  Please email me at: Thanks Diana Clement 

    By Diana Clement (09/08/2014)
  • Look again at the page Diana. Right hand side is a picture of the shop as it is today.

    By Janet Penn (09/08/2014)
  • Maybe it was the house that had been demolished that he was talking about. I’m just feeding back the story he told us many times as children. 

    By Diana Clement (10/08/2014)
  • I will try to sort out exactly where it was and find it on google for you.

    By Janet Penn (10/08/2014)
  • Hi Diana, Your Dad was right about the public toilets but they were under construction a few yds to the east of the shop on a spare piece of land next to the War Memorial Hall. It’s also quite probable that Pickett’s bicycle shop which was next to the Dairy shop had been pulled down and the construction of the two shops(with offices above), that replaced it was going on at the same time. I’m sure Jan’s Google image will explain this more fully.

    By Graham Stevens (10/08/2014)
  • You have totally confused me Graham. I have no idea where the original shop was.

    By Janet Penn (10/08/2014)
  • I’ve just been speaking to our (my sister Diana and I, we have two other brothers) Mother on the phone. She was certain that the shop had been demolished to create a public toilet, but the photos in this article show the shop still existing today. Graham Stevens: Are you related to George Chambers who bought the shop from our (Diana and I) Grandfather?

    By Ross Clement (11/08/2014)
  • I was interested to read about my grandparents Ernest and Maud Clement, being the younger daughter of Allan their son.  I was especially interested to read of Ernest’s service in WW1 this being the commemorative anniversary week.  I hold 2 of his war medals but have no idea for what he was awarded them.

    By Sheila Clement (12/08/2014)
  • Hi Ross, No I’m not related to George Chambers although I have had the the pleasure of some very entertaining and interesting conversation with him over the past few years and subsequently he has made many pictorial and written contributions to the Archive.(As can be seen by his comment above) As for myself our family bakery business was started by my grandfather in 1923 at Leigh Beck in the area around the then Terminus Hotel(now Admiral Jellicoe). It was just across the road from your family’s shop on the corner of Station Rd, so our families must have been trading in same shopping area for more than a decade. In fact the name Clements Dairies remained despite ownership until the shop was pulled down in the 1960s. From at least 1947 the shop was the residence and business of the Italian Colognari family who also owned the Commodore Cafe and fish’n’chip shop on the corner of Seaview Rd. Here’s another twist to the tale; After closing our business in 1999 I joined the other family bakery business in production on Canvey, Grouts, as a delivery driver and my first delivery tomorrow will be,as usual, to their High St branch shop which as can be seen from the photo top right is the storeroom that George Chambers built onto the still extant Clements/Chambers Dairies High St shop.

    By Graham Stevens (17/08/2014)
  • Janet, if you are still seeking information re Clements dairies etc I may be able to help in some small way as we, Chambers dairies were competitors. Peter & I  were the same age. I  was born 25. 05.1923. but lost contact when I was sent to boarding school in 1933 & from that point many changes took place. On our side my father purchased the Clements businesss on the corner of Chamberland Ave from Mr Butler & leased the property from Mr Clement.  Without getting the deeds from my Solicitor I am not sure of the initials, he then closed the shop at Small Gains and moved to the High Street, at the  same time some of the barns were demolished at Furtherwick farm to build a modern bottling plant,  plus two shops & accommodation and also the Rio Cinema. Unfortunately in the last year I have had two minor strokes & a  heart attack which has messed up my memory for dates & stopped me driving. It has also reduced my typing & computer skills from slow to virtually static, fortunately my memory is still pretty good. If you would like to contact me to compare notes please contact me by email.

    By george chambers (29/08/2014)
  • I worked for Howards Dairies in Hadleigh until the early seventies when United Dairies bought the business.Two Clement brothers were directors at the time John and Arthur whom I always understood to be of the Clements Dairy family.I have some great memories of those days.

    By brian baker (15/09/2014)
  • I’m so pleased to have found this page, as I have a family mystery regarding the Clements Dairy family, and I’m really hoping one of you may be able to help me solve it!

    My nan, Edith Ransom born 1921, always told her son (my dad) stories of how, as a small child in the 1920s, she (and her family) would get visits at Christmas from female relations who would bring presents in a big car, and who were part of the Clements Dairy family from Southend/ Leigh on Sea. Her brother also told my dad that he remembered as a child that he would go out to stay with relatives on a dairy farm in Hertfordshire/Hoddesdon, again in the early 1920s, which we are assuming must also be part of this Clements dairy connection.

    My nan believed the visitors were aunts from her dad’s side of the family, as after his death in 1930 the visits stopped. However, the link may have been on her mother’s side of the family, and her mother’s maiden name was Helena Esther Burden. Her father’s name was Herbert (Bert) Ransom, however we know that he changed his name some time between 1905-1915, and that he was originally called Herbert Leconte. I have tried tracing my grandfather’s family tree back as far as I can, but as yet, I cannot see any link between his immediate family and the Clements family.

    If any family members recognise any of these names, have any idea who the mystery female relations may have been, or how my great-grandfather or great-grandmother may have been related to the family, I would love to be able to resolve this mystery for my dad. Many thanks

    By Diane Costin (13/11/2014)
  • Dear Diane

    If you are still looking for information about Clement I have recently found an old postcard showing a charabanc full of men on an outing.  It is parked in front of a shop which has the name “F W Clement Dairy Farmer” clearly showing on the fascia board. I do not know from the postcard where this shop was located.  Neither is there any  date on the postcard but the men look as if the photo probably dates from the 1910s or 20s.

    I can send a scan of the card for you to check whether or not you think it may be of your family’s business.  As I also deal in old picture postcards the original card is for sale.

    Look forward to hearing from you, Tim

    By Tim Winter (28/09/2016)

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