Morris Hartfield - An illustrated obituary

From a 1932 Newspaper




Morris Hartfield & Leslie Nathanson

The passing of Mr Morris Hartfield at his residence Kilcreggan, Oxford Road, Leigh Beck, on Tuesday, at the advanced age of 73 years, deprives the island of one of its most active and interesting personalities.  He had played a prominent part in the public life of the locality, more especially since Canvey Island had become an urban district.  During August Mr Hartfield decided to take advantage of the cessation in the activities of the public life of the island, and with his wife, went to spend a period of rest at Margate but at the end of the month, he was taken suddenly ill with his old heart complaint.  He had confessed that he had not felt well for weeks and, with his failing eyesight, his friends at Canvey noticed that there was a gradual decline in his health, but the end was not expected so quickly.  It was about a fortnight ago that the illness was regarded as serious whilst he was still at Margate. By his own desire, and with the consent of the local doctor, he was conveyed to his home at Canvey by car on Tuesday week.  He never recovered, and a few days ago, on the advice of his medical attendant, at Canvey (Dr. T. M. Wilks), the family were summoned. Sons and daughters had been in attendance since Friday, fearing the worst, and death, followed, as stated, on Tuesday.

The second Canvey Hall at the Baptist Hall in Leigh Beck

The deceased, who was a retired draper by trade, was, up to 1927 in business in London, but, on retirement, he went to Canvey, where he bought up considerable areas of land and began building thereon.  He erected Samson Lodge (now the Canvey Telephone Exchange), in Oxford Road, for his own residence and, as the Island began to develop, so Mr Hartfield engaged in further land purchase and building operations, amongst his larger propositions being the provision of Canvey Hall and the building of the Terminus Hotel.  The latter premises were sold on completion to Messrs. Charrington, who on the grant of the licence two years, since, undertook to raze the then new and unoccupied premises to the ground and build a hotel in accordance with the larger requirements of the Island, the present “Admiral Jellicoe” being the result.

Bus Terminus – Admiral Jellicoe, Former location of the Terminus Hotel

Up to the end, he was actively engaged in this class of business and only recently plans were prepared for the building of small bungalow residences in the area of the ground he owned on the south side of the Village in the Long Road, and those were about to be put into execution at the time of his death. In the early days of his residence at Canvey, he foresaw the development of the Beach area and built the Pavilion as an amusement centre there.  He was strongly urged to turn the premises into a club, but such being against his principles, he sold out and built the Canvey Hall as a social home and public hall for the people of the Island, and it enjoyed much popularity as such.

Monty & Mike Hartfield at the Admiral Jellicoe – 2008

Soon after his arrival on the Island, he took an interest in the life of the place and some fifteen years ago he was elected to the Parish Council, where he retained his seat till 1925, when the district was granted urban powers. He was elected as an original member of the urban district Council (CIUDC) and was returned at every appeal to the ratepayers he subsequently made.  At the last annual meeting of the Council, his colleagues rewarded his long service to the island by appointing him Vice Chairman, an honour he very much appreciated.  He also became a member of the Canvey Island Commission, and regularly took his share in the work, making a special point of walking the walls yearly with the other members. He served the district on the old Rochford Board of Guardians and also at Orsett and Rochford, under the later conditions, whilst he was also a school manager of the Canvey Council Schools, Long Road.  A member of the Chamber of Trade and the Ratepayers’ Association, he was present at every possible meeting and gave freely of his knowledge of the district and advice he deemed valuable for its development, being actively associated with the Committee appointed to push forward the interests of the eastern end of the Island in development schemes.  Mr. Hartfeld was very outspoken and was something of the stormy petrel of the Canvey Council, and he figured in many scenes.

The Pavillion at the Beach end of May Ave

As a Freemason, deceased belonged to the Samson lodge (No. 1880) and he named his first house after his Lodge, whilst he was a founder of the ****eet Lodge. He also took an interest ****                                   [**** These portions of the clipping are missing].

Morris Hartfield

At a meeting of the Canvey Island Ratepayers’ Association, on Tuesday evening, the Chairman (Mr W. Murray) said he would with regret, say that he supposed most of those there that evening were aware that they had that day lost one of their members, Mr M. Hartfield.  He was not only a prominent member of that Association, but he was also a prominent figure in the social and civic life of the island. Beyond any doubt, he had left a big gap in the life of the Island, which it would be difficult to fill.  He asked that the members would follow the usual course and all stand in silence for two minutes of  respect to Mr. Hartfield’s memory. Mr Trader moved that a letter of sympathy from that Association be sent to the widow and family. Mr Griffiths seconded and this was carried.

* * *

The above is from a clipping [Date and name of Newspaper unidentified] that was supplied by Morris Hartfield’s grandson Monty Hartfield, and kindly transcribed by Jayne Hyde. Click below to see a scan of the original clipping. For Monty Hartfield’s memories of Canvey click HERE

Can you add to this story including giving the locations for Kilcreggan in Oxford Road, the old Telephone exchange in Oxford Road (number of current houses – See maps below?) or Canvey Hall, please leave a message blow, email in or leave a message on the Forum.

Update 8th April 2008: Thanks to Maureen Buckmaster & Joan Liddiard for confirmation that Sampson Lodge/The Telephone exchange was opposite No.9 Oxford Road, probably as marked on the map below.

Update 30th May 2008: I can now confirm the ‘Canvey Hall’ mentioned was in fact the (Kynochs) Hall in Hartfield Parade. The Canvey Hall at the Baptist Church appears to be later probably after the first one changed its name.

The house ‘Kilgreggen’ was the bungalow behind ‘Hartfield Parade’, the shopping parade being built in its grounds – this can be seen in the two maps below. The entrance to the bungalow was in Oxford Road and the property had many fruit trees in the front, the bungalow standing back between Oxford & Florence Road. The property stood well into the 1960’s and may have belonged to Johnny Burton who ran the “Burtons” Tobacconist & Newsagents on the other corner of Oxford Road. This shop was demolished in the 1970’s – does anyone have a photo of it?

Comments about this page

  • The Telephone Exchange was on the right (walking from the High St). I know that a Mr and Mrs Jackson lived there many years ago, she actually worked for my Uncle Bill who had a greengrocers shop between Florence Road and May Avenue. The shop is still there although the little parade of shops have been modernised in latter years. Mr Jackson was the manager/supervisor or the exchange but lived there at some point. The person I knew that worked there, Mr North, had a daughter called Marjorie who was my friend – she moved away quite a few years ago. Maybe someone may have known her or indeed may know her whereabouts now? She lived on the corner of either Roggel Road or Handle Road and Delder Avenue.

    By Joan Liddiard via Dave Bullock (09/04/2008)
  • The Canvey Hall, as mentioned above, looks very
    similar to now existing Women’s Institute Hall in
    Lionel Road.

    By Christina Goss (27/04/2008)
  • Hi Christina, thanks a lot for your comment. It’s great to see that the Womens Institute Hall is still there, with a lot of empty ground behind it.
    We now have reason to believe that the Canvey Hall pictured above is the Baptist Church in the High Street opposite St Annes Road in Leigh Beck. We also now have a theory that when it changed its name from Canvey Hall to the Baptist Church, perhaps the hall in Hartfield Parade was named Canvey Hall?

    By David Bullock (28/04/2008)
  • I remember Albert North, he was a lovely chap.
    My Father George Wilson had a TAXI in the 1950’s and Albert North used to phone dad for Taxies for the teddy boys.
    In those days you had to go through the exchange, as my boy friend was phoning from the MAIN land lol.
    I was courting and if my then Boyfriend (now Husband) didn’t phone, I used to get through to Albert and asked if he had phoned, very often Albert would say yes but the line was bad and he couldn’t get through.
    The phone would go and Albert would say hello Margaret, lover boy is on the line, this went on all our courting life until we married in 1959.
    My father used to call into Albert’s, on Sunday, about dinner time and Albert’s wife used to do extra baked potatoes as father always opened her oven and took a couple out, then he was off home on his bicycle for his own roast dinner.
    When my father died, Albert came to his funeral and cheered us all up by telling tales of my father .

    By Margaret (27/05/2008)
  • I seem to recall that Marjorie (aka Midge) North emigrated to New Zealand, I would think 60 years ago.

    I can recall back in the v. late 50’s Albert North phoning our house one night and saying that he understood Dr Lintner & his wife were out with my parents and did I know where, as he was needed urgently.

    By Miall James (05/06/2021)

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