My first experience of Butler’s Grove was around 1961 when a classmate asked me back to her home after school to do our homework together. I discovered it was a very long walk, from Laindon High Road School, along the High Road, over the station bridge and then upwards heading towards the Crown Hotel. To reach her home we had to walk the length of Butler’s Grove and then turn to the right where her family’s bungalow ‘The Homestead’ was situated. After finishing our homework, I faced the long walk home again although the return journey was thankfully downhill.
In those days, before the High Road was realigned, Butler’s Grove was situated just to the north of Grove Avenue. Two large houses called ‘The Grove’ and ‘Butler’s Grove House’ stood just around the corner in the High Road.
In an April 1929 edition of the Essex Chronical, ‘The Homestead’, a brick built bungalow, was advertised for sale at the price of £850. Described as follows:- Two reception, three bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, storeroom and large roof room. Gas, water and two acres of terraced garden. Fruit trees, paddock, tennis court, garage and beautiful view. Altitude 350ft. Forty minutes from Fenchurch Street.
According to the 1939 register, bungalows in Butlers Grove were Highbury, Crown View, Irene, Fairview, Rosslyn, Gulmarg, Biltondale, Rosedale, The Homestead and Hill View.
The 1949 survey names the bungalows as:- Duggie, Beulah, Highover, Highbury, Irene, Crown View, Sunnyside, Hawthorns, Hill View, The Homestead, Rosedale, Biltondale, Gulmarg, Rosslyn and Fairview.
The 26th May 1876 issue of Chelmsford Chronicle shows Butler’s Grove Farm with house premises and 121 acres of freehold land, up for sale by auction.
The 1881 Census shows Elizabeth Parker aged 74 at Butler’s Grove Farm, farming 150 acres, together with her son William age 51, employing several men and one boy.
I recently learned that an acquaintance of mine who married in 1958, rented a bungalow called ‘Hawthorns’ in Butler’s Grove for 2½ years. There was no hot water and it had an outside toilet. The rent was 30 shillings a week and was payable to Mr Joe Rummins of Butler’s Grove House (long demolished). Hawthorns had been vacated 6 weeks before their wedding and was in an awful state. They spent every available moment making it habitable. It looked like a little dolls house when finished. The couple had previously arranged to rent one room in a cousin’s new house. As you can imagine, they were over the moon to have a place of their own.
My second experience of Butler’s Grove was when friends, Stan and Dorothy Hollands invited us to their bungalow ‘Ashdene’ one evening around 1980, to see the badgers that came into their garden in the evenings. We weren’t disappointed and Dorothy even made a special stew to feed them with.
Today, there are many new builds along Butler’s Grove with just a couple of original bungalows remaining, but the old house ‘The Grove’ still stands in the High Road.
Any memories or stories about Butler’s Grove would be much appreciated.