Below is a series of undated photographs that possibly may have been taken on the same day. Noticing the two men wearing straw boaters, it would seem the pictures were ‘staged’, perhaps for a particular purpose.
A few clues may help with solving the date and reason. The driver of the ambulance and the two motorcycle riders outside the Crown Hotel are wearing army uniforms. It is thought the two motorcycles are Douglas 2¾ HP or Douglas 350cc (exact model to be confirmed). This particular type of machine was used by dispatch riders during WW1. This would seem to indicate the photos were taken between 1914 and 1918.
The men in straw boaters maybe estate/land agents advertising the attraction of living in Langdon Hills. Pointing out the shops, places of worship, bungalows and larger dwellings, post office and other local amenities in a desirable rural setting. A young couple perhaps having arrived at Laindon Station carrying bags, being shown up to the hotel for maybe an overnight stay. A member of the hotel staff, perhaps the landlady, being invited to appear in the photos, at the front of the hotel and on the bowling green.
All supposition of course, but food for thought.
The photographs are extremely good quality, an indication they were taken by a professional, although there is nothing on them to say so.
Starting from Nightingale Parade, they provide a nostalgic visual memory of the long walk up the steep hill to reach the Crown Hotel and the lovely bluebells woods that lay beyond.
Note: Photographs supplied by Barry Ellerby, text added by Nina Humphrey.