The Henbest Family

Allan Henbest Jnr
Recorder 1956

Mr Allan Charles Henbest, of Pasadena, Berry Lane, Langdon Hills, died on 9th January 1956 aged 69.  Many tributes were received describing Mr Henbest as a ‘very pleasant man’ and ‘one of the best’.

Among the many mourners were:- Mrs Maud Henbest (widow), Mrs Joan Davies and Mrs Mary Baldry (daughters) and Mr Allan Henbest Jnr (son, who had taken over his father’s business in Laindon High Road in 1947).  Mrs Maud Henbest had retired at the end of 1955.

Mr Henbest Snr had been born in Holborn 1886.  The 1911 Census shows him aged 24 living in Shacklewell Lane, N E London with his parents and younger brother Arthur.  Described as ‘a cutter’ in the tailoring industry, he married Maud Catherine Prior in Hackney 1913.  Daughter Mary was born in Hackney 1914, daughter Joan in Grantham 1919 and son Allan Arthur Henbest in Willesden 1922.  The family moved to Laindon when Allan Jnr was a few months old.  The 1929 Electoral Register shows the family home in Oak Lodge, Helmore Crescent and their business premises in Laindon High Road (Tel: Laindon 16).

Mr Henbest Snr was a founder member of the Laindon Chamber of Commerce which had been formed in 1928.  At the 1931 Annual Meeting the number of members were reported to be 38.  Mr J G Cottis was re-elected Chairman, Mr E Turner succeeded Mr A C Henbest as Hon. Sec. and Mr Polden was appointed Treasurer.  Mr Henbest was later appointed treasurer in 1951.

Mr Henbest Snr had been a keen member of the Laindon Horticultural Society between 1938 and 1955 and received a presentation upon retirement.  He had also been treasurer of Laindon Community Association.

Allan Henbest Jnr was educated at Laindon High Road School and Chelmsford College.  Upon completing his studies, he joined his father’s business.  At the onset of WW2 he joined the RAF and served 5 years with Bomber Command in England and during operational flying in the Middle East was a W-O Air Gunner.  He was demobbed in 1946 and took over the family business in 1947. 

He became interested in public affairs and being a member of the Laindon Chamber of Commerce, took his seat on the committee in 1949.  He was Vice-Chairman in 1951 and Chairman in 1952 and 1953.  When the Pitsea and Laindon Chambers amalgamated, an event in which he played a leading part, he was elected the first Chairman of the new Basildon Chamber of Trade.

He was actively connected with the Laindon Community Association which was formed in 1952 and was the first Chairman.  At one time a keen cricketer, pressure of business limited his outside pursuits to motoring and gardening.  Married in 1945, he met his wife Sybil while she was on special duties in the W.A.A.F. often plotting the course of her future husband’s aircraft.  The 1949 Electoral Register shows their address as 5A Dorset Parade, Laindon (flat above the shops).  Their three children are Julie, Andrew and Wendy.  By 1953 Allan and Sybil were living in ‘Pasadena’ Berry Lane and Allan and Maud had moved into the flat at 5A Dorset Parade.   In 1956, Allan and Maud were living in ‘Pasadena’ and Allan and Sybil were living in ‘Caledonia’, Stacey Drive, Langdon Hills, Tel No. Laindon 3000.

‘Henbests’ transferred from Laindon High Road to Basildon on 16th August 1958 and was the first shop to open in the Town Centre (at 65-67 Market Square), followed closely by Charleys’ shoe shop in September 1958 which also transferred from Laindon High Road.

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  • I have a couple of photos of Pasadena. My father was John Matthew Prior. Maud Henbest was his Aunt. He was referred to as Jack by her and his Aunt Millie . They were always referred to as Great Aunt Maud and Great Aunt Millie. I’m unsure if they were my Great Aunts or his Great Aunts.

    By Janice Wyatt (nee Prior) (08/04/2019)
  • About ten years, I was kindly allowed, by Denise Rowling, to copy  down a considerable amount of information from a rather dilapidated, bound collection of all the editions of the “Laindon Recorder” published in the year 1941. This particular volume was way beyond being photocopied so I only made a note of what might appear to be of particular interest.  I reproduce below an item that appears relevant to this particular piece on the archive website.

    Issue number 1000 dated 11th June 1941. The heading read “Interesting Laindon Wedding: Well Known Local Trader’s Daughter Weds”.

    “St Mary’s Parish Church, Langdon Hills, was the scene of a wedding of considerable interest to local residents on Sunday.

    “The contracting parties were Mr Robert Frank Davies youngest son of Mr and Mrs W J Davies of ‘Thornview’ Salisbury Avenue and Miss Jean Ivy Henbest, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs A C Henbest of ‘Passadena’ (sic) Berry Lane Langdon Hills.

    “Treasurer of the Laindon Horticultural Society, Mr Henbest is well known as a tailor, having been in business in the High Road for eighteen years.

    “Miss Henbest has recently taken over the management of her mother’s drapery shop in the High Road.

    “The fully choral ceremony was conducted by the Rector of Langdon Hills, the Rev. W T Hickson. At the organ Miss Winifred Cornell FTCL rendered the ‘Choral March’ from ‘Lohengrin’ by Wagner, the hymn ‘Lead Us Heavenly Father, Lead Us’ and Mendelsohn’s  ‘Wedding March’.

    Striking Dress.

    “The bride, who was given away by her father, presented a charming picture in a gown of white satin with a long train buttoned in the front from neck to hem having a latticed collar and cuffs. Her long flowing white veil of tulle was surmounted by a headdress of orange blossoms and she carried a bouquet of dark red carnations and white lilies.

    “The bridesmaid was Miss Millicent Maude Gertrude Prior, a cousin of the bride.  She was in pink-flowered  organdie having a floral headdress with a short tulle veil. Her bouquet was of pink tulips.

    “The best man was Mr Edward Davies, brother of the bridegroom.

    “The bride’s mother wore a dress of royal blue movacain and satin with a white lace jabot having a white lace hat and white sued gloves.

    “The bridegroom’s mother was dressed in maroon cloque having a black straw hat and kid gloves.

    “Both wore a spray of gardenias.

    “Over sixty guests attended the reception held afterwards at ‘Pasadena’

    “Among the large number of presents were a wireless set and a coffee table from Mrs Henbest and a cheque from Mr Henbest  and a kitchen cabinet from Mr and Mrs Davies.

    “Mr and Mrs Davies’s future residence will be High Road, Laindon.”

    By John Bathurst (22/04/2015)
  • I was interested to come across this article. My father was Allan Henbest Jnr.  I would be interested to know where the information about him came from, especially the personal info e.g. regarding his interest in motoring and gardening.

    Editor:  The personal information was from an article that appeared in the Laindon Recorder in 1956.  The above photograph was included in the article.

    By Wendy Bedwell (nee Henbest) (02/04/2015)
  • I remember Andrew Henbest as he was my dancing partner when we used to do old tyme dancing at Laindon Community Centre after school. We even had our photo in the local paper. Anyone know where Andrew is now please?

    By Joan Goodfellow nee Merchant (30/12/2014)
  • Probably the best way to describe where Pasadena stood in Berry Lane, would be to take you on a journey.  So, from the west end of Vowler Road and Emanuel Road, turn right (north) into Berry Lane.  Almost opposite Beatrice Road, turn left,  continue on passing Lincewood Park Drive.  Keep going until you reach New Avenue on the left.

    Once across New Avenue, there was a row of dwellings on the right.  The first was Highlands, next was Gladwyn followed by Colridge, Mimosa, Doris Villa, Hatherley, Havant, Beresford, Berminive, Silsden and last at the end of the row, was Pasadena. 

    This dwelling is shown on the 1949 survey but with scant details.  It just says 4 rooms but doesn’t mention its condition or whether it was a house or bungalow. The area on the other side of Pasadena is marked as WL i.e., Waste Land.    I believe Great Berry Farm was a little further along.

    Cross the road and returning along Berry Lane, almost opposite Pasadena stood ‘Lacarno’.  Next came The Brambles, Willis, Homeleigh and lastly the big house Lillybank which stood on the corner of New Avenue.

    Note.  The roads in this area were changed several years ago.  The stretch where Pasadena once stood is now called Little Berry Lane. 

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (24/11/2014)
  • Memories of Maud Henbest.  A strict looking lady but very kind and understanding. In wartime everything was unobtainable but she managed to acquire two blankets and eiderdown for us to start our married life.  My mother being a dressmaker, was often in her shop and we considered ourselves very lucky, like winning the pools.

    By Thelma Oliver (23/11/2014)
  • My memory cannot place the whereabouts of Pasadena in Berry Lane. Was it one of the row of more upmarket houses (relatively speaking!) on the right as one begins to ascend the hill south of Alexander Road just before Bebington’s corner?

    By Alan Davies (23/11/2014)

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