One of the local websites in our sidebar is the Rochford District Community Archive. If you have a look, you’ll find a small goldmine of stories about local people and places..
One example is about Love Lane School in Rayleigh from 1955 to 1957/58. This article actually demonstrates just how fast Rayleigh grew in the 1950s – pupils as young as six were being bussed to Thundersley because of the rapid increase in population!
Another is about William Atkinson, one of the finest violin-makers in England, who moved from Tottenham in 1911 to avoid the air pollution that affected the varnish when it was drying. So he moved to Paglesham, took over the village shop and still made violins. He had a secret formula for his varnish:
“The old man realised too late that he was dying, and tried to impart the secret to his son, but the effort was too much for him. He fell back on his pillow, dead….he was an old sailor, and lived for many years at Tottenham, moving to Paglesham in order to secure the pure air and sunshine for drying the varnish on his violins. To fill in his time he took a small general store and became postmaster for the village”.