Walton & Frinton During World War One – True Story

I have just read a truly fascinating book “Youth at the Gate”, an autobiography written by Ursula Bloom who lived in Walton and Frinton during the First World War.

Youth at the Gate

Ursula was one of the most popular bestselling authors of the twentieth century. She wrote over 560 books, a feat which earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for many years, as the world’s most prolific female writer. She also wrote short stories, radio and stage plays, and worked as a Fleet Street journalist.

Ursula’s books have been out of print for a considerable time, but some are being republished by Corazon Books.
“Youth at the Gate” was first published in 1959 and tells the true story of life in Walton during WWI, recounting the challenges of food rationing and the constant bombing by Zeppelins overhead. Also, in a time of great paranoia about German spies, Ursula and her mother found themselves (wrongly) under suspicion by their neighbours in Walton.

Other memories include: soldiers working day and night to build heavy sandbag reinforcements all along the front at Walton (leading to some of the cliff betweenConquest Graves Walton and Frinton collapsing).
– a mine being washed up on Frinton beach
– bodies being washed up on the beach after the picket-boat from H.M.S. Conquest was shelled off the Naze on 28th March 1916 .

(The Conquest Graves in the Garden of Remembrance)


Hertford House

Other local places mentioned include Mark James Newsagents, The Albion and Pier Hotels, and three houses where Ursula and her parents lived -“Hertford House” in Saville Street, Walton plus “The Cedars” and “Thallasa” in Frinton.

As I write this the centenary of the Battle of Jutland has just been celebrated –one of many WWI events which Ursula remembers in this autobiography.

The book is currently available from Amazon as an eBook, and a paperback  https://goo.gl/JG6kPp

Read more about Ursula Bloom at www.ursulabloom.com

Norman Bernie unveil troughUrsula returned to Walton shortly before her death aged 91 in 1984 to officially unveil the horse trough and fountain at the Albion corner after it had been reclaimed from a council tip and restored by the late Bernard Norman.



I can truly recommend this book – it captured me so much that I read it in one sitting.
I am now hoping that Corazon Books publish another of her books “The House That Died Alone”, which I understand is based on the story of Walton Hall at the Naze.

Let me know if you read the book and hopefully enjoy it as much as I did.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

1930 Walton School – Class VII Writing Exercise

I have two Essex County Exercise Books in which my father, Maurice Frost, recorded his maths and English lessons at the age of 13.

I have found these interesting, not only because they were written by my dad, but to see the level of work they did and their very narrow knowledge of the world compared to today’s schoolchildren.

Frost Maurice - Maths school book1930


Considering that all of the working out of this maths problem was done without any calculator, slide rule, computer etc., which today’s kids rely on. I think it is an interesting look back at schooling in those days.

My father was not a high-flyer by any means, but he went on to be a competent carpenter and joiner, an employment where his maths skills were no doubt of use.

I’ve no idea if this maths calculation is correct



But my favourite entry is this one where in his ‘Writing’ book he writes about the rare possibility of a Chinaman ever visiting England.

Frost Maurice - Chinaman school book1930

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


An old Waltonian who was born here some 77 years ago has sent me the following list of businesses in the town and at the Naze as he remembers it when he was a lad.

Three Butchers: Greenwood; Mason and Palmer

Five Bakers: Gooch; Wrights; Blundell; James and Pam’s

Two Fishmongers: Munnings and Blooms

Eight Grocers: International Stores; Steads; Albion Stores; Co-Op; Sandells; Mayo’s;
                           High Tree Stores and Souths

Four Greengrocers: Edwards; Grays; Salisburys; Akers     

Two Newsagents: Arthur James and Turners

Three Cobblers: Cave; Balls and Sharman

Shoe Shop: Stead & Simpson

Haberdashers: Samuel Fosters

Gents Outfitters: Ernest Newson

Two Wool Shops: Miss Simpson; Starr & Legatt

Two Confectioners and Tobacconists: Harry Wilson and Osbornes

Photographers & Photo Sales: Putmans

Two Jewellers & Clock Repairers: W. Nicholls and J. Hayward

Chemist: Emslie

Printers: Westons

Two Banks: Barclays and Midland

Two Hairdressers: (Ladies) Kathleen’s (Gents) Burley

Dentist: P. Westley

Eight Public Houses: Portobello; Marine; Albion; Bath House; Queens Head; Victory;
                                    Pier Hotel; Station Lounge

Ironmongers: Cronk & Balls

Two Cycle Shops: Snare and Mott

Estate Agent: Tomkins, Homer & Ley

Two Garages: Richard Bros and Mills

Three Builders: Hobern; Oxley; Feltham

Two Undertakers: Oxley; Feltham

Two Cinemas: Regal; Kino

Two Post Offices: High Street; Naze Sub P.O.

Solid Fuel Supplies: Grants

Signwriter: Atkinson

Doctor: Johnson

Five Places of Worship: Parish Church; Congregational Church; Methodist Church;
                                          Roman Catholic Church and Gospel Hall

There was also An Electricity Office; A Fire Station; Police Station and a Lending Library

and finally Excellent Bus and Rail Services

Can you think of any missing business from the list? I think I can possibly find only one, but maybe it was not established until 1949.

And just for fun, who can name the old timer?

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

A Quick Question


My good friend and well-known Waltonian, Robert Hipkin, asked me where Abraham Quick & Co. Ltd. had their premises in Old Pier Street. He had found this label in an old book.

I do not know. Do you?

Quick label Old Pier St

Abraham Quick was the publisher of the Clacton Times in 1889 and Clacton Graphic which was trading in 1895 and I believe his family continued in the newspaper business until comparatively recent times.

Since posting this the answer was on my bookshelf all the time. Thanks to Phil Gyford who has reminded me that Bernie Norman mentions Abraham Quick’s printing business in his book “Walton-on-the-Naze in Old Picture Postcards” This is the postcard which shows the exact location of the business.
2538 Old Pier Street BN71

and this is a detail of the photo to help you spot it

2538 Old Pier Street Abraham Quick Detail BN71


Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Robert Double, John Parmenter, Elizabeth Oxley enquiry.

It has been a cold windy day here in Walton-on-the-Naze and having spent some time in the open air I decided to come indoors and maybe catch up with some of the items I have saved to add to this site over many months. So bear with me if I bore you all for a few posts:

First up is an enquiry I received many months ago and was able to offer some assistance with. The enquirer was seeking information regarding this family photo which was the work of well known Walton photographer John Ashworth Jones.

Robert Double family-front

It is believed to be Robert Double with his family. Although it is possibly John Parmenter and family.

It is known that Robert Double’s wife was a daughter of Elizabeth Oxley and Jonas Oxley senior. I was asked, “is the older lady in the photo, Elizabeth, who died in 1904?” I rather doubted it. Robert Double Family photo back John Ashworth Jones was working in Walton from 1898 to 1933 and as the reverse of the portrait also lists his Chelmsford studio I suggested that it was taken after 1908.

I was able tell the enquirer that Robert Double is listed as living at 39, High Street in 1914.

I also discovered that the 1923 Polling Register shows Robert Double living with Anna Maria Double at Orchard Cottage, Hall Lane, Walton. Did Elizabeth and Jonas Oxley have a daughter named Anna Maria?

If anyone can confirm the identity of the persons in the portrait I will be pleased to pass on the details.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Super Sleuth Wanted

1997 Walton on Naze Bowling Club

This photograph shows members of the Walton-on-the-Naze Bowls Club pictured at their bowling green opposite The Crescent.

I am hoping to date the photo, but have only one clue to go on. This is it…John Bull
the man in the front row is reading
John Bull which has a headline reading  SHO…..ASYLUM (his hand obscures some of it).

The only facts I do know about the bowls club are that in 1914 Colonel H. P. Davis JP was president and Mr. J. Wordley of
19 The Parade was Hon. Sec. and Treasurer.

I believe that the club flourished until 1929.

Can anyone find an archive for John Bull newspaper or suggest the headline and date.


This photo shows the location of the bowling green at the cliff top behind the Pier Hotel

471 Bowling Green &Pier Hotel

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments


This weekend I have added more than 250 new images to the Walton Archive.

Any image with a reference number greater than 2304 is new. You can find these in the following categories:

High Street
Marine Parade
and Carnivals

The photos showing the Naze cliff top in 1969 are particularly enlightening as they show the vast amount of erosion since then. I personally remember walking my dog around the Naze every morning when we were spoilt for space. All of the grassland shown in this photo has now been lost to the sea.


2375 Naze Cliff top walk 1969

Another memory is the demolishing of the old Vicarage in  1976.

2382 Demolishing Vicarage 8-6-76 

to make way for this ..

  2420 Market day Aug 1979

There are many more new Market Day photos in the High Street Index and memories of the 1970 and 1973 Carnivals here

For any readers with an interest in Frinton-on-Sea I have added a few new images here

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment