I recently saw this photo postcard on the Clacton & District Local History Society Facebook Group site – the owner has given me permission to reproduce it here.

congragational mission pc 1

It was captioned “Walton Congregational Church Mission” which did not ring any bells with me.

The reverse of the card proved that it had been posted in Walton on July 12th 1907 and that the photographer was Victor Turner a well known Walton man.

congragational mission pc 2

I was at a loss to know just where this photo was taken as it was clearly not at the church building.

I turned to a small booklet “The Story of Walton-on-Naze Congregational Church 1834 –1937” and I think I may have found the answer. Chapter Six refers to “The Work of the Naze Mission” and tells of how a number of church members including the Misses Tricker, who I remember as the owners of the High Street toy shop, “commenced a splendid piece of work in a room belonging to the late Mr. R. Warner. Services for children were held in the morning, a Sunday School in the afternoon and a Gospel Service in the evening.”

Robert Warner was the owner of the Naze Foundry and I am guessing that the building in the photo was either on the foundry site or could it have been the building which is now the Naze Baptist Church and was formerly the Foundry Canteen?

Any suggestions?

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An intriguingly titled book “Sheds on the Seashore” by Kathryn Ferry has recently landed on my desk.

Subtitled “A Tour through Beach Hut History” it contains a wealth of information on the history of sea bathing and the proliferation of bathing machines around the coasts of Britain with their many designs and development from the mid-eighteenth century.Huts front cover

The author recounts her two journeys around the English coast where she visited the sites of beach huts including those at Walton, Frinton, Holland-on-Sea and Clacton.

Her description of a meeting with Robert Hipkin at Hipkins site at the Naze is particularly amusing.

I did not read all the chapters where she was visiting other parts of the coast, but the historical development of the bathing machine was most enlightening

The 355 page book is published by Pen Press and has a cover price of £12.99

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Polley, Carter, Cousins, Cook and Horton

Polley George ArthurIn the past I have written here about my contact with Brian Polley the great grandson of George Arthur Polley the renowned coxswain of Walton’s “True to the Core” lifeboat.  


Recently my story has expanded considerably.

Back in August I received a request from Melanie Carter of Weeley Heath, to be put in contact with Brian Polley. I did this and then my inbox almost exploded with an exchange of messages and images between the three of us for the next two months.

It transpired that Melanie and Brian are third cousins and both are hooked on family history research.

I was delighted to keep in touch with both of them to learn more about their Walton families and I will now try to summarise some of their information, such that should another member of these families read this, I can put them in touch.

1960 Carter Bakers North St (Wrights)Melanie’s GGG Grandfather , William Carter (1809–1894) was the town baker in North Street. The bakery was later run by their son Arthur (1847-1928). This is a photo of him and his wife Sarah (nee Fitchett) in the bakery doorway  

The bakery was sold to Mr Yerbury (son-in-law of William and Sarah Carter) and Mr Button in 1930 and then bought by Wrights in 1933. It is now sadly no longer although I’m sure most readers will well remember the bake house and the aroma of freshly baked bread and cakes .



506 Eastcliff beach tents

Another of William and Sarah’s ten children was Stephen James Carter (1841–1931) who was the owner of East Beach where he operated his bathing machines until the council purchased the beach from him in 1921



Matthew Stoker Horton[2]Stephen married Emma (nee Cousins and previously Cook)) and lived in Eugene Villa, Saville Street. Their daughter, Lily (1872-1947), married Francis Gales Giles Horton ((1869-1937) who was the son of Rev. Matthew Stoker Horton the Minister of the newly built Congregational Church in Station Street.

879 Congregational Ch 1878

 Matthew Stoker Horton 




Frances Horton was a great pal of George Arthur Polley, making two epic trips together in 1893 and 1895 from Walton across the English Channel to France, in Arthur’s 19 foot sailing boat “Volata”. But that’s another story for another time.

To complete this story and make the connection with USA, one of William and Sarah’s daughters Elvina Mary Carter (1849-1927) married George James Polley (1846-1910), they had eleven children one of whom was the aforementioned George Arthur Polley (1871-1959), the coxswain of the True to the Core Lifeboat. (Below)

1511 True to the Core 16-12-1905

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Miss Tordoff

I recently received the following reminiscence from John Hall which got me searching for a photo of Miss Tordoff. A fruitless search unfortunately.

I remember her from my days at Walton Primary School where she would occasionally take a class for country dancing. My father also would talk of her in hushed tones – a scary lady for all the right reasons, as you will see from John’s words below.


Yes Miss

‘Old Tordy’ or more correctly Miss Tordoff, she of the excessively rouged cheeks and plimsoll shod feet.

Quite short and somewhat plump, with round wire rimmed glasses that sought to descend down a slightly moist nose.

An institution whose origin seemed lost in antiquity and of whom myths abounded.

English and Country Dancing, hence the plimsolls, were her subjects and as I had no love or talent for either not my favourite teacher.

She was by some distance the longest serving turnkey at Frinton and Walton Secondary Modern School and was purported to have taught three generations of some local families.

A claim borne out by a famous story, where whilst reprimanding one poor unfortunate she retorted. “You’re hopeless, just like your father, and come to think about it, his father before him.”

‘Tordy’ possessed Teacher Radar, that mystical gift that permitted 360-degree vision without the slightest rotation of the head.

She taught using a combination of induced fear and repetition and one dreaded her un-solicited attention.

“Hall what is an adverb?” “Don’t know miss.”

“Why don’t you know Hall?” “Don’t know miss.”

Perhaps this will help you remember. You will write out one hundred times, an Adverb qualifies the Verb.

“Yes Miss”


Do you remember her? Do you have a photograph of her?

I believe she lived at 4, The Parade and her initials were E. M., but I do not know her Christian names.  Can you help fill the missing gaps?

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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

Read more about Ursula Bloom at

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.

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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

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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?

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