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 The North and South Lodges                  Dagnams

Eva was born in West Ham and Terry in Romford and in their early married days were probably happy to find independence in a caravan and then even happier to find a real home in the North Lodge.

Anyone who wandered up the track from the Wrightsbridge Road to the Priory Pond in the early 60s would have been aware of the Hobbs because they had what appeared to be a vicious, slavering dog that would leap up at the fence snarling and growling and frightening the life out of any passers-by.

Terry Hobbs was a Thames lighterman and the uncertain hours due to the tides were disruptive to their family life. Eventually Terry secured a more regular job at Ford’s in Dagenham. Later they were offered a move to Ford's in Basildon a job that went along with a Basildon council house with all mod cons. They didn’t hesitate, they upped and left. The North Lodge was left vacant.

The Harold Hill kids got in and started to dismantle the building (see below) but by then it seems probable that Quilter gave up his rights and the council (now the GLC) decided it was no longer viable and it was demolished in 1965. Terry died some years ago but Eva lives on in Basildon.

The photograph above was taken in the mid 60s by Alan Elkins after the Hobbs moved to Basildon. Alan was a friend of the family and often visited them in the Lodge. He lived in the Chudleigh Rd flats with his parents and younger brothers Roy and Derek until they moved to the prefab estate in the early 60s.

N.B. The South Lodge situated on the junction of Petersfield Avenue and the A12 was demolished in the early 1970s. Both Lodges were probably built to a similar design.

Del Smith

Below; the North Lodge in 1881

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Terry & Eva Hobbs last residents of Dagnam Park photo ca 1966 Basildon reduced.jpg

The Last Residents of Dagnam Park.

Unbeknown to them at the time the last residents of Dagnam Park were Eva & Terry Hobbs they lived along with their two young children in the North Lodge from about 1959/60 until about 1964. They took possession as London County Council tenants or more likely sub tenants of James Quilter. This after living in a caravan for some time on Quilter’s land at the rear of Manor Farm close to the Priory Road. They took up the tenancy after the previous tenant, Arthur Viney died in 1959, aged 76. Viney was the last and only tenant of the walled garden. His demise leading to the gardens and buildings being overrun by hordes of Harold Hill kids. Subsequently the walls and stable block were demolished in the interests of safety by the LCC. The Hobbs had little interest in that drama at least they had a tenancy and bricks and mortar at that.

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Ken Hatfield is a friend of mine who was raised in Dagnam Park Drive on the junction of Sedgefield Crescent, Harold Hill. After reading the above account he adds his own memory of the North Lodge, set out below. Nice that he has come clean over his "wayward" youth after more than fifty years.

"I think it was the winter of 1964 when a few of us kids went into the old house at the end of the gravel track leading from Settle Road to Wrightsbridge Road. I've since discovered this was called the North Lodge. I was always fascinated by old buildings and to me at the time, this was an old building. It was in a mess and clearly derelict. I think someone broke a window or two. I remember seeing from an upstairs window, a policeman turn up who was making his way round to the back of the house. I think two of the group legged it as fast as they could heading towards the woods, the rest of us, perhaps three in all, were stuck with no chance of escape. The copper probably saw these "escapees" running away but perhaps didn't fancy the foot chase. He didn't shout after them though, I'd have heard that. At the foot of the staircase was a door ... a strange place for a door but it was there for sure. I quietly made my way to the staircase and slowly went down it. I could hear sounds of this copper walking about outside and then he came into the house. I remember thinking that if he catches us in this house we'd all be for it so I decided to either hold the door knob so that it couldn't be turned (not sure about that bit) and to hold the door shut if he tried to open it .... I think it was just the latter as I remember holding this freezing cold brass door knob and pulling it hard towards me in case the copper tried to pull it open. Very shortly afterwards he tried just that. I held it tight and pulled as hard as I could bracing my leg against the enclosed staircase wall. He gave up after about twenty or so seconds and walked away probably believing that if he couldn't open it then nobody could be upstairs. I didn't see the going of him but we all just waited an age to make sure he'd gone, with me guarding the door knob in case he came back"

      The South Lodge, Dagnams

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Mathews of Lodge Hse funeral Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 26 November 1920.jpg

The Lodge House would have housed many of the Neaves' employees over about 200 years. One of them was William Matthews. He served the family for more than 50 years, when he died the Neaves sent a beautiful wreath !

Don Tait has researched the history of William and his family. The cutting is from the Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 26 November 1920.


1911 he is at South Lodge with his son in law Arthur Ellingworth, daughter Minnie and grandson Eric employed as a coachman (Domestic) aged 67.

1901 he is at South Lodge with his daughter Minnie Matthews employed as a coachman (Domestic) aged 61.

1891 he is at South Lodge with his daughter Minnie Matthews employed as a General Labourer aged 51.

1881 he is at North Lodge with his wife, Rachael, step-sons George & William Turner and daughter Minnie Matthews employed as lodge keeper aged 40.

1871 he is living in a cottage in Noak Hill with his wife Rachael and step children Eliza, George, Alice and William Turner employed as an agricultural Labourer aged 30.

Arthur William Ellingworth married Minnie Matthews (daughter of William Matthews) in 1908 and at the time of re-enlisting into the army in 1915 he was employed as a chauffeur to the Neave family at Dagnam Park. On the 1911 census Arthur W. Ellingworth was recorded as residing at Dagnams Lodge (south) along with his wife, Minnie, son Eric and father in law William Matthews. Arthur William Ellingworth died 5th May 1918 and is buried in St Thomas’ Chapel of Ease with a Commonwealth War Grave headstone which is the only one of that type in the churchyard. After his death Minnie received a war gratuity of £5.10s which was paid out on 19th July 1919.

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This lodge house was sited on the west side of of what is now Petersfield Avenue at the junction of the A12. It was demolished in the early 1970s. There is still a Yew tree standing on the ground that was once the garden, shown here to the right of the house. There was a similar house, the North Lodge at the opposite end of the Dagnams Estate in the then Wrightsbridge Rd, now known as Lower Noak Close. That one was occupied until 1964 and demolished in 1965 when the very last residents of Dagnam Park left.     Del Smith

           Photo below apx 1968 and the one below that the 50s and below that maybe late 40s.

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The council housing maintenance for Harold Hill was carried out mainly from the Dewsbury Rd depot. There were subsidiary depots in Petersfield Avenue and Dorking Rd. but by 1970 they were mainly unmanned and used by staff for their toilets, a bit of storage and mainly for rubbish disposal. In the Dewsbury Rd. depot Bill Young was the foreman's clerk, Eddie Edwards was the foreman and Ted Blake "Blakey" was the top man. They all worked there for many years. Bill was the man who locked up the north lodge for the very last time, but he never threw away the key, he kept it, and he still has it. He sent me the photo below in 2015. Such unimagined fame, well done Bill.

Del Smith

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The Engraving and text below were taken from The Essex Countryside magazine, I know no more than that. (It's interesting in that it shows the elaborate gates to the chase)

The work of James Pollard (1792-1867) holds unique position as a leading English painter of sporting occasions and specially of coaching scenes. His original paintings fetch very high prices at auction today, but these provided engravers and printers with many lively subjects of sporting events, and those of his famous Royal mail coaches are of special interest to collectors.
His family came to London from Newcastle-on-Tyne and his father set up a printing business called Robert Pollard & Son. He brought up his family in the area and James who was the youngest son of six children was born at Islington Spa. Thomas Bewick, the famous wood-engraver was a Newcastle friend of the family and fired Robert Pollard's interest in engraving; also, when young James began to draw and paint, his father asked Bewick to look at the boy's work. This was a great encouragement to the lad and he began to assist his father in the business with engraving. He started serious painting however in 1813, and by 1816 he had taken to etching in which he began to earn a living. By 1820 he decided to concentrate on his paintings using mostly oils in which he became so interested that in the 1830s he ceased to paint any more in colours.                

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(The London-Norwich mail coach at the gates of Dagenham. (sic) Signed J. Pollard. Photograph by courtesy of Oscar & Peter Johnson Ltd., Lowndes Lodge GalleryLondon, SW1.)

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