How I nearly lost my life

By Ken Lindridge

Ken Lindridge of Mountnessing Road was a fireman when the fire engine was stored in the British Legion Hall in Western Road. A dustcart had caught fire near Hart’s CafĂ©. It wasn’t a big fire and it was only a few doors away. When they had assessed the situation he had to fix a hydrant in the middle of the road at Hart’s Corner.

Harts Corner, probably in the late 20s. The site of the Ford garage today.

It was a new aluminium type replacing the solid brass type which had been in use previously. He was screwing in the hydrant when a car with two young men came down Western Road and instead of driving around him the car drove straight at him so he dodged back. The car hit the aluminium stanchion which fortunately broke off but the car was so damaged underneath that it could not progress. Had it been of the brass type the driver and passenger would probably have been killed by the impact. The police were able to apprehend the occupants without difficulty.

Some sparks from the dustcart had set fire to the flat roof of Hart’s cafe. As the hydrant was damaged they were unable to use the mains water to put out the fires, instead they had to use the little water carried by the engine. Fortunately neither fire got out of control.

Well? Well, Well!

At the High street end of Chapel street there were three cottages. For some reason there had been a subsidence which was reported to the fire brigade. They investigated the problems and did their best to put matters right. However the problem continued and after further investigation it was found that the cause of the subsidence was that there had been a well inside each of the buildings. These had gone out of use when mains water had been connected but the wells had not been filled in properly. Over the succeeding years the sides of the wells had collapsed thus causing the subsidence.

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  • I served with Ken for many years, he was a gentleman, his son Ian followed Ken into the fire service.

    By Ron Murray (02/08/2020)
  • The garage was Billericay Service Station up until about 1998 when Essex Ford took over – the Esso fuel pumps went then as well. I live a 1/4 mile away and I still call it “Harts Corner”. Do you remember the motor spares shop opposite? (And the Gun shop where the Golf shop is today).

    By Andrew E (12/12/2015)
  • Like you Trevor it will always be know to me as Harts Corner.

    By Jackie Brassett (23/03/2015)
  • I can remember the cafe being there and the bus stop being called Harts Corner (it will always be Harts Corner as far as I am concerned). There was a garage next to the cafe and shop which sold Regent petrol, this was many years before Hensmans in the High street closed down (Hensmans sold Esso & Power petrol).

    By Trevor Savage (08/05/2014)
  • My grandfather Mr Hart owned Harts Corner. My Mum (May) and Aunt (Violet) grew up there and I was taken there a few times when I was a baby.

    By bob nunn (01/03/2013)
  • I found this information in The Billericay Society newletter no.150 of November 2003:- ” HARTS CORNER The query about this name in the last Newsletter has brought forth replies to the effect that on the corner, now occupied by the garage, a Mr. Hart had a sweetshop which later added a café. It was a well known stop on the old City Bus route between Southend and London” The garage is of course Essex Ford, which I think is the site where Hensmans moved to after leaving the high street, possibly later it became Perrys?

    By David Bally (18/02/2013)

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