Great Burstead Stores

The shop in Church Street
By Ian Fuller

Number 68 Church Street, Great Burstead, was originally built as a typical two-story 1930s detached house. At some time a ground floor extension was added to the front and one side of the so that it could be used as a village store with living in accommodation. With lower car ownership and no local supermarkets at the time the store initially provided a useful local service. But the gradual introduction of these facilities caused in a decline in trade resulting in the store ceasing trading in the late 1990s. These pictures are of its final years as a shop.

In the photo below, taken in August 1990, it is trading as ‘Gt Burstead Stores’. Below a shadow makes its new trade name of: ‘Your Neighbourhood Store’ difficult to read in this second picture taken in 1996. Finally the ground floor extension is being converted to become additional living accommodation for the house in June 2000.

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  • Strange thing memory! I seem to recall this was called Bateman’s in the late ’50’s/early 60’s. My mum worked there part-time for a while when Milky Way bars were new and half the price of Mars Bars.
    One autumn evening Mr. Bateman took us (mum, sister and me) in his van to Southend to see the lights – a magical experience for a child.

    By John (01/10/2021)
  • I remember going to Steve’s shop, as it was known, during my childhood. We used to take our bottles of Corona back for a 2p return.

    By Simon Mitra (17/09/2021)
  • My parents, Steve & Iris Briggs owned what we knew as ‘Grange Stores’. I think we moved there in 1965 and left in 1979. My sister & I used to help in the shop at weekends. Mum & dad added the extension on the side to create an off licence – people used to ring the doorbell in the evenings for us to go out & serve them. I went to South Green Primary School (& then Billericay Comprehensive) my sister Marion went to Brentwood Grammar School. I remember Rev Holly & remember playing with other children from the village in the fields behind the churchyard.

    By Jane Briggs (09/05/2021)
  • Yes, the shop was owned by Mr Fennel in the 1950s and my mother was a regular customer. Before it was converted into a private dwelling it was the scene of an armed robbery. The gunmen were soon apprehended and after the trial they were sentenced to 7 years imprisonment by Judge Brian Watling QC at Chelmsford Crown Court. I sat on the jury that convicted them. The shop at the top of the hill adjacent to the church was owned by Mr Gatley. My brother worked there in the late 1950s. Mr Gatley also owned a sweet shop in Laindon High Road where my mother worked on Sundays.

    By Terry Lockhart (29/12/2020)
  • I remember the stores very well. Do you remember the shop by the church at the top of the hill? I believe it may have been called Gatleys. My mum did her weekly shop there. They used to deliver and at one time a gay couple owned it. Lovely People they were. My parents arrived in Billericay in the 1920’s as children with my grandparents from London.
    I was born at St Andrews hospital in 1950 but left Billericay in 1972 but have lots of happy memories growing up there.

    By Terry Alan Walden (24/12/2020)
  • As I live a bit further up from the shop I remember it clearly. My mother was always sending me to the shop for groceries. I also remember around 1973 the shop owners also started a taxi business which was really handy for me. Growing up in Great Burstead was a wonderful thing, I remember when the road was really uneven and we had to help push cars up the hill when it snowed. Reverend Holly was the vicar and I was head Chorister, great memories. The field behind the Church, which is fall of graves, now was completely empty and me and my friend David Littmoden used to play in that field. My Sister Susan Barton is now in that field as she lost her life to Cancer 11 years ago.

    By William Barton (21/12/2020)
  • I remember when Steve & Iris owned it, Iris also ran a Taxi service.

    By Brian Shepherd (31/03/2019)
  • Yes this was Fennel stores because we lived just a few yards up Kennel Lane in the 1950s. My mum would buy odd items that we needed from there and I can remember buying her a box of chocolates from there with my first pay packet in 1954.

    By R F Howard (18/03/2019)
  • Thanks for this article. Would this be the store owned by Mr. Jim Fennel ? This would have been in the fifties. It looks similar to the shop I remember . As one walked from Mill Road up to Great Burstead church it was on the right hand side tucked into a corner. My memories are a bit vague but not of Mr Fennel who was a lovely man and very kind. Happy memories.

    By Aileen Wortley (16/03/2019)

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