Ford Street Mill, Aldham, near Colchester

sent September 1907 to Miss G Davis of High Street, East Ham.

The mill building on the right no longer exists.

The lower picture was taken in August 2010 and shows how the building looked then.


Unused card, no identity. Marked as Ford Street No 6. Foreground left shows the smithy of 'Cyrus Chiles, shoeing and general smith'. A few doors along can be seen the Queens Head pub sign, with a Quaker Oats advertising board on the building next door. On the right are some of the timber framed building that we see today. We guess the picture to be c1910.


Ford Street from Bridge. Posted 12th May 1965 to A Bateman Esq of Oxford.


82826. Ford Street. Posted 11th May 1930 to Miss H Thompson JP of Eye by David and his mummy (of Kyloe? Fordham). Coopers Arms on the left, petrol pump on the left. L E CROUCH is over the door of the pub. The car has the index plate VW 1046. Pratts petrol on sale on the right.


The water mill, since demolished, in Aldham, provenance unknown.


Ford Street looking over the bridge into Fordham, provenance unknown.



unknown house. Unused card



The Brick and Tile pub on Halstead Road around 1910. William Bright and Sons Ltd. The building is still there but now (2016) a dentist's surgery. The cottages are along Spring Lane and the photograph was taken from Blind Lane. Unused card.


Thanks to postie Stuart Bursill for identifying this.



Fordham Place, Fordham. Unposted. The house still stands.


Fordham Post Office . With a lady and gentleman and cat and dog outside. Unposted.


The Three Horseshoes pub on the left, looking north. Sent 1912? to Mrs W Waters of Lowestoft by Louis? Mention of Emma and it being their house No 4.


Fordham Hall. Of unknown provenance.


Standing outside the Shoulder of Mutton in Fordham, looking over the bridge to Aldham. Of unknown date and provenance.


The Shoulder of Mutton of unknown date and provenance.



Frating Hall. Unposted. Card by P Newell of Manningtree.



Card by Geo. Woodward of Thorpe le Soken. Unposted. A sign states the Kings Head and a name of Edward Carter can be seen over a door. Some notes on the back in pencil giving the name Frederick Hempster.

Frederick Kempster standing outside The Kings Head pub in Landermere, near Thorpe Le Soken, Essex. The woman on the photo MAY be Frederick's sister Susan who lived only 5 miles from the Kings Head pub at the time.



Card unposted. Geo Woodard, The Studio, Thorpe-le-Soken. Frederick Kempster - 7'9.3" (237 cm)

The Early Years of Frederick John Kempster, The English Giant

By James Kempster, his great-nephew

'In 1988 I wrote to Dr. Barnardo’s that operated as an orphanage in England a century ago. Between the 1870’s and 1930, Barnardo’s found homes for about 100,000 English children in Canada. Frederick and his younger brother George, who was my grandfather, were among those children, and Barnardo’s records contains much information about the brothers and their family.

Frederick was born to Joseph and Jane Kempster on 13 April 1889 at Bayswater, London, and was baptized on 9 June 1889 as shown in the registry entry shown above.

In the 1891 census, Frederick now aged 2, is listed with his parents and other siblings still at home. The George Kempster listed is not my grandfather George who would not be born until 21 August 1895, but a boarder. (I suspect he was a nephew of Joseph’s, and thus a cousin to the brothers.)

This is an entry from the Index of Deaths October to December 1897. Frederick’s father Joseph died of asthma and bronchitis on 25 December 1897.

On 10 September 1898, George and Frederick were admitted to Barnardo’s orphanage, as Jane could not afford to keep them. She got work as a servant in a private home, and could not keep her children with her there. The boys went to the receiving house in Stepney. On 14 October 1898 Frederick moved to Leopold House in Stepney. On 23 March 1899, he sailed to Canada aboard the SS Scotsman arriving at St. John on 3 April 1899. (In a side note, the SS Scotsman sank on another trip later that same year.) In October 1899 he was placed with Mr. A. W. Allan at Orange Ridge, Manitoba. In February 1901 he was still with Mr. Allan, but had moved to Glenella, Manitoba. In December 1901 he had moved to Mr. George Munro in Glen Smith, Manitoba. He returned to England on 12 November 1904 aboard the SS Canada because he was unfit for work due to knee problems and lengthening of the tibias. He had an operation at Barnardo’s own hospital, and on 7 April 1905 he was able to return to work at Barnardo’s Youth Labour House at Commercial Road, East London. In 1911 he was living at their Boy’s Garden City at Woodford Bridge, Essex. In June 1911, he got a job with Astley and Company’s American Circus at Chigwell.

When World War I began, he was on tour with the circus in Germany, and was detained by the Germans for 2 years, during which time his health deteriorated. When he was finally released and returned to England, he learned that his brother George (my grandfather) had been wounded in the fighting in Europe and was in hospital in London. Grandpa tells of being visited by his brother, who was so tall that he searched for grandpa by looking in through the transom windows above the doors to the wards. This must have frightened some of the wounded soldiers! Frederick died on 9 April 1918 in Blackburn, UK during the great influenza epidemic.

These pictures of the 9 year old Frederick and 3 year old George were taken when they were admitted to Barnardo’s on 10 September 1898.

This article was found on a medical website dedicated to gigantism. If the 1915 date is correct, the examination was done while he was a prisoner in Germany.

Frederic John Kempster (1889, Bayswater, London (UK)—1918, Blackburn (UK))–was also known as “the Blackburn Giant” or “The Gentle Essex Giant” or “Frederick the Great” . At the onset of the age of 15, he experienced rather severe headaches and started growing rapidly. At his death at the age of 29 he was 2.56 m. (8 ft. 4½ in.) and weighed 171.5 kg. (378 lbs.) and wore size 22 shoes (410 mm., 16 inches long). Anthropometrics and his case history were taken by Dr. Gigon (Basle, Switzerland) in 1915 . He was of normal intelligence. He had typical acromegalic features including: prognathism, large hands, a big nose and a large tongue. The right foot was 34 cm (1 ft. 1½ in.) and the left foot size was 32,5 cm (1 ft. 1 in.) in length. He had a kyphoscoliosis. He had a deep voice although he used to be a tenor until the age of 18. There were signs of hypogonadism as: the absence of a beard and a moustache as well as the absence of axillary hair or chest hair. There was scanty pubic hair. Testis size was normal for a normal-sized man. The left leg was shorter than the right leg. The muscles were weak. A sellar radiograph showed an enlarged sella turcica with a diameter of 28 mm (1¼ in). A hand radiograph showed that the epiphysial plates had not yet fully closed. Furthermore there was marked osteoporosis . In 1910 he traveled to Germany, to work in the vaudeville where he was called “Teddy Bobs”. At the outbreak of the First World War he was interned as a “prisoner of war” by the Germans in 1914. He prompt fell ill and was hospitalized until his release in 1916. Back in England, his health remained poor and in 1918 he fell ill with pneumonia as a result of the influenza epidemic and died.

With permission taken from: 'Acromegaly and gigantism in the medical literature. Case descriptions in the era before and the early years after the initial publication of Pierre Marie (1886)' by Wouter W. de Herder.

This article is from the August 1911 edition of the magazine Popular Mechanics, and shows Frederick taking part in activities planned for the coronation of King George V that year.

Photograph acquired by Dr. Thomas Harvey (MRCS, LRCP 1872-1944), who was the local doctor in Avebury in the 1910s, courtesy of his grandson David Nelson.

As a final note of interest, I found a review of the book Der Uber Leichen Geht about the creator of the “Body Works” exhibit of preserved human corpses Gunther Von Hagens, by authors Torsten Peuker and Christian Schulz. The title roughly translates as “He’ll stop at nothing” In a chapter entitled “ Die Jagd nach der Leiche XXL “ which translates as “The Hunt for the Extra Extra Large Corpse” the authors claim that after Von Hagens had failed to get a Russian giant to will his remains to Von Hagens for his exhibit, he hatched a plan to steal Frederick’s remains from his grave in Blackburn! I do not read German, and I do not know if the book has been translated into English, but this is a truly extraordinary last chapter in the life and death of Frederick Kempster, giant.

Many thanks to James Kempster, Frederick's great-nephew for writing this excellent article about Frederick's (short) life. James also told me that with genealogy sites and the internet, he now knows more about his family history than anyone has known in the last century. Frederick has grown from being a family legend to a real family member.'




The Hall, West Mersea. Published by S C White of West Mersea. Unposted.


The Fox and Fountain , East Road, Mersea. Unposted. Card by Cleghorn's Series No 2.

Notes on back -

Carrier Wm Cutts, E to W Mersea Carrier, a crippled man

Mr and Mrs W V Chatters, 135 East Road, West Mersea, CO5 8SA


The Dog and Pheasant, East Mersea

A used card from the collection of Mr Don Goodman. Sent to Mrs G Sealey of 21 Bergholt Road, Colchester. Stamp removed, 78460


The Dog and Pheasant, East Mersea

A used card from the collection of Mr Don Goodman. Sent to Mrs G Sealey of 5 Essex Hall Road, Colchester. Posted December 1905. Cleghorn's Series



Town Street, Nayland. C E Gowing Photo. Unused.


(the following cards with the J prefix have all been kindly provided by Mr F Jones of Nayland for us to see.)

Card by C E Gowing. Sent 16th July 1906 to Miss Mary Macandrews of Westwood, Colchester.

J002 a and b

Maltings Farm Sanatorium

a. Card sent 11th December 1907 to Dr Eliz Moffett Bsc of West Hampstead. Card by Gowing of Nayland.

b. Card sent 9th July 1908 to Mr Sheeky of Hitchin, 'I am in bed and I do hope they won't keep me in long'.


Nayland Lock

Card by Gowing. Unused. Handwritten I.VII.04


Bear Street



Sent to Miss J Atkinson of Alston, Cumberland by E Stephenson on 2nd November 1926. Card by Archer of Nayland.


Town Street. 141124. Unposted.


L P and Co 404. Unposted.


A multi view card sent 26th July 1916 to Private Reg Sawdy 7118 of Swine near Hull by EMC.

J009 a and b

Abel Bridge

a. Card by C E Gowing . Unposted.

b. Posted 15th June 1914 to Mrs Morrison of Southport


Fox Lane

78783. Posted 16th June 1927 to Mrs Smith of Deptford by Hilda.


Court Street

885. Unposted.


Nayland Church

Christchurch Pictorial Post Cards Naturette Series. Unposted.


Nayland Church.

Posted 30th July 1928 to Mrs Edwards of Magdalen Street, Horwich? by Bobbie.


Alston Court

80830. Bell's Photo Co Ltd. Westcliff-on-Sea. Unposted.




The Manse, Bear Street.



Bear Street

M and R Series. Unposted.


Town Street

141123 B P Co Ltd. Unposted.


The House at the Corner, Wiston. Tea Room, Timbered Ceiling with Tudor Rose. Archer of Nayland. Unposted.


Fen Street



Fenn Street

Posted 13th July 1960 to Miss Jump of Wirral by Harold.


Mill Street



Nayland Lock

Card sent 19th July 1908 to Miss Lily Baldry of Ipswich by Walter. Card by Gowing.


Mill Street

Posted 16th July 1906 to Mr A E Pageof Wolferton by A and D.




The Rose Inn at Peldon. Posted August 1909 to P E Scrutton Esqof Orford by WP. Card by S C WHite of West Mersea.


Greetings from Rowhedge. Sent to Miss Mabel Page of Bures Hamlet by Floss on 10th April 1910. Mention of Harold.




London Road, Stanway. Sent to Mrs G Potter of Layer Breton in Nov 1920 by her niece Mabel and mentions Nellie.


Unused card. In pencil, Stanway Green looking East.


Unused card. Pen on back 1st October 1960. Villa Road, Stanway.



Stanway Green. Card by Poyser and Co 7398.Sent to Mrs Phillips or Stratford in 1920 by Ada.


...and a modern day view (2012).




St Osyth, Clacton Road. 64263. Frith Series. Frith and Co Ltd at Reigate Works. Card sent to Miss Ethel Bailey of Minehead on July 25th, after 1911 (George V stamp) by Nell and sent from The Ship Inn at St Osyth. Nearest building has Charles Smoothy on the board over the door and C and W R Seabrook on the larger board above. Tickest to view the Priory are offered for sale on the bay window. The statue of what appears to be a lion, lies on the roof of the entrance way of the building further back with an advertisement for the Colchester Brewing Company.



A view of the boating lake from Walton's church tower. Card by George Woodward and unposted. The boating lake covered 23 acres and is where the owner of the Camulos website spent many happy days working for Mr Ted Carter in the 1960s. This photo would be before the great flood of 1953, as the later built flood walls are not to be seen. Ted used to employ local lads to get the boats in and out and to teach customers how to row and to sail. He never married but was an inspiration to his 'boys'. A grumpy individual at the best of times but a hero figure to us lads. Ten bob a week I used to earn, in addition to my paper round money and as a butcher's boy for the kindly Mr Mason with his fat butcher's fingers.


Princes Parade, Walton on the Naze, 13114. Unused card by BP Co Ltd of Westcliff. The K is for Kino, presumbly then the Kino cinema, later turned into an amusement arcade in the 1960s?


Unused card by Mark James and Son of Walton-on-the-Naze. Rock Row and Pier Beach.


Unused card by Mark James and Son of Walton-on-the-Naze. Station Gardens and Parade.


Unused card by Mark James and Son of Walton-on-the-Naze. Mere Boating Lake.

I had to own this card as this is a scene from my boyhood, from a time when I worked for boating lake owner Ted Carter from age 12 in 1965 until I started work at 16. I was one of many of Ted's boys and I greatly admired him. He was one of the grumpiest people in Walton yet, when he was of a mind, he would sit down with us lads and talk of things local and of old and of knots and of building boats, and the like. I learned to row and sail there and I was promoted to foreman, although it didn't earn me any more money. Ted had pet names for us all. I was Chas. I once carved that name in the oar shed but he caught me before I completed it. He went mad at me, but later suggested I finish it off. Many stories to tell of my time there.

This picture shows the mere before 1953, when the flood wall had not been constructed. The boats in the foreground are paddleboats. All were clinker built by Ted or his father. The sailing boat was single sail gaff rig with a flat plate centreboard. I used to know all the boats by their number and oddities. 33 was 'my' row boat that I always tried to us when bringing the string of boats in of a morning or rowing them out to their mooring of an evening.


An unposted card by Valentines showing the view from the end of Woodberry Way looking towards Frinton. From a time when the cliffs were being eroded by the sea and before May Gurney and Co carried out extensive stabilising works in the 1960s.


Boating Lake. 6870. Published by Mark James and Son, who, in the 1960s, were newsagents for whom I used to do a paper round in the summer, taking the Evening Standards up to the two main caravan sites. Unused. The boating lake was run by the Carter family. This card is probably dated around 1910 and shows the paddle boats in the children's section of the lake that were still being used in the 1970s. The little hut on the left was where Mr Carter sat, with his clock to measure the time taken by each boat and where we lads used to get paid for helping him. Many happy days spent here working for Ted Carter in the 1960s.


Hamford Waters. Photo-Precision Ltd 2747. Unused. The Yacht Club in the distance. Was this where the windmill once stood?


Lifeboat House. Unused. Valentine 40018.


Naze Beach and Huts. An interesting view of the beach huts that were to become so numerous and organised as we see today. M and R C card 13 6351. Sent 12 Aug 1913 to Master Alec Peacock of Tunbridge Wells.


The Old Windmill in a very dilapidated state. Unused. S and S C 3/138.


Albion Beach as we used to call it in the 1960s. Note the bathing machines. J Valentine 30843. Posted 14 July 1909 to Miss Alice Downs of Little Clacton by A M C of 37 The Parade Walton.


Valentines Bromotone 218574. Sent 1st August 1933 to Mrs Lee of Highbury, London by Mrs Clements of 23 Crescent Road, Walton.

This was my playground when I was a boy in the 50s and 60s, before May Gurney destroyed the cliffs to make them safer. I lived in Woodberry Way, to the left of the picture.


High Cliff with the pier in the distance. Posted 20 Aug 1906 to Miss Kate Taplin of Reading. Valentine 40006.


Walton Church. Card by Stewart and Woolf of London. Posted 2nd July 1904 to Mrs Springfield of Norwich by E Springfield. The message reads, 'We have had an awfully jolly trip.'.


The Congregational Church. This appears to be the earliest postcard that we have as the postmark shows that it was sent on 15th August 1901 to Mr C H Chaplin of Rugby by Alf.


Posted on 26th July 1950 to Mrs Ellis of Edmonton by Mrs Baley.


Posted to Mrs Stevens of Galleywood with George V stamp.



Black Boy, Weeley for 1904 military manoeuvres. Colchester Brewing Company. The sign shows a negro boy. By HGRC, photo by Gill, sent to Miss Dora Archer of Ramsey by Lily and mentions cousin Olive. Not posted so not dated but assumed to be 1904. There was a military barracks at Weeley so this would have been their local pub.






Frith's Series black and white photograph of the waterfront at Wivenhoe. WVN.41F. The cars suggest a date of the 1960's. Unposted.




Colchester Road, Wix. The Post Office? Sent in mArch 1908 to Miss H Catt of Chelmsford by Geo? Pencil note that states 'Mr Baker, Postmaster'.

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