Brickworks and Travellers

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Memories from M Sipple

We used to cycle from Eastwoodbury Lane, along Cherry Orchard Lane, which was then just a track. As we neared Rochford, we had to dismount and walk through the farmyard and then cycle on to the main Hockley Road.

The old brickworks in Cherry Orchard Lane became home to several travellers.

These pictures were taken in 2003.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Brickworks and Travellers' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Brickworks and Travellers' page
This page was added by Mave Sipple on 29/10/2012.
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All the small 2 foot gauge diesel locos that worked at the Cherry Orchard lane brickworks survive today. Some are at preservation sites but others are still in industrial service.

There were at one time many such brickworks railways in the local area, with dozens in Essex and many hundreds throughout England, but the one at Cherry Orchard lane was the very last loco hauled brickworks railway to survive in the UK when it eventually closed.

A new bridge was built under Cherry Orchard Avenue (B1013) for the brickworks railway, complete with new rail, sleepers and even ballast, but this was never connected to the rest of the system and never used by the clay trains. The locos and wagons languished outside at the closed brickworks for several years and were eventually sold to Alan Keef Ltd. who had actually made the four new locos used by the brickworks in the 1980’s (three under the Simplex brand name) as well providing two other second hand locos and the parts for the re-building of two more.

The new ballast and sleepers from the track under the road were later stolen and the rail given to Sutton Hall Railway.

Today the former level crossings survive in the truncated remains of the old Cherry Orchard lane. One crosses the lane near the football pitches and two others survive next to the road opposite the house near the eastern end of the lane.

By B Meldon
On 08/05/2014

I remember the Brickworks as a thriving business. They had their own little train netword to the clay pits with the tracks crossing Cherry Orchard Lane. I remember taking a class of school children there to see bricks being made. They specialised in hand made bricks as well as the more mass produced product. This was long before the new road network changed the area forever.

By Chris Jones
On 04/05/2014
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