Transport in the past

The large collection of early postcards and photos of village scenes held in the archives provide useful evidence and a “virtual museum” of the various forms of transport at Goldhanger in the past. The relative isolation of the village and poor state of the roads meant that transport always played an important role in village life, and this is borne out by the provision of a wheelwrights, a cycle shop and blacksmiths. In the early 1900s the parish employed its own “roadmender”, and later had a petrol and service station.

The earliest photos available show horses, carts, pony and traps. Donkey carts were also in evidence, which the better off residence used to transport and entertain their children. Horse riding was preferred by the wealthier landowners, whereas bicycles, and motorcycles, were a used by the workers. Finally, the automobile came to the village. The full-size postcards from where many of these images originate can be seen at... Selection of early postcards.

select images below for an enlargement                      recent additions marked with *


o  Equine based transport

o  Railways

o  Traction Engines

o  Cycles and motorcycles

o  Filling & service station

o  Early Automobiles

o  Early Commercial Transport

o  Osborne’s buses

o  Eastern National buses


Early equine based forms of transport

Two farm wagons being used to transport village school children to Little Totham in the 1890s.

Two 2-wheeled gigs, also called chaises, outside Mr. Mann’s shop in The Square are shown on this early postcard


Early postcards show both two and four wheeled carriages being used to carry people and goods. This is from a1906 postcard.

The boy in this 1920s postcard seems to be sitting on top of a goods delivery cart outside The Chequers






A horse rider outside Hall Farm in 1911.

Two heavy horses from Hall Farm being paraded in Head St. in the late 1920s that were used for pulling wagons and ploughing





Stanley Wilkin’s impressive horse drawn caravan in the early 1900s.

A stallion at Bounds Farm being held by John Wilkin in 1917






Bounds Farm have transported strawberries to Tiptree since 1926. In the early days they used these wagons.

A 2-wheeled gig at Lauristons Farm in the 1940s




Stanley Wilkin at Bounds Farm regularly rode his horse to the Factory at Tiptree in the 1920s & 30s

As recently as the 1957 the blacksmiths in Church St. was re-shoeing horses.




The Revd Gardner at the Rectory used a donkey cart as transport for his family in the late 1800s.

Charles Page, farmer of Church Farm also had a donkey cart for use by his children(1908 photo)

The wealthier families used donkey carts for Sunday afternoon trips to the Creek and along the beach.


This farm wagon from the early 1900s has Bunting Bros, Goldhanger, Essex

in the top right panel and  was used to transport cattle to market.

William & Emily Page, Follyfaults farmers in the 1980s in their carriage



There were two separate proposals for railway lines that would have supported Goldhanger. The first in the 1882 and second in the 1890. The 1882 plan was for a line adjacent to the seawall running through Goldhanger, Mill Beach, and Heybridge to join up with the Maldon to Witham line at Langford. The 1890 plan was for a line from Tollesbury to Tolleshunt D’arcy, Tolleshunt Major, Beckingham, Lt and Gt Totham to join up with the Maldon to Witham line at Langford. Neither ever happened.

There is more about the ... Plans that never happened - railways   and those actually built...   Local railways in the past

Tolleshunt D’arcy station

When the “Crab & Winkle” railway from Tollesbury to Kelveldon opened in 1904, Goldhanger residents used pony and traps or horse and cart to travel to Tolleshunt D’arcy station and catch the train to Kelveldon. From there they could travel to Colchester, Chelmsford or London, with journey times previously unimaginable. However, the line closed to passengers in 1951 and Maldon and Langford became the nearest stations. That line was closed by the “Beeching Axe” in 1964.

* Railway carriages however, have never been far from the village, as shown in the... Virtual Museum - carriages

Traction Engines

Traction Engines became available for general use in agriculture and for moving heavy loads in the latter half of the 1800s. In the 1920s, steam tractors demonstrated clear economic advantages over horse power for heavy haulage. However, after WW-2 petrol and diesel engine lorries and tractors rapidly took over. From the 1950s, a preservation movement started as enthusiasts realised traction engines were in danger of disappearing, and of many of the remaining engines were restored and they occasionally pass through the village.

A traction engine can be seen in this 1920s postcard photo taken from the Church tower, looking down into the Old Rectory farmyard on Church St.

In WW-II Sadds cut down large Elms on The Avenue and took them by traction engine to their Maldon works.





From the late 1800s to the 1940s traction engines were extensively used on local farms for many of task previously performed by horses. These photos were taken at Highams Farm.


More recently locally preserved traction engines have taken part in village celebrations and processions.

This photograph was taken outside the Cricketers Inn.

A traction engine in the 2002 Jubilee parade with Chequers landlord Phil Glover..

Cycles and Motorcycles

This early postcard shows a couple on bicycles in “The Avenue” near Rectory cottage.

This 1920s postcard shows a bicycle and a motorcycle and sidecar outside The Chequers




Farmer Robert Page on a bicycle outside Follyfaunts farmhouse at in the early 1900s.

Boy cycling past the cottages at 18 to 22 Fish Street  in 1915


The village Blacksmith, Harold Enemy with his motorcycle in the 1940s.

Teenagers with their cycles outside No.2 in Square in the 1950s.




Early Automobiles

Said to be the first car to pass through Goldhanger in 1897. Ernest and Charles Page are in the rear. Frank Wellington is driving.

Dr Salter’s first automobile, a 4½ HP Benz, in 1902. He would have used this to visit his patients in Goldhanger and the Chequers





Charles Page in his first car, a 1906 Oleans automobile, photographed in the track at the Old Rectory where he farmed.

Frank Wellington is on the left of this postcard scene of The Chequers, in his Oleans automobile. with a pony and trap on the right 1905




The Revd Gardner’s chauffeur in the Rector’s 10 HP Speedwell automobile, which he owned from 1904 to 1909.

The Rector’s automobile outside the main entrance of The Rectory. There is also a bicycle against the fence




Apple Spraying at Old Rectory Farm in the 1930s, using a re-biult Model-T Ford. Charles Page owned several of these and used them in various roles.

A “Bean” automobile used as a taxi with owner Ernie Barbrook, on the right, and 3-year old Denis Chaplin on the left in Church St.




Between 1906 and 1913 Bentalls Engineering of Heybridge built 100 of these automobiles “for the local market”, and would have been seen in the area.

Flying Officers, at the Goldhanger Flight Station between 1917 & 1919, would have used this Crossley Tourer issued to RFC officers to visit The Chequers




A 1930s postcard showing a 1920s Ford outside the village shop in The Square, with the early petrol pumps.

The Page family of Thatch End, Fish St with their 1930s car and caravan.




Village filling & service station

The two signs seen on this postcard of Mr. Mann’s shop in The Square read:

  The petrol was sold in cans.

In 1905 petrol pumps were installed with glass globes as seen here and on the 1930s postcard above




By the 1940s the business had moved around the corner into Church St. and into a building that had the appearance of a WW-1 hut.

The filling station closed in the 1990s and a pair of cottages was built on the site.




Early commercial transport


H.T.Eve & Co’s. Truck loading up at the mill in Church St in 1920.

A very similar looking truck outside the village shop in The Square in 1921







A “Shrimp Brand” delivery lorry outside The Chequers in the 1930s


A Hasler &  Co. Corn and Seed Merchants, lorry outside Vaulty Manor in the 1940s




Maldon provided the nearest fire service and attended several fires recored at Goldhanger before 1900. This is the Maldon 1910 horse drawn tender.

During WW-2 Goldhanger had an Auxiliary Fire Service (AFC) using a saloon car based at the Old Rectory...


A delivery lorry belonging to Rex Page & Son, fruit growers of the Old Rectory, Fish St. in the 1950s. Rex was Charles Page’s son.

A delivery lorry outside The Chequers in the 1970s


Osborne’s buses


G W Osborne of Tollesbury provided a public transport  service through Goldhanger for about 100 years.

Mr. Osborne initially used horse drawn vehicles for a Tollesbury based passenger and parcel service. He then started a passenger service between Tollesbury and Colchester in 1917 using a Model-T Ford. Around 1920 a school bus service was introduced to Maldon. Later a regular bus service was introduced to Maldon passing through Goldhanger Square.

When Osborne’s buses first started taking local school children to Maldon. This involved going up Market Hill, however early Ford Model-Ts could not make it up the hill when fully loaded, as early models had no fuel pump and with the petrol tank at the rear the fuel didn't reach the engine on a steep hill when fully loaded. Their solution was to ask the pupils to get out at the bottom of the hill and walk up. The bus drove up empty and the children re-joined it at the top.

See also Church Farm Model-Ts struggle up Market Hill


one of Osborne’s original

horse drawn vehicles

Mr Osborne’s Model-T Ford

a charabanc in The Square

early Osborn double

 decker in Maldon

 Osborne’s Bus Company sold out to the Heddingham Bus Company in 1997

Eastern National Buses

Even Eastern National

once ran as far as




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