Extract from ‘The Rayner Family of Great Wakering” by Albert Rayner Bsc (Econ) FCA [page 82]
It is interesting to note that the public houses have always been situated on the south side of the High Street. There were five but, for many years past, the number has been reduced to four.
'The Anchor': James Kemp, who was aged 60 in 1871, was tenant. He had 2 servants and a lodger living in. In 1881 he had only one servant and a lodger.
'The Red Lion': described in 1871 as 'The Lion', was kept by a widow, Eliza Guiver, aged 52 with one servant. By 1881 'The Lion' had acquired some colour and was still kept by Eliza with one servant. She had two lodgers, one of whom was James Rayner - no apparent relation to the rest of the Rayners living in the village at that time.
'The White Hart': was also run by a widow, Sarah Fulcher, aged 49, assisted by her son and one servant. By 1881 the son, George Fulcher, then aged 37 and married, had taken over from his mother. The 1881 Census includes George Fulcher with his wife and two infant sons, one servant and one lodger.
'The Exhibition': named after the Great Exhibition of 1851, was described in 1871 as a beerhouse and was run by James Buckingham aged 55. By 1881 the business had changed hands and John Simpson, a widower aged 62, was the publican; he had one servant and three lodgers.
'The Bell': was in the hands of Daniel Bradley, aged 44 in 1871 but by 1881 he had died and his father-in-law, Robert Holmes, aged 80, had taken over and was assisted by the widow. This public house had six lodgers in 1871 and nine in 1881. For some 60 years 'The Bell' has not been used as a public house. It was demolished in the late 1970s to make room for a block of sheltered housing flats providing accommodation for the elderly. Happily, Rochford District Council made provision for the exteriors to blend with the surrounding buildings in keeping with the village street. The new building retains the title of 'Bell House'.
All public houses except ‘The Bell’ serve the village at the present time but they have a much larger population from which to draw their custom, a population with much more money to spend.