Ye Olde Shoulderstick

Article by Marion Cross (Daughter of Albert Edward BALE - Licensee up to 1939) - 14th March 2014

My father Albert Edward Bale was born on 21st August 1901. His birth certificate gives an address as Mile End Old Town. I understand that this would make him a cockney.

My mother Edith Alice Bray was a nursemaid to Mr and Mrs White’s three children, Alec, Roger and Nita. Mr White was the owner of Ye Olde Shoulderstick.

My father licensed the property from Mr White, who I understand was the Mayor of Southend about this time. This is where my parents met. The date of my parents wedding was 30th August 1925.

Shortly after this they moved into Ye Olde Shoulderstick, and had five children, all born at the house. They are:

With the exception of my brother John (who was too young), we all attended the school in the village. It had only two classes. Mr Sheppard was our headmaster. We called him Tonks. I do not know where the nickname came from.

When my parents took over the property, there were only two downstairs rooms and two upstairs. My father did some alteration, building a kitchen and bathroom at the back of the house. We had an open outside toilet which was emptied by the council.

The premises had a grocery shop on the left and an off-license on the right.

The later photographs of Ye Olde Shoulderstick were taken by members of my family when they visited the village later on in life.

At an earlier stage, the sign was put in the centre of the premises, but later was moved to the left of the building, adjacent to the red telephone box. I have indicated where on the photograph.

My father, finding the delivery of alcohol to outlying villages, too much for him, took on a partner. Unfortunately my father caught him red-handed putting wines and spirits in his car just before driving home.

The partnership was terminated. However, the damage was done, and my father could never make up for the loss of all the thieving. He was put into bankruptcy by his suppliers, and vacated the property in or around the early July of 1939.

My father never got over the shame of becoming bankrupt, and after his death, I found the newspaper clipping you printed on the front page of the Wakering and District Heritage.

With the exception of Peter and Roger, the remainder of my family moved to Western Australia, where we have all been happy with the move.

Because I spent the formative years of my youth in Barling, I have very strong memories of how idyllic it was. I would dearly love to return and see the changes that have been made.

Both my parents emigrated to Western Australia in the early 1970s. Mother died on 19th May 1994, having Alzheimer’s during the latter part of her life.

Father died on 5th July 2002, making him nearly 101! He was still able to look after himself and able to read until he passed away.

Comment: Marion fondly remembers the tea rooms which were opposite Ye Olde Shoulderstick and the "charabangs" as they were called, regularly bringing visitors for afternoon tea. Regrettably she does not have any photos and cannot remember any being taken by her family members but I have added these two postcards just for her.

Behind Ye Olde Shoulderstick were cornfields and behind the cornfields there was a small copse. That is all she can remember but she knows that the original Shoulderstick was just over the back of the fields and understands that it consisted of two small buildings and in the dark distant past carriages passing by on their way to London, would often stop there for a pint of ale and a pie.

She has no evidence of this but relies on things that her parents told her. She and her brother Peter went to the original site and found some of the foundations. She doubts that they would be there today and back then it took many weeks to find the ruins, which were buried under the soil.

Ye Old Shoulderstick still stands (2012) and evidence of this is the ironwork at the front which used to support the

Off Licence Sign.

The newspaper clipping that Marion refers to is one that was on my original article and was an extract from ‘THE LONDON GAZETTE’ dated, 28 July, 1939.

Marion as "Pennies from Heaven" about 1937. You can see my sister Lucy in the doorway of the Off Licence. Also the Off Licence Sign is at the front of the building.

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