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Barling & Wakering Villages Plus
Sand Pit Cottages, Shoebury

This brief article was inspired by an enquiry this year from Lorraine Keys who lives in Colchester, about Sandpit Cottages, Wakering Road, Shoebury. In 1911 her grandparents, Arthur and Elizabeth HORSFALL, lived at No 5 and in 1919 her father, Charles HORSFALL, was born there. Her grandfather and father were soldiers at Shoebury Barracks. Lorraine would particularly like to know if the cottages still exist or, if not, when they were demolished.

There have been several responses to Lorraine’s enquiry and they are listed below. Coincidentally Mick Prior’s ancestors lived at number 5 Earth Pit in 1881. The extract below is from the old OS Six-inch maps of England and Wales, 1842-1952 and published in 1880. It clearly shows Sand Pit and Earth Pit.

Input from Laurie Street

An old friend of mine, Alan CUNDY who is now 87 remembers Sandpit Cottages clearly and this confirms my theory that they were near Bunkers (old Sandpits) and Shoebury brickfield. These cottages were off a track off Elm Road near the water Tower and were probably farm workers cottages and part of Friars Farm. They were probably demolished about 50 years ago along with Friars Farm to make way for the Eagle Way estate and The Renown. The last people to live there were named WALL.
Alan also remembers the brickfields which were very dependent on the weather. The brick makers used to work piece work (get paid for what you did) and only worked when the sun shone. Women used to take their men folk tea in Billy Cans (no thermos Flasks then). Whilst the men were having BEAVER the women used to carry on making the bricks so as to not lose anytime. The bricks were taken to East Beach and carried by barge to London and elsewhere.

Input from Mick Prior

Further to the “Sandpit Saga”, I believe that these dwellings off Elm Road were originally known as “Earth Pit”. Some of my ancestors, who “emigrated” from North Kent to find employment in the Shoebury brickfields, are listed in the 1881 Census at this address.


        Alfred BROOKS, Head, M, Male, 24, Shoeburyness, Essex, England, General Labourer

        Maria BROOKS, Wife, M, Female, 22, Strood, Kent, England

        Eliza E. BROOKS, Daur, Female, 1m,  Shoeburyness, Essex, England  


Source Information

        Dwelling: 5 Earth Pit

        Census Place: South Shoebury, Essex, England

        Family History Library Film: 1341428

        Public Records Office Reference:RG11

        Piece / Folio: 1772 / 71

        Page Number: 33


The site of the brickfield is now covered by the Eagle Way Estate and Friars Park. I do remember as a kid, cycling to Shoebury East beach along the footpath from Poynters Lane to Elm Road (near the old water tower). This track passed by remnants of the old brickfield buildings. It seems brickworks died on this side of the Thames as well. It would have been a good idea to have some memorial to some of these sites. Star Lane has gone, so has Milton and Thorpe Bay. Many families in this area made their living on these sites.


Input from Stan Witton

My granddad was a WALL and lived in the brickfield cottages known as Earth Pit Cottages. When my dad Jack WITTON married Lucy, nee Lucy Wall, she was also living there. I was very young when mum walked David & me in the pram via Star Lane & across the fields to see granddad. He later came to live with us until his death .Unfortunately my mum died in 2011 otherwise I could tell you more. I more point one of his sons lived next door, as there were 11 children, I can't remember which uncle!

Input from Ivy Knight

Makes interesting reading, I too used to ride my pony along these tracks, over the Broomway and up Wakering stairs and used to ride across the back of the brickfields. In the late 40's we used to build with bricks scattered across the East beach?

Inspired by an enquiry from Lorraine Keys

Edited by Richard Kirton - Friday 13th November 2015