Sat 19 May 2018 12:30When I went to North Fambridge I did wonder where South Fambridge was. Today I found it by accident.
I was driving through Hockley to Ashingdon, trying and failing to find a place to park up to start walking. I turned off and passed a sign for South Fambridge - which seemed like a good omen.
I parked up and started walking north away from a dozen or so houses, about 1.5 miles short of the river. After a while there was absolutely nothing at all. And then suddenly, a church out of nowhere.
There's very little information about this smart Victorian building other than it was built in 1846. I can't imagine it ever gets very busy.
Moving on you find very few cars - the only place this leads to South Fambridge, which is a collection of half a dozen small roads clustered together by the river. Many of the buildings looked quite new, and it was a very tidy little place with more than a few palm trees giving it a tropical feel.
The approach to the village is very odd as it just appears - no big houses on the outskirts, it's all in one place. On the entrance to the village was this memorial. It's really odd to think there was an airfield here, even if only for nine months. I had a double take at the date - February 1909 is barely five years after the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk.
The airfield was founded by Noel Pemberton-Billing who became an MP but sadly turned out to be a bit of a homophobic fascist; he also argued that there should be a separate "women's parliament" dedicated to "domestic" matters, so he was quite the catch. It's good (or not so good) to see that even a place as small as South Fambridge can have its own milkshake duck.
A further short walk takes you up to the sea wall at the River Crouch. I know I say this all the time but it is SO QUIET here. I can't think of a single reason to drive up here unless you live here - I couldn't find a shop or a pub or anything else - so we have a new candidate for Essex's most deserted place.
The distance across the river from the yacht station at North Fambridge to South Fambridge is almost exactly 1/3 mile. The driving distance between the two points is 16 miles, which will take you 34 minutes through Hullbridge, Battlesbridge, Runwell and South Woodham Ferrers. They definitely do not seem like two parts of the same village!
Article written Sat 19 May 2018 12:30, last modified Sun 20 May 2018 11:30