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22 Church Street

This building was formerly a school and could have been built for this purpose in the late 18th century or perhaps early 19th century. It continued to be a school until a new school was provided at Chipping Hill and Avenue Road. The original registers of the school, 1787, still exist. The school eventually became Howbridge Junior School.

 

In spite of its bad state of repair, it continued to be used for various purposes. For example, from 1914 to 1927 it was a furniture dealer, run by Alfred and Ellen Phillips. For a short time during the Second World War, it was a British restaurant. After the war, it was used for Sunday School meetings, and at that time it was in such a bad state of repair that one could see through holes in the floor from the upstairs rooms to the ground floor. Later it was used as a store by Shelleys, a furniture removal business, but getting more and more dilapidated. By n 1960 it had become derelict. A local fireman and builder, Dick Gibbs, bought it and renovated it in 1977.

The old postcard view below shows the building before renovation.

Sources: Janet Gyford; Witham & Countryside Society; Cyril Taylor.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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