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Line drawing of Witham Town Hall.

A property sale at the White Hart Inn in 1830 sold an extensive freehold Dwelling Houses with a 70 foot frontage in ‘decidedly the best part of the town of Witham’. These two houses (Nos 25 and 27 Maldon Road), were bought by John Stammers who paid £1050 for them. The larger house, now Crofters Wine Bar, was then occupied by a tailor and draper, and the other by a corn factor. There was a cellar and a small paved yard with the use of a pump which had excellent water, and a rich garden behind together with a wood house and a hen house. Also at the back was a stable, which could be used as a chaise house, with a granary above.

The house was let to various tenants until 1867, when Widow Issac died and it became unoccupied. The property, by then known as Falcon Croft, was owned by a baker, and in 1871 John Woolings gave the Croft to his second wife as a wedding gift. They never lived in it and it was rented out until 1896 when it was sold. The Croft then had several owners or tenants including Brewsters Harness Makers who had a shop on the other side of Maldon Road.

It later belonged to the Ryder family and then became a Ladies Hairdressers until 1976, when Mr Ivor Bird bought it. For the next two years it was Falcon Croft Antiques, then renovations were undertaken and the old beams which had been plastered over were revealed. Since 1981 it has been a very successful Wine Bar and Bistro, and the restaurant was extended and the conservatories added, and there is now a car park where the original stables stood. In 1988, a link was made at the first floor level, over the entrance to No 27. 

This side (No 27) has been Penny Lane Boutique, Bennissimo Beauty Salon and was empty from 1996 to 2002 when ‘A Change of a Dress’ took over. Dance Music / Complete Dance was there from November 2007 and it became ‘The Dressing Room’ in January 2013.

Sources: Witham & Countryside Society (Barbara Woolings); Janet Gyford; Braintree & Witham Times; and Ivor Bird (Ivor Bird’s Eye View).

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