BARDELL | Burches Pumping Station House, Thundersley, Essex | Southend Waterworks Company

There were three residential properties built in the early 1900’s by Southend Waterworks Company in Thundersley, Essex, which were associated with the reservoir and two pumping stations.

Pumping Station House (also called Pumping Station Cottage and Waterworks House) on Great Burches Lane was the property associated with Burches Pumping Station.

BARDELL ~ c.1906-1915

Alfred BARDELL and family were most likely the first residents of Burches Pumping Station House after it was built and first show up there in the 1906 Electoral Register.

Alfred BARDELL married Louisa HULL 11th Apr 1898 in Tolleshunt Knights, Essex where Louisa grew up (Alfred was from South Weald, Essex). By 1901 the newly married couple were living in Thundersley on Hart Road with their first child, and a second on the way. Alfred was working as a Stationary Engine Driver for Southend Waterworks Company in the newly built pumping station on Burches Road, and they moved into the associated cottage once it was built. Alfred and Louisa had seven children together, all born in Thundersely.

  1. Alfred Victor Bardell (aka Alf, 1898-1978) Rifleman / Lorry Driver
  2. Frank Horace Bardell (1901-1995) Lorry Driver
  3. George Oliver Bardell (1904-1971) Soldier Grenadier Guards / Agricultural Worker Hay and Straw
  4. Phyllis Elvira Bardell (1906-1994) Scaffolder’s Wife
  5. Edmund Charles Bardell (aka Eddie, 1908-1980) General Labourer
  6. Leonard Ralph Bardell (aka Len, 1910-2005) Auxiliary Fire Service for Benfleet U D C (Window Cleaner)
  7. John Vernon Bardell (aka Jack, 1913-1989) Garage Engineer and Fitter

The family continued to live in Burches Pumping Station House until 1916-1917 (gap in electoral records due to WW1), and then lived at Raymond’s Terrace, Hart Road, Thundersley between 1918-1926. By this time, the three eldest son’s had moved out and married. Alf served with the 21st London London Regiment (1st Surrey Rifles) as a Rifleman from 2nd Apr 1918 to 16th Oct 1919, and when son George married in 1923 he was a Soldier with the Grenadier Guards. I’ve not found any military records for Frank.

Alfred and Louisa continued to live in Thundersley, moving around a couple of time. By 1939 they were living in “Hylands”  on Asquith Avenue and Alfred, now 68, was working as a Steam Roller Driver for Essex City Council. If Alfred died in Essex I have not found his record, but several online trees link his death to an Alfred Bardell who died in Hertfordshire in 1962 age 86. Louisa died in 1969 aged 92 (registered in Rochford, which covered Thundersley).

This wonderful photograph (which I colourised) looks to have been taken during the early 1940s. It shows all seven of Alfred and Louisa’s children, six of their seven spouses and two of their grandchildren.


Top Row: Len, Jack, Frank, Alf, George, Eddie, Phyllis’s husband Arthur Wheal
Second Row: Frank’s wife Florence, Alf’s wife Winnie, George’s wife Jessie, Eddie’s wife Dorothy
Third Row: Jack’s wife Joyce, ALFRED & LOUISA BARDELL, Phyllis Wheal (nee Bardell)
Bottom Row: Phyllis & Arthur’s son Brian, Frank & Florence’s son Norman


Alfred’s Parents

Alfred’s father Edmund BARDELL was born 17th Mar 1839 in Shenfield, Essex, England. The Bardell’s had originally come from Hertfordshire where the surname was spelt “Bardwell”, but Edmund’s father (also called Edmund, a Haybinder, Thatcher and Agricultural Labourer) seems to have dropped the “w” when he moved to Essex shortly before marrying. Alfred’s mother Sarah Ann OLIVER was born early 1843 in Hornchurch, Essex and married Edmund 16th May 1864 in St George in the East, London (the day before his 24th birthday – Sarah was 19). Their first child was born in London, then they moved to South Weald, Essex (next to Brentwood) and had a further eight children between 1865 and 1884 (Alfred being their fifth):

  1. Horace Bardell (1865-1929) Dairyman
  2. Arthur Bardell (1869-1921) Royal Marines / Carpenter’s Labourer
  3. Helena (aka Ellen) Bardell (1871-1925) Confectioner, and Asylum Attendant / Greengrocer’s Wife
  4. Louisa Bardell (1873-1956) Post Office Worker’s Wife
  5. Alfred Bardell (1875-?) Stationary Engine Driver (Southend Waterworks Company) / Steam Roller Driver (Essex City Council)
  6. John Bardell (1877-1965 USA) Mill Wright in Factory (General Electric Company)
  7. George Bardell (1879-1930) Locomotive Stoker
  8. Harry Bardell (1882-1960) Stationary Engine Driver
  9. Frederick Bardell (1884-1965) Asylum Attendant / Stoker / Soldier / General Labourer

When Edmund married in 1864 he was working as an Ostler, and in 1871 he was a Haybinder. A directory from 1878 lists his as a Greengrocer and Beer Retailer, in the 1881 Census he was recorded as a General Dealer and another directory from 1882 as a Shopkeeper. By 1886 he had changed careers and was now working as a Carman & Contractor, which he stuck with up to 1895.

In 1888 when Alfred was 12 1/2 and already working as a Labourer, he was involved in an incident in the Salvation Army Barracks at Brentwood for which he was taken to court. He was accused of disrupting the service by laughing and talking, and on refusing to leave was thrown bodily out of the building by Captain Alfred Camp. The summons was dismissed. However, it appears four days after being rather brutally ejected, Alfred took it upon himself to seek revenge on the Captain and assaulted him by kicking him, trying to trip him up, striking him on the head and knocking off his hat. For this Alfred was fined 2s 6d. He was also charged with assaulting another man and fined a further 2s 6d. Four years later, the Bardell’s were in court again, as on 6th Sep 1892, Edmund was charged with “shocking” cruelty to a horse, for which he received one month hard labour. This was not to be the last time Edmund ended up in court or prison.


Newspaper articles reproduced with the permission of the British Newspaper Archive and The British Library Board

When Alfred married in 1898, he described his father’s occupation as “Carman F.C.B.”. Unfortunately Alfred’s own occupation wasn’t transcribed, so I don’t know what he was doing but did state to still be living in Brentwood. Edmund changed careers once again the following year, working as a Dairyman between 1899-1906 (own account), although may still have worked as a Carman too. His oldest son Horace was also working as a Dairyman by this time, who in 1903 was fined along with another milk dealer for selling watered down milk. On a side note, Horace married the older sister of Louisa HULL (who Alfred married).


In 1908 things took a very dark turn for the Bardell family when Edmund, now age 69 and of no occupation (although described as a labourer in one newspaper report), “unlawfully and indecently assaulted and ill-treated” two young girls at South Weald on 17th July. He was arrested six days later and appeared in court on 5th Aug. Edmund pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twelve months hard labour (not twenty four as stated in the Aug report). The prosecutor described the case as “one of the worst of its kind he had known“.


The two girls Edmund assaulted were Agnes Mary CLARK (or Clarke) and Beatrice Lily Violet PEARCE. They were both born in Brentwood in 1898, making them ten years old in 1908. Beatrice was born to single mother Daisy, and in 1901 they were both living with Daisy’s own mother about a mile away from Edmund. Agnes was living with her parents Frederick and Mary and three siblings about a mile in the opposite direction.

In 1907, the Electoral Register records Edmund living at Oliver Cottages on Red Road, South Weald, and he turns back up there again in 1909 after completing his sentence. In the1911 census Edmund states as to having “no occupation”, and the only occupants of the cottage were now Edmund and his wife Sarah. All but two of their children had married, and one (John) had emigrated to America in early 1908. By 1911, Beatrice Pearce’s mother had married but the family remained only about a mile away from Edmund. The Clark family were also still living close by in 1911, but Agnes and her younger sister were not present. They had originally been written onto the household sheet, then crossed off. Frederick and Mary’s oldest two children were there, and they had also had two more children, but where were Agnes and sister May and why were they written in and then crossed out? I discovered them living over a hundred miles away in Hampshire, inmates at St Mary’s Children’s Home in Eastleigh along with several other girls from all over the country. St Mary’s was a Magdalene Home which took in “fallen children and children from houses of ill-fame or otherwise in grave moral danger” for a fee. Agnes was now 12, and her younger sister 9. Her experience at the hands of Edmund must have caused her a great deal of damage to be placed in such an institution by her parents, but why her younger sister was also sent will remain a mystery. Agnes married in 1924 but died in 1939 aged 41. I haven’t discovered Beatrice’s (aka Lily) fate.

Edmund’s wife Sarah died 25th Sep 1913 age 70 and a couple of years later the Bardell family were in court again. In April 1915 Edmund’s son Frederick was summoned to court for assaulting his wife of two years, and grandson Alfred Victor (Alfred’s son) was involved in a case of re-used stamps.


Edmund died in early 1919 aged 80. Then in August of that year Albert‘s son George Oliver BARDELL age 15 and his 16 year old friend Harry Richard James HERBERT were arrested for assaulting a 13 year old girl named Jessie Sarah OTTLEY in Thundersley. They appeared in court on 1st Nov 1919 charged with “carnally knowing Jessie Sarah Ottley, a girl above the age of 13 years, and under the age of 16 years, and indecently assaulting her“. Both boys pleaded not guilty, but George was found guilty and Harry guilty at the attempt. A newspaper report shed more light on the case, recording that George had previously taken Jessie out to Southend and told him she was 16. George also stated Jessie was “a consenting party”, to which the Judge replied that “the section under which the proceedings were taken was to protect young girls against themselves“. Both boys were originally given much harsher sentences, but Harry’s was reduced so as not to loose his motor engineers apprenticeship and George’s reduced due to there being no place of detention as yet for 15 year old boys to serve hard labour. Just two years later Harry was fatally injured whilst trying to board a moving lorry in Hadleigh. George joined the Grenadier Guards and married in 1923, stating to be three years older than he actually was (22, rather than 19). I wonder if he also lied about his age when enlisting in order to join up after his brush with the law?


In 1921 one last case popped up in the papers involving Frederick BARDELL’s wife again. Alice Mary BARDELL (nee GROVES) was summoned to court on 24th Feb accused of steeling carpet, along with a variety of household items from several different homes. Frederick had been serving in the army between 1916-1919, and after his wife had been caught with the stolen carpet a large variety of other stolen goods were found in their home, some of which after identification had gone missing as far back as 1917. Frederick denied all knowledge of his wife’s actions, but more worryingly, so did Alice who was quoted as saying “I don’t remember what I have been doing”. Alice had already been seen by a doctor by the time the case came to court, who certified her as “mentally deficient” and sent to the Mental Hospital. This would have been Essex County Lunatic Asylum in South Weald where Frederick had been working as an Asylum Attendant in 1911. The case was adjourned for a week and then adjourned again “sine die” (brought to an end without setting a date for another hearing).



Louisa’s Family

Louisa HULL was born 12th Feb 1877, the third of eight children born to George HULL, an Agricultural Labourer, and Eliza MOSS. George and Eliza married 22nd Sep 1866 in Tiptree, Essex.

  1. Kate Matilda Hull (1869-1946) Dairyman’s Wife
  2. George Hull (1874-?)
  3. Louisa Hull (1877-1969) Stationary Engine Driver’s Wife
  4. Matilda Hull (1878-1948) Carpenter Joiner’s Wife
  5. Henry James Hull (1881-1976) Railway Engine Stoker / Railway Locomotive Driver
  6. Charles Hull (1883-1949) Waggoner / Horseman on Farm
  7. Horace Hull (1886-1972) Horseman On Farm / Fruit Farm Labourer
  8. Frank Hull (1889-?) Farm Labourer

Sisters Kate and Louisa married brothers Horace BARDELL and Alfred BARDELL in 1890 and 1898.

Louisa’s grandfather Daniel HULL, an Agricultural Labourer, was born 29th July 1812 in Great Wigborough, Essex and appeared in the local newspapers several times over the course of his later life. The most bizarre article was actually an advert for the “Consolation For The Afflicted“, for which Daniel appears to be the patient of a successful treatment of facial disease in 1850. In 1886 he wrote a letter to the Essex County Chronicle about Tiptree school mentioning the time he was there on a Sunday as a boy. In 1888 he made the papers again as a brief mention as a worker of Mr Blyth of Barn Hall in Tolleshunt Knights. A housemaid by the name of Ada SPARKS had committed suicide and Daniel found her body in the pond.


In 1894 Daniel wrote a letter to the Reynolds’s Newspaper, a weekly Sunday paper printed in London and popular with working men. The article was reprinted in several other papers. His letter was not printed in full, just quoted.

“No stronger case establishing the necessity of some scheme of Old Age could be given than the following: Daniel Hull, of Tolleshunt Knights, near Kelveson, Essex, will be eighty-two years of age tomorrow, and is still obliged to work. For seventy-five years he has been an agricultural labourer. His wife, to whom he was married fifty-seven years ago, is bedridden,and when he applied to the Guardians for a nurse they told him to send her to the Workhouse infirmary. “But,” writes the old man to me, “not for Daniel will I allow her to go there. She has been a good wife to me, and I intend to stick to her while life lasts.” Good old Darby and Joan!”

Daniel’s wife Sarah died later that year age 78. Three years later in 1897 Daniel wrote a letter to Essex County Chronicle along a similar vein, this time getting much more coverage and sparking further debate about Old Age Pensions. Daniel dictated his letter to his neighbour Arthur Charles Wilkin, a farmer and founder of the Britannia Fruit Preserving Company (later called Wilkin & Sons).

“Sir, I am a very old agricultural labourer, but still strong and hearty, and have done a good many jobs of this work this year. When only five years old I was sent to pick stones off the land near the place where I still live. I have had no education except that for ten years I attended Tiptree Chapel Sunday School, when they taught reading and writing. About two months ago my master said I really must leave off work, and now, when I am 85 years of age, I shall have to fall back on one loaf and 2s a week. I read in the paper than the Prince of Wales said that the Queen would be best pleased if her Diamond Jubilee were commemorated by efforts to aid the sick and the poor, and I think if HRH were to ask his royal mother to propose the starting of a scheme of old-age pensions for agricultural labourers over 70 it would be cordially accepted by her royal subjects. To associate this important act of mercy (or justice) with the grand efforts of this year would add enduring lustre to its glorious memory in all agricultural districts.”

A copy of the Essex Harold containing Daniel’s letter was duly forwarded on to the Prince of Wales, to which the newspaper received the following brief acknowledgement from Sandringham:

“General Sir Dighton Probyn writes to acknowledge the receipt of Messers Meggy and Thompson’s letter of the 2nd instant, and is directed to thank them for the copy of the Essex Herald for February 2nd, which they have had the goodness to send HRH the Prince of Wales. 5th Feb., 1897.”

Several London newspapers quoted what the Essex County Chronicle had to say regarding Daniel’s letter, and also commenting upon it themselves. It was not long before private letters were received by Essex County Chronicle in reference to Daniel’s case, some even containing money for him. Daniel dictated another letter to Wilkin’s, who included a note of his own which added that Daniel “is now very ill with bronchitis, and I think this will be the last time he will trouble you.

“Sir, I am much obliged to you and the anonymous donor for the letter you send on. It contained a Postal Order for 2s and enclosed a cutting from the Sun (supposed to be). I thank you also for bringing the case of poor-aged labourers under the notice of HHR the Prince of Wales, and hope it will bear fruit. I shall not be here to see it.
Two years ago, when 83 years of age, I applied for Parish relief. When I first went down to the Brook shop for my allowance – 2s and a loaf – there were six old men there, all over 70 years. Two soon died off, and four went into the Union house. I said to myself “they will soon be flattened out and brought back again.” Old Draper and his wife would not go. They had been very hard-working people. The woman was a good hand at turning a dressing machine, and has even been known to fill muck carts! The relieving officer gave them an order for “The House” on a Thursday. On Sunday the woman died, and the old man on the following Tuesday. All our neighbours said their death was accelerated  by the anxiety and dread of going into “The House.” I have not forgotten, and never shall, how the Guardians served me when my wife was ill, three years ago. I applied for a nurse for her. They said, “No, send her to the Union Infirmary.” But I wasn’t going to part with her, after she had shared my joys and sorrows for 58 years.”


The issue of Daniel Hull’s plight, and that of pensions for agricultural labourers over the age of 70 was much discussed in local Essex newspapers over the course of February and March. Readers were so taken with his story that a fund was started for him and also for the “Essex Labourers Old Age Pension Fund“. Daniel’s fund was looked after by Wilken. There is a lot to read here, but is a quite fascinating first-hand glimpse into pre-pension life for elderly labourers.


The funds raised for Daniel amounted to £11 2s (about £1460 today), and drew 3s a week until his death the following year in 1898. Arthur Charles Wilkin became one of the founders of the Maldon Division Old-Age Relief Fund, which preceded by some years the Old-Age Pensions Act of 1908.



BARDELL/HULL Family Tree