The following extract from the Bramford & Burstall Church Magazine of July 1898 conjures up a picture of village life in the late Victorian period.
This was from a time when the main forms of transport were steam and horse powered and Bramford had its own railway station.
Bramford Station – from an early postcard. Very little of the station can be seen but the steps up to the platform are clearly visible by the side of the building. The houses to the left form “Station Alley” standing on what is now Keeble’s Car Sales.
Notice the raised duckboard walkway on the right – obviously this area used to flood then as it does now.
THE CHOIR AND RINGERS’ OUTING took place on Saturday, June 25th. The party, in number 33, accompanied by the Vicar, Mr. Squirrell (Churchwarden), and Mr. Rumsey, left Bramford at 8.27 by train, and embarked on board the Woolwich Belle at Ipswich, at 9.30, for Clacton-on-Sea.
The voyage down the Orwell and along the coast, with a fresh breeze, proved most enjoyable, and though there were heavy rain showers in passing Harwich and Walton-on-the-Naze, when Clacton-on-Sea was reached the sun shone brightly. The first incident of importance was dinner, to which everybody brought the “best sauce of all,” a rare appetite after the sail. After dinner the party broke up into groups and amused themselves in various ways. Some went on to the Pier and watched the different Belle steamers loading and unloading passengers from London and Yarmouth, etc., and then amused themselves with the numberless “penny slots”; others went on to the beach and listened to the comic singers, were photographed, and paddled; others hired bicycles and rode about, some getting nearly to Colchester and back; others had a ride in a motor car, and in various ways a very happy afternoon was spent. At 6 p.m. we sat down to a capital “shrimp tea”, at the end of which some short speeches and votes of thanks were made by the Vicar, Mr. Squirrell, Mr. Rumsey, and others, and then we strolled to the station, which was left at 6.35, and after an hour’s wait at Colchester we reached Bramford at 9.30, some of us rather tired, but thoroughly satisfied with a very pleasant and successful outing. On Bramford Station a proper ending was made by singing “God Save the Queen,” and giving many “three cheers” for everyone.
The Vicar at the time was the Reverend Rowland Vectis Barker. The Churchwarden, was William Valentine Squirrell who, in 1896, was listed as living in Verandah Cottage, Ravens Lane but earlier had kept a grocers shop (Commerce House –now Three Tuns Cottage ) in the Street.
Abraham Rumsey was the Head Teacher at Bramford School.
The Woolwich Belle was built by William Denny Bros, Dumbarton in 1891. She was used mainly on feeder services from Ipswich, Felixstowe and Harwich to Clacton connecting with London boats.