History of Chelmsford

Chelmsford © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Stone Bridge, Chelmsford, 1892
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Chelmsford >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

Part 3. Part 2 << Part 4 >>.

Note: Because of the size of the entry, it has been edited.

Water Works: - In 1771, Sir William Mildmay, Bart., left £200 to the rector and churchwardens of Chelmsford, in trust, to apply the yearly proceeds towards repairing and cleansing the pipes for conveying water from the Burgess Well to the Conduit in the Market Place, and in such other works as might be necessary for supplying the town with clear and wholesome water.

This legacy was vested in £227. 5s. 5d. Old South Sea Annuities, and the dividends are expended in repairing the well and the Conduit. The former is near the entrance to the town from Writtle, and yields an ever-flowing supply of pure water, equal to 1½ hogshead and 4½ gallons per minute, or 2,262 hogsheads and 54 gallons per day.

The Conduit is a handsome structure, crowned by a dome and gas lamp, and erected on the site of the old one in 1814, at the cost of £100, left by Robert Greenwood, Esq., and an additional sum contributed by the inhabitants. It is not known at what time the original conduit was erected, but it was improved by the noble family of Fitzwalter, and has since been frequently repaired and altered.

On three of its sides are spouts, from which the water is perpetually flowing, and some of it is now conveyed to six tanks in other parts of the town. These tanks have been made since June 26th, 1847, when five shops and some cottages, etc., were burnt by an accidental fire, which might have been extinguished with less loss, had there been a more ready and efficient supply of water.

A fine natural spring bubbles out of the ground near the Friends' Meeting house; and there are private wells and pumps in all parts of the town. The water not being of a good quality where the stratum called London clay lies near the surface, a purer kind, wrongly impregnated with alkali, is obtained by boring to the depth of 250 to 300 feet. These artificial springs sometimes rise several feet above the surface. Water obtained in this way supplies Mr. W. Baker's Public Baths, in High street. There are also baths at the Black Boy Hotel.

The Gas Works, in Springfield, were erected in 1819, at the cost of about £7,000, including the expense of the street pipes, which were laid with the permission of the Paving Commissioners - the Company having no act of Parliament. The works are in £50 and £25 shares, which now sell for nearly double those amounts, though the gas consumers are only charged at the rate of 6s.4d. per 1,000 cubic feet. Mr. William Howard is the clerk, and Mr. Jabez Church, manager.

The town has been much improved of later years, and the streets are now well paved and lighted.

Chelmsford © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Shire Hall, Chelmsford, 1892
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

The Shire Hall is a spacious and elegant building, in Conduit square, fronting the head of High street, where the market is held. It was erected at the expense of the county, from designs by J. Johnson, the architect, who having completed it to the satisfaction of the magistrates, and at an expense less than the original estimate, was presented with a silver cup, in 1792.

The front is of white stone, with a rusticated basement, and ornamented with four three-quarter columns, of the Ionic order, supporting a pediment, below which are three emblematical bass-reliefs, representing Justice, Wisdom, and Mercy. The tympanum is a fine situation for an illuminated clock, which would be of great use to the inhabitants.

In the basement is an open space for the corn exchange, and commodious apartments for the courts of assize, sessions, etc. Above is a very elegant Assembly Room, extending the whole length of the building, and furnished with a music gallery, eight handsome chandeliers of cut glass, and sculptured marble chimney-pieces. This lofty apartment is 85 feel long, and 45 broad. The stuccoed ceiling is handsomely ornamented; and, in niches on either sides of the fire-places, are elegant female statues, in the Grecian costume.

County Balls, find other social and public meetings, are held in this room; and when prisoners are in excess, the Queen's serjeants hold courts in it. Behind it is a jury room, and various other necessary apartments. The ground plan of the building occupies a square of 96 by 80 feet.

Petty Sessions are held here every Tuesday and Friday, by the magistrates of the neighbour, to whom Robert Bartlett, Esq. is clerk. Assizes are held here in Spring and Summer, by the judges of the Home Circuit; and Quarter Sessions on the Tuesdays of the usual session weeks.

Note: The description of Chelmsford Prison appears in on our articles page.

Arbour Lane, Chelmsford © Copyright Footstepsphotos 2006. http://www.footstepsphotos.co.uk/index.html
Arbour Lane, Chelmsford
Low resolution copy courtesy of Footsteps' Shop on Ebay. Quality postcards of Essex.

The Old County Gaol, which stands near the river, in Moulsham, was rebuilt in 1777, and the Old House of Correction, which stands behind it, was built in 1806, in lieu of the original one, which stood in High street, opposite Springfield Lane. They were lately used fro the confinement of debtors, and female convicts; but have been disused since the completion of the new buildings at Springfield Gaol, and will shortly be sold and taken down. Mr T.C. Neale, is governor of the goal; and the Rev G.B. Hamilton, M.A., chaplain. An extensive Lunatic Asylum, for the county of Essex and boroughs of Colchester and Maldon, is about to be erected in the neighbourhood of Chelmsford.

The head County Police Office, and the residence of Capt. McHardy, the chief constable, occupy a large building in Springfield, which was formerly a military depot. The rural police, or county constabulary force, was introduced into Essex in 1840, and now comprises 15 superintendents, 20 inspectors, and 156 constables, in the 14 divisions of the county. There are lock-ups in each division, and for prisoners taken in Chelmsford, the police have use of the prison under the Shire Hall. Messrs w. Oakley and and J. May, are superintendents of the Chlemsford division, and the latter is also inspector of weights and measures. The Excise Office is at the White Hart Inn, Moulsham, and this part of the County is in the Colchester collection.[...]

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Back to History of Chelmsford

Chelmsford from Springfield Hill
Chelmsford from Springfield Hill
print published 1834

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Chelmsford - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Chelmsford - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805

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