St.Alban's is a living church which serves the community and on this blog and its attached pages you will find details of the church both past and present and how to contact us. Some pages are still under construction so please bear with us for a while.

When you click a link on this page it will take you to another page with the same heading. You will need to scroll down to find the information you require.

Another purpose of this blog is to provide a genealogical guide to the church of St.Alban the Martyr which is situated in St.John's Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex. Like many churches it contains a wealth of material of interest to people studying local history and family history. It is our intention to provide, as best we can, information about the many people who are commemorated in this beautiful church. Obviously this is a work in progress and the project has only just begun so we ask for your patience. If you have, or think you might have, historical connections with the church, we'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 24 June 2013

R.I.P. JASON BETTS 1969-2013

Jason is pictured above with Bishop Laurie Green on the occasion of his confirmation in 2008.

It is with great sadness we report the recent death of Jason Austin Betts, a good man and a much valued member of the congregation of St.Alban the Martyr, Westcliff. Our sincerest condolences go out his wife Tina and the boys as well as to Derek and Marilyn at this difficult time.

Jason will be much missed by everybody for the kind person and good friend he was and for the countless things he did both in and around the church and for the Scouts.

Jason's funeral will be at St.Alban's 10.30, Tuesday July 2nd.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

JAMES JOHN THAKE (1876 - 1918)

James John Thake was the son of Richard Thake, a farmworker from Radwinter, Essex and his wife Ellen. He moved to Westcliff to live with his married brother, Cornelius at 77 Avenue Road and later at  "Radwinter" 11 Northview Road. Cornelius was a tram driver for Southend Borough Council and a member of the congregation of St.Alban the Martyr Westcliff.  James went into the army  during the Great War and served as a Private with 10th Battalion Essex Regiment. He was killed in action on 28 April 1918 and is buried at Crouy British Cemetery at Crouy-sur-Somme, France. His name was added to the St.Alban's War Memorial at the request of  his brother. Cornelius continued to attend St.Alban's until his death in 1954. A table in the church bears a plaque in his memory.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

REGINALD TOON (1885 - 1916)

Reginald Toon was the son of Thomas George Toon and his wife Elizabeth Mary Toon and was born in Nunhead, Surrey (now South London) on 7 January 1885 and baptised at St. Saviour's Southwark (now Southwark Cathedral) on 25 March 1885. Thomas, a Shipping Clerk, and his wife also had a daughter, Elsie. The family moved to Westcliff on Sea, living originally at 30 Genesta Road and later moving to 31 Cranley Rd.  Reginald enlisted in the 13th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment at St. Paul's Churchyard, London. He was killed in action 30 June 1916 and is buried in plot III.S.2 at St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L'Avoe, France. He left £162 8s 7d to his father.

St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Herbert Alfred Hope was born at 173 Adelaide Road, Hampstead, London on 6 December 1890 to Alfred T. Hope and his wife Emma. Alfred was working as a "printer's traveller". In 1901 the family moved to 142 West Green Road in Tottenham. Alfred started his own printing business at 15-16 Friar Street, London and by April 1911 he and Emma had moved to "Endsleigh" at 8 Manor Road, Westcliff on Sea with their four children, William, Herbert, Leonard and May.  During the Great War Herbert, who was working as a clerk/cashier,  joined the Army and was commisioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corp. He was sent to the Military school at Thetford for pilot training. He was trained on a Maurice Farnum biplane and received his pilot's wings on 14 March 1917 and was assigned to 25 Squadron on the Western Front.
The life expectancy for a new pilot was very short and so it would be for Herbert. He died on 28 June 1917 from injuries resulting from an accident while landing. He is buried in plot V.A.11 at Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, France. Oddly, the records of The Royal Aero Club give his date of death as 8 August 1917.

Herbert Hope was trained on a Maurice Farnum biplane.
Herbert left £421 15s 5d to his mother in his will. Emma later moved to 108 Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff. She died in 1930.

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Clement Thomas Groombridge was born in Bishop Storford in 1895. His father (also Clement) was a coachman and seemed to have moved around quite a bit. In 1901 the family which consisted of Clement. his parents and two sisters, Florence and Annie, were living in Weymouth Mews, Marylebone, London.

Weymouth Mews, where the Groombridge Family lived in 1901

By 1911 the family were living at 99 St.Helen's Road, Westcliff on Sea and were attending St.Alban's Church in St.John's Road. The elder Clement's profession is listed on the April census as "Jobs Master".

99 St.Helen's Road today.

 When war was declared in 1914 Clement was one of the earliest volunteers and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, 4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.  He died in England and is buried in the Groombridge family grave in plot E4219 in Southend Cemetery, Sutton Road. He is also remembered on The Royal Leicestershire website which now includes updated information from this page and our photograph of the family grave.

The Groombridge Family Grave

To visit the Royal Leicestershire Regiment Website entry on Clement Groombridge click the regiment name.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

HAROLD BASIL ALDER (1893 - 1915)

Born in Leytonstone, Harold Basil Alder lived with his parents and two sisters, Muriel and Lilian at "Roslea" 33 Anerly Road, Westcliff on Sea. His father, Francis Alder was a printer and secretary of the Southend Choral Society. Harold was educated at Southend High School and later worked as an advertising clerk at his father's London firm. He enlisted in the army in August 1914 and served with The London Regiment Queen Victoria's Rifles rising to the rank of Acting Sergeant.  He saw action at Ypres and Hill 60. On Whit Monday 1915 he was returning from a trench digging party when he was hit by enemy fire and wounded in the head and neck. He was taken to a base hospital in Boulogne and died on 25th May 1915.

The Alder Family home "Roslea" today.


Ernest Adamson was born in 1895, in Haringey, North London, the son of William and Amy Adamson. When Ernest was about eleven the family moved to Southend, first to Boscombe Road and then to "Innsbruck" 37 Burdett Avenue. Ernest's first job was as a clerk working for H. Garon in Southend but he soon joined the Merchant Navy with the P&O Line. According to his parents he also saw service on HMS Leonides  and HMS Kale. While at home at Christmas 1915 he enlisted in The Royal Fusiliers under the name Ernest Gramholt and served as a Private until his death. He was fatally wounded on the first day of the Battle of The Somme on 1 July 1916 and died eight days later. He also commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France.

HMS Leonides