I NOTE that 111 High Street has entered another chapter in its long and illustrious history.
My friend Jhual Hafiz, former Maldon Tandoori (at 191-193), opened his Maldon Spice there and I have to say he did a very good job of renovating it.
This is not the first restaurant to offer Indian cuisine in the building.
Read more: Former Mayor’s Restaurant Adds Spice to Main Street
Before Jhual it was the Mogul, before that the authentic Bangladeshi cuisine of Chile and earlier still the curry nights of Foyaj Miah.
In fact, it was the original location of Maldon’s very first Indian restaurant. In 1978 Abdul Hannan (now Balti Bhujon at 24 Mill Road) and his uncle opened their new business the Curry Inn at 111.
They had had restaurants in Southend and Brentwood before, but it was a whole different experience for the people of our town.
These days we are really spoiled for choice, but it’s worth noting that the building on the corner of Butt Lane has been used to serving quality curries for over 40 years.
Prior to Abdul’s time he was a “high class fruit farmer, florist and greengrocer” run by someone with the curious name of Ernest ‘Somme’ Jefferies.
Born in Maldon, Ernest (whose father, unsurprisingly, had served in the Great War) had occupied 111 since at least 1956, but going even further back in time we have long-term occupants, the Cole Dynasty. .
Rachel Cole had a candy store and tobacconists at 111 in 1939. By the 1920s it was Mr. & J Cole’s marine store and had been since 1906. They also marketed themselves as “job bosses” and rented horses. and traps.
Frederick Cole was a courier and general merchant there in 1901 and had used the building as his premises, along with Edward Cole, since 1894.
They sometimes acted as chimney sweeps.
Prior to the Coles in 1891 it was a carpentry and woodworking business run by John Spencer and was briefly a photographer in 1890 under Henry Willott.
Edward R Nunneley, a clothier, owned the building in 1881, he was a carpet maker in 1871 (George Chalk) and a former clothier (Richard Devenish) in the 1860s.
Prior to this time and in the 1840s, William Morris, a pilot from Trinity, and his family lived there.
So from the early Victorian period until today, the business premises at the corner of Butt Lane have been used to serve Indian food, sell fruits and vegetables, candy and tobacco, supply items to local sailors, was the place to go to rent a horse and trap, it was a post office, a place to go and have your chimney swept, a carpentry workshop, a photographer, a draper and where you could buy a mat.
It is certainly an interesting mix of uses over a century or more, but it can be traced even further and to an equally fascinating time.
Records reveal that in the 17th and early 18th centuries this was the location of one of Maldon’s many (but now almost forgotten) pubs.
Known as Cock, in 1707 and since at least 1701 John Day (or Daye), formerly of Witham, held the permit.
He died in 1722, but beer was certainly served there long before him.
The late historian Dr WJ (Bill) Petchey identified him on his reconstructed map of High Street, sitting next to a demolished almshouse and a place called Jacob’s or Andrew Aylewyn’s.
Bill thought the site had buildings around 1500, so how old is 111 really?
It is difficult to say the age of the place today, especially because of the modified facade and the continuous parapet which makes the numbers 111 to 115 appear / was a single building.
In reality, it seems that there have always been three properties and the part that concerns us (the left part at 111) is now rightly recognized as Grade II classified.
The official document says part of it dates from the late 16th century, but it could easily be older than that.
The problem is that over the years it has suffered at the hands of 19th century and later “improvers” and has been even more recently (in living memory, that is) involved. in a fire.
Despite all this, however, its skeletal timber frame is still largely intact and there are a number of clues to its antiquity – including chamfered connecting beams on the first floor.
As Historic England rightly put it, “despite the modifications” number 111 “remains an important structure with ancient origins”.
Thank God, and if those old walls could talk, what a story they could tell.