Hadleigh - Hadleigh Park Avenue (Essex)
|Thanks to Elizabeth for bringing this Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum, Wellingtonia) to our attention, a tree we have been meaning to record on the website for many years. It is a stunning example in perfect health, and quite a rare specimen particularly in this part of the county (Essex). It had a lightning strike in the 1980s but, as is always the case, another branch has taken over as its leader; they are a resilient tree and this together with their phenomenal stability makes them well suited to their role of specimen tall tree in towns.
It is a familiar landmark for local residents and a part of our fading history. The tree was once a part of the Hadleigh House estate and can be seen from near the Virgin health club in Rayleigh Road, over half a mile away.
It has a Tree Preservation Order and it stands in the garden of a bungalow which has recently been sold at auction. The TPO is a temporary one pending Castle Point Planning Committee consideration (on 29th January 2016), so it needs those who cherish this tree to make a point of letting the council know what a valuable asset this tree is to the area.
Thanks also to David for some history of the house, he says, "My assumption is that the tree dates back very nearly to 1853 and is a legacy of the old Hadleigh House estate (later named Victoria House), built in circa 1806 and home to many locally influential people and, for a period of 12 years, the Baronet, Sir Charles Nicholson, who had a luminous career in Australian politics as a "founding father" and philanthropist.
The estate was sold off in strips as "plotland" in 1923 and, within a few years, only the mature trees remained to signify its existence (including a few scots pine and a boundary of sessile oaks). I measured the circumference myself at about 5ft (ignoring a pile of ornamental rockery) and found it a little over 17ft."
Read more about the history of the area and this Wellingtonia on the The Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive website.
|Terry wrote to say that he lived at number 25 many years ago. Here is his story:
"I was born in 1942 in Hadleigh on the London Road on the way to Thames Drive in the house squatted by my Grandmother. After a family fallout, my mother (my father was away fighting in Italy) rented a property in Hadleigh Park Avenue in I think 1943 and it happened to be number 25 although at that time the bungalow was called "Laxey". We lived there for approximately 11/12 years and in the early fifties moved to Hart Road Caravan Park run by Benfleet Council.
Regarding the wonderful tree, I think you will find that it was struck by lightning but not in the 1980's but earlier than the '40s anyway. I can remember as a child growing up that it did not have a top to it even then, in fact I remember someone saying that it was hit by a doodle-bug, but that I don't believe for one minute. Anyway it was a fantastic tree although my father used to curse that it took all the water and goodness from the garden and also that it's roots would probably crack the house.
The photo is of me in I think 1948 sitting on my father's Arial motorcycle and shows the house from the back and my mother. Our playground as kids was the old Hadleigh House grounds which had wonderful orchards and also a huge Mulberry tree which was duly robbed by everyone in the street at fruiting time. I used to run down the garden past the redwood and over the fence into the grounds, it was a very free and wonderful time."