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THE PORTBELLE CAFE

The Portbelle Cafe on the A12 was strictly just outside Harold Hill but it would have been one of only two cafes available during the construction of Harold Hill. The other being Bob's Cafe at Gallows Corner. Though there would have been works canteens. This photo was taken in 1950 and the place looks run down. It was demolished in about 1962 and replaced with an electricity substation. In the early days it was obviously used for local events. The aerial photo at the bottom was taken in 1946.

In 1959/60 my father was confined to the TB hospital, Highwood in Ongar Rd, Brentwood for about 18 months. Whilst there he become friendly with another patient. Charlie (Chas) Jarvis who normally lived in Colne Drive, Harold Hill. As children we called him uncle Charlie. He was quite a character and had served in the Korean war, he gave me a Korean dictionary which fascinated me. I lost it sometime, long ago. Nowadays he would be called a "ducker and diver" but he obviously knew the Portbelle owners because the Cafe had advertising boards up for the Palace Cinema in Brentwood. For this the cafe owners got a few complimentary tickets every week. and somehow "Uncle Charlie" got his hands on these tickets and on occasions he would pass  them on to us. I can still see him, always laughing and always smoking. ................... Del Smith