A Bit of Local History

Ever wondered about the origins of Thorpe Bay?

The Burges Estate, in the District of Southchurch, is not only confined to the area of Thorpe Bay, known as the Burges Estate. Originally the estate covered local land from approximately Lifstan Way to the West, to the junction of Church Road/Ness Road to the East and an area of North Shoebury and Wakering to the North. It also covered, at one time, a stretch of mud flats and oyster beds to the South.  The Burges Estate is also titled in parts of East Ham and Ilford. One of our committee members always wondered why her school in East Ham was called the Burges School, well she now knows. John Burges originated in Ireland and is documented as John Burgess of Parkanaur, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, hence the Irish names of roads in Thorpe Bay and Shoeburyness.

The Burges Estate as it currently stands was developed at the turn of the 20th century, and was expanded over 60 years within the Boundaries of Thorpe Hall Avenue, Acacia Drive/Station Road, Maplin Way and The  Esplanade. Adjacent roads, Burges Terrace, Gloucester Terrace, Plas-Newydd, Church Road, Leitrim Avenue, Ulster Avenue and Waterford Road are also included.


It is believed, although there is no supporting documentation, that Thorpe Hall which is now part of the Golf Club was the seat of the Burges family. Members of the Burges family married into families of other large landowners of the area, such as Wick, Royston and Archer. From the county records it appears all landowners were members of Southend Council, including John Burges, and all had areas of the Borough of Southend on Sea named after them.

Covenants were put into place to protect the integrity of the estate, the core of these main covenants were generally the same with slight variations, i.e. 

·       Purchasing building insurance through the freeholders nominated insurer.
·       Seeking a license for alterations to the property
·       Single family dwelling houses per building plot
·       Running a business from the property
·       No alehouses or hostelries should be erected

Other covenants exist but are not standardised throughout the estate and there appears to be no mutual enforceability clauses.

Whilst the estate remained in the Burges family it was managed by the local architects Ayshford & Samson and although fees were charged for alterations to properties it was of a reasonable amount (£25/50 pounds). The estate in 1984 was transferred to the Lintott family and named Thorpe Estate Ltd, whose shareholders changed again to the Regis Group in 2001.


Since this latest transfer, covenants are not upheld unless there is a monetary gain with license fees for alterations to properties following no fixed pattern, with potential charges of £20,000 for an extension to a garage, £3,500 to build a conservatory, £30,000/50,000 to build a house extension and up to £100,000 for demolishing/rebuild of a property.


Apart from the changes of freeholder to the estate there have been other changes, notably:-


·       the majority of house owners own their freeholds, 2/3rd to 1/3rd;

·       on a number of freeholders there are no covenants apart from a single dwelling house;

·       Hundreds of properties do not have a alteration covenant and therefore are not subject to alteration fees;

·       legislation has enabled lease holders to purchase their building insurance with alternative insurance companies;

·       covenants not always being upheld;