Joe Ennis has written for Action Forum for many years with a series of articles about the local area surrounding Rainham.

 Joe's daughter Annabel has collected these articles together and created a website with them which is a fantastic record of these articles and a great resource to read them through again.

Joe Ennis - Nature notes and Rides from Rainham

In August 1978, Joe started contributing a column to Action Forum, a free monthly community magazine for the rapidly-growing population of Rainham.

Joe's 'Rides from Rainham' explored local places of interest by bicycle. Spoiler alert: Joe's travelling companion and literary foil 'Kemsley' was in fact Joe's bicycle: a three-gear Raleigh 'Palm Beach'. It was a ladies bicycle, bought by then-nursery nurse, Eve, in Bristol for a week's wage. This thrift reflected the post-war era Joe and Eve grew up in.

Joe's articles were often accompanied by an illustration or sketched map, sometimes drafted by his own hand, or occasionally by Eve.

After nearly two decades, Rides from Rainham was retired and Nature Notes sprung to life in Action Forum. In Nature Notes, Joe's destinations were no longer limited by pedal-power, and he invited his readers to enjoy nature and the changing seasons in places accessible by foot, bicycle, car and train.

In Rainham there was originally a Tesco store in the Rainham precinct but in 1994 a much larger store was opened on the Bowaters site at Rainham Mark. This has become a Tesco Extra in the late 2000s.

When the Tesco store opened at Bowaters there were concerns that it would mean the demise of the central store in Rainham so Tesco were required to guarantee that it would remain open for a period of time. This has now long expired but the store in Rainham Shopping centre is now badged as a Tesco Metro and trades on convenience and location.

As a result of the 2 stores in such close proximity there is a local naming convention with Big Tesco and Little Tesco - the Tesco Extra is known as the Big Tesco.

Tesco Extra Rainham/Gillingham - Bowaters Rainham Mark

Tesco Extra Rainham/Gillingham - Bowaters Rainham MarkWhen did Tesco Extra Rainham/Gillingham open ? Bowaters Rainham Mark


Tesco Extra Rainham/Gillingham Opening Date

Back in the 1970s many shops in Station Road had Christmas lights as shown in the photo below. These were often held up with permanent brackets fixed to the walls and many of these brackets are still in place if you have a look at the first floor level of shops down the road. Many of the brackets consisted of 3 metal legs bolted to the walls as can be seen in the photos below. 


In the photo below you can see the metal frame for the light stands above the Phipps Anthony sign between the 2 upper windows.

In the next photo below the frame is to the right of the Maltbys sign and again consists of 3 iron legs bolted to the wall.

Back in 1972 plans were being drawn up for a new community centre in Rainham. The old community centre was at the top of Station Road in the former school but this was being demolished for the new Rainham precinct shopping centre.

The oast houses became available in 1970 and were purchased to be converted to a new community centre. This poster was to promote the plans and start fundraising for the project



Historical tales

Local Events


Rainham Life