Rainham Mark Building Estate was the name given to the development of Marshall Road, Edwin Road and Sylvan Road in the early part of the twentieth Century.

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The land for Marshall Road and Edwin Road was sold off in the late 1910s/early 1920s with houses being constructed soon after. Unlike modern housing estates that are developed by a single company these were sold off as individual plots of land for the owner to build their own house or bungalow on. There was a 20ft building line specified which made sure houses weren't too close to the road. This was a very similar situation with my grandmother's house in Woodside that she had built in 1939 - read here and see the plans Costs of Building in Woodside,Wigmore 1939

Plots were sold off in various sizes - some were 20 foot wide, some 40 foot and some 60 foot by being combined so they were wider than the original sales brochures suggested. The 40 foot plots were £60 and the 60 foot wide plot for the house shown cost £90 by combining one plot and half of the next one as can be seen in the map and documents below.

You can see on this photo of Rainham Mark in 1920 that the photo would have been taken roughly where junction between Edwin Road and A2 Watling Street is now but it's unclear if Edwin Road was here at the time. Note the advert on the side of the shop for Esi-Run Villas from £395 which were the houses on Caldew Avenue, Hawthorne Avenue and Begonia Avenue which was being developed along with other sites at that time but those houses were being sold as complete buildings to move into rather than selling off the plots of land. The difference was that it cost £395 for the fully built house or £60 for the plot of land.

The roads were named after Marshall Harvey and Edwin Jelly who owned and sold the land. From the contract details that I've seen it would suggest that Marshall Harvey and Edwin Jelly jointly acquired the land for what they called the Rainham Mark Building Estate and then parcelled it off to sell to individuals. Other land around was still owned by the War Department (now Tesco Extra and A289 link road & Gillingham Business Park) and Lord Hothfield. Marshall Harvey is listed as being the Accountant for the Wakeley Brothers in 1888 and involved in other land deals around Rainham. Edwin Jelly owned a menswear shop on the A2 but both men were members of Rainham Cricket Club so may well have devised their plans after meeting at a cricket match. Lord Hothfield was a major landowner linked to the cricket club so may have sold the portion of land for the estate to Harvey & Jelly through the Cricket Club connection.

The map below shows the plots from the A2 upwards that were being sold off along with Sylvan Road. For some reason Sylvan Road was never adopted as a highway so is still unmade to this day but Marshall Road and Edwin Road were both tarmac. The next map shows the adjacent section of Marshall and Edwin Roads up to where they meet. The Platters Farm/Goldings Estate is shown as Lord Hothfield's land on the map.



Rainham Mark Building estate plans 1923

Rainham Mark Building estate plans 1923

The photo below was taken shortly after the house was constructed on Marshall Road, you can see the huge pile of flints to the side of the road. In terms of dating the photo the car has registration PU7306 which would have been issued between July 1923 and Sept 1925 so the photo must have been taken after this date. The land was sold in May 1923 so construction of the property probably took place soon afterwards. This photo is believed to have been taken in 1928 which would tie in with the age of the car and the sale of the land in 1923 - there is already marking on the roof so it's probably a couple of years after being built. You can see the flints piled up that households were required to collect for making the roads and the ones already compacted in the road. After seeing a pothole on Broadview Avenue today the substructure below the tarmac remains as flint which have been distributed from the hole.

 The original purchaser was Joseph James Cook of 208 Nelson Road Gillingham who is believed to be pictured driving in the car below

Old photo of Marshall Road Rainham in 1923


The later photo below shows the same house but around 4 years later. There is now a conservatory added to the side of the house and the hedge/bushes have grown up in the garden and most of the flints have been cleared from in front of the garden wall. The painted walls are starting to look quite shabby and the fascia boards are now black rather than the original white. The below photo is dated 28/4/1932 on the reverse.

Old photo of Marshall Road Rainham in 1932

The same house is pictured below in 1972 before major rebuilding works took place that make it unrecognisable now. The chimneys had been removed but the roofline remains the same in this photo, it was changed soon afterwards.

Old photo of Marshall Road Rainham in 1972

The original deeds for the house show that in 1923 when the land was sold for the building of the house above, the original owner Marshall Harvey had died the previous year in July 1922 and his wife Ellen Harvey and sons Marshall Harvey the Younger and Leonard Harvey were listed as the vendors as a result of being left the land in his will. The plot and a half that was sold cost £90 and contract is laid out with payments of £45 each to Ellen Harvey and Edwin Jelly. Edwin Jelly also owned an outfitter's shop in Rainham High Street Edwin Jelly's Clothing Hat Boot Stores Rainham


Conveyance document Marshall Road 1923

The contractual details specified in the Indenture state that the purchaser cannot build a house of less than £350 in value if it fronts the main road or under £200 in value for a back road. The purchaser is responsible for building a paved footpath in the front of their property within 3 months from completion and is required to maintain half of the road outside their property until it is taken over by the local council.

It's clear from the photos above that the requirement to build a paved footpath in front of the property within 3 months was ignored! 



Old photo of Marshall Road Rainham in 1923

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