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The ABC of Battlesbridge

Battlesbridge is full of interesting nooks and crannies. You may find antiques, bibelots, collectables or just the plain unusual as you are exploring. Some collectables will be antiques of the future, some are already antiques. Just in case you were wondering – the definition of Antique is generally accepted to refer to something over 100 years old. As a word of warning antique does not equate to valuable, but we`ll save that discussion for another day.

It`s difficult to know where to start when you decide to write a blog about Battlesbridge but we have to start somewhere, and C is quite close to the start of the alphabet to, so Crouch Valley Emporium is a great place to begin.

First things first. Where is Crouch Valley Emporium? Just pop to the last paragraph for details on how to get to Muggeridge Farm, once you`ve got here, walk past the Motorcycle Museum and you`ll soon see Crouch Valley Emporium.

Emporium is a great word – straight away you know there will be a fantastic range of amazing thingamajigs and whatsits and of course including some widgets. You will not be disappointed at this Emporium. Graham who owns this wonderful Aladdin’s Cave has so many little treasures that there is bound to be something for everyone.

The photo that links this blog to is a rare one – mainly because there is order and neatness and new labels 😊. If you love chaos and looking high and low and every level in between to find a bargain, then Graham is your man. A collection like the one shown can take years to accumulate and in total the items represent centuries of social history. Some of these bottles will have been found by modern day mudlarks. Originally mudlark referred to the scruffy, dirty children who spent most of their time on the street – think Dickens and you are there. Today mudlarks are more likely to be adults, possibly still dirty and scruffy but they are in their element scavenging in river mud for objects of value. If you ever have the pleasure of chatting to a mudlark you will be amazed at their knowledge on their finds. Some bottles will be antiques and occasionally they will have a financial value, but mudlarks are motivated by the hunt, by the find, by the stories that these bottles represent.

Visit Crouch Valley Emporium and your imagination can go wild when you hold inkwells from the Victorian Era, Vintage Brylcreem bottles and of course the favourites the ones marked poison or cyanide.

It`s all very well walking around Graham’s collection and daydreaming but how do you find out real information about these nuggets of history. A quick conversation with the man himself pinpointed one thing to look out for – the seams – yes bottles can have seams. Don`t forget as with anything made from glass the Pontil Mark is important too. This is the mark at the bottom of the bottle where it was attached to the glass blowers pontil rod.

So, if you have had your curiosity piqued, if you are looking for a great day out with lots of fresh air, free parking and tearooms and pubs then what are you waiting for.

Head for Battlesbridge – SS11 7RE if you need the postcode for your Satnav. You can park near The Old Granary where you`ll also find The Barge, head for the little footbridge by the pub and go through past Cromwell House and you`ll feel Muggeridge Farm drawing you closer and closer. You can park at Bones Lane and walk to Muggeridge Farm by going past the stocks, the duck pond, Frasers Guest House, and the infamous Nerd Base then turn left – Muggeridge Farm.

You can get to Battlesbridge by train – Southminster line from Wickford. And there are buses to connect us to the outside world.

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