|Abstract||Eric White, son of Clifford White, gives a history of what became the Clifford White Empire on Mersea.
The White family have been on Mersea for along time. Eric's great grandfather moved to the Island from Dedham. His grandfather Samuel Cant White had a grocery shop on the corner of Churchfields and Church Road. Next door to this he had a millinery shop. He lived in Bank House, so called because he was the local agent for Barclays Bank.
Clifford came back to Mersea around 1900 and started a building business. He bought land in Barfield Road where he built an office, and this site developed ... He built a woodworking machinery shop, he bought the local brickworks, he built the water tower with bricks from his own works. He had a gravel pit at East Mersea. He had a coal business. He also had a funeral directors business, an Estate Agency, builders merchants and timber merchants. Before WW2 he had up to 100 employees.
Around 1920, with a Mr Sheffield, Clifford bought the whole of the foreshore between Shears Meadow and Seaview Avenue, except for a portion by Willoughby Avenue. c1930 this was sold to Mersea Council. The Council had to undertake to construct the concrete road from Seaview Avenue to Kingsland Road.
Other businesses before WW2 were housing development in Lexden, and a brickworks at Weeley.
The business was allowed to operate on a smaller scale after WW2, though Clifford was active in it until is death at the age of 82 years in 1963.
Clifford White built the tallest building on the island, the water tower, and Eric enjoyed climbing the scaffolding to the top.
Eric is talking to Frank Osborn on Lions Talking Magazine 131, September 1989