1939 Hatfield Peverel Village Sign
John Weston, 1942 pupil, created this image and copied this paragraph from a book on Essex Village Signs, as a result of his interest in photography and village signs:
Oak and Chestnut prevailed around the 'hadfelda' (the wooded clearing) from which Hatfield grew. Sir Ralph Peverel (his arms featured), a favoured knight of William the Conqueror, received lands here, and married the Conqueror's former beautiful Saxon mistress, Ingelrica.
The Great Eastern Railway reached Hatfield in 1843, the viaduct carrying it over the Ter, a tributary of the Chelmer, being constructed with locally made bricks. The station, burnt down in 1849, was not replaced until 1878. At one time this second station had 26 staff manning a complex of buildings, sidings, gardens, and goods and coal yards. Featured on the sign is a Claude Hamilton 4-4-0 express passenger engine. 121 of these famous GER locomotives were built at Stratford works, 1900 to 1922. Lord Claud Hamilton was chairman,1883 to 1922.
Gravel workings here, using deposits from the end of the ice ages, opened in 1937, and supplied the building industry with everything from soft sand to large drainage stones. Declining excavation has enabled land reclamation benefiting wildlife.
Among early 17th century yeomen, operating Essex water-mills, were the forebears of Lord Rayleigh's modern farming complex. The family developed local Friesian dairy herds, the milk being processed nearby. Rayleigh's dairies were the first to use plastic containers.