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Inns and Public Houses
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Fortune of War (old): Wash Road, Laindon


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Fortune of War - Laindon Fortune of War - Laindon
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Location: Wash Road, Laindon
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: circa 1910
Copyright: N/A
Comments: The Fortune of War at the Dunton Road crossroads.
Location: Wash Road, Laindon
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: circa 1925
Copyright: N/A
Comments: The Fortune of War view from Wash Road.
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An Inn bearing the name The Fortune of War has stood on or near the present building since the early 1800s. The building as seen today is thought to have been rebuilt sometime around the early 1900s. The Inn, along with others from Essex including the Billericay/Bowers Gifford/Brentwood areas, was included in a sale prospectus for an auction held at Chelmsford on January 30th, 1830. Its location was noted as being in Wash Road, Great Burstead.

By the 1900s brewers Ind Coope had control, and a sign opposite the pub invites the visitor to sample 'Ind Coopes Romford Ales & Stouts'.

Just how the pub acquired its name is still a source of contention. One theory suggests it was founded by a soldier returning from the Napoleonic Wars which ended in 1815, and another cites a 'Fortune Fair' held in a nearby field since time immemorial.

The pub closed in 1925 when the licence was transferred to a new Fortune of War built at the Laindon crossroads of the recently opened (1925) A127 London - Southend road. It was resited no doubt to take advantage of the influx of day trippers stopping off on their way to Southend, and for the expected increase in general custom as a result of being in a prominent location on a main road. The final landlord was Francis Frederick Tubb who transferred to the new Fortune of War Hotel on opening.

Within months of the new Fortune opening the building was put up for sale at auction in July 1925 along with three adjoining cottages. The cottages sold for £500 but the pub was withdrawn at £650.

The former public house did end up with new owners and is still standing today having had many uses through the years.

The local council were considering moving some of their departments there though eventually chose the town centre. From around the 1940s to the late 1960s it became the base for a tie, neckwear and scarf manufacturer S.B. Caplin & Co. Ltd. Arnada Security were another business based there around the turn of the 1970s. In 1970 Christopher Yeomans took over the building for his printing business, eventually acquiring the property. With his sons Chris, Tony and Danny this became Yeoman Bros. Printers and much work was done to improve the house which now had a white exterior and had suffered from neglect. It was during this time that it became addressed as the Fortune Works, an acknowledgement of its historical past. From the mid 1970s Fortune Insurance & Investment Brokers were based there and later into the 1980s another printers; Anthony Gover Printers Ltd. used the premises.

Possibly during the 1980s a fire occured but the building was not badly damaged. The Fortune of War name at the front of the building survived into the 2000s though later covered by the printers sign.

The building is now used by vehicle tyre and alloy wheel dealer DGT who set up business there in the 2000s. In 2017 the current owners began work on a large extension to the main building.

The old Fortune has also now outlasted the new Fortune of War which was demolished in 2003. The road on which it stands is now called Wash Road West.

Page added: 2003
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Text researched and written by William Cox, 2006 with revisions 2007.
Copyright © 2005, 2007, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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