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Vange
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Vange Well No. 5


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Vange Well No.5 Vange Well No.5 Vange Well No.5
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Location: Vange Well No.5
Photographer: Thomas Barnes
Year of photo: 1990s
Copyright: Thomas Barnes
Source: Thomas Barnes
Comments: Taken later than the centre photo, there is a noticable difference in the outside render.
Location: Vange Well No.5
Photographer: Keith Kruud
Year of photo: 30/05/1996
Copyright: Keith Kruud
Source: Keith Kruud
Comments: 1996 side on view.
Location: Vange Well No.5
Photographer: Keith Kruud
Year of Photo: 30/05/1996
Copyright: Keith Kruud
Source: Keith Kruud
Comments: Vange lettering still intact.
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Vange Well No.5 Vange Well No.5 Vange Well No.5
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Location: Vange Well No.5
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 22/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The view of the well to the centre of the structure.
Location: Vange Well No.5
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 22/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Head on view of the front of the building.
Location: Vange Well No.5
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 22/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Almost hidden from view.
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The Domed building of the former mineral well is located close to One Tree Hill Country Park on the outskirts of Martinhole Wood at Langdon Hills. Its structure, resembling that of a Grecian temple, was once out in the open, but is now almost lost from view amongst dense woodland where its condition is deteriorating all the time.

It was built to enclose the last of five wells sunk on land to the rear of Hovells Farm on the north-west extremities of the Vange Hall Estate during the early 1920s, as a 'get rich quick scheme' by a London publican, whose surname was ironically Cash.

Self styled 'farmer' Edwin Cash - who owned the land - claimed discovery of the water in the early 1900s, and even had a large signboard erected close to the Five Bells public house with directions to the 'magic' well in the 'Vale of Health'. At the time of the discovery he was working in London as the licencee of The Angel public house in Islington. He retired in 1919 to further develop the venture.

The building has a concrete floor, brick built outer walls with window openings, two wall separated openings; one having two rounded pillars, and an octagonal brick walled centre section with a red tiled floor. The well is to the centre of the building on a concrete base enclosed with what appears to be a single circular course of bricks. The whole of the exterior walls are rendered as are some areas of the inner structure. There are the remains of some lettering to the upper front that once read: Vange Well No. 5.

The bottled contents, marketed by the Vange Water Company Limited and labelled Farmer Cash's Famous Medicinal Vange Water, sold for 2s 3d (12p) (equivalent value in 2017 is £3.27) and was available on site or from all Chemists and Stores of repute.

The water was highly sulphated and considered to be of great medicinal value in curing such ailments as rheumatoid complaints, lumbago, stomach troubles and nervous disorders.

DO YOU SUFFER FROM
RHEUMATISM, LUMBAGO, &c.?


THEN TRY

FARMER CASH'S
FAMOUS MEDICINAL VANGE WATER

The discovery of which recently caused such a sensation
throughout the whole of the worlds' Press, with the story
of its wonderful cures. Farmer Cash's Vange Water has
been found to give wonderful results of alleviation of all
rheumatoid complaints, stomach troubles, nervous disorders
and many other ills that flesh heir to. Cash Vange Water
is an entirely natural water, highly sulphated, and is bottled
exactly as taken from the well. It is nature's own remedy.
A bottle of CASH'S VANGE WATER costs 2/3, and is sold by
all Chemists and Stores of repute. As unfortunately one or
two imitations have been thrust upon the market, it is
necessary, to ensure obtaining the genuine Cash's Vange
Water, to see that

FARMER CASH'S
Photo and Signature
is on every label,

otherwise it is not the genuine Cash Vange Water so
largely advertised. Visitors are at all times welcomed at
the Wells. If by chance you cannot obtain Cash's Vange
Water at your Chemists', write to-

FARMER CASH, Vange Well, Vange Corner
Estate, LONDON ROAD, FOBBING, Essex


Nearest Railway Station: Pitsea, L. M & S. Rly.

Despite good advertising within a few short years the operation had peaked, and the once going concern folded around the mid 1920s. Reasons are still sketchy as to why the venture ceased. One possible theory put forward cites the former West Ham tuberculosis sanatorium, opened in 1927 and built on higher ground, as the possible cause of water contamination through its septic tank drainage system. Whether there was any truth in that has been hard to prove as the sanatorium closed in 1957 and no records are known to exist linking it with the Vange mineral well. Also, if as thought, the venture had ceased to exist by the mid 1920s this would predate the sanatorium's existence.

One thing that can be confirmed is that by early 1924 the company was in a state of deep financial trouble. There are two notices recorded in the London Gazette(*) newspaper from February 1924. The first states that on the 22nd January 1924 an Extraordinary General Meeting with members of the Vange Water Company Limited was held. The meeting, which was chaired by Sidney A. Moseley, took place at 2, Foster Lane, Cheapside, London, EC2 where they passed an Extraordinary Resolution stating: "That the Company cannot, by reason of its liabilities, continue its business, and that it is advisable to wind up the same; and that Thomas John McManis. of 2, Foster Lane, Cheapside, EC2, be appointed Liquidator of the Company." In the same edition another entry posted by T.J. McManis, Liquidator, gave notice that a meeting of the creditors of the company would be held at 12 o'clock noon on 11th February at the same Cheapside address. The following year on 29th January T.J. McManis, acting as Liquidator, gave notice of a meeting of the company members to be held at 10 o'clock am on 6th March at Cheapside, London. This meeting, "for the purpose of having an account laid before them, showing the manner in which the winding-up has been conducted and the property of the Company disposed of, and of hearing any explanation that may be given by the Liquidator; and also, by Extraordinary Resolution, determining the manner in which the books, accounts and other documents of the Company, and of the Liquidator thereof, shall be disposed of" would seem to confirm that the company had probably ceased trading in 1924 or even late 1923.

Nothing further from the company was reported and the land was later sold. Edwin Cash is believed to have died in 1931.

The domed building after many years of neglect and vandalism is now in a ruinous condition. Its structure is cracked in many places, the octagonal domed metal framed roof is rusting badly, a cross beam has become detached, the render upon the exterior walls and two pillars needs replacing and little remains of the original lettering.

Close by and within sight of Well No. 5 there is still evidence of the other wells - one being near to a seasonally dried up ditch - and hidden amongst the undergrowth is the concrete hard standing, where once stood a large wooden hut that was used as a pump house, storage and on site sales.

Although named 'Vange Well No.5', Vange Corner Estate, it actually stood in the parish of Fobbing, Thurrock.

Sadly there are very few photographs of the well to survive. One interesting one can be seen in Jessie Payne's book Basildon A Pictorial History, published by Phillimore in 1981. It shows a postcard view of the pump house, said by the author to date from 1924. Five people can be seen, one of which is said to be Edwin Cash, who is wearing a long white coat. The large wooden pump house building has a pitched roof and six front facing windows and looks to be of a very substantial build quality. Two open top cars from the period are in the foreground on a track, which clearly means the well was accessible to road transport despite being on an unrecognised road and some distance from the main A13 London to Southend road. Thick woodland can be seen directly behind the building.

For anyone wishing to visit the former mineral well its best to set off from the car park at One Tree Hill Country Park's visitor centre. After crossing the main road there are paths through the woodland, which might require wellington boots or other suitable footwear to be worn during the winter months. The route is not signposted and should take around 10 minutes.

Page added: 2006

Other points of interest:

1) Vange Water Company incorporated 1921, company number: 178163. Dissolved sometime between 1924 and 1932.

2) Original bottles of the Vange Water Company are known to exist. They are clear glass, embossed 'Vange Water' with a capping that reads: Vange E. Cash's Water. Green examples may also exist.

3) (*) (Source: London Gazette, 01/02/1924, Edition No. 32903 p. 1005 and p. 1010 and 03/02/1925, Edition No. 33017, p.808.)

4) Postcard view of the pump house was published by British Publishing Company Ltd.

Further Reading:

1) Essex Countryside Volume 8. No. 45 October 1960 - The Vale of Health by L.E. Fox.
P. 352/353. Short article with two black and white photographs.

2) Essex Spas and Mineral Waters by Ronald and Ann Cowell.
Includes a feature on the Vange Well No. 5. Full book details can be found here.

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

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