Abraham Francis Godward
Mr A. F. Godward was one of the earliest traders in Southend, he was born c1828 and married Elizabeth Fulford on 21st May 1853 at St Mary’s Church, Prittlewell. He had a shop located on the old BHS site (now Primark), with a kiosk next door, both occupying what had been the garden of Grove House, a residence of the Heygate family. In the Southend Kelly’s Directory from 1878 he is listed as Godward, Abraham Francis, seedsman and florist, High Street and Alexandra Street. Godward was proud to advertise he had the patronage of Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, who lived in a house in Weston Road while her husband was serving at Shoebury Garrison. Records show that Godward built a plant house "on land opposite Southend Central Railway Station" in 1879, and that he made improvements and extended the High Street shop in 1880, the same year that building plans for Heygate Avenue were submitted, after the Heygates sold part of their land for the development.
Godward standing outside his shop. The buildings in the background were properties on York Place which was later extended as York Road

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Godward standing outside his kiosk next door to his shop
Godward in his nursery
Images are from the Terry Herbert Collection
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