The Jaquests
There are periods in our local history where names come readily to mind, such as Garons, Brightwells and Keddies, Jaquest might not be as familiar, yet the family served our town for many years. Take a walk along our seafront, until you reach the sea life centre and the parade of shops opposite and you will see a reminder of a time gone by. Above the second floor windows of number 24 Eastern Esplanade is a fading plastic moulding of a beehive, where below in the 1930's stood the Beehive restaurant. The families story begins in the 1900's when John Jaquest moved from London to Southend on sea where he worked first as a builder. In 1908 he purchased a fish shop, address 12 Kursaal pavement, as the premises were near the famous amusement arcade. By 1913 the address had changed to 3 Victoria Place East Parade. Later the area would become known as Eastern Esplanade, where in 1920 John Jaquest opened a restaurant called the Beehive at number 17. When he retired in 1925 one of his sons, Leonard, took over and added the original fish shop at number 3, which had become vacant, turning it into the Star Café. With the original Beehive serving traditional fare to the trippers, the café offered sandwiches and drink. In 1918 Leonard married Gladys Watling and together they managed their businesses on the seafront. Sharing its name with the restaurant at number 17, they opened a much larger premises at number 24 in 1935, catering for up to 400 people. Their position was ideal for the many coaches that were coming to Southend as in those days the coach park was opposite their restaurant. With the coming of the war in 1939, trading became difficult and when hostilities ceased the couple did not reopen. Another son Albert, opened a greengrocers at number 22 Eastern Esplanade in 1920, changing this to the Sunflower restaurant in 1934. Albert and his wife retired in 1946. It would be Albert and Bessie's four daughters who would carry on the family tradition of serving the public Daughter Queenie married Frederick Ife in 1943 and they opened a café in the London Road, near the High Street, called the Bon-Eta, serving breakfasts, hot lunches, sandwiches and cakes. Years later their son Howard would purchase the Chalkwell Park Rooms and The Arlington. As well as having a catering contract with the Southend council to cater for the many civic events. Having married Ernest Crow, daughter Doris and her husband set up an ironmongers shop also on the London Road and one of their sons Graham continued in the world of retail. In 1966 he purchased his uncles DIY shop located in the Talza arcade, by 1970 he opened the first of his newsagents on the High Street, where today you will find Waterstones. Eventually he would own eight newsagents around the town. Moving first to America to open a restaurant with husband James Ritchie, another sister Vivien, returned to England following James death in 1964. Forming a partnership with her sister Eileen managed the café in Priory park throughout the 1970's. Eileen also opened a DIY store with husband Reginald Goddard, just round the corner from Queenie's café. During the 1950's they embraced the new fad of coffee bars, opening the Zanzibar. From 1908 until the late 1990's The Jaquests and their descendants served the town of Southend on Sea.
By Carol Edwards

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