Our journey into the history of the peninsula starts with the village of Allhallows. The Village, located to the east of the Hoo peninsula, sits on the Thames estuary looking over Southend-on-sea. Allhallows, now a large village populated by over 1,500 people, was once just a small hamlet.

The first recorded population was in 1841 at just 268 people. The village however was populated long before then, with the church dating back to roughly the 12th Century. The ancient village, then known as Hoo Allhallows, consisted of a small number of houses built around the village church. During the Roman times, Allhallows became a fortified trade route. Yantlett Creek, a small stream that separates Allhallows from the Isle of Grain, was an important part of the trading industry in this area.

By the 18th Century this trade route had become well known for its smuggling activities. In Allhallows at this time, there were two main forms of income. Farming was central to village life but there was also money to be made in the fishing industry. There soon became a divide between the traditional farming village of Hoo Allhallows and the fishing village known as Bell‘s Hard. Fishing became very profitable, even more so for the fishermen that engaged in smuggling goods. Interestingly, there is rumoured to have been a number of tunnels built throughout Allhallows, for the smugglers to transport goods. Who knows they might still be there! With several government attempts to control the activity, the smuggling industry was finally abolished in the late 1920’s with the help of a large supply of Royal navy ships used to combat the problem.

More recently, in the 1920’s, with the increase of private transport, Allhallows became a popular spot for day trippers. People living in inner city areas would come to Allhallows to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. A plan was made by a local development company, to turn Allhallows into a popular sea-side resort and encourage these day trippers to stay for longer periods. The river-end of Allhallows was renamed ‘Allhallows on Sea’ and plans were drawn up to make Allhallows into a resort rivaling popular seaside towns such as Margate and Blackpool. The developers, now called Allhallows-on-Sea Estates, agreed a plan with Southern Rail to open up a railway station in Allhallows to increase the number of visitors. It was opened in May 1932.

As a result the village expanded and new settlements around the station were built, now known as Avery way. The status of Allhallows was raised from hamlet to village. The station consisted of a single line that terminated at Allhallows from Gravesend. Although the station did well in its first year, the novelty soon wore off and the Station began to run at a loss. The plans for the resort were abandoned with the onset of the Second World War and the station was finally closed in 1961. However Allhallows still remains popular with today’s holiday makers and there is now a small Haven Holidays resort, containing an entertainment area and swimming pool along with a large caravan site.

Lisa Peake

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