Geology Site Account
Hockley Spa Pump Room, HOCKLEY, Rochford District, TQ84169260, Historical site only
Historical site only
The most famous Essex Spa was at Hockley where a spring issues from the base of the Claygate Beds. A pump room was opened in 1843 which was described at the time as 'big enough for Bath'. As trade developed villas and an hotel were built for visitors. Christy and Thresh in their book A History of the Mineral Waters and Medicinal Springs of Essex (1910) tell of a woman being employed to dispense the waters “whose strong, healthy appearance visitors were led to believe was a result of the medicinal effects of the water”. However, despite this, the enterprise did not succeed and “the public withheld its patronage and refused to be cured.”
A sample of the water was analysed in 1907 and found to contain Calcium and Magnesium Sulphate which is derived from the London Clay. It was also quite saline, containing a high proportion of Sodium Chloride. According to the geological map the source of the water appears to be the junction of the sandy Claygate Beds and the underlying impervious London Clay.
The fine pump room is still in existence today and is a grade 2 listed building. It is privately owned and occupied. The Spa hotel is now a public house. A comprehensive account of the history of Hockley Spa can be found in the book Essex Spas and Mineral Waters, published in 2001.
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Reference: Christy & Thresh 1910 (p.54-60), Cowell & Cowell 2001 (p.28-38).
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