Saturday, December 20, 2008


Billericay resident, Mark Waller’s Christmas cards will carry more than the usual festive greetings this year. Along with his best wishes – Mark‘s family and friends will receive a unique photograph showing a piece of Billericay history. This picture shows the owner of Billericay’s first taxi firm operating from the Railway Hotel yard with Edward Bull at the wheel of his first taxi in 1911.

Mark Waller – joint proprietor of a local taxi firm, loves local history and has learned much about life a century ago. Even before the first locomotive steamed into Billericay Railway’s flag-festooned station on a cold morning on lst January 1889, local folk had experienced huge activity taking place in the area. Many Irish navvies were at the time living and working in the town. With very basic digging equipment, the gangs of workmen had performed the magnificent feat of excavating one of the deepest railway cuttings into the bank, constructing the line that now takes us into London and beyond. Although many local people walked to the station much as they do now, some travellers needed transport and this is where the old horse-brakes came into their own.

With the coming of the railway, came the demolition, in 1885, of the ancient inn, the Dog and Partridge, which had stood roughly half-way across the bridge. It was replaced by the Railway Hotel which opened in 1889, as was The Crown opposite. Both pubs were picking-up point for the carriers, horse-brakes and early taxis waiting for passengers alighting from the trains.

This is where William Bull came in. He used his carrier’s cart, which took passengers, goods and mail to Brentwood in the last century. This business was divided later; the carriers and postal service being taken over by Fred Eales and the passenger service becoming a single taxi run by Edward Bull. Originally, it was the only taxi for miles around, although a rival service at the Crown Hotel was set up later. From 1926 when he began operating his taxi service, William Collier used the garage on the south side of the Railway Hotel.

But to modern times - Mark Waller observed: "Obviously, the town’s population has increased over the years. I’ve lived in the town for more than 25 years so know it like the back of my hand. I’ve seen Billericay transformed from being a sleepy semi-rural High Street during the 1980s to the busy town it is today."

Although Mark enjoys his local history, he’s on the ball when it comes to business. Advanced Taxi's latest development concerns TAXICALL, a group of five independent taxi drivers who can receive bookings directly to their own mobile phone via a dedicated number 01277 888 988. The Company currently operates four 7-seater vehicles and one saloon car and is happy to take on general enquiries, airport bookings, and corporate events. Further details from Mark or phone: 01277 634288with