The Drift

Last Updated: 02/04/2018

The Drift is a lane running off Boxworth Road southwards ending in fields.  It was sometimes referred to as "Bleet's Drift" in the past as it led to an agricultural machinery repair business and blacksmith run by Mr Bleet. There were also some cottages along the Drift and a row of almshouses at the end bordering a paddock called  Cowdell End.  
In the 1950s/1960s the paddock was replaced by Constellation Caravans which sold caravans and had a residential caravan park, and the house and buildings of the machinery business were demolished and replaced with a bungalow called "Five Gables".   The almshouses were also demolished in the 1960s, as were the original houses at the bottom of the Drift and the cottage at the top of the drift and the plots were redeveloped  
In the 1990s part of the caravan park was redeveloped into small housing estate around a new road called Cowdell End after the old name for part of Boxworth Road and the paddock while the remainder of Constellation Caravans became a residential caravan park.  In the early 21st century "Five Gables" was in turn demolished and the plot redveloped into two houses.  

Agricultural machinery repair at the Drift

Old picture of the Drift with Bleet's house and blacksmith buildings.  Agricultural nachinery is also visible beside the road.

Derelict Almshouses

 View of the disused almshouses  from the Drift.

View of the Drift 1940s

View up the Drift probably in the 1950s.  There is no sign of the caravan park yet.

Looking down the Drift in 1950s

View down the Drift in the 1950s, taken at the same time as the previous picture.  The vehicle parked outside is an Austin Somerset pickup truck with canvas cover on the back.

Agricultural machinery repair after sale

Bleet's house after being sold in the 1960s, the "sold" sign is visible on the corner of the barn.

Bleet's house before demolition

Bleet's house before being demolished.

Gable end of Bleet's house

View of the gable end of Bleet's house in the drift, probably in the 1950s.

Forge at Bleet's house in the Drift

View of the forge and house at Bleet's smithy in the Drift, sometime in the 1950s.

Bleet's paddock and workshop

Bleet's workshop in the paddock at the top of the Drift.  The paddock later became the Constellation Caravans park.

Tyre furnace and workshops

The tyre furnace used to heat iron cartwheel tyres before fitting and associated smithy buildings.

Bleet's house being demolished

Bleet's house being demolished in the 1960s.

Bleet's house largely demolished, 1960s

Bleet's house bieing demolished.  The roof and upper storey have been removed.

Bleet's house being demolished

Bleet's house in the final stages of demolition.

Interior walls of Bleet's cottage

The interior of Bleet's cottage during demolition showing the wattle and daub walls suggesting the house was quite old.

Bleet's house and thatcher's cottage beyond

Bleet's house almost demolished.  Beyond it the cottage belonging to the village thatcher can be seen, and park of the bungalow belonging to the caravan park.  Both have since been demolished and redeveloped.

"Five Gables" under construction

Original buildings of Bleet's smithy demolished and "Five Gables" started, disused almshouses visible in the background.

View of Five Gables site and neighbouring cottage

View of the site of Five Gables after demolition of Bleet's house showing a cottage which stood between Five Gables and Boxworth Road.  This was also demolished in the 1960s and replaced with a pair of semi-detatched brick houses.

Five Gables under construction

View over Five Gables with the walls up to roof level.  The chapel and Essex House are visible behind.

Five Gables and the temporary home

View over the roof of Five Gables with the caravan the builder was living in and one of the original buildings still left.

Garden of Five Gables

The garden of Five Gables with Essex House in the background.

Drift in 1990s

The Drift around 1980 with new houses at the bottom of the Drift.

"Five Gables" in the 1980s

"Five Gables" in the 1980s before new windows were fitted.

Five Gables in the 1990s

The bungalow called "Five Gables" built in the 1960s on the site of the old smithy site.  It was demolished in the early 2000s.

Mobile homes in the 1980s

Two of the mobile homes to be found in Constellation Caravan park in the 1980s.  Most of them have now been replaced with modern homes.

Mobile home for sale

A mobile home for sale in the 1980s.  It has become rather overgrown.

Constellation Caravans in the 1990s

Picture taken from the churchyard showing carvans for sale at Constellation Caravans in the 1990s.  The area is now Cowdell End.

Constellation Caravans sales office and workshop

The sales office and workshop of Constellation Caravans in the 1990s before it was built on.  It is now Cowdell End.

Constellation Caravans owner's bungalow

The bungalow used by the owner/manager of Constellation Caravans in the 1980s.  It has since been demolished and the site redeveloped.

New houses at the bottom of the Drift

The pair of semi-detatched houses built on the site of an old cottage, as they appeared in the 1990s.  They have since been extended.

New house at the top of the Drift in the 1990s

A new bungalow built at the top of The Drift on the site of an old cottage previously owned by the village thatcher.

The Drift in 2014

The Drift in 2014 with "Five Gables" demolished and replaced by two new houses.

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© Elsworth Chronicle 2016