The London Weather Centre reports winds 24 on a 0 to 12 scale. It was undoubtedly chilly as the winds were East and North-East, but nonetheless attractive sailing weather. The map supplied by the Centre is marked somewhat cold, barometer slowly rising along the East coast. So, in these very pleasant conditions the Club got under way but, before entering upon an account of its activities, one must take a little time to examine the background against which it came into being.
Before the advent of the railway, Burnham was an isolated community almost wholly dependent upon the river for its livelihood and transportation. Agriculture was one of the main areas of employment but getting the crops to market could be a very precarious business. For example, the crop from the cherry orchards could reach the London markets in mint condition in favourable winds but a becalment of any long duration or an unexpected storm and the cherries rotted in the holds, causing the loss of a whole years work. Even other more durable crops could be lost in very adverse weather conditions.
Fishing and commercial traffic dominated the river and pleasure sailing was confined to a steam yacht owned by Charles Auger and the 44 ton yawl, WILLOW WREN, owned by Phillip Patmore, the Clubs first Commodore, with perhaps an occasional visit from exploring cruisers.
Although the tidal Crouch is an ideal sailing river and Burnham within easy striking distance of London, neither was readily accessible before the arrival of the Great Eastern Railways link between Liverpool Street and Southminster, in July 1889. This brought very rapid change to the area. Burnham’s potential as a yachting centre was almost immediately recognised and both the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club and the London Sailing Club established branches in the town in 1893. But cruiser sailors were still not satisfied. They evidently felt the need for a local club, with no outside branches, to provide handicap races for cruisers of assorted tonnage and a social centre for their owners. Alas, all but a few bedraggled and water-stained records were lost as a result of the disastrous fire in the Club house in February 1973, and if the discussions which certainly preceded the realisation of their venture were ever recorded, or the subject of correspondence, no fragment remains today to assist this narrative. But the dream came true and the Memorandum and Articles of Association were signed on this day, March 18, 1895, by:
F. Woodhouse 6 Grays Inn, London, W. C. Solicitor
Chester Jones 1 Paper Buildings, Temple, E. C. Barrister
Alfred W. Lush 1 Paper Buildings, Temple, E. C. Barrister
Eugene de Pellas Broad Street Avenue, E. C. Merchant
J. B. Richmond Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex Merchant
R. B. Robinson 69 Cow Cross Street, E. C. Merchant
R. H. Robinson Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex Medical Practitioner
The signatures of the first three were witnessed by E. J. Morell, clerk to Mr. Chester Jones and those of the last three by T. Featherstone Smith, Accountant, Broad Street Avenue, E.C. The Club was launched as a limited liability company, with a capital of 400 made up of four hundred single shares of 1 each. No member could hold more than one share and no share could be held in more than one name. For income the Club relied upon an annual subscription of one guinea per member and an entrance fee, also of a guinea.
The aim of the venture, laid out in a long legal paragraph containing many clauses, in the Memorandum of Association, is to provide a club, severally referred to as a Yachting and Social Club and a Sailing and Social Club. One clause within another clause states and the encouragement of sailing and other sports by the giving of prizes or otherwise amongst gentlemen amateurs.
Eugene de Pellas, an Italian merchant living in England, was credited by one journalist with being the driving force behind the formation of the Club. Certainly he was a very keen worker and so highly thought of by his colleagues that they based the Clubs first burgee on the Italian flag in his honour. His reward for his effort was short-lived. For three years he carried the thankless job of Honorary Secretary and frequently acted as officer of the day, but then ill health.
Tide Times & Heights for Burnham-On-Crouch on 11th June 2018
05:06 – Low Tide ( 0.54m )
11:20 – High Tide ( 4.74m )
17:32 – Low Tide ( 0.80m )
23:38 – High Tide ( 4.70m )