Dengie Hundred Boatyards


The Dengie Hundred peninsula is surrounded by water that is used for leisure and industry so it is of no surprise that boatyards developed on the Rivers Blackwater and Crouch 

Our boatyards have never built large vessels with yachts the most frequent build although vessels like fishing boats and in war time Motor Torpedo Boats were built in our yards.

 A pen picture of some of the best known yards is given below.

 Cardnell Brothers aka Blackwater Marina, Mayland

George Cardnell began to build sailing yachts in a barn in nearby Steeple. The site of horse drawn trailers laden with boats  making the journey to the Blackwater were a common site at Steeple.

He was joined by his brother Tom to become Cardnell Brothers.

This problem encourages the move to  riverside site at Mayland backed by the government who contracted the building of Motor Torpedo and gun boats at the yard. By the end of the war over 100 men were employed in this task.

In peacetime the yard downsized in staff and reverted to yacht building and repairs.

In 1978 a change of management came with a change of name to the Blackwater Marina.

 Alfred Granville Argent

Alfred Argent set up a boat building firm at 4 High Street, Burnham on Crouch in January 1914 with his life savings of 120 pounds.

The boat building business was slow so like many small businessmen of the time he used his carpentry skills to supplement his income by working part time as a  jobbing builder.

 In 1924 the business failed with Alfred Argent being declared bankrupt.

 Alfred continued to work on boats albeit from his home at Queens Road, Burnham on Crouch working on boats in berths or yards up to the start of the Second World War.


George Brown Yacht Outfitters, Burnham on Crouch

See Tucker Brown

 J King, Burnham on Crouch

See Tucker Brown

 William King, Burnham on Crouch

William King was started in 1901 by William King on the western side of the riverfront.

To distinguish themselves from the unconnected firm of J King William King called themselves King and sons

The yard started up in repairing and fitting out yachts but soon added boat building

The firm built many style of yachts including the Royal Burnham One Design.

In 1922 Herbert Page joined the company as an apprentice and in 1946 he married Alice King before going on to run the firm until 1975 when the firm closed to make way for a new housing development on the Quay.

During World War Two William King helped the war effort by building some motor torpedo boats.

  Newall Petticrows aka Petticrows, Burnham on Crouch

Newall Petticrows was started in the very early days of the 1900's on land at the river end of Belvedere Road.

The picture at the top of the page was taken shortly after they opened.

In recent years the extensive boatsheds were demolished and the land sold for the development of housing now called Petticrow Quay.

The company were known locally as Petticrows and they dropped the Newell from their name and moved to a new modern building at Sea End behind Rice and Coles.

In the early 1900's records they are sometimes referred to as Petticrow & Wiseman. The 1914 Trade Directory shows William John Wiseman, Yacht Outfitters as operating in Petticrows premises.

Petticrows were best known for building excellent Stella and Dragon Class but they will forever be known as the yard who built Rita , Ben Ainslie's favourite boat, which brought him multiple Olympic Gold

 Rice and Cole, Burnham on Crouch

This was started in 1935 by Mr Tom Rice and Mr Bill Cole at Sea End, Burnham on Crouch which was at the far eastern end of the Burnham riverfront.

This Mr Cole had no connection with the Coles who ran the larger Tucker Brown yard.

Just before the start of World War Two, Rice and Coles moved to new premises near to Priors yard at the centre of the river front.

This move didn't work out and after the war they moved back to their old premises at Sea End from which they still operate

 Rice and Cole did not build yachts but they offered fitting out and repairs with moorings and laying up facilities.


F J Prior aka R J Prior, Burnham on Crouch

The firm is one of Burnham's oldest being established in 1892 by Frederick Prior at which time it was known as F J Prior.

Priors used premises on the centre of the Quay at Buckingham Square and land to the west.

Priors initially worked with the business community by servicing fishing boats and Thames barges but soon added pleasure craft to their activity.

A further extension of business was added with the operation of Thames barges like the Mayland which continued to trade up to the 1950's.

Frederick died in 1937 and the business was taken over by his son Reg Prior who changed the firms name to R J Prior.

The family dynasty  continued with Murray Prior and Robin Prior in charge of the firm.


Stebbings, Burnham on Crouch

Stebbings was formed in about 1880 by William Stebbings with a site on the eastern side of the Quay near to the present building of the Royal Burnham Yacht Club.

In 1907 William died and control of the business passed to his son Albert Harry Stebbings who ran the business until ill health prompted its sale in 1943.

During World war Two Stebbings made lifeboats and whalers for the admiralty.

Stebbings closed in about 1967.

Click here to visit a great blog about Stebbings Archive

 Tucker Brown, Burnham on Crouch

Tucker Brown was founded in 1906 by Andrew Bigmore, Joe Cole and 'Stan' RJS Tucker.

Tucker Brown fitted out and repaired yachts and supplied moorings in the river.

Tucker Brown were mainly based in the Coronation Boathouse, Coronation Road, Burnham on Crouch which is now the site of Burnham Museum.

 In 1920 Stan Tucker left the firm to form Crouch Engineering and then took over a Burnham yacht builder called J King who had premised nearby.

To distinguish themselves from the unconnected firm of William King, J King called themselves King and Co.

The fusion of the firms led to Tucker Brown beginning to build yachts especially Stella class and sloops.

 In the 1930's George Brown Yacht Outfitters operated within the Tucker Brown yard.

 World War Two saw a significant change of management with the addition of Burnham legends Bob Cole and Sonny Cole ( No connection with Rice of Coles).

In the 1980's Tucker Brown closed with the site being sold for houses.

Mike Hemingway, who was one of the owners, then moved to develop Burnham Yacht Harbour


Ann Harper has written a fascinating book called Boathouse about Tucker Brown.


William John Wiseman, Burnham on Crouch

See Newell Petticrows


William Yardleys

 Yardleys was founded in the late 1800's by William Yardley and his brother Charles Yardley OBE.

Problems ensued which led to Charles leaving the partnership and skippering the barge Faith Robey.

Charles was awarded the OBE for work in relation to navigating ships though mine fields in World War Two.

 It was based on the Quay to the East of the present Royal Burnham Yacht Club with additional boatshed and Registered offices in Riverside Road, Burnham on Crouch.

Yardleys ran into tough times leading to a creditors meeting called on 10 May 1933 to nominate a liquidator. Fortunately the company was able to continue under new management and in 1937 the proprietor was shown as Mr T Bowton.


Other Burnham on Crouch Boatyards/Shipwrights

Other Burnham on Crouch Boatyards noted in Trade Directory ( Years in brackets) with no biography to date

 Burnham Motor and Boat Company, Boat Builders, Burnham on Crouch (1906)

Burnham Yacht Building Co , Maltings Yard, Station Road,  Burnham on Crouch (1902-1937)

Edward Cramner Harrington, Ship Builder, Burnham on Crouch (1862- 1867)

Leslie W Harris, Boat Builder, The Quay, Burnham on Crouch (1929)

Isaac Holden, Shipwright & Boat Builder, The Quay, Burnham on Crouch (1851)

Arthur James and Robinson, Ship Smiths, High Street, Burnham on Crouch (1937)

Thomas Nethercoat , Chandler and yacht outfitter, The Quay, Burnham on Crouch (1902 - 1906)

Charles Read, Shipwright, Burnham on Crouch (1882)

Ellen Read (Mrs), Ship builder, Burnham on Crouch (1884)

Samuel Read, Shipwright, Burnham on Crouch(1862 - 1867)

William Read, Boat Builder, Burnham on Crouch (1894 - 1922)

Charles Rose, Ship Builder, Burnham on Crouch ( 1884)

Robert Tracey , Ship & Boat Builder, Burnham on Crouch (1862 - 1882)


Boatyards/Shipwrights in Burnham on Crouch not shown in Trade Directories included in Essex Records Office Material

 John Low - Conveyance of 1696

Edward Palmer - Will of 1670

John Wright - Conveyance of 1869

 Further Reading

 Essex and Suffolk Boatyards by Michael Davis provides an insight into the boatyards along the coast.