North Fambridge Yacht Club
At home on the River Crouch since 1898
The club negotiated with a local Fambridge resident the lease of a galvanized iron building which was being used to house a small steam yacht during the winter months.
The building, which was originally part of a small field hospital was refurbished to make it more suitable for use as a Clubhouse.
It was lined throughout with match-boarding, a floor built in well above the high water mark, and a balcony added to the end facing the river.
The Fambridge Y.C. flourished until the outbreak of the Great War, when practically all of the members, with the exception of a few who were too old, joined one or other of the services.
As the future seemed so uncertain, the club gave up the tenancy of the premises, stored the furniture and closed it down to await the return of happier times. In 1973, that enterprising young yachtsman Dr. Alan J. Eley (although one could hardly call him young) wrote to all yachtsmen with moorings at Fambridge, proposing that Fambridge Yacht Club be re-established as North Fambridge Y.C. to represent local sailors on a Federation of Crouch Area Yacht Clubs (C.A.Y.F).
This was being formed to assist Essex County Council in establishing a Harbour Authority to properly represent all the users of the rivers in lieu of private enterprise taking over full control.
By taking this action, C.A.Y.F was able to negotiate with the new Harbour Authority to keep the charges down to a minimum by agreeing to yacht clubs and boatyards collecting the dues on behalf of the Authority. Needless to say most of the Yachtsmen responded to Dr. Eley’s letter and North Fambridge Yacht Club was established.
From the outside the building looked very dilapidated but on inspection of the inside its full potential was revealed. At the time we were fortunate to have as members, a builder, an electrician and a plasterer together with some very experienced D.I.Y. enthusiasts. It was therefore decided that the building could be jacked up to be above the level of the river bank and then to refurbish both the outside and inside. We negotiated a peppercorn rent of £10 per year on the understanding that we undertake all the work and to then maintain it to a satisfactory standard. A 21 year lease was drawn up which recently expired and was extended for a further 5 years in 2003. This has now been replaced with a 20 year lease from our landlords completed in 2010.
The building at that time was sitting on the small wall of brick that can still be seen today, so before we could begin to jack the building up we had to set up working parties to fill in the void underneath the floor with concrete.
The concrete supports that were needed when the building had been jacked up were cast using milk churns. After the building had settled on the new supports, the old roof and wall cladding were removed and replaced with new material that exists today.
Once the building had been made water tight, the inside woodwork was cleaned and a galley and bar constructed. The whole of the inside was then decorated so that the clubhouse could be opened by Dr. Eley on 5th May 1979.
For some years we had no water laid on, so for social functions water was connected by hosepipe from a tap by the sea wall to a pipe below the floor of the galley. For these early functions we found the clubroom was very draughty with the wind blowing through the gaps in the bare floor boards. The old solid fuel stove which was installed on the fire place that had been constructed by one of our members did little to warm the room in spite of it being lit in the afternoon. We eventually fitted the carpet and laid the floor tiles that exist today, augmented by effective heating in the winter months.
© North Fambridge Yacht Club. March 2017
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