A Short History of Wakering Yacht Club

Founded in 1962, when Wakering district was a very different place to what you see now.

The Roach was a well-used river and kept clear by the large amount of river activity, mainly by barges.

Navigating in from the Crouch and going past The Middleway and Potten Island on the Port side you pass Pagglesham Creek on the Starboard side and a short distance after, Shuttlewood Boat Yard. Further on the river splits at Pagglesham Reach and Barlinghall Creek (The Violet) which heads towards Little Wakering. Carrying on up the river you head past Bartonhall Creek on the Starboard side and eventually arrive at Millhead and Sutton boat yard in Rochford, which is the final home of Wakering Yacht Club.

The founder member of the club was a C. Bishoprick who formed a small boating club with the local residents of Barling & Wakering and during the summer of 1962 meetings were held and a committee formed, initially in the house of one of the committee members.

Originally being set up at Potten Creek in a little red hut and known as “Wakering Yacht Club”

The first official meeting took place on 17th August 1962, held in the Landsdown Club.

The club Pennant was discussed and a suggestion was made that as the club was called the Wakering Yacht Club and there had been a local lord of the manor whose name was Wakering and a pelican was displayed on his “coat of arms” then this could be adopted for the club. So, the White on Blue background with the letters WYC became the Pennant, from there on.

Just as is the case now, funds were produced by working hard and running many social events to be able to move the club forward. A new club house was viewed and purchased from Mr. Sutton who had the boat yard and an area of land at or near Millhead. The new club house was to be formed from a converted 40 foot barge which had originally been used for collecting cockleshells at Foulness.

The barge was towed round from Barling Creek and moored at Millhead alongside the slipway at Suttons Yard, where work took place to convert it. In January of 1964 a bar license was obtained for the new club and on 28th March 1964 the club was officially opened by the Commandant of Southend Airport and was known as “The Pelican”

Later on, that year the building committee was disbanded, and a general committee set up in it’s place.

Over the forthcoming years the club built up a reputation for good fellowship and hospitality to all the members and guests and showed that a few people with common interests and determination can build something giving pleasure and enjoyment to many people.

The founder member Mr. C. Bishoprick sadly died in April 1976 of a heart attack whilst on the slipway.

The club has had its own news in print such as “Sidelight” & “The Pelican Post” now being brought up to date with what you are reading and the club’s website.

The original barge was replaced in 1972 by a much larger one which started life as a Thames Lighter, it was 72 foot long and was towed from Millhead basin to Barling Creek and was named “The Trent”.

During the time the Trent was in service and by March 1998 membership had steadily risen to 88 with 53 boating members and 35 non boating members.

It was sadly destroyed by a fire in March 1991.

From that point and during February of 1992 talks with Barling Parish Council were taking place as regards planning for a new club house and location.

The club was originally intended to be at Potten Island where talks with the MOD had been taking place over a number of years and indeed over the years a lot of planning applications for land and club locations was sought, a few disputes with the local residents about the activities of the club and where it would operate from also arose. These were all key to where eventually the club was sited, which is next to Sutton Boat Yard at Rochford at the end of the navigable section of the Roach.

During the planning period in December 1991 the committee for Essex council environment department requested that all speed boat type craft be banned at the club, before any approvals were given for planning.

It is believed that the Pontoons were put in place starting at the end of 2002

The club as of 2020 is undergoing refurbishment works throughout to bring it inline with it’s needs and purposes. Also works are taking place on the Pontoons, with additional ones being added to allow for the expansion of the club.

Did you know?

The Anchor outside the club was caught in the nets of a commercial fishing boat whose skipper was a member at the club, it is thought that it came from a square rig ship of the 1700-1800’s.

The Boat hoist that is coming to the end of its life at Wakering Yacht Club was originally designed from plans at Tollsbury marina and it was fabricated and built for what is believed to be a sum of £1,500.00

The remains of the Bell from the Trent which was engulfed in fire is fixed to a plaque above the bar.
If anyone has anymore information that they feel should be covered in this section, please let us know.