Basin & local Links
These are in no particular order, as most people like to browse the other link headings as well 

Basin Tumulus and the Battle of Maldon

About Heybridge Basin

Basin Map

Visiting the Basin by boat

Heybridge Basin Sailing Association (HBSA)

Blackwater sailing club (BSC)

Reflexology in Maldon

Going down Basin road in a Scorpion tank on You Tube

Basin Photos on photobox

Old Basin photos

Bronze Age Basin Settlement

Maldon Councils document on Basin Conservation

Heybridge Basin's document on Basin conservation

Basin based Computer repairs ( Compuskill )

Local letting for professional personnel

Wikipedia info

Bentalls Family, factory and Towers House

Basin canal row boat hire

Reflections at Hoe Mills on the canal

St Georges Church Heybridge Basin

Blackwater boats

Row 4 a reason

Chigboro Fisheries

Parish of Heybridge

History of the barge Dawn

Phil Polden racing

Tollesbury Sailing Club

East Coast Styling Custom car workshop

Snunkie; pushchair and soft baby accessories made locally

Darby Stebbings

A T Sailing

Ruth Lea, Basin based psychic

Basin Map

Walking to the Basin by David Wenk

Peter Brookes Yacht restoration

CRS Marina

Chelmer & Blackwater

Samsara in the canal

IWA / Essex Waterways

Basin first responders

Isobella barge

John Whittingdale MP

Marconi Sailing Club

Bentalls Car history

Chelmer Trust

Heybridge school

Heybridge Swifts FC

Just Essex search

Flash Harry Mobile Photographer

Mill Beach Pub events page

Basin Regatta site

1945 wartime arial photo of the Basin

Den Philips photography

Mill Beach Seaside Resort

1910 built Yacht 'Hardy'

Shop locally

Mighty Oak Brewery in Maldon

Our Past History

Time team Forum Friends

Essex walks

Totally Essex website

Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation (C&BN) contact details

Heybridge Basin based Emergency window repairs

Causeway Rehab on Osea

Where are the Essex MTB and Gun boats now?

MTB message board

Blackwater Marina history

Osea Island Thornycroft MTB

Maldon Mud Race

Essex Police Website

Essex Fire & Rescue

Essex Ambulance

Essex Waterways Ltd

Mersea Museum

Newham barge the Haybay

Postcards of the Essex port of Maldon

Maldon Cricket club (Drapers Farm, Heybridge)

Former Basiner Shaun Bakers VW car care site

Blue Boar Hotel, Maldon

Jolly Sailor in Maldon (B&B)

Five lakes hotel and Golf club

Time Out magazine's top ten beaches (3 are in Essex)

Basin Tea room

Creative Framing

Stella Class yacht association

Beeleigh Abbey

Goldhanger information

Old photos of Old boat

Mantsbrite Navigation Equipment

Contact for UFO reports in Essex

Blackwater Oysters

Blackwater Estuary

Saxon fishing traps in the Blackwater

Maldon salt Factory

Maldon Town FC

Shoesdirect / Buckles shoe shop

Sea defence info

Burnham on Crouch

Wallasea Island Wetland Project

Lady Essex boat trips

Maldon Rugby Club (Drapers Farm, Heybridge)

Was George Washington's Great great grandfather was an Essex boy?

The Barge Mistley

HMS Beagle in the River Crouch

Essex Wildlife trust

Commercial Space flights (Not from the Basin)

Family Fortunes

Chigborough lodge and other local resturants

Northey Island

Facebook (it has a lot of locals on)

Looking for old freinds? try freinds reunited

Mill Beach pub gig guide


Sunny Heybridge Basin

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Sunny Heybridge Basin at low tide


A brief history

Heybridge Basin was originally a Neolithic settlement made up of 2 huts and a ditch, a few thousand years later, there are a few more houses, but more importantly two pubs! If you include other former Basin pubs such as the Exchange Inn, Old Ship (Myrtle Cottage), Live and let Live, Half moon, Chelmer Brigg and Carpenters Arms, it sounds like we are a village of heavy drinkers.....?
 Realistically, the Basin has been surveyed due to a Neolithic settlement being discovered in the Blackwater Sailing club field (now a lake), strangely enough where a Tumulus of un-confirmed origin is located (click the Tumulas link for details).
 There are Roman connections as well, but the village has generated its own history ranging from the 2 missionaries that went missing (Hence the Basin being called Cannibal Island) to Electric car manufacture in the 1970s. Just up the canal is the mighty Bentalls buildings. In my early teenage years, a few of my friends were doing their engineering apprenticeship with Bentalls in the buildings that are now a shopping complex. Funny that as a company they survived over 200 years and made a major contribution to British car manufacturing, yet nowadays, nobody knows who they were. In the Basin itself there were two large timber yards belonging to May & Butcher. As a kid we used to sit at the bus stop and watch the huge lorries carry tree trunks passed. The timber yards had an active role during the Wars, but today one is a housing estate and the other has been derelict for over 20 years.

Annual Military vehicle show in the Basin

Basin war time links include Mosquito plane part assembly, MTB (motor torpedo boat) manufacture with repairs & testing at HMS Osea,  even Minesweeper where repaired at the timber yard also Lord Haw haw's bombing of the submarine base....... What submarine base I hear you cry? One of the Nazi broadcasters under the British label of Lord Haw Haw had a holiday to Heybridge Basin before the war, when he decided to 'assist' the Nazis, he made up a few strategic military sights to gain some brownie points. So with the Basin being coastal with marine workshops and he knew exactly where it was, why not say it was a submarine base (Yes it is a bit shallow for a sub to hide in!)

 A result of his recommended air-raid is the unusual shape of the cottage opposite the carpark entrance. This is because it was a row of cottages but took a direct hit by a bomb. The remaining building is at strange angles internally with extra brick work externally due to the way they permanantly propped it up. To the right of the cottage is a garden area made in remembrance of the unfortunate couple who were in bed when the bomb hit and consequently blown across the road, bed and all. 
 More recent events include being seen in the Micheal Caine film, Forth protocol, and TV series including Break in the Sun, Lovejoy, Changing rooms and Portrait of a village to name but a few.

Clint's Boatyard and Wilkin & Son Tea room

Annual events include a village regatta and 'round the Island' rowing race which add a bit of on & off shore fun, not forgetting the winter military vehicle rally (held at the Millbeach pub in January) to add a bit of greenary to the winter landscape. The Blackwater sailing club is located on the sea wall with its own moorings, launch ramp, training lake and winter storage areas, but the villages have there own sailing association; the HBSA (Heybridge Basin Sailing Association) which meet up in the pub and plan a few adventures which normally involve water & alcohol!
CRS Marina is also in the heart of the village which has pontoons, dry dock and workshops for repairs, not forgeting Stebbings boat yard (01621 857436) as well which is just down the seawall from CRS.

Ant & Eddy learning to Sail at the Blackwater Sailing Club

It is worth looking on Blackwater Sailing clubs website (link to left) as they also have a real time local weather page taken from the instruments at the club, useful feature which also has a web cam looking down the Blackwater estuary.

Basin boat hire on the canal

The two pubs are key to the village tourism ranging from visiting yachts to caravaners stopping for a pint and a meal on the sea wall in summer to walkers and shipwrightes in winter having a warming toddy or catching up on local news. The Jolly Sailor has been refurbished in December 2009 as is now under new ownership. The Old ship is well known for its menu, but also for its view from the dining areas down the Blackwater estuary. On a clear day you can see Bradwell right at the entrance to the estuary. There is a large free carpark a minutes walk from the pubs next to the canal with disabled ramp access to the canal side. 
 From the pubs you can walk up (or take a boat trip) to Chelmsford along the canal, walking it can take up to a couple of hours though, so you may prefer a 20 minute walk to Beeleigh Abbey and Weir. The original Abbey was built in the 1100's for the Norbertines (White Canons), but has been owned since the end of the Second World War by the Foyle family (Foyles Bookshop in London).

Millbeach pub viewed from the Basin

If you follow the sea wall North East from the Basin, you head towards Goldhanger past Mill beach (see events page for info on regular live music at Mill Beach pub) and Osea Island. Osea has an interesting history ranging from its military days in the first World war (see military vehicles page) to its modern day UK version of the Priory rehab; the Causeway clinic. The clinic appears to be the one used by Amy Winehouse which is now famous in her song, we do get more private helicopters going over now so I assume their are a few celebs having a 'drying out' session there.
Funnily enough its the second time its been used as a rehab centre, the first time was in the early 1900 when brewery heir Frederick Charrington made a clinic/hospital after seeing what effect his family's alcoholic products had on the population. For some reason they used to breed wallabies on the Island around that time as well which seems an odd combination. If anyone has any pictures of an Osea wallabie they are willing to share, please send it in!
12th Nov 08 update, Thank you to Mr Ian Clarke who is currently working with Mersea Island Museum on their shipping archive and kindly sent a postcard photo of the Osea Wallabies!  
I recently heard that 'the Essex beast' has been sighted near Osea, the thought is that it is a Panther or other wild big cat. If its come for the wallabies its 100 years to late!

Osea Wallabies, they did exist!!

You can head South from the Basin past the Defender along the sea wall around the nature reserve towards Maldon. This takes you through Heybridge were you can follow the Causeway up to Market hill and in to Maldon town. Worth a mention that Heybridge is named after the Bridge at the bottom of market hill, when the original was built in the middle ages, it was a lot higher humped bridge, hence High Bridge. Heybridge prior to the bridge building was called Tidwalditon.
 Or you could just walk to the North side of the village to King Georges playing field near the Blackwater Sailing club to let the kids go wild on the climbing frames and swings. There are a host of birdwatching areas, you can even spot the occasional seal sunbathing or go crabbing off the sea lock gate. The former attack vessal 'Defender' is still moored off the lock entrance which certainly grabs peoples attention (see photo below), but in the lock there is normally a selection of classic yachts, barges, pleasure craft and fishing boats. For more information on berths and locking in, contact Martin Maudsley the lock keeper on:
Telephone No:+44 (0) 1621 853506
Mobile: +44 (0) 7712 079764
For General Canal information call the Navigation Manager Colin Edmond on 01245 226245
or hit the 'visiting the basin by boat' link

Joe on the Sea wall in the Basin

Please note their are no hotels or B&Bs in the Basin, but Maldon has a few. Two I recommend are the Blue Boar which has a a good historic feel and its own brewery (Yes Vinny Jones did stay there recently) and the Jolly Sailor in Maldon which has a nice view towards the Basin and of the Thames Barges. The Maldon Jolly was also used in the film Lawless Heart with a few of the locals as extras.
Hopefully this page has enough links to give you a general feel for Heybridge Basin and what goes on. I don't think their are any other Basin based info sites running right now so if you have anything to add or you have a company in the village you would like me to link to, please get in touch.

Crabbing at the Basin

A lot of old faces and family names are slowly going from the Basin, some moved away, some have died, others just don't come out anymore. If you would like to find somebody who lives/lived here, please contact me. Even a few newspapers and BBC have used me as a contact to find people and events so hopefully I can help on a personal level as well!

Osea Island from the mainland

As I get more free time I will try and cover as many aspects of the Basin as possible; general history, its war time links, local characters, boats and incidents.


January 2010
'Had a bit of snow in the Basin!!'

Ye old Heybridge Basin

Old Postcard of Heybridge Basin

This is a coloured in photo postcard of the Basin in the early 1900's I got off ebay. The picture was taken by Myrtle Cottage and this is the area on the canal side planned to be new houses and shops. Below is a photo taken in May 2008


The planned new houses (and shops) have recently been thrown out again for planning permission due to a well organized local protest, but what will be next everbody wonders....

Old photos

A few pictures that I don't know where they came from! If the owners would like to get in touch and give us some detail it would be appreciated

Sea Plane Off Heybridge Basin, Northey Island in the background

Gloriana & St George by the Basin Ship breakers looking towards Millbeach

The Gloriana may be not just be the largest ship to be broken in Heybridge Basin. I'm trying to get confirmation, but it seems she had a busy life running to East India and Africa, used in research for Ocean Hydrometers and taking a lot of people to start new lives in Australia.
Thank you Dr Marguerite Wells in Australia for getting in touch and starting the ball rolling on this picture! 2009 Update: This ship is unfortunately not the Gloriana we thought it was so scrub the above, but I have had some interesting info on the St George which I will put up soon. I have also had a nice letter from a gentleman in Birmingham about his father and the boats around the Basin during WW2 which I will put on as well.

Early 1900's, The Jolly Sailor, Heybridge Basin

The above were sent to me for web posting to get more details, if you have any you can scan and send, please email them through with as much detail you have and we'll see if we can get more info.
If Alen Wyatt or Steven Nunn (wrote Heinkels over Heybridge ISBN 0 951242202, very good, read it!) are about, do you have anything on the seaplane? We know it was something to do with Royal Air Force testing from Felixstow, but not much else.
 Another couple of local books; 'Around Maldon' by John Marriage (ISBN 0-7509-1762-8), the book is made up of old photo's around Maldon and includes a few of the Basin also 'Heybridge Basin, The story of a waterside community 1796 - 2002' by Basiner Denys Harrison. Again some great old photos included and a more detailed history of the Basin.
 Going back to the 1950's, I'll include the Marconi Sailing club as they started in Heybridge Basin by storing their boats at May & Butchers timber yard, then using the 100ft motorboat 'Mamgu' (originally designed as the working barge 'Cawana') as their club house moored on the sea wall.
There are some nice photos on their web site (see links across) including the 'Mamgu' which is the name locals still use for the Newham council owned training barge now in its place.
Den Phillips is worth a mention here as some of her black & white photos of traditional wooden boats are timeless. Click on the link across and keep an eye out for 'Hardy', a fantastic 100 year old racing yacht I used to crew on.

Ian Clarkes Osea Pier photo with Seal pits in the foreground and Steam boat Annie on the Blackwater

Another old Basin photo (below) from 1894 has been sent to me by Mr Ian Harrison taken his Great Grand Father, Isaac Henry Harrison of Woodbridge of his steam yacht "PERI" at Heybridge Basin.  He thinks the lady boarding is his Great great Grandfather and the boy is his grand father, the other lady is probably a governess. Anybody with any records or info about Isaac Harrison, PERI or his other 2 Yachts would be of interest to Ian, please email seylec if you can help.

Steam Yatch 'Peri' in the Basin

Moving forward a few years, here's a few scans from my own 1980's photos taken with a disc camera

Heybridge Basin Regatta in the mid eighties

Basin regatta BBQ in the 80's

1980's me with a dodgy tash looking the Essex boy although I had a Camaro instead of a Ford Capri!!

Wendy Chapman attempting the regatta Greasy pole

David stebbings boat after it was 'clipped' be an East coast one

The MTB 20 years ago between Blackwater sailing club and Salcotte Mill

Jolly Sailor Christmas Party in the Mid 80's (Tina Tolfrey and Tony Morgan)

Mud fight in the Basin, you can see a Trinity House ship in the background awaiting re-fit

Late 1980's big snow drifts at Sheepcoates Lane off scraley road in Heybridge

The view from Dave Barkes old boat yard (across from the Welcome Sailor, Maldon) down the Estuary

Phil Dyer next to a shed blown on a boat in 1987

A 17 year old Stig aka me on one of my many rebuilds

Working at the Jolly Sailor with Rachel Whitelock in the late 80's

I've had a few people asking for my family skull and cross bones 'coat of arms' so here it is

There are more and more old Basin 'Locals' and parties on Facebook, why not join and track down a few old Basin faces!

A few of my own pictures around the Basin
(click on any to enlarge)

The Basin Defender, April 07

The Defender.

She was formally named 'Al Majihad' and was built in Lowestoft for the Sulton of Omans Navy. After almost 20 years service as a fast attack vessel, she was de-commissioned, returned to the UK and renamed the Defender. She is now owned privately and is having a refit below deck for her new role. Her internal refit is coming along well but she will be in the Basin until probably atleast the end of 2009.
Speaking to the former owners they mentioned that on her way back to England, the hired crew hit full throttle coming out of the Suez Canal to see what she went like and promptly ran into a fleet of American warships on a practice exercise. The site of a foreign fast attack vessel flying towards the Americans caused a bit of an ‘incident’ to say the least! They made the Defender surrender at gun & missile point thinking it was a hostile attack! Have a look on the Defender page for a few onboard photos.
 Defender has moved out the Basin in 2011, but you can still see her at the Fullbridge in Maldon where the new owner is refurbishing her.


Dave 'Bean' with his prize catch

Basin local; David 'Bean' Wright with his heavy duty catch!
He landed this huge Tope on one of the Jolly Sailor fishing trips out of the Blackwater, the landlord of the Jolly; Mick Kent on the other hand caught 2 star fish.
Not quite the same as the Great white shark in the South west of England, but we think that Devon and Cornwall tourist board saw this picture and are trying to out do us!


The formal re-launch of Thames barge 'Dawn' in the Basin on May 19th with John Whittingdale MP.
Dawn was restored with lottery funding, last time I remember her getting this much coverage was in a program called 'Break in the sun', filmed in the Basin during the early 1980's.
Have a look up at the links for her full history.

Pack ice in the Basin

This is another picture I took in the Basin during the 1980's which has popped up on other sites. As with the other 80s photos it was using a disc camera (remember them!), so sorry about the quality.

Salcott Mill

Salcott Mill when it was still an industrial area in the early 90s, now a housing development. When I was younger it used to be a boxing club and the outbuildings were car repair shops including LJS services! Just before the re-development Den Philips used to have her photographic studio there.

Salcotte 2007

And this is Salcotte Mill in 2007, the area in front of the Mill was supposed to be turned into the Heybridge Basin marina many years ago, but for now its still full of mud.

The Motor torpedo boat 2007

Thinking of old and new, this is the former MTB 'Platonia' 20 years later that is pictured in my 1980's photos.

Chaple lane chaple

The Chaple 'they' want to knock down to build a house, yet it is proposed to be a listed building! Most recent comments though are that it is to be turned into a fish resturant and a private bid is already in.

Thames barge off the Basin nature reserve

Thames barges are a regular sight around the Basin. They have permanent moorings in Maldon, but are often seen in the Basin for events and repairs. Its nice in the summer evenings to sit on the sea wall outside the pubs watching these enormous beasts working their way down the Blackwater, even when the tide is only half in as they have a very shallow draft.

Blackwater sailing club

Blackwater Sailing club is a familiar site to anyone coming up the Blackwater estuary. When I used to race on wooden yachts, you knew you were home when you could see the familiar white building as you came round Northey Island. With some of the races being in force 6 gales and breaking lots of bits on the boat, you knew the warm pub was close!

The Old Ship

The Old Ship and lockside Cottages. This photo was taken from the Nature reserve behind the lock house.

The late Eric Preistley

Former landlord of the Jolly Sailor, Eric was well known for his dry sense of humour. I used to work in the Jolly during the mid 80s and when it was a quite winters evening I spent many a time listening to his wartime and whale hunting stories.


And for those who thought you only had mud around the Maldon area, this is Mill beach beach looking back towards Heybridge Basin (you can see Salcotte Mill and the Blackwater sailing club in the background). There are Caravan parks here, shops, cafe and a pub (the Millbeach pub : ) if you fancy a visit, if your a visiting boat you can get your daily papers, milk etc from the Mill beach cafe if you don't want to row up the canal from the Basin. My boys like coming up here beach-combing and looking for war time relics, fossels and shells. We still haven't found anything from the Battle of Maldon yet, but their again nobody else in the whole Maldon area has either!

Northey House

As you look at Northey Island from the Basin, you can see a dark coloured building in the middle of the Island. If you ever wondered what it was, well this is it!
Its the home of the Island care taker, Northey is a National Trust Nature Reserve and is open to the public once a year.

Heybridge Basin, center of the Universe


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