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Hullbridge Village History

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The History of Up River Yacht Club, Pooles Lane, Hullbridge.Ordnance Survey Grid Ref (TQ 810 955)


In 1936 a group of yachtsmen, who wanted to encourage yacht racing and cruising, founded a club on the upper reaches of the River Crouch in Essex.

A varied range of craft were available at that time and handicap racing was organised from a small temporary building that was erected at Brandy Hole.In the 18th Century, to avoid payment of duty on brandy and to evade the custom's revenue cutters, smugglers used to sail up the river Crouch from the continent at dead of night and deposit their barrels underwater in the bay approximately one and a quarter miles downstream from Hullbridge. These barrels were then collected later when the water had receded.


However, in 1949 property was acquired on the river front at Hullbridge and the small building was transferred to this site - hence the name Up River! After a few years the membership had grown considerably and a new, larger clubhouse was erected at the same site. This timber building incorporated a race box, changing rooms, a galley and lounge.

Club monthly committee meetings were held in the lounge and in the winter these meetings were very brief! Walking along the unlit pathway by the river's edge in darkness to the cars - before the advent of the large car park behind "The Anchor", proved interesting!

Whilst smaller social functions were occasionally held in the Clubhouse, larger events such as the "Fitting Out Supper", Annual Dinner / Dance and Prize Giving were held at such locations as:-


Photo taken 1961 from Local Review showing boats racing on the river in one of the
						 	Up River Yacht Club races.

Photo taken from Local Review 4th June 1961 of an Up River Yacht Club race.
Click on image to enlarge.

October 14th 1961 the club held their 25th end of season dinner and dance at the Middleton Hotel to read a transcript of this from the Local Review please select the following hyperlink Middleton Hotel 14/10/1961


October 23rd 1965 the club held their 29th end of season dinner and dance at the Middleton Hotel to read a transcript of this from the Local Review please select the following hyperlink Middleton Hotel 23/10/1965


Photo taken 1971 from District News showing Mrs Ida Street in a classroom with her class.

Photo taken from Local Review 17th Nov 1971 of the Up River Yacht Club Annual Dinner and Dance held at Runnymeade Hall, Benfleet.
Click on image to enlarge.


In 1972 the club purchased a field, part of which had been used for a number of years as a boat park.


AugustThe construction of a new, larger clubhouse including a lounge, changing rooms with showers, galley and bar was completed under the supervision of a few dedicated club members.

A few years on this building was extended westwards to increase considerably the changing room area and incorporate an office to store club records etc.

Over the last 20 years or so various outbuildings have been added to put under cover various pieces of the club's equipment, for example, safety boats, tractors for launching and recovering cruisers and garden machinery, the latter used in the maintenance of the extensive club grounds and its boundaries.


In 2007 a decision was taken to increase the size of the clubhouse with additions of a conservatory and decking area to the north face and these were completed in May 2008.

Whilst still remaining a members' club, as the club developed, it became essential to organise it more along business lines with two committees, one charged with dealing with cruising and dinghy racing and the other committee, the clubhouse, grounds and social functions, both of which are overseen by an executive committee. All these committees are drawn from members who volunteer to undertake the various duties.

There have been a number of Up River dinghy members who have been very successful over the years at the national level in craft such as the Merlin Rocket, the National; 12 and the Lightning Classes. Additionally various cruiser members have embarked on longer "voyages". For example some members sailed to France and Holland about 25 years ago, others have travelled to the Mediterranean and another couple have circumnavigated the globe - taking over 8 years! and more recently a member has travelled anti-clockwise around the British Isles.

The membership is and has previously been varied. In fact rather not unsurprisingly, quite a few are involved in various aspects of the boat industry. For example, building and fitting-out boats, sail making, sailing apparel etc.

Acknowledgement is made to the following contributions that this history was compiled from:-