Mersea Museum in 2018


The history of Mersea and the surrounding areas. The many exhibits include sections on Local History, Natural History, Social History, Marine and Geology.

The main exhibition is new every year.

Mersea Between the Wars - 1920s and 1930s

Work and play in and around Mersea in the years between World War 1 and World War 2.

Holiday island develops
- the Boating Lake, Kiddiesland, Cooper's Beach, Golf Club. Land on front between Broomhills and Seaview bought by Council and Esplanade built.

Services on the Island
The coming of mains water and electricity. The water tower.
The Fire Brigade. Radio and Television.

Buses, ferries, barges on the Hard. The use of horses and sail coming to an end.
C.W.A. Scott pioneering flight to Australia.

1918 - the end of WW1
Royal Fleet Auxiliary INDUSTRY sunk and 6 Mersea men lost.

The Mersea Band, football, cricket, golf, dramatics, music, carnivals.

The Board Walk
Timbers from what is thought to be a Bronze Age board walk were found in the mud off Mersea in 2017. They will eventually be on display in Mersea Museum, but will not be avaiable for the 2018 Summer Season.
See In the mud

Summer 2018 exhibition
MOLLIETTE opposite the Victory 1930s
Boating Lake, Shears Meadow c1936
Cascade and Paddling Pool, Kiddiesland c1936
Mersea band playing for the Regatta around 1920
RFA INDUSTRY sunk October 1918
Wedding of Percy Green and Lucy Hoy 29 Sept 1917
George Marriage ploughing on Coast Road near Victory 1924
West Mersea smacks in the 1930s
Water tower fire 1931

Local History

Roman Amphora dredged up from the estuaryA changing selection of pictures, maps, photographs and postcards show the history of Mersea and its residents from the 19th Century. The beach hut illustrates a feature of holidays in Mersea that is close to many people's hearts. The section also includes Archaeological finds such as Roman remains, tiles and pottery. Bellamine and Martabani Jars (17th Century) and Amphora (Roman Vase) are also on show.

Summer 2014 - farming, boatbuilding, seaside, beach hut

Natural History

Wildlife of the local marshes and mudflats. Some of the birds, shellfish and fish to be found in the marshes, mudlflats, creeks and sea around Mersea Island.

Saltings display

Farming, Fishing, Oyster Cultivation

Farming, Fishing and Oysters were the mainstay of the island's economy for many years and continue to thrive.Oyster dredging in recent yearsHerring. Chris StopfordFrank Marriage and Blossom at Weir Farm, c1930

Social History

Mersea Museum Fisherman's cottage - the wash houseA large section of the Museum with exhibits covering more than two centuries.

The reconstruction of a typical weather-boarded fisherman's cottage is centred on a Victorian coal-fired kitchen range, with adjoining facilities for washing clothes using old-fashioned manual equipment. It helps to create the 'Old Mersea' atmosphere, together with many articles used by local people in earlier times.

Mersea Museum Fisherman's Cottage


Oyster smack BOADICEA CK213 was built in 1808 in Maldon and is still going strongModels of boats and local craft, together with old fishing equipment and boat building tools. Photographs of smacks at work, yachts, houseboats, barges.

The Museum holds a fine 1919 Punt made locally by William Wyatt complete with its original gun, used in Mersea for many years.

On display is a West Mersea One Design dinghy from 1930 with shipwright tools. The dinghy is the KALI, later renamed BUZZING BEE. She was bought by John Leather about 45 years ago and is still owned by the Leather Family.

The John Leather Memorial Collection contains John's library of books, boat plans, research papers and photographs.


Fossil and fossilized material drawn from a wide range of locations, together with a collection of rocks and minerals, are on display including crystals and ore deposits, and all are well documented.

Family History

We have copies of parish records and other information and so are able to answer many family history queries. Family trees have been built for several well-known Mersea families. A database is being built containing names from Mersea and surrounding parishes recorded in parish records, tithe maps, baptism records and censuses.


The Museum has over 40,000 historic photographs and documents which can be displayed on computers in the Resource Centre. The collection covers Mersea and the surrounding area, local people, fishing,oystering, shipping, barges, smacks, farming yachting and more. Most of the photographs in the John Leather Memorial Collection have now been digitised and can be viewed.
An audio-visual slide show on Mersea runs in the main museum and other themed slideshows can be run in the Resource Centre.
Berry's bus waiting outside the White Hart, West Mersea, before 1911

For Children...

Mersea Museum - young visitorsWe have a variety of picture quizzes, puzzles, sketching activities etc. around the Museum for children (and for adults).
Special visits are organised for schools and other groups.
Mersea Museum - young visitors