Revival of straw trade. Stackies being towed down Colchester River in 'convoy', bound for the Kent paper mills. The left hand barge is BRITISH EMPIRE registered COLCHESTER and the middle barge is MAYLAND.
Used in Last Stronghold of Sail by Hervey Benham, page 178
BRITISH EMPIRE was built 1899 by Stone Bros., Brightlingsea Bros at Brightlingsea for Henry Howe of Colchester and in her earlier
years was employed in taking hay to London. Official No. 109616.
She was Colchester based throughout her working life and an engine was installed in 1951. She continued in trade until about 1955 when she sank loaded off Brightlingsea, her skipper at the time was Ray Green. She was raised and sold to Brown the Chelmsford timber merchant for use as a lighter in Heybridge Basin when the register was closed 3 Feb 1955. She was sold and rerigged 1978, but has finished up as a hulk at Battlesbridge.
The middle barge is the MAYLAND of Maldon, built by Howard at Maldon in 1888 and owned by R.J. Prior. She often worked with the Francis and Gilders fleet, and became a yacht barge in the early 1950s. She eventually found her way to France and was moored for a while on the Seine [ Comment from Barry Jackson ].
This image is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection.