52 years ferrying and still going strong. Mr Mole, who has ferried ... from East Mersea to ... and back for 52 years, takes a rest from cleaning his boat, waiting down the ... causeway which later got very dirty. [?] [DW]
Mr Mole, the ferryman between Brightlingsea and East Mersea, washes down his lugsail boat at East Mersea Stone in 1933. Ferries played an important part in communications on the River Colne. They connected Wivenhoe with Rowhedge and Fingringhoe, and Brightlingsea with St Osyth and East Mersea Stone. The Wivenhoe ferries were rowing boats, as were most of those from Brighlingsea.
Mr Mole looks the typical waterman and by 1933 had ferried passengers across the Colne and people ashore from craft in the river for 52 years. Although her quarters are patched with copper tingles, his boat looks shapely and had good freeboard, stability and capacity. Like all the district's seafarers he preferred to row between thole pins rather than rowlocks. Tholes cost nothing but the whittling for one thing, and floated when dropped, for another. A few spares were easily carried on board and a strip of leather on the gunwale reduced chafe on the oar looms. The standing lugsail has a single-part mainsheet and a reef for strong winds, but the boat does not have a centreboard. Mr Mole is mopping down, waiting for a fare, probably for Douglas Went, and is pleased to pose for a picture.
A sailing police-boat is visible in the backgroud and a smack lies at anchor off Brightlingsea creek. [JL]
Plate.70 in SWW.
Horatio Mole was born around 1857 and died 1948.
Used in The Sailor's Coast page 25.
Date: 15 July 1933
This image is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection.