Colchester builder, Stanley Hills, was involved with some of the town's largest projects and was also a major benefactor to his adopted home of West Mersea. He was born in Claudius Road, Colchester, in 1910 and was
a pupil at Hamilton Road School before Joining his father's firm of W. A. Hills. He married Myrtle in June 1935 and had two daughters, Moyia and Erica.
He served as a Lieutenant in the RNVR during WW2 on mine sweepers operating mainly around the South Coast, finally commanding a B.Y.M.S.
type motor minesweeper, an American built wooden vessel, 140 feet long
and equipped to sweep many kinds of mine, including magnetic and
acoustic types. He spent a year after the war clearing mines before joining
brother Ernest to run W.A. Hills & Sons in Colchester.
A life-long sailing enthusiast, he owned a succession of small yachts in the
1930s before buying the 12 ton Mersea smack SNOWDROP which he used for
trawling and cruising, making several trips to Holland, Belgium and France.
After the war, following a rough crossing with the family, she was unfortunately lost while entering Gravelines harbour in 1948. He then decided to build a yacht capable of cruising in comfort and chose a 38ft.
Solani class sloop designed by Maurice Griffiths, the then editor of YachtingMonthly. The MALWEN was built in Stanley's back garden in Yorick Road.
With post war restrictions on materials, her planking was cut out of baulks taken from the Mulberry Harbour caissons. He also provided a model of the Snowdrop to act as a weather vane on West Mersea church.
He also enjoyed engineering and had many model steam trains and engines and would often mount displays and invite friends to his large workshop next to his house.
Stanley and Myrtle decided that they would like to do something for the community and do it all in one go, so he planned and built this Museum.
Stanley also persuaded his friend Leslie Haines to set up the Mersea Island Museum Trust to run it. Later he initiated the building of the Town's Medical Centre financed by the community in 1979 and then the Dental
Surgery a year later.
In 1979, he made medical history when he became the first man in England to be fitted with a new type of pacemaker. The operation at the National Heart Hospital in London, was recorded on film for use in teaching hospitals.
Stanley Hills died in January 1989 at the West Mersea Nursing Home.
The opening of Mersea Museum, September 1976.
L-R Peter French, Stanley Hills, Myrtle Hills, Semprini.
From a display in the entrance hall of Mersea Museum.