A Boat on the Side

The Original Secret – More Background

Martin and his partner Rikki, internet persons of interest and sailors on the Scintilla yawl “Friendship,” have been extremely helpful in setting up this blog for me and their research has turned up interesting archival records of the original Secret’s launch – newspaper cuttings from 1932.

I remember sitting in the Hughes’ lounge sketching a “new” Secret which, of course, turned out to be decades in the making. My old friend Luke Hughes (son of Secret’s original owner) a gifted woodworker, worked at Shuttlewoods in the 70s and many of us would drive out to Paglesham to inspect an excellent pub there. The place was inspected many times before we could be sure all was well.

Of interest too is the fact that Shuttlewood's shed was partly built from timbers recycled from Darwin’s ship, The Beagle which was bought by a local farmer for the timber when she finished her working life.

Paglesham was renowned in the 18th and 19th century as a smuggling centre. The maze of creeks and coves in the Essex marshes being ideal for the trade.

As a cadet member of the Brandy Hole Yacht Club I went sailing on the nearby river Crouch and occasionally at Burnham (see “To Slip, Perchance to Scream.”) The region’s history goes back along way indeed – the Romans and Vikings swept through and the remains of a Roman fort can be found to the north at Bradwell. It is a place of melancholy desolation in the winter but teeming with wildlife in the summer months.

The Essex coast holds a storehouse of memories for me with our own Secrets continuing the story, albeit from afar. The Classic Boat test was at the mouth of the Blackwater and mentions Bradwell – the wheel of history completes another circle.

Some years back I wrote about the old chapel of St Peters at Bradwell – I’ll dig it up and post it.


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