ID: ML2014_003_P58 / Ron Green

TitleYes, Mersea Really did have a railway.

There has been some uncertainty in recent issues Mersea Life as to whether Mersea ever did have a railway.

I have in my collection, the old photo above, showing a railway that ran along Fairhaven Avenue during the building of the Fairhaven Estate mentioned in the January issue. This railway would have been used to bring up building materials from the beach, bearing in mind that most of it arrived by sailing barge. The bricks and cement would have come in from Kent with the barges coming on to the beach.

I would say this little truck would have been horse drawn - or even by manpower. The pair of houses in the background are, I believe, Nos 71 and 73 Fairhaven Avenue and the date would be around 1912-13. I was told the railway track and truck, or trucks, ended up in Clifford White's sand pit at East Mersea which later became Cosways Caravan Park.

I remember this sandpit in 1946. It had been unused for several years but most of the equipment was still there. I don't recall seeing anything of a railway. The site was being used as a dump for the old wartime beach defences. Les Hewes and Ben Mole working for The Cementation Company were busy bringing in lorry loads of old barbed wire, metal posts etc with a tipper lorry.

The attached image comes courtesy of the Weaver family. The group posing on the truck are believed to me bandsmen, there possibly for some celebration or even a religious service. I was also told that when the railway was on Fairhaven Avenue, the the local lads used to ride up and down during the week-end and the first job for men arriving for work on Monday morning would be to retrieve the truck from way out on the foreshore.

Article from Mersea Life, March 2014, page 58.

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Wartime life - a railway at East Mersea

AuthorRon Green
PublishedMarch 2014
SourceMersea Museum