ID: ML2021_006_076 / Ron Green

TitleShocking accident at the Strood
AbstractWith each week of big tides there is usually a motor vehicle stuck on the Strood by the driver misjudging the depth of water over the road. Fortunately no one has lost their life there recently. By far the worst accident happened before the days of the motor car. Sisters Eva Clarry 21 and Annie Clarry 17 hired a pony and trap from Walter Fisher a local seedgrower. Together with a friend Emma Powell they set off to visit a friend in Wivenhoe. It was Good Friday April 19 1889. There was just 4 to 6 inches of water on The Strood as the girls approached and they drove on through. As they neared the other side waves hitting piles on the roadside sent spray onto the pony and scared it making it back up causing the trap to capsize tipping the girls off the road into 10 to 12 feet of water. The sisters were drowned but Emma Powell survived. A full report of the inquest can be found on Mersea Museum website. The sister's mother was Eva Sophia Clarry née Green, my great grandfather Abraham Green's sister.

By strange coincidence another near tragedy happened just four days earlier. While looking up reports of the drowning, we discovered a newspaper report about four boys of about nine years old - named Powell, Sadler (Two) and Vince - who were 'Egging' on Ray Island. While trying to beat the fast rising tide back to the Strood one fell into a deep rillway and couldn't get out. After trying for some time his mates left him and made it back to the Strood. There they sought the help of William Wilmot, captain of the barge ADA GANE which was on the quay at the time. He went to the boys aid and with water up to his chest he had to swim the final distance removing his jacket which was slowing his progress. He succeeded in getting the boy out, who was only just alive, and get him back to the Strood. He was taken home in the butcher's cart where he made a slow recovery.

It's surprising how deep the channel was at that time at 10 to 12 feet by the road. ADA GANE was a big Ketch barge which could carry 200 tons of coal and would have needed a good 8 feet or more of water to float loaded.


Eva Sophia Clarry, mother of the Clarry girls, with son Tom at the back. Eva Green and George Clarry married in 1867 and had eight children. One of the boys - Bill - was the Island's oldest resident in 1979 and was chosen to open the new West Mersea Medical Centre.

Article from Mersea Life June 2021, page 76.

AuthorRon Green
PublishedJune 2021
SourceMersea Museum