HistoricaLeigh; Eva Annie

May 15, 2018 by Carole Mulroney

Just clear of the end of the marsh, at low tide, you can see the bottom boards and stem or stern post of a sailing barge. This is all that remains of the 'Eva Annie' crushed in the London Docks and hulked in that position in 1940.

During the war she was gradually demolished and her timbers used as firewood. She was the last sailing barge to be steered by tiller and her tiller was preserved in a museum at Gravesend.

Originally 'Eva Annie' was employed in the hay, straw and general agricultural produce trade in the Maldon area. Abandoned on the Buxey Sands, she was found to have only sunk because she had 'sat' on her own anchor. This had only created a small hole that was easily plugged and she lived on to sail again.

Between the wars 'Eva Annie' had a skipper who was a humorist among bargemen.; it was he who had a cure for bed bugs. He sprinkled pepper on them, claiming that this would make them sneeze and break their backs. He also invented the first wheelhouse for a barge. This consisted of a large cabby's umbrella lashed to the tiller with the claim that ‘wherever I move the tiller goes with me."

This article is by Carole Mulroney of Leigh Lives - www.leighlives.co.uk
To read all of Carole's previous article of the History of our little town, click here