with timber for local builder Horace Martin in the 1920s
Watercolours by Ron Green
Sailing Barge ‘Una’ at Waldringfield
Sailing Barge Primrose at Woodbridge
On a visit to a garden centre at South Woodham Ferrers in April, having parked the
car we approached the main entrance, passing an old clinker built dinghy filled with
Pansies in full bloom.
The hull had been fibre glassed over but the stern had not received this treatment
and to my great surprise, I saw the name ‘BIJOU IPSWICH’ carved into woodwork. The
reason for my surprise was that the sailing barge ‘Bijou’ was burnt out at Mistley
during a bombing raid on the 3rd July 1940, yet here was her boat, having survived
the fire, and still serving a useful purpose 65 years later.
An inboard engine had been fitted at one time and a hole had been cut into the stern
for the exhaust, suggesting that she had, at one time, been used as a fishing boat.
Sailing barge ‘Mayland’ at Bradwell Quay
On our return visit to the Meadow Croft Garden Centre yesterday, we asked a member
of staff where the boat was. He put us on to Peter, owner of the boat who, we discovered,
was keen to add to his knowledge of its history and to tell us what he knew. Peter
is keen on restoration of old vehicles and eager to put his skills to work on this
boat. In the meantime, it is planned to display the boat as a special feature at
the Centre with details of its history.
The sailing barge ‘ Bijou’ was built by R & W Paul at Ipswich in 1906 for their own
use and was named ‘ Ena’ . Her official number was 122791. Soon after this, she was
renamed Gravelines II and registered in London because of a possible French connection.
1912 saw her back with the Ipswich fleet and because Paul’s now had another barge
named Ena, it was decided to rename the barge ‘Bijou’
On 8th June 1940, Bijou arrived at Mistley with a cargo of maize and tied up at the
quay. During a bombing raid on 3rd July, the quay side buildings were set on fire
and Bijou was set adrift in an attempt to save her but she was already on fire and
drifted on to the mud opposite where she burnt out. Her remains are still visible