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Bridge across the Colne

The bridge was constructed in 1916 to facilitate the movement of troops between Wivenhoe Station and the ranges at Fingringhoe, and the the Cherry Tree Camp. After WWI the bridge was considered a nuisance and removed.

THE ESSEX CHRONICLE – Friday 7 July 1916 – “COLCHESTER, June 30. “NAVIGATING THE COLNE.- S. Keeble, skipper of the barge Landrail, was charged with failing to comply with the regulations as to the navigation of vessels in the Colne between West Ness and North Bridge, in that he did not bring up, stow his sails, and warp the vessel through a bridge, on June 19.- Mr. H.W. Jones, solicitor, appeared for the defence and pleaded not guilty.- Lieut. Richards stated that at 3.15 p.m. on the afternoon of the 19th ult. he saw a barge proceeding down stream from Colchester. She passed through the gap, fouled a rope under water, and bumped into the pier. The skipper did not begin to stow his sails till he had passed the bridge, and he had no warp rope out, as ordered by the regulations.- Defendant, sworn, said it was the first time he had been up and down on the Colne since the bridge had been there. On the day in question there was no necessity for him to warp through the bridge, but if the regulations stated it should be done he should be careful to do it in the future.- Replying to Mr. Poole, defendant said he complied with the regulations on entering the port, but not on returning.- Thomas George Wright, waterman, Hythe, extra hand on the Landrail, said he knew all about the regulations, and lowered the canvas and stowed the sails on nearing the bridge. They poled through the bridge, not warped through.- Mr. Jarvis, barge owner, of the Hythe, gave Keeble a high character.- The Justices imposed a fine of £5.- P.S. French, 69, skipper of the barge Lurlin, of Bradwell-on-Sea, was summoned for a like offence on June 20th.- Defendant, sworn, declared that he had never seen till to-day a copy of the regulations controlling the navigation of the Colne.- Fined £5 or a month.”


THE [ESSEX] NEWSMAN – Saturday 15 July 1916 – “COLCHESTER, July 11. A Pilot Fined.- Arthur Drew, master, and John Radford, pilot of the ketch Barnard, were summoned for failing to comply with the Admiralty regulations for navigation in the Colne on July 6.- Colonel Norton, R.E., said the captain was not on board at the time, and was not to blame. The case against the pilot was about as serious as could be brought.- Pt. Kay, Lancs. Fusiliers, said the ketch did not anchor when near the buoy as required. Witness called out, “Heave to, and warp to the buoy,” but the pilot took no notice. Radford also refused to give his name.- Radford said he was not in charge of the vessel, and was not responsible for the handling of the craft.- Capt. Drew said he engaged Radford as pilot because witness had never been in the river before. Radford was acting as pilot at the time.- The case against Drew was dismissed. A fine of £2 was inflicted on Radford.”

Addition to the regulations for traffic – “EAST KENT GAZETTE – Saturday 2 December 1916. “NOTICE TO MARINERS.

Night traffic will be permitted provided the above Regulations are complied with, but Masters are hereby warned that the permission to navigate by night will be withdrawn if the privilege is abused.

At night, the position of the opening will be marked by red lights, one on each side of the passage, indicating the actual width of the fairway. Two lamps will face up-stream and two down-stream. The lamps will be lighted at dusk and extinguished at daylight.

Care is to be taken not to foul either the warping buoys or chain cables; Masters who pass through the opening at night must accept entire responsibility for any damage done to their vessels by fouling the buoys, cables, or any portion of the bridge.”

From various newspaper articles published Friday 23 February 1917.


“VISIT OF THE KING TO COLCHESTER - Reviews Troops and Presents D.C.M. (Distinguished Conduct Medal) to Wounded Heroes.- His Majesty the King, accompanied by Field-Marshal the Duke of Connaught, and attended by Field-Marshal Viscount French, General the Right Hon. Sir Arthur Paget, and Commander Sir Charles Cust, Bart., R.N., and Lieut.-Col. Clive Wigram (Equerries-in-Waiting), visited Colchester and  inspected troops in the neighbourhood yesterday. Major-General C.J. Blomfield was also present. During the inspection his Majesty conferred decorations and medals on certain officers and men. He subsequently chatted with the sick and wounded in Colchester Military Hospital [also presenting medals].

On arrival in the town the Mayor of Colchester (Cr. John T. Bailey), the Town Clerk (Mr. H.C. Wanklyn) and representatives of the Lancashire Territorial Association had the honour of being presented to his Majesty, who was everywhere loyally received. His Majesty returned to London in the early afternoon.”


Rowhedge Recollections


“My sister and I were watching the King crossing the bridge from the upstairs window. Grandmother who was 92 was with us and when she saw the King she said “How disappointing, he’s only small, I thought he was such a big man.” We weren’t supposed to use cameras in war time, but my sister took this photo from the window on her box camera.”  E.S. (presumably Edith Scarfe, nee Pearson, of Quay House.)

Colne Bridge 03.jpg
The bridge at Rowhedge showing the ferry and shipyard
Colne Bridge 04.jpg
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