Wivenhoe Bookshop Magazine & Newsletter | Wednesday 25 November 2015

Nice Looking Essex Girls – BOOK LAUNCH TONIGHT!

Book launch evening with David Starling

Fri 18th Nov  from 6.30pm at the Nottage Institute

Wivenhoe Quay

‘Nice Looking Essex Girls Afloat’

by David Starling

About the Book

“…….would not return, did not return,”  has been a recurring theme over the centuries for those Essex men and their families for whom the sea has been not just their living but their way of life;  building and sailing the barges, oyster smacks and great yachts of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

It is no wonder that the smackmen, who braved the winter gales to fish the North Sea, would also turn out in the great gale and snow storm of December 1875 to go to the aid of the Deutschland aground on the Kentish Knock.

The great gale of March 1883 took the lives of nineteen Brightlingsea men from three smacks (out of a Brightlingsea fleet of fifteen) which foundered without trace off the Terschelling Banks. Thirty-two children were left fatherless. But none of the three smacks had women’s names. This evocative book of 40 pages and over 60 illustrations tells a story about Essex vessels with girls’ names and shows the significant part that women played in the life of Essex’s hugely important waterfront (the longest of any English county).

It covers over 100 boats of one kind or another – not just the smacks, bawleys and barges; but Trinity House Vessels, lifeboats, the boats which went to Dunkirk, the dinghies which became film stars, the King’s Britannia and other great yachts, Gunilda sitting on the bottom of Lake Superior, Boadicea still sailing 203 years after her launch and many more.

The title, Nice Looking Girls Afloat, is taken from the words of the old Wivenhoe shipwright in The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould’s marvellous novel of 1880, Mehalah…. ….a regular Essex marshland name. I hope I shall remember it. But I have to carry so many names of nice-looking girls in my head, and of ships I have built, that they run one another down, and I cannot be sure to recall them.

About the Author

The author has sailed the East Coast for sixty years (his first boat was a Lapwing at Aldeburgh – No. 8 Curlew) and has written this book especially for The Essex Women’s Advisory Group (EWAG).

EWAG supports the well-being of Essex women and girls by promoting self-esteem, instilling pride in their county and by giving help where needed to young (14 to 30) Essex females. It supports teaching and training in commerce, the arts and sports and promotes Essex as a place to live, visit or work. Its method is to use the resources of a group of people, both professionals (typically drawn from such organisations as the Police, Prince’s Trust, Probation, Girl Guides and the WI) and volunteers with experience, expertise, personal commitment and concern. In addition, EWAG has established the Essex Girls’ Fund, an endowed fund, managed by the Essex Community Foundation to support charities working with and supporting women and girls in Essex. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to these charities.

‘Nice Looking Essex Girls Afloat’ is now available at the bookshop. Or, to order your copy give us a call on 01206 824050, or send us an email.




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