History of Leigh on Sea

Leigh-on-Sea © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Leigh-on-Sea, c.1965
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Leigh on Sea >> Leigh on Sea Snippets

Leigh on Sea Snippets

When researching for this website we often find a little snippet of information on a location or subject which may be of interest. Some are quirky, some show that there is nothing new in this world, and some about the attitudes and morals of the time. [index to snippets] Here is one for Leigh on Sea showing the challenge fisherman faced.

Times 16 March 1842

Dreadful hurricane at Southend

Loss of thirteen lives by shipwreck

On Wednesday night, between eight and nine o'clock, Southend was visited by a most tremendous storm of wind and rain, the severity of which has not been equalled for many years, and its effects have been most melancholy and disastrous. Windows were blown in, and slates, tiles, etc., were hurled in all directions. About half-past twelve o'clock the tempest began to subside, and day-break presented to the view, the wreck of no fewer than six boats which had been driven from their anchors, all of which had substantial serious damage, and many were completely destroyed, being driven by the violence of the wind against the wharfs and piles of the pier, until they were not only complete wrecks, but had the appearance of chopped up for fire-wood; such destruction among the boats here was never before witnessed, and the most distressing circumstance is, they were mostly the property of poor hard-working men, who have no other means of subsistence.

A schooner was perceived early on the same morning, with signals of distress, just below the light-house. A Leigh boat went to her assistance, and put four of her hands on board her; they weighed anchor, and were running for the north shore, the wind blowing strong at the time. A few minutes would have brought her on the sand, but being water-logged, she unfortunately sunk, and every soul on board perished, together with the four men who were in a boat at the stern of the schooner, and it is supposed, from the sudden occurrence, had not time to detach from the ship.

This unfortunate catastrophe happened at about half-past nine o'clock in the morning, a short distance from shore, in the presence of hundreds of their fellow creatures, who could not render them any assistance; and after withstanding the fury of the gale during the whole of the previous night. On Saturday, boats from Leigh were in search of the bodies, and succeeded in picking up one of the men, and one of the crew of the schooner. Divers, also, descended to the wreck, and brought up the ship's boat, by which it was ascertained that the ill-fated vessel was the Brisk, of London, Captain Fossarn, laden with coals.

It is stated by one of the crew of the Leigh boat, that the crew consisted of seven persons, and that a woman and child were on board, making in whole thirteen souls, all hurried into eternity by this melancholy event.

The names of the Leigh men drowned were, Charles Brady, aged 30; Robert Noakes, aged 24; Henry Wade, 17; and Frederick Fairhead, aged 13.

Back to History of Leigh

Newspapers could provide a wealth of information about your ancestors or where they lived. See our article on exploring newspaper archives.

my ancestors logo

My Ancestors.

Are your ancestors from Leigh on Sea? Why not tell us their story: My Leigh on Sea Ancestors.

Find your Ancestors in the Newspapers

Essex Standard Newspaper

Newspaper archives are now a very important source of information for researching your family tree.

Try our example search to help you discover if your ancestors are in the British Newspaper Archive.

Help me find my ancestors

Leigh on Sea - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Leigh on Sea - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805

This work is based on data provided through www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-4.0

Are you from the US, Australia or Ireland?

Findmypast are offering 75% off a 1 Month Premium (World Subscription). Offer lasts until 11:59pm Nov 27th, 2017.

Why not try them for a month to see what you can discover. Use the code: BLACKFRIDAY17

Click for USA

Click for Australia

Click for Ireland

How about this for an unusual Christmas Present?

Until midnight 27th November Ancestry are offering their DNA Kits for only £49. You can buy the kit as a present for a member of your family and have it delivered to their door.

Discover your DNA

Looking for pictures to add to your family tree album?


Ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. If you're looking for pictures to add to your family tree album, then try one of the auctions, or there are several 'Buy It Now' shops offering postcards which have been touched up and improved - so if you're unsure about bidding, try these. Link already formatted for Essex Postcards. Browse through or type the name of the location in the Ebay search box.