Noteworthy People of Wivenhoe
The first professional Sea captain of the Yacht ‘Pearl’ was Captain William H.J. Ham who married the daughter of Philip Sainty, Elizabeth. He lived at St. Kilda in the High Street, Wivenhoe.
Grand-daughter Rene Ham was due to marry Sub-Mariner John W. Fleming during the last war but he was lost at sea with all hands in 1940. She subsequently married a Maldon man by the name of Wenlock. She had two sons one of whom has a business in Eld Lane, Colchester.
Wivenhoe Rangers, having won the Blake Amos Charity Cup for the third time between 1948 – 54, Blake Amos, a local horticulturist, named a new daffodil ‘Wivenhoe Ranger’ that he had produced.
Commodore Richard (Dick) Husk CBE of the family of Husks who for 100 years built some outstanding yachts revealed to Peter Green that during the Earthquake of 1884, his father’s mother was killed when a chimney fell on her head. In the national press of the day, it was said that there were no fatalities. The Husk boatyard was taken over by Vospers during the second world war and afterwards sold to James W. Cook.
Captain Albert Turner was the last professional skipper for King George 5th. He lived in the High Street, in the house below Malting Yard. He died in 1948. He skippered the Britannia which won over 200 races in her racing career. The Master Headsman was his nephew Johnny Turner for the 10 years up to the scuttle of the boat on orders of the King at his death. As Master Headsman, Johnny Turner sailed aloft during races, and his brother, Fred, was the boatman. ‘Monkey’ Byford was another headsman on her.
Peter Green‘s Grandfather, James (Friday) Green was also a selected crew member on the Britannia. At the age of 23, he crewed on the yacht ‘Genesta’ in the America’s Cup in 1885. It was in New York Harbour that Genesta collided with the American yacht Puritain, with Puritain ruled in the wrong, giving England the Cup. But the owner of Genesta said that he could not accept it on a technicality. After repairs, they re-sailed and lost, so the America’s Cup never returned to England.
Captain George Pittuck, another Wivenhoe skipper, was at the helm of ‘Volante’ the British entry in the first ever America’s Cup race in 1851.
The last sailmaker in Wivenhoe for the old sailing smacks was Hector Barr who had the premises on the Quay now occupied by the Nottage Institute. He sold up at auction in 1946.
Bayard Brown, American Millionaire. His steam yacht was kept at the ready for going to sea , but never did. This eccentric recluse who, when he did come ashore, would throw gold coins to the young lads and lasses on the Quay. His yacht was the ‘Valfreya’ which stayed at anchor at Wivenhoe, opposite the Fingringhoe sand works, for 40 years without moving. Bosun on her was Mr sainty who also ran the Wivenhoe Fingringhoe Ferry. He lived in Paget Road (Paget is the family name of the Marquis of Anglesea)
In 2002, Wivenhoe’s oldest resident was Mrs Ham at 101 years, and lived with her daughter, Shirley, in Alresford Road, Wivenhoe. Her brothers Claude and Edward Percival were international sailors. Claude served on the SY Rosabelle and Ted on Shamrock II, built for Sir Thomas Lipton for the 1901 America’s Cup Challenge, and one of three Shamrocks eventually built. Claude played football for Wivenhoe Rovers in the 1920s with Peter Green’s father, Alec Green.
Contributions by Peter Green.