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Burnham-on-Crouch Sign

Sep 2020

burna (a) stream + hām Old English (a) village community, an estate + crouch Unknown (river name).

Population - 7,671.

Burnham-on-Crouch Sign

Just passing through on the way back from Billericay to see an old friend Dickie, you know, the brickie? He's no thickie and is doing very well, thanks for asking, lying on the couch with a nice bit of posh From Burnham-on-Crouch.

 Ian Dury, of course, not actually from Essex, actually, in a heroic attempt to rhyme Billericay Dickie's, erm, 'conquests' with Essex references and some of it quite brilliantly bawdy.

It's a promising start but Janet is from near the Isle of Thanet, which is in Kent, and when the word 'noblesse' has to be parachuted in for Shoeburyness then there's every sympathy having tried to do something similar with Sandwich.

Dury's nod to Burnham is to its relative well-to-do-ness, evidenced by the still-standing Victorian Clock Tower that's often an indicator of somewhere significant with plenty of spare cash.

Burnham-on-Crouch - High Street

Significant, yes, and much of the eye-catching high street dates from when the railway came, which will still, indirectly, get you to Liverpool Street in just over an hour.

Burnham-on-Crouch - Station Road Burnham-on-Crouch - The Rio Cinema Burnham-on-Crouch - Domino's Pizza

There's a small-town feel as seen at the local  cinema and high street-chain pizzas are delivered from a, get this, former chapel although you won't go to hell for ordering a  Hawaiian.

Significant, yes, but easily accessible? Well, kind of. Southend's high-rises can just about be seen on the horizon but the topography of South Essex makes for a 20-odd-mile diversion by road.

By topography, what's really meant is the layout of the land, sliced and divided by countless rivers and inlets and Burnham is right on one, the River Crouch, of course.

That means it's accessible, alright, but only really easily for sailing sorts. A glimpse beyond the fleshpots, here, of the  Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, one of four sailing clubs in town, no less.

Burnham-on-Crouch - The Quay

In descending order of patronage, and membership fees, probably, the Corinthian is king[1] followed by the  Royal Burnham Yacht Club, the Crouch Yacht Club and the  Burnham Sailing Club, which warrants neither a royal nor not even a yacht.

The redbrick seawall is a nice variation on the ugly, yet necessary, concrete that's all too common, yet necessary, in these parts.

[1] Queen Vic, actually, and Geordie V giving the thumbs up to the Royal Burnham.

 
Bistro On The Quay (The Quay)

Bistro is ambitious unless they're deconstructing their Full Englishes, which they're not, but they've outdoor seating that's right on the river and a top spot for a toastie.

It wasn't too far down to Ramsgate then onto Dunkirk for the Vanguard, one of three 'Little Ships' from Burnham to hop across the channel in 1940 to help with the evacuations.

Burnham-on-Crouch - The Quay

A blue plaque is a reminder to the saving of 600 soldiers, they say, quite a feat for an oyster dredger that's not much more than a big rowing boat, really.

It was recently found rotting in some Canvey Island mud and funds were raised for a complete restoration back here in Burnham. It's not known if Priors Boatyard got the gig but they're claiming some success with this one.

Burnham-on-Crouch - The Quay Burnham-on-Crouch - Priors Boatyard

They specialise in houseboats, these days, and yes, these are, quite literally, houses that are boats or, boats that are houses if you'd rather.

You've all done it and the compulsory clocking of a local estate agent's window confirms this is one of the pricier parts of Essex. That makes for a ready-made market for the alternative of a house that's a boat or, a boat that's a house if you'd rather.

People have taken to not just living by the water but on it although there's nothing economical about what looks to be a semi-permanent arrangement on board a yacht with at least three hungry hounds.

Burnham-on-Crouch - The Quay Burnham-on-Crouch - Houseboats Burnham-on-Crouch - Near Houseboats

The aquatic quarters are somewhat more modest heading west by the water and while it's slightly unconventional, there's no real need to stop and stare so what do you think you're looking at, eh?

 
Former Crouch Yacht Club

Omnipresent South East weatherboard decorates one of several developments and remember when it was said there are four sailing clubs in Burnham?

Burnham-on-Crouch - Former Crouch Yacht Club

Well, it looks like there weren't quite enough yachts to go round and the Crouch Yacht Club is currently being converted into condominiums overlooking the watercourse.

Just the three sailing clubs now, then? What kind of place is this? One that looks very different to an older couple who are heard on observing the progress that it used to be all fields round here, or something similarly sentimental.

Not looking out over the Crouch it wasn't.

Signs of any real sailing have been fairly slim, so far, but with your back to the town and the water on the left, here's the motherlode of  marinas in the Maldon District of Essex, probably.

350 berths although you too will lose count at about twenty-odd. There's more of the same over at Wallasea Island and it all provides most of the parking for Burnham Week, an unimaginatively-named seven days that's a  regatta, really.

Burnham-on-Crouch - Yacht Harbour

With no nautical connections, nor any real interest in any of this, why bother with Burnham? Because Billericay Dickie only pricked this one's curiosity in 1977 as to just how posh could a place like Burnham be?

Nice enough but not that posh, it turns out, and what with social mobility since the late '70s all fuelled by such factors as good schools and commutability, Dickie would now be pathetically bragging about Hayley from Rayleigh wherever that is?

Oh! looks like he'll be passing through there on his long-winded way to Southend, actually, and no, nothing rhymes with Sarfend, neither.

 
Burnham-on-Crouch Country Park

Access is via Riverside  Park and while it's hardly a large area, it leads to the intriguingly-named Creeksea for more sailing but with added caravans.

It also leads back to the car, gingerly parked at the top of town to avoid being stung down on the quay, probably, right skinflints?

 
New Wallasea Island RSPB Reserve

Just half-a-mile by flying crow but a near 30-mile diversion that's all the fault of the Crouch so it's a good job there's a ferry, then.

Apart from their marina and more caravans, the main attraction is to eye up the birds and there's an 8-mile loop around the mudflats. It's unsuitable for stilettos, however, and most folk wouldn't even think this was Essex, right twitchers?