Oyster Smack - CK428 - Fashion


Built by Robert Aldous of Brightlingsea for Samual Munson Gentry of West Mersea.

Registered as CK428 by the Tollesbury & Mersea Oyster Company on 24th July 1894.


Sold to Ted Pitt of Maldon and re-registered as MN40.


Sold to Harry & Bessie Leslie of Southend and reregistered LO208.

Fitted with an engine, presumed to be a marinised Model T.


Sunk in Barling Creek by a German bomb and denoted 'lost through enemy action'.

Susequently removed from the London Fisheries Register.

Recovered by 'Gaffer' Mumford and sold to Tom Owen who restored her as a yacht.


Sold to Edgar Wilson.


Passed down to son-in law, Phil Bower.


Sold to Robbie Bush of Leigh on Sea.


Sold to David Moss of Brentwood and berthed at The Sail Loft, Hythe Quay, Maldon.


Sold by David Moss through a yacht brokers.

Current whereabouts unknown.


 Fashion at the start of the 1930 Mersea Town Regatta.

This black & white photo is by Douglas Went and comes from John Leather's book 'The Sailor's Coast'


Fashion is mentioned twice in the Colchester Fishing Register and is only one of two entries out of 500, where the exact date of registry is given. The first is 24th July 1894 and the secondis the 12th November 1906. Along with her skipper, Samual Munson Gentry, her crew were listed as George Stoken, Thomas Stoken and Arthur Mole. A record of smack moorings by 'Navvy' Mussett puts her on the top mooring in Bussand Creek.


Fashion was then purchased by Ted Pitt of Maldon on the 3rd of February 1923. He is recorded as saying, that when he sailed her out of West Mersea to Maldon, 'she was so hard jawed that she turned herself around and sailed right back in again'. They did however, modify the keel and eventually became 'Maldon Regatta Champions'

Her number was then changed to MN40 and the Pitt family dredged for oysters, mainly in the Paglesham area. 


In 1938, Fashion was sold to Harry & Bessie Leslie of Southend and reregistered as LO208. John Nichol, the landlord of the Kings Head on Foulness used to crew her, and speaking of her affectionately, reckons he could 'sail her backwards or through the eye of a needle'. He also recounts the story of how when they were laying at anchor alongside another smack, they heard an enormous 'crack' on deck. On emerging from below, the crew of the adjoining smack informed them that they had just seen her hit by lightning. There is indeed a huge split down her mast to this day and John assures that this was caused by the lightning strike.

Records show that around that time, she was fitted with a Ford engine by Costins of Southend (presumably a marinised Model T) for the princely sum of £12 10s. 0d.


The London Fishing Register is fairly detailed in its description and notes that the fishing license was not applied for during the war years up to 1946. The owner also advised that she had been lost due to enemy action, apparently sunk by a German bomb in Barling Creek.


  She was recovered by 'Gaffer' Mumford and later sold to Tom Owen of Shoeburyness for £50. Fashion, to say the least, was in a very bad state. Although the mast was still standing together with a few forlorn mast hoops, the deck was nowhere to be seen. Tom, subject to the availability of immediate post war materials, restored Fashion to a yacht. Much to Toms horror, his friend Busby who was assisting with the work during the course of 'yachtification' decided that the rotten counter was best removed and without further ado, chopped off the stern. It was nailed to the old barge wharf at Millhead, Great Wakering, complete with the name board, where it remained for several years. The image below shows Fashion sans her stern.


Fashion circa 1983

Sometime around 1948, Edgar Wilson, along with George Newbury, bought Fashion from Tom Owen for £350 although George later sold his share to Edgar. Fashion lived on a mooring in Millhead Basin and was 'sailing sister' to Les Cripps's smack, 'Victory'.

Edgar sailed Fashion with the Thames bargeman, Fred Cooper who carried out much of her maintenance.

(The above is an edited version originaly by Phil Bower, dated 6th June 1986)



 November 2000, Dave Moss purchases Fashion from Robbie Bush.


Fashion at Leigh Creek


Fashion came without an engine so Dave sourced a three cylinder Kybota diesel.



Fashion in her new colours and flying her new jib & stays'l.

The weekend of the 27/5/2001 she won 'Concours de Elegance' at the Burnham Regatta.


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