MALDON'S Maritime Heritage 

The Maldon Society has a selection of maritime photos and oral history recordings

celebrating Maldon's maritime heritage.

Find out more at the Maeldune Heritage Centre.

Oral History recordings at our listening station in the Centre


Barry Pearce - Talks about his early love of barges and working on them. Barry was born in 1939. As a young man he worked on various boats and barges before coming to Maldon in 1958. He lived on a fishing boat and then on a tug which he owned. He took over the lease of Cook's Boatyard and ran it for 10 years, working with other shipwrights such as David Patient and John Pitt. He can name many barges that he worked on, including the re-rigging of 'Hydrogen'. He is also a talented artist and did the drawings for the front and back cover of David Patient's recent book (see below).


David Patient - Talks about when he was a shipwright at Cook's Boatyard and working on barges. David tells how timbers have to be heated and then bent in to shape before being fitted on to a barge. It’s a complicated job, not without risks. David repaired and rebuilt many barges and later had his own yard at Fullbridge. He was also 'shipwright adviser' to the Cirdon Trust for under-priviledged children and has recently written a book about the barge builder John Howard, 'One of Howard's'.  


John Raven - A Maldon sailmaker for 50 years, he describes starting work at the age of 15 in 1957, taking over from his grandfather who had worked for 60 years as a sailmaker. He continues his memories by giving details of the measuring, marking up, cutting and stitching of the sails. All the ropes were sewn by hand and he is left-handed. John recalls posing as one of the models for the silhouetted figures in the window in All Saints' Church dedicated to Mr Taylor, the owner of the sail-making business (Sail Lofts) on the Quay.


You can also listen to extracts from these and other 'maritime' recordings on the Memories of Maldon page.


Visual archives on our wide screen monitor at the Centre


These archives have a wide range of images from collections of professional photographers, artists and historians. A selection is shown below.


Bill Geller                            Pen and ink drawings

John Hill                              Blackwater Views

Herbert Springett                Hythe Quay

Maldon Crystal Salt            Video showing salt production process

Paddy Lacey                      Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

Peter Roberts                     Thames Barges


Blue plaque walk


You can enjoy our blue plaque walk around the conservation area of the town. Copies of the walk leaflet can be obtained from the Maeldune Heritage Centre or downloaded from our website here 


You will be able to see the recently refurbished blue plaque acknowledging John Howard, a qualified naval architect and one of Maldon’s most famous barge builders. He was best known for his ‘stackie’ barges, known as ‘hay up and dung down’ because the barges were loaded with hay and straw at Maldon and returned with London horse muck for the clay fields by the River Blackwater to help fertilise the farm fields for agricultural crops.


Please see the Maeldune Heritage Centre’s opening times by visiting their website: