|On the 8th October 1960 Len Outtrim was working on his boat ‘MAGLENDA’ in Weybridge Marine boatyard. At the time Len was wearing a Gieves yachting cap, complete with white duck cover. Terry Tappin came along and commented “wish I had a cap like that”. Len, who at the time was a member of Wey Cruising Club, replied light-heartedly “well, why don’t you join a Club then you could get one of your own”. Terry's response was "why don't we start one here ?" This remark was heard by Ernie Kemp on board ‘MEBA’ who said “that’s a good idea, let’s approach other boat owners in the yard” and, like Topsy, the idea grew during the rest of the day.|
On the following Sunday morning, the 9th October, 1960 an inaugural meeting took place in the cockpit of Ken Davies’ boat ‘NOKOMIS’. The name Weybridge Mariners was born by simply adding “rs” to Weybridge Marine, a bright idea by Charles Gautier who also thought up the design for the Club Burgee as it still is today, two cross marlin spikes with W.M.C. interspersed and surmounted by a three bladed marine propeller.
From these humble beginnings has come the club we know today. Initially club meetings were held in the yard workshop. Len's wife Maggie would clear a space for seating, consisting of wooden planks resting on the top of oil-drums or whatever else was lying around. We also managed to brew up a cuppa on the coke stoves. Later as the club grew we held meetings in the Old Crown public house in nearby Thames Street.
The first dinner dance was held on the 19th November at the Ship Hotel in Weybridge which also happened to be the birthday of Bob Tappin also known as Skip, one of the founder members. It was a very successful event and resulted in getting the club's name more well known which resulted in more members enrolling.
The offer from Skip Tappin that we use part of Wey Wheat Barge called Greywell, if we would be prepared to help with the conversion to make it habitable was accepted. This was done by putting a lantern roof over the main hold and some bulkheads in to divide it into two. The stern half of the barge was to be used by the club and was fitted with some seats from bus conversions. A small galley and toilets were also installed (bucket and chuck it). A bar in the shape of a dinghy on end was fitted and the original crew quarters right became the beer store. For this we paid a nominal sum of £2 per year.
We had some wonderful happy evenings and interesting discussions on boat handling, navigation and items of boating interest.
As the membership grew, we were able to purchase the whole barge. Sadly, the barge was taking up too much room in the yard, but fortunately Harmsworth Wharf became available at the entrance to the Wey Navigation for the club to rent it from the Thames Conservancy as it was known then. Later, the Wey navigation was taken over by the National Trust who claimed we were on their water and also charged us rent. It meant that the club had two landlords.
Our only access was by water, so the club purchased a ten foot open dory propelled by a water jet engine. Because of the heavily tree lined banks it was always getting blocked with leaves despite filters. A special rake had to be made to remove the leaves, this was alright in the summer, but as one had to put an arm into the water to do the cleaning, not so good in the winter. We modified the stern and fitted an outboard engine, this served us quite well.
A Setback....almost a disaster
In 1971/72, our bar license came up for renewal, resulting in an inspection by the local Health Officer. He didn't like our Elsan toilets or the fact that we didn't have any mains water. The lighting relied on a small Honda generator, loaned by one of the members. The Health Inspector gave us a year to do something about this situation. We began to think it was curtains for the club as we had tried unsuccessfully to get a mains water supply for several years.
Saved by the Lord (A Miracle)
Then out of the blue came what seemed a miracle, A group of Thames Conservators, headed by Lord Nugent of Guildford, visiting Shepperton Lock on an annual inspection of Thames Conservancy properties, they came round the Dock and Slipway (this is the official title of the Clubhouse site as we know it today) The large wooden building over the slipway (this is now our Clubhouse and Headquarters) was in a somewhat dilapidated condition, Lord Nugent enquired as to what it was and who the owners were, commenting that it looked very dangerous and should be demolished, he was somewhat taken aback to find that the Thames Conservancy were the owners. Accompanying Lord Nugent in the inspecting party was "Nobby" Pearce, who as well as being a Conservator was Chairman of the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs (ATYC). He said that he knew of a boat Club who might be interested in turning it into a useable Clubhouse and Headquarters for them.
It transpired that he was unable to contact the people he had in mind, but in the mean time Ron Sargent, Commodore of W.M.C. along with Len Outtrim the Clubs ATYC representative had approached "Nobby" about the building at Shepperton. The outcome of this discussion was that the T.C. would offer us a one year lease providing that the building was made safe and habitable at the end of the one year lease. One of our members at the time was a civil engineer and drew up a set of plans along with a schedule of materials required these were submitted to the T,C. who approved them. As a result arrangements for the forthcoming work were put in hand.
Bev maintained that any bumps had to be attributed to the fact that he
did all the work with his left hand as he had suffered a nerve injury to
his right hand. .
Bev maintained that any bumps had to be attributed to the fact that he did all the work with his left hand as he had suffered a nerve injury to his right hand.
Stairs and Stores
The staircase to and the storeroom over the Club Bar was constructed by Peter Collins assisted by various Members. The shelves to the storeroom were modified by Frank Miller in order to facilitate easier access..
The Clubhouse was rewired by Charlie Sparrie who was an electrician. He carried out the work over a period approaching 3 months mainly evenings and weekends
The Patio, to the upstream of the Slip, including Brickwork and Metal Railings was the work of Martin Small assisted by his wife Carole, the mooring post were made and fixed by Vic Lundberg, The reason for the upstream post being tall was to make it easy for the Crew to throw a line over.
The concrete steps from the riverside downstream of the Slip were constructed by Peter Clark assisted by Frank Gaylard and his concrete gang. These steps replaced a set of timber ones which had gone well past their use by date
The Pontoon was made for us by Sandy Evans, the original paint job was carried out by Terry Denny and at a later stage the anti slip coating on the deck was applied by Martin Small
The original fence was suffering the ravages of time and on this fact being pointed out by our Landlords, Terry Carthew assisted by Vic collected and renewed the fence to the satisfaction of our landlords.
Most of the work to install the worktops was carried out by Don James who also had a finger in the glazed tiling to the walls. Over the years various other Members have become involved in keeping the Galley up to scratch
The floor at this end had suffered a form of rot, this was cut out by Len Baker and replaced using sections of the floor timber which adorned the front of some of the banquet seating.
The original flight installed during construction of the Clubhouse had become dangerous and was replaced by Frank Miller.
Numerous other jobs which have contributed to the smooth running of the Club have been carried out by members who gave their time quietly and freely"The original ceiling followed the contour of the roof this resulted in a considerable loss of heating during the winter months, this problem was remedied by Vic Lundberg who assisted by his wife Joyce installed the ceilings existing today, this resulted in a marked reduction in the cost of heating the Club. Also at this time Len Baker made the shields and staffs for mounting the various flags and pennants that we had been given during social visits from and to other Clubs.
It was on the 2nd March 2006 that disaster struck. Chris Knight who was Commodore had a call at at home from Bob Smith one of our members who worked as the local Environment Officer at the E.A. building next door. Fire had destroyed the total building and we lost everything including all the Honours Boards and Display Cabinets housing all the silver cups. Worse still was the discovery that our insurance cover which had been based on updated valuations of the building which had been built by the members in the early seventies; was woefully inadequate to meet the cost for rebuilding to 2006 standards. Not only did we have a fire but to compound our problems we were in the process of renegotiating our lease with the E.A.
The cause of the fire was unknown. Forensic investigation would have had to have been paid for and as our cover was already too low, there seemed little point since our insurers paid out irrespective.
As previously documented in this History account; when the club was initially converted for our use from the Thames Conservancy boathouse back in the 70’s; we had many members with the necessary qualifications and skills. Post the fire we still had members with considerable skills. Ray Churchill was an Architect and Charles Worby a Building Surveyor.
Two sub-committees from club members were set up. The first was the Rebuild Committee headed by Ray Churchill. Serving on this Committee we had Roger Francis who had considerable building experience. He was to undertake the position as Clerk of Works. The other prime members were Vic Lundberg, Charles Worby, Frank Miller, Jim Kelly and Gary Musgrove. The second sub-committee was the Fund Raising Committee headed by the Vice Commodore Frank Gaylard. Ex Officio members comprising the Commodore, the Secretary Chrissie Drummie and the Treasurer Angie Jenkins sat in on the Committees when appropriate.
The Rebuild Committee decided that the initial work would be carried out by Gerry Harris who was a self employed building contractor. He and Keith Davies undertook the work that was considered unsafe for the rest of the members. Once it was safe, other members joined in. Bob Smith was able to help us with disposal of waste materials by river. Almost 10% of the insurance cover was spent clearing the site.
Ray Churchill drew up plans under the umbrella of Axiom Architects where he worked as a director. He submitted all the plans to the E.A. who had no objection. The fact that Bob Smith was virtually on the doorstep no doubt ensured that things went faster than might have happened without his co-operation. Also, we had huge support from Steve Newman our resident Lock Keeper not for getting Sandra his wife who supplied teas on many occasions Following on, Ray liaised with the Local Council and put the rebuild plans out to tender. This resulted in the work being placed with Ian Parkinson Bryant Construction Ltd. who had built the new Gibbs' boatyard premises just down river from our clubhouse. Ian was exceptionally co-operative knowing of the club’s predicament with limited finances. He agreed to do as much as possible within our budget. This meant that our initial requirements were dramatically cut back. Parkinson Bryant would take on the main structure including new steelwork and that once the outer walls, floors and roof had been completed members would work on building all the internal stud walling, undertake all plumbing, electrical and internal decorative work.
Charles Worby liaised liaised with Gerry Harris on trial inspection holes to establish the stability of the existing foundations for supporting the rebuild including the additional steel work for the re-designed roof. A structural engineer was called in to determine whether the original steelwork could be retained. Fortunately it had survived with little damage.
The shortfall on our insurance cover was the
reason we set up the Fund Raising Committee under Frank Gaylard
our Vice Commodore. We desperately needed funding for the
internal work. Plans
were made to hold a
Mariners’ River Festival at Shepperton Lock on
It was a great success thanks to the
involvement of all our members who were able to participate.
Angie Jenkins organised the supply of marquees which were
collected by Peter Adams in his truck with help from many of the
members. Everyone turned to erect them by the lock and in Steve
Stalls were set up with for club members Sally Holdaway,
Margaret Bond, Joyce Lundberg, Sian McCoy, Jean Francis, Pat
Borsboom, Glen Lavier, Heather Gaylard, Annette Harris, Wendy
Hurrell, Maureen Lawrence, Su Knight and Ann Fowler among others
providing cakes, jams, marmalade pies and chutney.
Other stalls were taken by the RNLI and others
selling jewellery, craft items, perfume, books etc. River trips;
courtesy of Bev Shields at Chertsey Meads Marine; were set up with
donations going to the Mariners. JGF moored the Walton Lady
alongside with a Pimms Bar with smoked salmon and cucumber
sandwiches on the upper deck run by Bill and Angie Jenkins. Bill
McCoy ran a hot dog and burgher stall,
Past Commodore Mike
Higgins donated a weekend in
This success led to follow up annual festivals which further strengthened our rebuild kitty. Tony Riley from Bray Cruising Club and of Legacy fame came and played the organ and sang at the River Festivals. Marquees and stalls were again set up and we continued to add to our funds.
Main functions during the rebuild were held
Work on the clubhouse by members really started when the builders had completed the main structure. Our main stay was Roger Francis who not only was actively involved with everything but also ensured that it all moved along at the correct speed and order. Further clearance and collection of building materials began. Peter Adams provided transportation both to and from the site. Everything had to be carried over the lock gates and members all turned to help. Much of the internal stud walling was built by Billy Barton who provided power tools in conjunction with Roger Francis. Helping with this work were Peter Budd, John McPhee, Frank Miller, Jim Hillier. Kenny Beard, Danny Rogers, Russell Doig, Jim Pothecary, Mike Fowler,and others. Vic Lundberg set about marking the floors as drawn out on the plans by Ray Churchill. Once the stud walling framework was up; plasterboard was fitted’. External walls were double skinned to meet fire regulations. Plasterboard also had to be fitted to the undercroft. A night shift with Frank Gaylard, John McPhee, Bob Boreham and others undertook this work.
Gary Musgrove ordered all the electrical wiring and parts and almost single handed set about the installation. Although not a qualified electrician his computer background enabled him to undertake work that was new to him although it necessitated him studying the regulations to ensure that there would be no problem when the system was commissioned by a qualified electrician.
Jim Kelly ordered all the plumbing parts including the boiler, radiators and piping. Jim previously had a plumbing business and although retired did most of the work himself assisted by Jim Hillier.
In addition to Billy Barton who did much of the carpentry including making temporary staircases we also had the skills of Frank Miller who before retiring had a Carpentry and Joinery business. Frank undertook joinery work fitting out the galley and elsewhere as needed including banisters for the final outside staircases.
Once all the internal walls were up; everyone turned to with help. Everyone included many of the ladies who not only provided food and drink on working weekends but also did much of the cleaning and painting.
Outside all steelwork had to be rubbed down and painted. Trenches had to be dug steps erected and paths laid down. Roger Francis, Peter Budd, Bob Boreham, Kenny Beard , John McPhee and others were involved. The initial stairs on the riverside were made by Billy Barton to meet safety regulations for fire escape access whilst work was going on. The original wrought iron staircases were re-erected in conjunction with the new balcony.
The galley stove was funded by another generous donation made by Eileen Rogers. This was a commercial item and weighed a ton. Martin Small arranged transport for collection with the help of several members for man handling. Fitting was carried out by Jim Kelly. Specialized flooring in the galley was laid by a contractor
The balcony was another major task undertaken by members. Foundations were dug for additionally supporting steelwork. Steel sheets were delivered by river with the help of Keith Edwards from Middle Thames Yacht Club. Peter Towerzey erected a temporary boom at an angle on what remained of the original balcony. A block and tackle was attached to form a crane to lift the last sheets. Each one was drilled and an eyebolt fitted to connect to the chain lift. These sheets weighed in the order of a quarter of a ton each and were rolled into position using scaffold poles. Peter brought welding equipment and completed the balcony flooring. With help from Bob Boreham railings were sourced and welded into position with an additional scaffold pole railing modification along the top to meet current safety requirements.
One of the later additions was the construction of a bar. Weybridge Mariners’ Club have not had the benefit of an income from mooring rentals and rely heavily on profits from bar sales. Frank Gaylard initially set up a system of trestles and boards When our funds had increased sufficiently with the income from the River Festivals and other organized events we were able to fund the current bar which was built by Billy Barton.
As we progressed with the fitting out of the new build other measures were taken. Bill McCoy acquired flooring tiles which were laid. The dance floor which we had all enjoyed in the old club house was sorely missed. It was the generosity of Michael Phillips to whom we have to thank for our current beautiful dance floor. Barbara, his late wife used to love to dance and this new floor was laid in dedication to her memory.
Even after the building was deemed useable for the members we had little. Derek Dale took over as Fundraiser. His reputation as a lodge Charity Steward ensured that every function he and Barbara organized gave a good profit. We obtained chairs and tables via Maureen McLaughlin and cleared out the British Motor Yacht Club courtesy of John Tough. The original floor tiles in the main hall were replaced thanks to Bob Boreham who acquired replacements. Ann Fowler made curtains
An awful lot of work was carried out by the members to get to where we are now. The new club house was officially opened by Chris Turner Chairman of the ATYC. This was thought to be a fitting follow up from Nobby Pearce his predecessor who opened it in 1972. Sadly, our President the late Len Outtrim was unable to be present but his grand-daughter read out a message from him.
It has been a long hard struggle but the new clubhouse must be one of the best on the river. Of course there is still work going on. Outside, Bob Boreham has laid new paving, Les Holdaway has undertaken our gardening. Peter Budd designed and fitted the Weybridge Mariner's sign on the clubhouse frontage above the balcony overlooking the river. Jim (Jim 'll Fix It) Hamments now seems to be the member to sort out all the remaining niggles as he sees or via request from Andrew Cotter.
We owe a lot to Ray Churchill, Roger Francis,
Ian Parkinson and all those who have helped rebuilding the
Since then the major change at Weybridge Mariners has been
the establishment of moorings. This took a long
period as agreements from the Environment Agency and the local
council were required. Initial consent from the E.A.
was obtained in 2010 but it was not until 2012 that Pat Walsh
(Barge and Boat Builder and Civil Engineering Contractor)
started work. Roger Francis was the WMC mainstay who
drew up the plans and handled all the negotiations and reported back to the WMC committees. The work covered breakout
concrete to the end of the slipway, the insertion of 4 piles
with 2 walk on pontoons with cleats linked with 2 gangways
on Youngman's Board. This provided accommodation for 4
Since then the major change at Weybridge Mariners has been the establishment of moorings. This took a long period as agreements from the Environment Agency and the local council were required. Initial consent from the E.A. was obtained in 2010 but it was not until 2012 that Pat Walsh (Barge and Boat Builder and Civil Engineering Contractor) started work. Roger Francis was the WMC mainstay who drew up the plans and handled all the negotiations and reported
back to the WMC committees. The work covered breakout concrete to the end of the slipway, the insertion of 4 piles with 2 walk on pontoons with cleats linked with 2 gangways on Youngman's Board. This provided accommodation for 4 berths.
Later modifications to the gangways were
undertaken by Jim Hamment s.
Any errors or omisions in the above - please
contact the webmaster
following has been received via Bev Shields from
probably one of the
of the WMC still around.
The writer is Jonathan Cooke who now lives in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida. Reading the 1969 Newsletter on our
website from June Griffiths triggered many memories from the
Back in the Fifties and Sixties I lived with
my parent(s) Julie and 'Cookie' on a boat called MY 'Pisces' at
Weybridge Marine when Bob (Skip) Tappin, his wife and his son
Terry where alive. I know that Bob died a long time ago,
survived by Norah, his widow and by now
probably Terry Tappin
has also passed on .
ex wife Pauline Lucas passed away years ago. (Her parents, the
Lucas's, were part of WMC. They were old show biz music hall
another occasion Shiner, Drake, Cook (no Dillon)
went up the River Snape at Aldeburgh to the
Maltings on a high tide. On the way back downstream we ran into
bad weather, it was November. It turned into full gale force
storm and we put out to sea, at one point passing some top
secret installation on the
Suffolk coast. The North Sea was very unforgiving and
Piglet/Porcelet was tossed around for what seemed like
didn't think we would make it back alive.
The Amy Jane
The following information from Vic Lundberg was passed to me last year (2012) by Bev Shields which may be of interest. It relates to the WMC ferry that we had prior to the 'Len Outtrim'.
This boat was fitted out by her first owner in Uxbridge and was called Maria Catalina
She was purchased from him by Don Creese,
Past Commodore of
For 21 years they travelled extensively in
her under her new name "Amy Jane". She was moored on and
travelled the Wey Navigation. Their travels included the greater
part of the
In 1987 she was purchased by Arthur Brooks,
Past Commodore, for his daughter and then sold to Ian Bond in
In February 1990 Ian's property in Laleham Reach was destroyed in a flash flood and Amy Jane sank at her moorings. On the 26th March.
Don Khaan and Arthur Bond salvaged the boat for Ian. Ian intimated that he would be prepared to sell her for a nominal sum and Don suggested to the Committee that the Club purchase Amy Jane and use her as a dory.
On the 3rd April Arthur Bond offered to pay for her and the Committee agreed to her conversion into a dory
Roy Vincent brought her down from Chertsey at the beginning of June and by the 19th June Michael Walker had dug out all the silt from the innards , Don Khaan had got the engine running and Maurice Coster had removed the interior woodwork.
In July Don and Joan Creese sent a message wishing her safe journeys in her new capacity as Club Dory.
By the 20th August Maurice Coster had fitted new decking.
Don Khaan and Terry Tappin pulled her up on Terry's slipway in Weybridge Marine for refurbishment in September. Roy and Frank Vincent covered the cabin and deck with fibre glass, Bill Tandy painted the hull and Terry Francis anti—fouled the bottom. Terry Tappin and Don Khaan fitted a rubber rubbing strip, Maurice Coster made and fitted the engine casing and steps. The name W.M.C. FERRY was applied.
She was launched in October 1990 and her
first work as W.M.C.Ferry was for the Laying Up Supper on
In January 1995 during flood waters Amy Jane holed herself on the new bollards outside the Clubhouse Don Khann and Paul Killick happened to spot this and with aid of the Thames Police from next door managed to pull her up the Club slipway where she was eventually patched and returned to service.
For the record - the following Members gave their services
Maurice Coster Terry Tappin
Don Khaan Paul Killick
Terry Tappin Maurice Coster
Michael Walker Bill Tandy
Roy Vincent Vic Lundberg
Terry Francis Roy Vincent
Frank Vincent William Tandy
Vic Lundberg Bruce Caunter
Tea ad infinitum — Grace Coster.