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History

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Benfleet Yacht Club was first established in 1922 on the northern bank of Benfleet Creek adjacent to the railway line and Benfleet station. In those early days, meetings etc. were held in the nearby 'Hoy' Public House.

By 1927, an old Thames barge had been converted into the clubhouse.

In 1935 the Benfleet Yacht Club acquired an ex-Gravesend Port Authority health ship "Hygeia", for their headquarters. It had originally been a two-mast schooner moored off Gravesend. However, this boat was not built to be grounded on the mud with each tide and she quickly began to leak and electric pumps had to be installed to combat this.

The "Hygeia" was replaced by the ex-inner Dowsing Lightship in 1946; she was built in 1840 and was the oldest surviving lightship afloat, this was moored just by the station. A great deal of work was needed to convert her to a clubhouse, but this was all done by club members. The toilet was a little shed on the deck with a hole direct to the creek. There was a large cast iron stove in the middle of the main saloon and here social functions were held. Small boats would be pulled up onto the banks of the creek in front of the station and under the railway bridge.


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