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West Mersea (formerly spelt Mersey) is a small town and electoral ward in the Colchester borough of Essex, England. It is the larger of two settlements on Mersea Island, located south of Colchester. The smaller settlement on the island is the village of East Mersea.
The West Mersea Yacht Club is a notable centre for sailing on the East coast of England. The town also boasts an RNLI lifeboat station. The town hosts an annual regatta, usually in August each year, known as Mersea Week.
Roman buildings and tessalated pavements located close to the current quayside have led to suggestions that a small Roman settlement and port existed on the site of the modern town, with a road linking it to the nearby town of Camulodunum (modern Colchester). The nearby burial mound to the north of the town is also of Roman date.
In July 1963, the lifeboat station was established next to the West Mersea Yacht Club, one of the first ten inshore lifeboat stations in the British Isles. Originally served by a D class lifeboat, this was replaced by a B class, Atlantic 21, lifeboat in 1972. In 1992, a new boathouse and slipway were opened by the Duke of Kent. In 2001, a B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat was stationed at West Mersea, and then in 2015 this was replaced with the current B class Atlantic 85 named Just George, funded by £210,000 of community donations.
In 1954, a tragedy happened. A man called Ian Hude decided to drive along the causeway when the tide was in. He drove down the road and his car stopped. He got out and slipped on the road as the water was coming in at a fast speed. He was swept away and drowned.
West Mersea today
The town is served by a community centre, various shops, restaurants, small hotels, public houses, a petrol station, bank, library, and several churches, including St Peter and St Paul, (Norman, Church of England), Roman Catholic, Methodist and the West Mersea Free Church (Affiliated to the Baptist Union).
West Mersea has a high proportion of elderly people, so many of the town's amenities cater for them.
Mersea has a strong sense of community and tradition. A regular publication, the Mersea Courier, lists many local activities. These include Pond Watch, The Night Sky, Christian Viewpoint and Speed Learn.
Additionally the Island is famous for its oysters, which are taken from oyster beds dating back to the Roman era.
- "Town/Ward population 2011". Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Crummy, Philip (1997) City of Victory; the story of Colchester - Britain's first Roman town. Published by Colchester Archaeological Trust (ISBN 1 897719 04 3)
- Toynbee, J.M.C. (1996) Death and Burial in the Roman World. Published by Thames and Hudson. (ISBN 0-8018-5507-1)
- "1963: Inflatable lifeboats". rnli.org. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
- Thomas, Godfrey (2015-05-26). "West Mersea Lifeboats: May 2015 Report". West Mersea Lifeboats. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
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