Established in 1898, The Fambridge Yacht Club. flourished until the outbreak of the Great War, when practically all of the members, with the exception of a few who were too old, joined one or other of the services. The club had leased a galvanized iron building which had been used to house a small steam yacht during the winter months. Originally part of a small field hospital, it was refurbished to make it more suitable for use as a Clubhouse. It was lined throughout with match-boarding, a floor built well above the high water mark, and a balcony added to the end facing the river.
After the war, the future uncertain, the club gave up the tenancy of the premises, stored the furniture and closed down to await the return of happier times. In 1973, that enterprising young yachtsman Dr. Alan J. Eley (although one could hardly call him young) wrote to all yachtsmen with moorings at Fambridge, proposing that Fambridge Yacht Club be re-established as the North Fambridge Yacht Club to represent local sailors on a Federation of Crouch Area Yacht Clubs (C.A.Y.F), being formed to assist Essex County Council in establishing a Harbour Authority to represent all the users of the rivers in lieu of private enterprise taking over full control.
By taking this action, C.A.Y.F was able to negotiate with the new Harbour Authority to keep the charges down to a minimum by agreeing to yacht clubs and boatyards collecting dues on behalf of the Authority. Needless to say most of the Yachtsmen responded to Dr. Eley’s letter and North Fambridge Yacht Club was established.
The old Clubhouse building looked very dilapidated from the outside but a fuller inspection revealed great potential. NFYC members; a builder, electrician and plasterer together with some experienced D.I.Y. enthusiasts planned a full restoration including lifting the building above the level of the river bank.
Before the clubhouse could be raised, working parties filled the void underneath it with concrete. The supports needed to elevate the structure were cast in concrete using milk churns as moulds! Once the building had settled on the new supports, the old roof and wall cladding were removed to be replaced with new materials. Once the building was water tight, the interior woodwork was cleaned, then a galley and bar constructed. The whole of the inside was then decorated so that the clubhouse could be formally opened by Dr. Eley on 5th May 1979.
The club has continued to improve the facilities to make it a more comfortable and hospitable environment for meetings and events. Most of this work was or is undertaken by members. The Clubhouse is now far from its planned use in the Crimean War for which it was originally built.