Here is a picture of the Leigh on Sea Coastguard Station viewed from the east
The village of Leigh was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Legra”, a small fishing hamlet. Due to its good position on the shipping route to London, it began to grow and by the 16th century had become a fairly large and prosperous port. Ships of up to 340 tons are recorded as being built in Leigh, including many that would have been built for the local fishing fleets. With its location at the mouth of the Thames, Leigh was often used by the navy against threats from pirates and the French, Spanish and Dutch Navies.
By the 18th century ships had become larger and trade changed. At this time Leigh’s deep water channel silted up and the importance of the town diminished. It then gradually reverted to a fishing village, supplying the London market by road and barge.
The small building in the distance is still there and it used to be a sailimakers workshop. It isnow is a local Foreshore Office for Leigh.
The Coastguard Station situated at Gibraltar Point, about four miles from Skegness, went under the hammer at the Lion Hotel, Skegness, in 1926.
The auction, carried out by Messers George Dunkley, was ordered by the Admiralty, after the station disbanded a short while before.
The property comprised a brick and slated bungalow with a look-out tower, two bedrooms, sitting room, etc, standing on approximately half-an-acre of land encloded by a brick wall. The property was leasehold for a term of 99 years from 1859, and was offered with immediate vacant possession.
The auctioneer highlighed a few advantages to the property – wildfowl shooting, boating and fishing facilities in the vicinity, and suggested that the buyer might make a living by killing seals on the nearby sandbanks, ten shillings being the going price for the nose of a seal.
Starting at £100, the property slowly advanced until it reached the final purchase price of £520, offered by Mr F Pegler of Villa Marina Seacroft and Retford.
Corton had its Beach Company, whose purpose was to procure wrecks and wreckage for salvage. Their hut was on the beach near Locum Hole an inconvenient pleace in some ways, for most of the company would have lived in the village. However its close proximity to the lifeboat shed must have been significant and this site between Corton and Lowestoft would have aided the close working relationship what appears to have existed between the Corton Company and the Lowestoft North Roads beachmen.
The names of Corton men, presumably members of the beach company or at least activiely involved in salvage, appear in the Yarmouth Admiralty court list of salvaged goods from 1765 onwards.
From 1869 to 1879 Corton also possessed a lifeboat, The “Husband”, a fourteen oar Norfolk type boat, 36 feet by 10.5 feet, built by Messrs.
The lifeboat station was originally established at Corton after a request by Mr WR Archer on behalf of the Lowestoft Beachmen at a cost of £620 from MRS George Davis of Clapham in memory of her late husband.
An Apparatus was invented in 1808 by Captain George Manby, barrack master at Yarmouth and was successfully used by Lt Woodger from the cliffs between Corton and Hopton on 20th jan 1814.
Corton had its own rocket station from as early as 1848 with a volunteer crew, at the begining of this century, of about twenty, as well as four full time Coastguards. The Coastguards lived in cottages, specially built for them in 1876 by jeremiah Colman, in the street just south of Tibbenhams score, and their boat was kept on a slipway at the foot of the score. Their lookout, a rustic looking building, was on the cliff just North of Tibbenhams score, just above the slipway, but this was later replaced by a new one about 100 yards further south.
Four unmounted coastguards had been established at Felpham c. 1295, as one of only three such places in the rape. Riding officers for Felpham were appointed from 1699, and in the 1810s and 20s a coastguard officer, two preventive officers, and many boatmen, presumably stationed at Bognor, were recorded. A coastguard station was built c. 1861 midway between Felpham village and the sea, comprising a detached officer’s house, a watch house, and two rows of red and yellow brick cottages; the boathouse was east of the modern Blake’s Road. In 1887, after the closure of the coastguard station in Bognor, it was described as Bognor coastguard station. There were 46 inmates in all in 1871. The station was closed in the early 1920s, and soon afterwards three large houses were built between the rows of cottages, and a parade of shops in the garden of the officer’s house along Felpham Road.