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HNC 27/7 Tin Shed Parliament

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I came across this story relating to the fishermen who used to live and work in Maldon, a town a few miles from where I live. I have transcribed some of the story from an information board positioned where these old men used to meet. The affection with which the story is written really moved me. I am so sad that these sorts of characters no longer seem to exist. I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did. TFL



Near Joseph T Handley's Bath House there was a rough looking old shed. It was here that the Parliament had their council chamber - originally just an old plank sitting on some large logs up against the main doors, facing down the river and under the tower and spire of St Mary's the fishermen's church. They would move the bench around and, depending on the prevailing weather conditions, either faced the saltings, or onto the Lake or in the more popular position, looking along the snaking line of the estuary.

Day in, day out hail or shine, there were at least 2 or 3 members at the Parliament. They kept time, not by the clock but by the tide. Dressed in a distinctive uniform consisting of a flat cap, blue-Guernsey, normal looking trousers, sometimes a waistcoat with a pocket watch and chain, and a well worn serge jacket - these wry-faced men would pontificate in a centuries old dialect. The debate would continue until the cry "that's water over" which was the unusual signal that it was time to partake of beer.



ASO_FancyRust_Paper_3 and label





Font: MV Boli


© © Hilary Locke

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