History

Sail Loft

Up until very recently, this building was still used as a sailmaker’s business. It is now used as the Foreshores Inspectors office.

Sail Loft

Junipers Cottages

These cottages have been recently reconstructed and now form part of the Boatyard Restaurant.

Junipers Cottages

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. When the London to Tilbury railway was extended to Southend in 1856, this split the village in two and many of its timber-framed buildings were demolished. But the trains were a benefit to the fishermen as it enabled them to transit fish to Billingsgate much faster than before.

On the left and right are places of interest that are still in Old Leigh today. 









Photos of the Past

Please note: All the photographs below are Copyright © The Lynn Tait Gallery. 

To see larger pictures click on each photograph.