Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet



The Boat House alongside the River Stour

The Boat House

boat house

boat house
Top Left:- circa 1920
Colour Images taken 2007

The "Boat House" is located along the Colchester Road and was a thriving business providing river trips and refreshments during the early 1900`s

We know it sold Ginger Beer, as many empty bottles have been recovered from the river

In 1902 - 1913 Thomas Clarke was registered as "Pleasure Boat prop (The Boat House)"
Thomas and his wife Sarah were both listed as pensioners in the 1911 census.
Tom was known locally as the Ginger Beer man

Mrs Sarah Clarke (nee Bonny) took over from her husband when he died in March 1913.
She was also registered as "Pleasure Boat prop (The Boat House)"

She carried on the business at least until 1917 when the last reference to her was made in the Kelly`s trade directory.
She died in 1920 aged 80


By 1927 - 1937 Arthur Mussett was now listed as the proprietor.

Sometime between 1917 and 1927 the ownership of this business may have changed hands.

It`s not known when trading ceased

Ginger Beer Dispenser distributed by Tom Clarke
Dispenser measures 20.5 inches tall by 7.5 inches wide

Acknowledgment to John Manning for the loan of these pictures .
John who now lives in Holmforth, Yorkshire visited Bures in June 2012 which gave me an opportunity to view this magnificent dispenser.


Further information on local Ginger Beer dispensers



Sarah Clarke (nee Bonny) had a sister named Martha
Martha was married to Charles Alleston (jnr)

Martha (now Alleston) lived in River House and Sarah the Boat House.

Alleston Family

Charles Alleston father was Charles Alleston (Snr) who married Martha (nee Bonny)
Charles (snr) came from a family of 12, the majority working in the Tannery
Martha had a sister Sarah who married Tom Clark, both living at the Boat House

Charles Snr and Martha moved to London leaving Charles (jnr) to live with Martha`s sister Sarah at the Boat House

Charles(jnr) moved into River House when he was 18/19, presumably married to Emily (nee Pettit)
He attended Sudbury Grammar School, travelling by pony there and back each day
Emily was born in Stratford St Mary and then moved to Bures Hall

Boating was very popular during the early 1900, so they decided to build a boathouse where they used to hire boats out. They also produced Ginger Beer and Tom used to deliver this to the local pubs in his horse and cart.

Was Harry Clark the Night Soil man, the son of Tom ?

Updated 10/03/2015