Not a good picture, sorry, but the only one we’ve got of the ship Hesper, which was one of the Colchester Gasworks fleet which in the late 19th century was based in Colchester and traded coal up and down the east coast from Tyneside, where this picture was taken. The ships shown are, left to right, Gloriana, Startled Fawn, Alice Watts, Antelope, and Hesper. Hesper was lost in Yarmouth Roads in 1921. Hesper’s skippers included Ralph ( also known as “Captain Dan”) Hatcher, who was so deaf that when on board he kept a slate with him to write messages.

The Hatchers came down from their east Suffolk villages to work in the Essex coastal towns, and they settled in both Colchester and Dovercourt. It was the Colchester line that produced Alice Hatcher, who married Percy Paveley in 1913. Below is a picture of them together in later life.

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