Rye Harbour Image Library | Picture

Picture No:217
Courtesy of:Mary Lestocq
Add to my Album 

Harbourmaster's House and Office

Date uncertain. This shows the Harbourmaster's office before its extension about 1990(?)
Picture Added on 16 January 2007.


My old home (the new HM's house and office), which was extended by two additonal cottages after Dad retired, was built at the beginning of 1939 and we moved in about a month before the commencement of WWII. As a matter of fact Dad and I were over collecting the Sunday newspaper plus some groceries from Bert Hedgler's shop and then went down into the RH Garage talking to my Uncle Jim ( Dad's brother, when his daughter Joy rushed in to say that the PM, Mr Chamberlain, was about to make a speech on the radio. Jim switch the garage radio on and the PM annouced, "Because we had not heard from Hitler, Britain and France were at war with Germany." Joy burst into tears and rushed home, while all of Jim's and Dad's friends didn't say a word, looked as glum as anyone could and immediately rushed home. Dad and I rowed back across the Rother, and I started carving an old cricket bat into a battleship!!!!!

Dad was the HM at Rye Harbour for 40yrs and he was also the Trinity House Pilot for the harbour. He was Rye Harbour and Rye harbour was him. He lost his father James Albert Doust at sea in Rye Bay on the 13th May 1912, when his fishing trawler the "Naomi Lizzie" named after my Great Grandma who owned Strand House at the bottom of Strand Hill at Winchelsea, was rundown on her maiden voyage by the German barque "Lawhill." There were three crew aboard the Naomi Lizzie including a Mr Cutting. I can't recall the name of the third member of the crew, but they were buried in Rye Cemetary at the top of Rye Hill next to the old 'Workhouse.' The last time I visited the cemetary that part had been cleared of all grave stones. (Grand Dad and his crewmen's tomb stone consisted of a large crucifix superimposed by a 'Fouled Anchor.') My father was the last family member to see Grand Dad alive as they were towed out of the harbour; he was six years old and chased the boat all the way to the harbour entrance crying out to be taken to sea. Grand Dad called back, "Not this time son, next time!" Dad never saw his father again!

Uncle Jim and his family lived in No1 Gordon place until about 1969/70 when he built a new bungalow about a couple of hundred yards SE of Gordon Place. I believe then that Mrs Hedgler (Bert's widow) moved into No1 GP until she passed on. Uncle Jim and Aunt Flo are buried together next to the RH church wall on the SW side of the church. If my memory serves me right - Mrs Head, who lost most of her family in the Mary Stanford lifeboat disaster, lived nextdoor to Jim and nextdoor to her lived the Mills family, Christine and Gunner Miles. No1 GP was also my Grandma's and father's home home until they moved to Winchelsea following Grand Dad's drowning.

Added by Michael J.DOUST, Commander RN(Rtd) on 16 January 2007.
I think that this picture must date from the early eighties at the latest. The new staging outside the harbour master's office is missing, and the tree outside the front of the house is there which was chopped down during a tidy up. A lot of the anchors and the plane prop outside the front of the office are missing and the old sash windows are in place which were replaced in the late eighties with tip and tilt double glazed windows. Also that car looks suspiciously like the yellow fiat we had until I was about 6 or 7. I should explain that I lived in the house from 1978 until 1996.
Added by Nadia Fenn (nee Bagwell) on 13 April 2009.
Carl Bagwell provided this list of Rye Harbour Masters.
The 1847 Merchant Shipping Acts permitted the appointment of Harbour Masters for the first time:
Prior to this the Jurats under the commissioners managed the Harbour until 1932.

Stephen Britt Circa 1850
Williams Daniel Hoad 1867
William George Rubie Circa 1890
William Bourne 1897
Albert Hedgler 1910
George Hedgler 1914
Charles Tunbridge 1915
George Coote 1925
Jack Doust 1936
Colin Marsh 1970
Carl Bagwell MBE 1986
James Bateman 2011

Added by Barry Yates on 01 January 2012.
I agree, the picture looks earlier than 1990. I agree with Nadia, it looks more like the 80's when I worked there with HMC&E. I too remember the Fiat estate car and of course Nadia and Talya (sorry, can't remember your Brother's name).
Added by Harry Cook on 29 July 2012.

Please add your comments about this picture using the form below.
We're particularly interested in your memories of the things shown, the people who lived there and any folklore.


Your Name

Your email address - this will be shown on the page and will allow the system to notify you of further comments added to this picture.

Administrator Login | More About This Site | My Album
System Designed by Plexus Media