Charlie Stamp's houseboat

1920s

This is supposed to be a photo of Charlie Stamp’s houseboat in Smallgains Creek according to Susan White’s book, the History of Canvey Island. Her mother, Iris, says in her memories:

There were quite a few characters living at the point, there was Charlie Stamp his wife and son Winkle that lived on a houseboat in the creek, Charlie was said to be a smuggler. “

Which does not quite agree with an article by James Wentworth Day regarding his trip to Canvey in c1924 where he describes Charlie’s accommodation as:

“remarkably comfortable and scrupulously clean little house of ships timbers, where his wife put one up at most moderate charges. It lay right under the sea wall only a yard or two from the saltings. I have shot curlew from the doorstep and seen barnacle geese within one hundred yards of it.”

But perhaps the rumours of him smuggling might have something to do with the way he looked as again described by Day:

“a short, broad, brown visaged individual with dark brown hawk-like eyes and a buccaneering air … thirty three or so, with gold earrings, moustached, and an air of mingled quietness and you-be damnedness…he ought, however, to have been born a century or more earlier, for no more ideal buccaneeror man-o’-warsman ever stepped than Charles Stamp, the professional wildfowler of Canvey Island.”

We know for sure he had a house at Beveland but quite when that was built we don’t know. Perhaps with more digging we will find an answer. Watch this space!!!

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