A HISTORIC 180-year-old anchor used by England’s most famous biologist, Charles Darwin, will go on public display in September.
Rochford Council is set to pay £13,755 to help fund the exhibition in Paglesham, as part of a joint venture with the village parish council.
The anchor will be moved from its current position in a private residential garden to a permanent monument at Frances Field, Paglesham Eastend.
The anchor, which dates from 1842, was used aboard HMS Beagle, a ship famous for circumnavigating the globe from 1831 to 1836.
It was during the ship’s voyage around the Galapagos Islands that 22-year-old Charles Darwin developed his evolutionary ideas, calling the trip “the most important event of my life”.
After a subsequent voyage, the Beagle was refitted and spent her final 25 years as a coastguard moored in the River Roach and later in a quay at Paglesham Eastend.
The Beagle was broken up in 1870 and in 2002 research discovered the anchor located in Paglesham Marshes on Potton Island, which was placed in the garden of historian Ann Boulter.
In 2020 the mud quay where HMS Beagle spent her final days was given protected status to help preserve it for the public.
A joint investigation by the BBC and Historic England has revealed that the legendary 19th century ship was most likely broken up in a submerged mud berth on the River Roach near Paglesham.
The location has been designated as a ‘listed monument’ by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of the conservation charity.
And now the council’s “anchor project” will allow visitors to the village to physically connect to the Beagle and its final berth.
“It will be representative of voyages of discovery and encourage individuals to plan their own voyages of discovery,” a spokesperson for the council said.
Project Anchor is expected to be completed before the fall and will conclude with an unveiling ceremony scheduled for September 10.
The site will include an interpretive board, decorative steel edging, electrical work to support lighting, village signage, a Beagle ‘pop-up’ exhibit, talks and presentations.