“Dawn is the last of the full-size Thames Sailing Barges built with a tiller. It is the aim of the Dawn Sailing Barge Trust to continue with her restoration so that she is completely back to 1897, her launch year. The next phase is to replace the wheel steering with tiller steerage. The next will be the steel mast and spars with traditional wooden spars. There are many smaller details that will keep the Trust busy for a long while to come, but when complete she will be a full working example of Victorian maritime transportation actually able to carry a full cargo under sail.
“Dawn has just finished another successful season of sailing with many new people able to experience a barge sailing. Anyone interested in getting involved can find out more from the website.”
The new website address is www.dawn1897.com
Our picture, courtesy of Bill Sutherland and taken from his window, shows Dawn taking hay upriver to St Katherine’s Dock recreating the journey she and many others stackies would have made in their heyday.
Annie Meadows, clever girl, has reminded us of this lovely programme, by the old Anglia Television, called Bygones. This edition features Hydrogen first, but then goes on to Edith May with some excellent footage from earlier days. Here’s the link.
The 48th London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Local History Conference will have as its theme The River and Port of London.
The Conference will be held at the Museum of London on Saturday 16th November, from 10.30 to 4.00pm.
Tickets available via http://www.lamas.org.uk/localhistory2013
with payment through Paypal or by cheque payable to LAMS with SAE, from Eleanor Stanier, 48 Coval Road, London SW14 7RL. The fee including tea & biscuits is £15.
UPDATE - This Conference has proved so popular that tickets have sold out, but there may be a few returns available on the door.
Today a new website has gone on line for Xylonite, and the link is here.
(Photo – Dave Brooks)
There’s a good article in The Daily Telegraph about Thames barges. Written by Adam Lusher, it describes his joining the crew of Centaur for the 2013 Pin Mill Match.
Adam was clearly smitten by the barges:-
“As the red ochre sails clustered around the mouth of the Orwell, it was as if the river had returned to the days when the Thames sailing barge was the East Coast’s cargo vessel of choice, not the giant container vessels that now unload at Felixstowe, more maritime tower blocks than ships. It felt all the more dreamlike because it had seemed so improbable.”
He joined Mate, Chris Martin, on a winch but not for long:-
“…….paying crew members can choose their own activity level. Those who wish can take a turn at the winch. The seriously enthusiastic can train to be mates and skippers. Others, however, prefer to help cook lunch or simply to admire the view.
“I strongly recommend the latter. When your smiling crewmate offers you a winch handle, remember that the leeboards both weigh 1.5 muscle-sapping tons. I lasted precisely one tack, before I gasped my excuses and abandoned my station.”
Here’s Adam taking a turn on the winch with mate, Chris Martin.
We would just point out to Adam, though, that tremendous as TSBT’s work with Centaur and Pudge is, there are other Trusts working hard to preserve individual barges, several of them now proudly sailing as members of the active fleet.
Here’s the link to the full story. Well worth a read.
Mark Goldsmith has commented on our Gallery page saying:
“Thought you might like to see my latest sculptural piece entitled Light Wind Fast Tide. Photos on your site helped inspire me.”
Do have a look at the piece. It is quite stunning. The link is below.
It’s called Thames Heritage Alliance, sub title “Our heritage on the tidal Thames”. Traditional boatyards and maritime sites along the River Thames are under threat – as never before – from commercial and residential development and this site intends to try to redress that.
This is what they say,
“By linking some of these rare and historic places together, the Thames Heritage Alliance is drawing attention to their importance, to help them survive in the age of high-rise and high-price property development.
“It’s been suggested that various Thames-side sites with national heritage value should join together to promote understanding of how small sites along the great river have contributed to our country’s history.”
This is the link to the Thames Heritage Alliance website.
We were delighted today to hear from Jennifer Franks. This is what she says:-
“I am 68 now, but spent lots of time in my childhood on my Dad’s barge. In those days there was the Azima, then later the Ardwina. My brother was on the Pudge.
“My Dad took part in lots of barge matches on the Sirdar and Mirosa, amongst others, and often sailed the Sirdar advertising Bell’s whisky. In 1964, when the Queen opened the new Forth Bridge, my Dad sailed the Sirdar under it. I’ve got the photos and newspaper reports.
“My Dad was fabulous and, as far as I am concerned, Thames bargemen are the best - after my Dad of course!”