Very well attended SSBR AGM today at The Three Daws, Gravesend. The room was full.
Chairman, Elizabeth Wood, had come to the end of her three year term of office, in which much has been achieved. She thanked all her fellow Committee members for their help to her and to the Society.
Secretary, John White, said that inquiries from people seeking information about barges on which family members had worked, etc, averaged two a week. In addition, he was working on a book about the 4,500 sailing barges for which he held records. It would probably be called something like The Barge Directory. He was making good progress with it, but there was still much to do. The earliest barge he had found was built in 1751.
Treasurer, Graham Dent, presented audited accounts for 2014, which showed a loss of £2,877, but this had been caused for good reasons. There had been extra expenditure to mark our 50th anniversary year, and members had received free of charge two books, The Prowess of Charlie Fielder and Still in the Samphire, which involved printing and postage costs. Excellent value for members. Graham thanked Chris Snelling for examining the accounts.
Membership Secretary, Margaret Blackburn, reported that membership in 2014 totalled 421, so keeping us well above what had been our target of 400. 27 new members had joined in that year. To date, in 2015, 369 membership subscriptions had been received, including 9 new members, so hopefully we would maintain our numbers and maybe increase them.
Charles Traill, Editor of the twice-yearly Mainsheet, said he was very grateful for the news and information provided to him by members and for photographs he was sent. He thanked Margaret and Brian Blackburn for proof-reading and despatching the magazine. Next year would see the 100th edition of Mainsheet published, and in the same year the annual Topsail publication would reach its 50th edition. So something special would be needed.
As well as being Editor of Topsail, Richard Walsh co-ordinates other Society publications and keeps us informed about other barge publications. Still in the Samphire by the late David Wood reflects the history of the Society gathered from Committee minutes and the recollections of David and other members, and had been published in 2014 to celebrate the Society’s 50th anniversary. Also written by David Wood, (a long-serving Committee member), together with Richard Walsh, is The Prowess of Charlie Fielder. It has received excellent reviews, including one by a distinguished reviewer who described it as “ground-breaking”.
The next Society publication, (currently being prepared), is the history of EJ Goldsmiths of Grays, the company which had the biggest fleet of sailing barges. It is being written by Graham Dent and edited by Richard Walsh, with many pieces of information about both the fleet and the Goldsmith family continuing to be received.
Our Archivist, Don Wright, reported that 2014 had been a good year for the donation of photographs, manuscripts, books, etc, to our Archive at Fambridge. More than 16,000 items had now been catalogued, with a further 4,000 partly done. Don said that members were welcome to visit the Archive by appointment, and that anyone who wished to do so should contact him.
The next item on the Agenda was the election of officers and Committee members followed by the presentation of the Society’s three trophies to the winners for the year.
Chairman Emeritus, Tony Farnham, kindly donated a barge picture – a steel engraving – to be raffled for the Society’s funds.
After a break for a welcome cup of tea, two films were shown: a short dvd made by Robert Gillard of his father’s cine film of the 1966 Medway match, and one by Simon North about the restoration of sb Centaur.
See what you’re missing if you’re not a member!
Just a reminder that the Society for Sailing Barge Research Annual General
Meeting is this Saturday, 9th May, at 3.00pm, at The Three Daws, West Street, Gravesend.
Elizabeth Wood will be in the chair but, having completed her three year term of office will be handing over to a new Chairman. Who will it be?
We shall also be announcing this year’s winners of the Society’s three trophies. So who will be receiving the Colindell Trophy, the Half Model, and the Deadeye?
We look forward to seeing members and friends.
My tourism event won the Essex award in 2010 and was a finalist in the Eastern Region, so I know what Topsail will have gone through to get as far as the national final.
Anyone interested in Thames sailing barges will be well acquainted with Hythe Quay at Maldon where they will always see Topsail’s charter barges.
Having got through to the national competition, Topsail Charters is one of five companies in the best small attraction category, and the only business from Essex out of the 75 finalists in all categories.
Stephanie Valentine, Managing Director of Topsail Charters, has said she is thrilled for the recognition of all the hard work of her fantastic team and the effort they make to give their customers the best possible experience.
Well done to Topsail Charters on a great achievement so far, and the very best of luck for the finals at an awards ceremony on 11th May.
You can read the whole story here.
Our Archive will be open and one of our committee will be there to show you the vast collection of photographs, books, documents and other artifacts about Thames sailing barges. Sterling work has been done over the years by our Archivist, Don Wright, ably assisted by Society Secretary, John White, in getting all this treasury of information catalogued and properly stored. (Picture shows John and Don outside the Archive.)
Then down by the river, we shall have a gazebo with display panels and literature about the Society of Sailing Barge Research, and our committee will be very
happy to talk to visitors about barges and the Society. Our books and magazines will be on sale and we shall, of course, also have membership forms there. At £20 a year it is great value and you will receive our two excellent publications, Topsail annually and Mainsheet twice a year. And members receive occasional books published by the Society for Sailing Barge Research free of charge; last year there were two excellent such freebies, Still in the Samphire, the Society’s 50th anniversary history, and The Prowess of Charlie Fielder.
The festival will coincide with the Old Gaffers Association 30th Anniversary Crouch Rally visit to the North Fambridge Yacht Club. There will be gig racing on the river, and stands including those taken by the Coastguard, the RNLI, a sail-maker, and many more. sb Ironsides will be present.
More details nearer the date.
There’s a nice piece on the In the Boatshed website about sb Ethel Everard at Dunkirk – very relevant as the 75th anniversary of Dunkirk approaches. Here’s a link to the site, which itself has a link to a site with the Everard history.
First Peter Phillips sent us this picture, which shows Thistle with some visitors stranded on board. Apparently the children enjoyed it, but the adults were not too keen.
Then The Barge Tearooms posted some pictures showing that it can be difficult sometimes to get a cup of tea on a barge!
We’ve already posted about the Film Premiere on Saturday 7th March at Maldon Town Hall. What film? The premiere of Simon North’s film of the Restoration of Centaur. Scroll down the page to see the poster for the performance giving all details of the Premiere which is in aid of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust.
Now Simon has produced three trailers for the film show, and, having seen them, each of them is a beautiful piece of art in its own right. Here are the three trailers, the first introducing the film:
the second when the Lottery grant was awarded:
and the third showing Tim Goldsack, the Master Shipwright, at work with tar and horse manure:
Now go along to Maldon Town Hall on 7th March and see the whole thing – Enjoy!