Since we wrote in May about how SSBR’s programme would be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic life has continued in much the same way for many of us. The easing of lockdown has meant that some travel is allowed, but most people seem to think it is better to stay as near home as possible.
The Committee feels it is unlikely we shall be able to hold any meetings this year, but we are in frequent contact to deal with matters as they arise.
Meanwhile Sue Reed has had to stand down as Membership Secretary. We thank her for her work since mid 2019, including handling the start-of-year subscription renewals.
For the time being Richard Walsh has kindly agreed to be Acting Membership Secretary and he will be dealing with both new applications for membership and annual renewals. He looks forward to hearing from new members – there is a membership form which can be accessed via the SSBR Membership tab above, and it includes Richard’s address. Any existing members with queries about their subscriptions can contact Richard. We apologize to anyone who received a reminder letter when they had already paid. Unfortunately in the hand over of records and scramble to get out the mailing a few errors occurred.
If you need to contact Richard about membership, his details are:- Richard Walsh, 39 Friars Road, Braughing, Hertfordshire, SG11 2NN. Telephone: 01920 821683. Email: Richard@chaffcutter.com
Yesterday should have been the Annual General Meeting of the Society for Sailing Barge Research, which would have been at Leigh-on- Sea.
For now we have had to postpone and we all go on in our present posts. The Society is solvent and membership subscriptions have come in well despite all the difficulties. Members will have received the recent excellent Spring issue of Mainsheet, which Charles must be complimented for putting together against all odds and Studio Six must be complimented for getting it out in the post. Richard is at work on this year’s Topsail although I guess he may have problems in obtaining some of the pictures, etc, he needs. Nevertheless, knowing Richard, he will overcome those problems. Tim has been busy banking subscriptions and keeping our accounts in order and John deals with queries from members, the public, TV companies and learned institutions. We all work from home except Don, our Archivist. These days he can do much of the cataloguing from home, but anything else would involve a journey from Maldon to North Fambridge, impossible in the lockdown but perhaps allowable now. He would certainly be alone at the Archive. Visitors would not be possible. It is so crammed with our over 35,000 items that no way could anyone else be two metres apart.
Between us we will continue to look after the Society, and we look forward to seeing everyone when conditions permit.
Thames Sailing Barge Trust has asked for our help in finding information about and photographs of William (Bill) Watson. Here are the details:-
“Information Required – Can You Help? especially old London & Rochester Bargemen.
“The Thames Sailing Barge Trust is researching the life of William Watson who was skipper of sailing barge Pudge between January 1923 and December 1949, when it is believed he retired. He also took Pudge to Dunkirk.
“Bill Watson was born in Barling, but lived much of his life around Strood and Rochester working for the London & Rochester Barge Co. Ltd.
“At long last it has been discovered that Bill died on the 20th April 1964 at the age of 83. He was living on a houseboat called the Sinbad, which was moored by Canal Road, Strood.
“The Trust has only one photograph of him and is keen to find more.
“Any stories about his life, and in particular if anyone knew him between 1949 when he retired and his death in 1964, would be welcome, as would information about his boat Sinbad. The Trust has come across the name of Peter Joseph Davis who may have known him before he died. If anyone can help with information on this person, it would be appreciated.
If you can help in any way, please email John Rayment at email@example.com. THANK YOU”
The Barge of the Month for May is published today. Click on the Barge of the Month page to see it.
In a statement today Jim Dines, on behalf of the Committee of the Blackwater Smack and Barge Match Association, has announced that this year’s Blackwater Smack and Barge Match has been cancelled. Although we shall all be disappointed, it is not unexpected and was clearly the best thing to do. Here is the text of the announcement:-
“It is with great reluctance that the Committee of the Blackwater Smack and Barge Match Association have decided to cancel this years Smack and Barge Match that was to be held on the 13th of June, We felt in light of the current situation that this was the best decision and we will concentrate on 2021.
“We wish you all well in these strange times and hope to see you out sailing when the restrictions are reduced.
“Please pass this on to all those in the Smack and Barge community and share please.”
The Barge of the Month for April is published today. Click on the Barge of the Month page to see it.
Some great news in these difficult times
It has been announced today that two of the fleet are winners in classes of the Classic Boat Awards 2020.
sb Blue Mermaid has been named as Traditional New Build of the Year, and sb Greta has been named as Centenarian of the Year.
Congratulations to them both.
Because of the current issues around Coronavirus, the Thames Sailing Barge Trust and the Society for Sailing Barge Research have decided to CANCEL this Saturday’s Film Show.
Please accept our apologies. We will try to rearrange at a later date.
The project for the restoration of sb Raybel has an interesting blog on its website. The spring newsletter has been posted this week and is full of information about progress, equipment and helpers, as well, of course, as asking for volunteers. Well worth a read.