Category Archives: Books

Jim Lawrence’s Book goes into Reprint

When Jim’s book, “London Light  –  A Sailorman’s Story” was published in May 2018 copies flew off the shelves, and before Christmas the “Sold Out” sign went up!   But requests continued to come in, and publisher Richard of Chaffcutter Books was under great pressure to provide a reprint.

“Due to popular demand” is a phrase often used when a London Light J Lawrencebook is being reprinted or an out-of-stock article has been brought to the market again.   It is absolutely true, however, about Jim’s long-awaited book.

Now we are very pleased to be able to announce that the book is back in print again, so those who missed out last time can now buy their own copy of  “London Light – A Sailorman’s Story”.

Copies can be purchased on line through

or send a cheque for £16, including UK postage & packing to:

Chaffcutter Books
39 Friars Road
SG11 2NN



From the back of my head

The committee members of SSBR usually get advance warning that the latest edition of Mainsheet is on its way.  So when that light thud came as the post hit the doormat this morning I guessed it had arrived.

Charles Traill always plays his cards close to his chest and will never tell us, beyond perhaps a small hint about one item, what the contents will be.   It has to be a surprise.   So there is always much interest in what we will find when we open the publication.

As agreed at a committee meeting in January, Charles had included a resumé of our deliberations about the future, and with it was a photograph of the committee.

“Gosh”, I thought, “my hair does look nice, all those lovely long curls”.   I hate having my photograph taken, but this was good, this was acceptable.   For dear Charles had stood behind me to take his picture of the committee and it was a photo of the back of my head!

What is more important though, and much more worth saying, is that theMainsheet Cover current Mainsheet lives up to its reputation as a first class magazine.

Those of you who follow The Barge Blog and its Facebook page see interesting and often chatty news about barges, barge people and the barge world, together with great photos, old and new.   But you could get so much more if you joined the Society for Sailing Barge Research.   For an amazing annual subscription of £20 you not only help preserve documents, photographs and artifacts on Thames sailing barges and promote research into the vessels, you also receive two copies of Mainsheet each year and an annual Topsail, our acclaimed in depth study of the history of sailing barges.   And you also receive discounts on other publications commissioned by the Society.   Here’s a link to the  SSBR Membership Form .   Do join us now.

History of the surviving working sailing vessels

National Historic Ships has this piece today about “Historic Sail: Britain’s Surviving Working Craft”, a paperback book by Paul Brown published in association with National Historic Ships UK.

It includes a concise history of the surviving craft that once worked under sail, including, of course, Thames sailing barges. 

Pity Christmas is over.   This seems like a must have present.

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