Category Archives: River Thames

Doggett’s Coat & Badge is 300

Tomorrow sees the Doggett’s Coat & Badge Race rowed on the Thames in London.   The Race starts at 11.30am at London Bridge and finishes at Cadogan Pier, Chelsea.   The prize-giving will be at Fishmongers’ Hall at approximately 1.15pm.  And this year, it’s an important one  –  the 300th Race.

Here’s a report on the 100th which took place in 1815.

doggetts 1815

And here’s a report in 1915, which says that as “one of the minor hardships of the war” the Race will not take place.

doggetts 1915

 

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Most powerful man in the world had to give way to Gladys

Good to see that even a US President, no doubt with a huge retinue of security,  has to recognize that a Thames sailing barge is more important:-

“Ships always have right of way.   That fact was made clear in 1997 when Bill Clinton’s presidential motorcade was split crossing Tower Bridge to allow the Thames sailing barge Gladys to pass as scheduled.   ‘We tried to contact the American Embassy, but they wouldn’t answer the ‘phone,’ said a Tower Bridge spokesman.”

Secret chuckle on reading this, which I found in a list of facts and figures about Tower Bridge.   Here’s the link to the story.

A bus once jumped a three-foot gap to cross the bridge

 

 

 

Alexander von Humboldt II has a follower

Today the German sail training vessel, Alexander von Humboldt  II, came down river having spent the weekend in London.   This magnificent ship used to have green sails but is now all in white.   Here’s a picture of her coming down river, but who’s that following her?   And here’s a picture of the Gravesend pilot boarding her.  

Gloriana

The Royal Barge Gloriana being towed upriver on the Thames today.

Royal barge Gloriana being towed up river 14 04 11 (2)

The fools’ hippo!

Here’s a good April Fool’s Day post  –  A hippo swimming in the Thames.

Click here to read the story and see the video.

 

Alex talks about his London River

The Visit London tourism site has a very nice film about the river, fronted by Alex Hickman who is a Thames Waterman and Lighterman now working as a Pier Controller for London River Services, part of Transport for London.

No mention of barges in particular, but a man with a real love of the river, its history and working on it today.

Here’s the link.

Cement barrels loaded at Tunnel Jetty

My local newspaper, the Thurrock Gazette, has a weekly column called “Down Tunnel Cement & bargesMemory Lane”, which is written by my good friend Jonathan Catton, Heritage & Museum Officer of Thurrock Council, or, in my terminology, Curator of Thurrock Museum.   Each week I clip out Jonathan’s piece and put it in a Box File, but often don’t get a chance to read it for some time.

I’ve just been catching up on them, and found one from February of this year about Thurrock’s cement industry, particularly Tunnel Portland Cement.

It includes a picture which Jonathan had taken from the front cover of one of the company’s souvenir catalogues from the 1930s.   It shows the Tunnel Jetty on the Thames with several sailing barges, one of which is being loaded with barrels of cement. 

Sorry the quality is not good as it is a scanned-in news cutting. 

Tricia Gurnett

Cambria and Waverley at Gravesend

Photos of the paddle steamer Waverley, when she was doing trips on the Thames with Waverley at Gravesend 2012last year, have just been published on the vessel’s Facebook page.   Amongst them is this terrific one showing Waverley and sb Cambria on either side of the new pontoon at Gravesend.  

When Waverley came into the pontoon for the first time, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a brass band playing on the pier, I was on board Cambria with Dave Brooks and Rob Bassi.   We had been expecting quite a few Waverley passengers to visit Cambria and were all ready to show them round.   In the end only two were given permission to disembark from the paddle steamer and come on board, and they were only allowed five minutes.   A high speed tour took place!  

Still it was great to see these two ladies of the sea side by side, and a stirring sight when those huge paddles turned and Waverley continued up river.  

A low opinion of dumb bargemen from the great writer

I often read and enjoy In the Boat Shed, the blog which Gavin Atkin writes, but I am grateful today to Edith May Trading Company for alerting me to a new post from Gavin about the respective merits of “dumb bargemen” and sailing bargemen in the time of Charles Dickens.   It’s fascinating to read Dickens’s extremely low opinion of the dumb bargemen, and Gavin promises a future post on “his equally determined rant against the selfish and stupid operators of steam launches, which are clearly the Chelsea tractor and jetski drivers of his time.”

Here’s the link to In the Boat Shed to see the whole article.

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