Category Archives: sb Centaur

A good day for an AGM

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.

Richard Walsh was elected SSBR’s new Chairman;  Charles Traill was elected Vice Chairman;  the other members of the Committee were re-elected, to be joined by a new member, Linda Hoy.   Since the meeting, Tim Mileson has been co-opted to the Committee.

The trophy winners were:-

Half Model  –  Robin Neale for cataloguing the Charles Dance collection.

Colindell  –  Toby Lester and Linda Hoy for the restoration of sb Ironsides.

Deadeye  –  posthumously to the late David Wood for The Prowess of Charlie Fielder.

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!

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Centaur film show in Maldon on 7 March

Great opportunity to see the film of the Restoration of Centaur, and support the Thames Sailing Barge Trust’s work of maintaining its two barges, Centaur and Pudge.

Centaur Restoration Film Show (3)

Nice story about Thames barges in Telegraph article

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.

Adam Lusher has a turn at the winch with mate Chris Martin, Telegraph piece on Centaur in 2013 Pinmill Match

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.

New bottom for Centaur

Thames Sailing Barge Trust has been succCentaur (TSBT photoessful in obtaining funding of £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for sb Centaur to have a new outer bottom.   The work will be done at Oare led by Tim Goldsack, and we are pleased to learn that it is intended to involve apprentice shipwrights once again.

Here’s the link to a video from Shipping TV telling the story.

(Photo courtesy of Thames Sailing Barge Trust)

UPDATE  –  There’s a nice report about this in the Chelmsford Weekly News, including a photograph of the Trust’s President, Chairman and Vice Chairman with local dignitaries. 

Here’s the link to the report.

Open Days on Centaur and Pudge

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust will be holding two Open Days on Sunday 5th May Pudge 12th March 2012 (27)and Monday 6th May.

Why not visit them at Maldon Quay and have a guided tour of their two Thames Barges, Pudge and Centaur.

Admission is free, but donations will be gratefully received to help keep the barges sailing.

Sunday 5th May  –  The world Centaur (TSBT photofamous Maldon Mud Race takes place so there will be lots to see and do.   Barges open from 11 am.

Monday 6th May  –  There will be shanty singers performing on board throughout the day.   Barges open from 10.30am.

There will be displays showing the work of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust on board and refreshments will be available.

The Trust looks forward to welcoming you aboard.

Ipswich and Halstow – the barges are there and open this weekend

It’s Ipswich Maritime Festival this weekend, so on Saturday and Sunday, 18 and 19 August, there will be a huge programme of activities at Ipswich Waterfront, from 10.00am to 6.00pm each day.

Here’s the link to the programme for the day.

There’s lots for children to do, and to interest adults.   The programme lists some of the vessels which will be present, and mentions Lady of Avenel, MT Kent, Thalatta, Centaur, and “Thames Barges”.   Er, what are Thalatta and Centaur then?

There will be Cream Tea Cruises on Victor at 2.00pm on Saturday and Sunday.   We also happen to know that Kitty will be there, at Custom House Quay, and will be offering three hour barge trips.

Meanwhile, further south, Edith May is having Open Days this weekend, and will be open in Halstow Dock on Saturday and Sunday, from 11.00am to 4.00pm.  Cream teas and cake are promised in the Edith May Tearoom.

Sunshine and high temperatures are forecast so it should be a good weekend on the water.

Pudge and Centaur get ready for the season

Roger Newlyn sends us news that Pudge left Faversham last weekend, Sunday the 1st of April, following  completion of the shipwright’s work, and she arrived back in Maldon on  the evening flood tide.    Work has now commenced on fitting out the restored  stern section down below.    Her gear was being lowered this weekend for routine  maintenance, ready for the forthcoming season.

Meanwhile Good Friday saw Centaur  rigging out alongside Pudge, preparing for her shakedown  sail.

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