Category Archives: SSBR Membership

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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Learn more about sailing barges – join us in the SSBR

Want to know more about the beautiful Thames Sailing Barges, or do you know somebody who might?   For just £20.00 a year you can subscribe to the Society for Sailing Barge Research and receive our two excellent publications, Topsail and Mainsheet.   There are also some other publications by the Society for Sailing Barge Research which are sent out free to our members.   So if you would like to know more or are looking for an interesting Christmas/Birthday present why not sign up.

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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.