Category Archives: Uncategorized

TSBT Film Show coming to Faversham

Film Show Poster white


The last Mate visits Cambria

David Rye drew my attention today, via Facebook, to a lovely film about Cambria, starring Dick Durham.

I hadn’t seen the film before and it’s absolutely fascinating.   There are some great pictures of Cambria, below deck, as she is now and some old pictures too including some nice shots of Bob Roberts.

Dick tells some wonderful stories about his fourteen months as the last Mate of Cambria when she was in trade.   He was a handsome young man of 18 at the time.

Here’s the link to the film.


Ena being re-decked on TV today

A bit of a treat this afternoon, Saturday 2 January.

On the Quest TV channel the programme “Salvage Squad” is on for most of the day.Ena_24_1
And at 4 pm it will be showing an episode about Lee Hurst and his team working on a Thames Sailing Barge.   This is a repeat, previously shown in 2002.

At almost 90 feet long, the 1906 wooden sb Ena is the largest challenge the squad has tackled, and the barge has to be re-decked in a month.

This will give real-life barge restorers the chance to watch, laugh, and perhaps criticize  –  what a treat!


4 pm to 5 pm    SALVAGE SQUAD

If you have Freeview, then Quest is Channel Number 37.

Medway Match 2015 taken by Chriss Hallam from Cambria

We’ve added to our list of videos the lovely film made by Chriss Hallam

Photo courtesy Chriss Hallam

of the 2015 Medway Barge Match.   He was on board sb Cambria, so there are some good shots of her deck, rigging, and so on, including a nice one of Skipper Ian at the wheel.   We like the music too!

Here’s the link

Christmas Greetings

Happy Christmas and a good New Year to everyone.

Conference on The River and Port of London

The 48th London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Local History Conference will have as its theme The River and Port of London.

The Conference will be held at the Museum of London on Saturday 16th November, from 10.30 to 4.00pm.

Tickets  available via

with payment through Paypal or by cheque payable to LAMS with SAE, from Eleanor Stanier, 48 Coval Road, London SW14 7RL.    The fee including tea & biscuits is £15.

UPDATE  –  This Conference has proved so popular that tickets have sold out, but there may be a few returns available on the door.


New clip on our Video page

Great video clip of the 2012 Pin Mill Match, filmed from Reminder, and showing Edith May and Reminder neck and neck as they re-enter Harwich Harbour.   Click here.

Happy Christmas

With very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a good New Year to all our friends.

Kitty in the snow 5 2 12

Barges and Horses

What’s the connection between barges and horses?   No, not the horses who plodded along the towpath pulling canal barges.

But David Rye has found a special one.   He watched the Olympic showjumping at Greenwich, and noticed that the first fence featured a Thames sailing barge.   All the fences looked difficult, with bits sticking up that seemed designed to catch a horse unawares, so perhaps it was not too strange to have one with a lighthouse lamp on top of one post, an oil lamp on the other, and a Thames barge attached to one side.

David has sent this link to a pdf of the programme for the showjumping.   It is well worth having a look, but here is what it has to say about Thames sailing barges:-

The Thames sailing barge was a type of commercial sailing boat common on the River Thames in London in the 19th century.   It had a flat bottom, perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary with its shallow waters and narrow rivers.   These barges also traded much further afield, to the North of England, the south coast and even to continental European ports.    Cargoes varied enormously: bricks, mud, hay, rubbish, sand, coal and grain, for example.    Due to the efficiency of a Thames barge’s gear, a crew of only two was enough for most voyages.   Most Thames barges were wooden-hulled, between 80 and 90 feet (25 – 30 metres) long with a beam of around 20 feet (6 metres).    The hull was mainly a hold with two small living areas in the bow and stern;  access was through two large hatchways.   They were usually spritsail rigged on two masts.    The main mast could be lowered to clear bridges.    Most had a topsail above a huge mainsail and a large foresail.    The mizzen was a much smaller mast on which was set a single sail whose main purpose was to aid steering when tacking.   The typical rusty-red colour of the flax sails was due to the dressing used to waterproof them, traditionally made from red ochre, cod oil and seawater.   In good conditions a sailing barge could attain a speed of over 12 knots.   At the turn of the 20th century over 2,000 Thames sailing barges were registered.   Today only a small handful remain, converted to pleasure craft and commonly sailed in annual races which take place in the Thames Estuary.

David says, “I was watching showjumping as we had a chance  –  not normally my scene  –  when I spotted the ‘barge’ so followed it up.   The ‘jib’ is a little small, but maybe to conform with the builder’s contract.   At least we won another gold  –  the first for 60 years.” 

Update on a home for Westmoreland’s restoration

Dave Brooks has started a thread on the Lower Halstow parish website, urging the Council to allow Westmoreland to return home.

If you agree, please put a comment on the thread started by Dave, which is at:

The more comments we can generate, the more it will send a message to the Council.

You can read the whole story here:


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