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A wet and muddy Fambridge Festival

SSBR was at Fambridge River Festival yesterday in its fourth year.   But no sunlit pictures this time.   We were all drowned SSBR rats, and the picture shows two of us together with hastily boxed up books, sopping wet table covers, wet posters shredded by the  high winds, and plastic covers over the tables.

From opening at 10.00 to about 11.45 everything was lovely:  fine weather and lots of people;  Pudge and Ironsides on the pontoon, together with Pioneer, Marigold, the tug Barking and the Burnham on Crouch RNLI inshore boat;  a classic car show;  a climbing wall;  music from the stage so old that even I knew the lyrics;  Kevin Finch with some of his shipwright tools, “I just went round the workshop and picked up some things I thought would be of interest”;  lots of food and drink stalls from Posh Coffee to Pimms, from lamb shank to hot dogs, from crêpes to ice cream   –  and no, I didn’t have an ice cream, too wet and cold;  yes, I did have a crêpe.   We sold a very respectable number of books including Jimmy Lawrence’s new one, “London Light, a Sailorman’s Story,” and the last “Sailing Barge Compendium”.   We took some membership subscriptions and found some potential new members.

But by 12 noon the rain was steady.   Can’t sell books and magazines in the rain.   We covered the table tops with plastic sheets.   The high wind seemed determined to rip the SSBR banner away from its pole  –  the usual two cords tying it to the tent frame had to be increased to four and still the wind pulled the metal pole out of shape.   We tied our splendid new gazebo by its legs to the tables, themselves so heavy with books they were unlikely to move.   We stuck it out for well over an hour while the wind increased and the rain got heavier.   Surprisingly the visitors stayed for quite a long time, all getting drenched, but eventually they drifted away and the place became deserted

We packed up and took all the stuff back to the Archive.    There are a lot of things that now need mud removed and drying out  –  not least me.   Clothes went straight into the washing machine.   Still, at least we were all home much earlier than expected.

Many thanks to Don Wright, Graham Dent and Tim Mileson who all responded to the plea for help, and to Dilys Renouf who also came alongDSCN0226 SSBR stall at Fambridge River Festival 2018.



Cambria open to public this week, and programme of Talks

Sailing Barge Cambria                  

Open to the Public, Gravesend Town Pier – Monday 30th July to Friday 3rd August 2012

Wednesday 1st August: Talk – Evolution of the Thames Sailing Barge by Richard Hugh Perks.  Talks at 3.30pm and 7.30pm. Admission £4.00.  Proceeds on behalf of Cambria.


Thursday 2nd August: Talk – The Story of Lifeboats and the RNLI by Tricia Gurnett .  Talks at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.  Admission £2.00. Proceeds will be shared.


Friday 3rd August: Talk – 200 years of the Thames and Medway Canal.   Talks at 11.30am and 3.30pm.  Admission £2.00. Proceeds will be shared.


The Cambria Trust           Heritage Lottery Fund

Lifeboat helps Cambria

Found on the “interweb” today an article which brings together two of my interests:  barges and the RNLI.

Of course, I was sorry to hear that someone on the Cambria, (doesn’t say if it was a crew member or a visitor), had fallen and was injured, but glad that the RNLI could help.   Cambria was at Erith, and the incident took place about 3.00am last Wednesday when she had come down river after the River Pageant.

Here’s the link to the story on the This is Local London website. 

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