Yesterday should have been the Annual General Meeting of the Society for Sailing Barge Research, which would have been at Leigh-on- Sea.
For now we have had to postpone and we all go on in our present posts. The Society is solvent and membership subscriptions have come in well despite all the difficulties. Members will have received the recent excellent Spring issue of Mainsheet, which Charles must be complimented for putting together against all odds and Studio Six must be complimented for getting it out in the post. Richard is at work on this year’s Topsail although I guess he may have problems in obtaining some of the pictures, etc, he needs. Nevertheless, knowing Richard, he will overcome those problems. Tim has been busy banking subscriptions and keeping our accounts in order and John deals with queries from members, the public, TV companies and learned institutions. We all work from home except Don, our Archivist. These days he can do much of the cataloguing from home, but anything else would involve a journey from Maldon to North Fambridge, impossible in the lockdown but perhaps allowable now. He would certainly be alone at the Archive. Visitors would not be possible. It is so crammed with our over 35,000 items that no way could anyone else be two metres apart.
Between us we will continue to look after the Society, and we look forward to seeing everyone when conditions permit.
Our Archive will be open and one of our committee will be there to show you the vast collection of photographs, books, documents and other artifacts about Thames sailing barges. Sterling work has been done over the years by our Archivist, Don Wright, ably assisted by Society Secretary, John White, in getting all this treasury of information catalogued and properly stored. (Picture shows John and Don outside the Archive.)
Then down by the river, we shall have a gazebo with display panels and literature about the Society of Sailing Barge Research, and our committee will be very
happy to talk to visitors about barges and the Society. Our books and magazines will be on sale and we shall, of course, also have membership forms there. At £20 a year it is great value and you will receive our two excellent publications, Topsail annually and Mainsheet twice a year. And members receive occasional books published by the Society for Sailing Barge Research free of charge; last year there were two excellent such freebies, Still in the Samphire, the Society’s 50th anniversary history, and The Prowess of Charlie Fielder.
The festival will coincide with the Old Gaffers Association 30th Anniversary Crouch Rally visit to the North Fambridge Yacht Club. There will be gig racing on the river, and stands including those taken by the Coastguard, the RNLI, a sail-maker, and many more. sb Ironsides will be present.
More details nearer the date.
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.
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!
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.
We have more sad news to record, with the death suddenly on Boxing Day 2012 of Frank Thompson, after a very brief illness.
Frank, who lived in Layer-de-la-Haye, was 92. He was a member of SSBR and often contributed to Topsail and Mainsheet. He and his wife, Kathleen, sailed on many barges in the days of trade, particularly with the late Stan and Chick Yeates on board sb Glenway.
Both Richard Walsh and John White heard from Frank just before Christmas when his notes were full of news. Indeed, he gave John a few additions for The Sailing Barge Compendium.
The funeral will be on Monday 14 January, at 12.30pm, at Colchester Crematorium. All are welcome at the service, where Jimmy Lawrence will be performing the shanty Happisburgh Light, and afterwards at the Donkey & Buskins pub, Layer-de-la-Haye.