Category Archives: Medway, Swale and the Kent coast

Medway, Swale and the Kent coast

Gillingham-built Vertue for sale, New Zealand

Some folks might remember this Laurent Giles-designed Vertue being built at Gillingham in 1979… Anyway, now she’s for sale I can’t help thinking there’s a mighty adventure for someone in bringing her back home, whichever route was taken.

She does look quite nicely kept…

My thanks to Paul Mullings for the tip!

Exciting news – The Swing the Bridge appeal is making good progress

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DSC_0037

The Swing the Bridge apeal aims to raise £125,000 by 1st October 2015 with the aim of enabling a new swing bridge to be built to replace the old one, which is on its way out.

The money will be added to the funds that would otherwise the used to build a fixed bridge – but the importance of a new functioning swing bridge is that it will allow the regeneration of the basin at the top of the Creek.

A swing bridge will enable barges, smacks and other vessels to moor and be maintained,in the basin, allow Faversham Creek Trusts workshops and apprentice scheme to connect with the rest of the Creek and the sea, and will mean that once again, the masts of sea-going vessels will be visible from the centre of the town.

It’s an exciting prospect, and with every donation comes a little closer to reality

Donate here or here.

The appeal is promoted by the Faversham Creek Trust, The Faversham Society and the Brents Community Association.

The artwork below neatly summarises the FCT’s long term aim.

 

 

The bawley Emma

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vic Maynard and his lovingly rebuilt bawley Emma in 2009/10. He told me her story over a pint at The Shipwright’s Arms at Hollowshore over the weeked.

She was originally built in in clinker 1845 by Thomas Bundock at Leigh on Sea, probably for the purposes of cockling and shrimping, like other bawleys.

Vic says she was not built by Haywards as has been suggested, as there are no records of similar boat being built at that yard before 1850. Bawleys built after 1850 or so were built in carvel.

Bundock had served his apprenticeship at the Maldon yard of James Williamson at the time that the well known smack Boadicea was built in 1808, and Vic reckons the bawley and the smack have something in common.

Bundock had daughter called Emma, who married her skipper and likely owner, a Henry Cotgrave, who seems to have been locally known as ‘Benson’, probably as a result of a connection with a Mrs Benson in London.

Vic suggests this is the same ‘Benson’ that is mentioned in the excellent 1893 book by H Lewis-Jones Swin, Swale and Swatchway, which is currently available in reprint from Lodestar.

It is thought that Emma came to Kent around the turn of the century, first into the hands of the Jemmet family of Faversham, and that she was then owned from 1928 until 2010 by Jim Gregory.

She remained a clinker-built craft until 1917, when she was converted to carvel. Rather than do the job wholesale, which would have created a completely new boat, Vic had Dan and Barry Tester of Hollowshore rebuild her piece by piece so that she would remain the Emma, and in doing so found that in converting her to carvel all those years ago, her clinker strakes had been filled out with feather-edged boards and tar. She had remained like that for more than nine decades…

These days, he has her beautifully sorted out inside and out, with just a tiny space under the foredeck that suffices as a cabin.