Tag Archives: Faversham

The Purifier Yacht and Dinghy Company dinghy demo

Working in the Faversham Creek Trust’s Purifier Building, our pal Alan Thorne is making and selling two dinghies designed by Graham Byrnes of B&B Yacht Designs.

One of the dinghies made by Alan’s The Purifier Yacht and Dinghy Company is sweet little sharp-nosed job that sails and tows well, and divides in two and nests one half inside the other so that it can be stowed on board a larger yacht or transported easily. The other is a little pram tender that can sail, row and motor with an outboard. Why not take a look…

Michael Maloney’s film: The Apprentice – Making Life Work

Faversham film-maker Michael Maloney is passionate about the value of apprenticeships to young people, and believes they are vital to the economic and social future of Britain.

He points out that about a million of our young people are currently unemployed – a point that which contrasts sharply with the some of the claims we hear about the healthy state of our economy.

I particularly like the quotation from Griff Rhys-Jones visit to Faversham Creek Trust’s apprenticeships project at the Purifier Building in Faversham last year: ‘The reward is in what you do.

(It had better be – in the same short speech he also revealed that the boat cost him £70 to buy, that he had spent a further £500,000 on her over the next ten years – and that on putting it on the market more recently had been offered how much? You’ve guessed it – £70,000.)

This Youtube is a trailer for a longer and more in-depth film that Michael is making on the subject of apprenticeships.

Read more about Michael’s project here: http://www.cwideprods.co.uk/the-apprentice/

EW Cooke painting and drawing in North Kent

Holly Shore Boats on Shore BM E W Cooke 1832

Following the recent post about EW Cooke, Faversham historian Arthur Percival has alerted me to the existence of this Cooke drawing of the scene at Holly Shore on Oare Creek – this is the spot we now know as Hollowshore.

This low-resolution image is all I’ve been able to get hold of up to now – the original is held by the British Museum but I have not been able to find a record of it on the museum website.

The entrance to Oare Creek and the Shipwright’s Arms will be familiar to anyone who has visited. The barge itself is of the old swim-headed type from long before the Henry Dodd established sailing barge races in the 1860s.

A long-standing fan of EW Cooke’s work, Mr Percival says the artist visited the area on the 9th July 1832.

Another find from searching the Internet is the image below of a sailing barge loaded with hay with a retired man of war in the background. I think this is very likely to depict a scene on the Medway, and is therefore of particular interest to those of us who sail in the area.

The man of war with its masts cut down is clearly not a prison hulk, because they were closed down a few years before EW’s visit.

The image of the hay barge is a thumbnail from the Magnolia Box prints and pictures website, which offers the image in various sizes – the title given is ‘Hay Barge and Men of War on the Medway, 1833′.

EW Cooke prison hull and sailing barge

Cooke clearly had a particular interest in hay barges – there’s another similar scene of a hay barge in still weather being handled under sweeps off Greenwich here.


Pathé News films of Faversham shipbuilders’ famous sideways launch

Here are a couple of Pathé News clips from long ago showing the famous sideways launch used by Faversham shipbuilders in action. My thanks to my old friend Ian Lawther!

PS While we’re on the subject of Pathé newsreels, reader Ed Maggs has let me know about another Pathé clip shot in 1954 that records the occasion when Lady and Lord Docker entertained some 45 miners on board their yacht, MY Shemara. I’m not at all sure about Lady Docker’s ‘sailor’s hornpipe’ by the way – I think it may owe a little more to ‘Naughty Norah’s’ background as a chorus girl than to that ancient tradition. Read about the scandalous Dockers here and here, though perhaps you might think reading about Shemara here and here might be more seemly. She’s just been done up and relaunched, and is described as a ‘classic superyacht’.

I gather MY Shemara had a distinguised career during WWII, when she was requisitioned and used as an anti-submarine training ship.

Thanks Ed!

Colin Frake returns to Faversham – and sets up shop in the Purifier Building

Colin Frake block maker

Many folks will be delighted to to hear that traditional block-maker and deck fittings maker Colin Frake has returned to Faversham – he’s been away for a couple of years after he took the difficult decision to leave Standard Quay a couple of years ago.

The new workshop is again by the waterside in the Purifier Building, which is leased and managed by the Faversham Creek Trust.

Captain Ward – Faversham’s famous pirate who changed the course of history

The ballad Captain Ward sung by Gavin Atkin – who learned it from the singing of Roy Harris.

This is a striking if historically inaccurate short ballad about an amazing character – a Faversham fisherman who became a pirate in the period following the Armada, then returned to fishing, was then pressed into the Navy, led a group of rebels who stole a ship and sailed to the Mediterranean, and after a series of battles and acts of villainous piracy accepted Islam along with his entire crew, and at the same time changed his name to Yusuf Reis.

Now, my history is pretty ropey – I make no claim to that discipline – but some say he taught the Moors how to be successful pirates.

If that’s true, there are some remarkable ramifications to consider, for nothwithstanding that there are various other people involved along the way, it would make Ward at least partly responsible for the extensive piracy and taking of slaves by Moorish pirates seen along the coast of South West England during the following decades. Anger over the Navy’s failure to deal with this issue contributed to turbulence of 17th and 18th century England, including the English Civil War, the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution that brought the Prince William of Orange to the English throne.

If that is all true, then our own Royals have old Captain Jack Ward to thank for their position today – or should we refer to him by his Islamic name, Yusuf Reis?

But that is not all. Should the rest of us also thank him for the bright colour of our carrots – which, we’re told are orange in homage to William of Orange?

Well – what do you think folks of Faversham and elsewhere?

I have to say, I’m reminded that there’s a house in Faversham’s Abbey Street that bears a plaque in memory of an earlier resident, Michael Greenwood, mariner, who lived from 1731/2 to 1812. Greenwood, it seems, was shipwrecked off Morrocco in 1758, and then enslaved and ransomed by Moors. See his plaque here.

PS – I’ve just found Roy Harris’s original 1975 recording on the Topic label here.

The Unknown Land – a play about arctic exploration, at the Arden Theatre, Faversham on the 28th March

The Forgotten Land

In the 1840s, the race to discover the fabled North-West Passage gripped the public imagination.

The Unknown Land is an original play by Caroline Small for one actor and many characters. It is said to be a compelling tale of extreme survival from a time before radio communication and specialised polar equipment that includes the human tale behind the politics of the age, and the story of a man’s journey to the end of the earth and deep inside his own mind.

This production by the Cotton Grass Theatre, directed by Alan Meadows stars ex-RSC actor David Frederickson and my pal, concertinist and singer Keith Kendrick in a story inspired by true accounts of nineteenth century Arctic exploration, Inuit mythology and the fatal attraction of the polar regions.

Needless to say, I intend to be in the audience somewhere.

No flyer for a theatrical production is complete without a few quotations, so here they are:

“A terrific performance by David Frederickson in a really fascinating play full of wit and love that I didn’t expect from the title and subject matter. If it’s not the most unexpectedly joyous night out I’ll have this year it’ll do to be going on with.” (Rony Robinson, BBC Radio Sheffield)

“Absolutely gripping, multi-layered, wonderfully acted and very, very moving. See it if you can!” (Sally Goldsmith, singer/song-writer, poet)

“Spellbinding theatre. Theatrical dynamite!” (Catherine Parker, Downfall Productions)

The show in Faversham will be at the Arden Theatre on Friday 28th March at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12; call the box office on 07812 102456.