A Thames skiff at the NMM Cornwall

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Thames skiff at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall

1905 Thames skiff on show at the NMMC, Falmouth. Naturally, I’ve asked the
curator to let me know what the boats in the background are!

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall at Falmouth has added a clinker-built River Thames skiff to its collection for ‘flying boats’, which hang from the ceiling, and can be viewed from above and below. It will remain in place for the whole of 2008.

Skiffs have long been used on the Thames as pleasure boats around the turn of the last century. Many are still in use today and can be seen during Swan Upping, an annual ceremony where swans on the River Thames are rounded up, caught, marked, and then released.

The particularly skiff on display was built by Hammerton of Thames Ditton in 1905 and features all her original equipment including part of the original cane in the back seat. I’ve linked to an interesting set of skiff plans drawings at this intheboatshed.net post.

A similar boat famously featured in Jerome K Jerome’s much loved 1889 novel Three Men in a Boat, which tells the comic story of three friends taking a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The trip was recreated for the BBC some time agao by comedians Griff Rhys-Jones, Dara O’Briain and Rory McGrath. More recently the same trio appeared in another reality TV entertainment in which they raced on board Rhys-Jones beautiful Phil Rhodes-designed yacht Undina.

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2 thoughts on “A Thames skiff at the NMM Cornwall”

  1. Hi Gavin, haven't been about recently. There's a 1880's Thames skiff, a single scull called Venus hanging in a country nursery in Victoria and I'll see if I can post a pic for you. The owner says it was imported from Scotland and was built by his grt. grandfather.


  2. Hi Jeff –

    Thanks for getting in touch once again.

    There's some kind of story here, isn't there? Was the boat built on the Thames or in Scotland? If on the Thames, how did it get to Scotland? And why export it to Australia?

    I wonder whether great grandfather was a Thames man touched with a little nostalgia for home, or maybe even a Thames-trained boatbuilder himself?

    Questions, questions, questions…

    Yes, I'd certainly be interested to see some photos!


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