Wrecks and working boats of the Ore

Working boats at Ore Working boats at Ore 2

Working boats on the  Ore 4 Wrecks on the Ore Working boats at Ore 3

Click on the thumbnails for much bigger photos!

The coast of East Anglia is well known for its crab boats, lifeboats, beach punts, beach yawls and Southwold luggers – but I can’t say that I’ve read much about the little boats with their sweeping sheers show in these shots.

These photos come from Orford, but similar craft can be seen along the Deben and on the Alde.

From looking at my copy of the marvellous but almost unobtainable Chatham Directory of Inshore Craft, I’d say that many of the small wooden working boats in these photos are relatives of what it calls the Felixstowe Ferry lobster boat, a lug-rigged 15ft open boat made at Woodbridge that died out in the 1950s.

There must be a story to be told about the history of these little craft. I’m struck that quite a few of the local modern plastic tenders have something of the same form.

Looking at these shots I can’t help but think they have more than a touch of the Norse about them, but it’s not just a matter of history: the advantages of that pronounced sheer line are obvious when you see the confused water of the bar they must cross to reach the sea (see below).

I was also tickled by the Laser converted for rowing by the addition of a sliding seat (which must be seriously wasted in a hull this short – see Rowing for Pleasure comment), and by this splendid shed.

Confused water at the mouth of the Ore Laser sliding seat converted for rowing Ore boatshed

6 thoughts on “Wrecks and working boats of the Ore”

  1. My Grandfather was Bob Glover, who kept a fishing boat at Slaughden; however, he converted it from a clinker lifeboat; in retirement he spent most of his time on the river. As a small boy, he introduced me to Jumbo Ward, the huffler for that part of the river up to Snape; "Yew don want tew git too clos to him, bor, he eats small boiys….. could not have further from the truth, even though he did have a large ring in his ear, and was certainly a pirate – to a small boy.

    Before you ask, a Huffler is a river pilot, taking the Thames barges up to the maltings at Snape [Now the Aldeburgh Festival concert hall].

    1. Hi Bob, please could you contact me urgently? I am helping a campaign to save Jumbo Ward’s cottage at Iken Cliff and wonder if you might be able to help? emily@sopersfarm.com. Many thanks!

    2. I worked for Jumbo from the age of 11 or 12, during school holidays and any spare moment I had, until the early 1970’s. He was a fascinating man and taught me so much.

  2. I suggest that you contact Robert Simper, the sailor and author with a special interest in the area. He actually took Jumbo as huffler when they took the first Thames Barge to go up to Snape for many years.

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