Please sign the petition in support of Standard Quay’s boatbuilding future

Standard Quay

Standard Quay, winter 2010/11


Please sign this e-petition – it offers an opportunity to register public support for the aim of saving Faversham’s Standard Quay from a development that many fear could curtail or end the traditional boat building and repairing.

It’s a cause that deserves the support of anyone who cares about the future of traditional boat building, and about the future of the priceless Thames sailing barge fleet.

(If on signing you don’t immediately receive a confirmation email you haven’t signed, so please dig it out and click on the confirmation link. It’ll most likely be in your spam or trash folders.)

If you’re new to this issue, read more about the danger to Standard Quay at the Faversham Creek website and from this national newspaper article, and from the campaign press release, which I’ve posted in the comments below. (It’s not my press release, but I felt people should be able to access it.)

Also, do please take a moment to read the latest news and watch a short movie about Faversham Creek and Standard Quay put together by local film maker Simon Clay and journalist Richard Fleury. In relation to that site, I’d be curious to know which of the facts included in Simon Henley’s article are held to be incorrect by councillors. The news section of Simon and Richard’s site will explain what I mean.

I should report that I wrote to many of the local councillors just before an important meeting held in November and did not receive a single reply – not even an acknowledgement. (I have now had a reply from Mike Cosgrove.)

Finally, if you can, please pass this message to friends interested in this issue. The easiest way may be to select, copy and paste this web address into an email:

PS – The weblogs are taking up this story:

15 thoughts on “Please sign the petition in support of Standard Quay’s boatbuilding future”

  1. Thanks for flagging up the Faversham Quay issue, Gavin. This is very worrying. Faversham Quay is a gem just as it is and would be seriously degraded by 'development'. Working quays are for working on and are not suitable for organised tourism or housing. Just look at what has happened to Mistley Quay: The old maltings were converted into housing, some of the new residents complained about the boats being messy. The quay operator is trying to make a 'land grab' and has now fenced off the quay for 'Health and Safety' reasons to stop sailors using it. Nuff said.

    Best wishes

    Michael Feather.

  2. Thanks for publicising we really need to keep these old town quays sake, take a look at Hamble every last trace of boatbuilding and fishing gone, the developers have done a nice job but what they have created is a theme park village

  3. In my recent books I have railed against what has happened at other wharves in Faversham and in such places as Wyvenhoe too, where marsh now infests the sides of once working wharves. What's happening up Milton Creek is a classic – the blurb said '…it'll open up Sittingbourne to its maritime heritage…' How, when the bridge has stopped any maritime heritage sailing up? I still can't work it out. Rochester has been killed too – boats go up to the bridge looking for a short stop – nothing is available. There's no where to get ashore… If Standard Quay goes, the powers to be will finally succeed in turning Faversham Creek into a salt marsh infested rill – then they'll stick it in a tube, bury it and build over it… God forbid – but we're closer than you think – house holders and the such that have crept into what was a working maritme paridise will not put up with that…

    Nick Ardley


  4. Just a reminder to those who think they have signed.

    You should have received a 'confirmation' email from SBC Petition asking you to confirm your signature.

    If you have not had this email, it is probably in your Spam box.

    Please check, and then look at the list to see if it has appeared.

  5. The Thames Sailing Barge Trust is in the process of restoring the Thames Sailing Barge (and Dunkirk Little Ship) "Pudge". The yard at Faversham is one of very few yards which could have done the work.

    If the yard closes, as a result of progress, does anyone know of anyone who has the skills and equipment to replace the bottom planks and timbers of a wooden ship?

    At the moment "Pudge" is rotting into the mud alongside the hard at Maldon, but I'm told that the Trust is raising money to restore her and put her back into a commission as a commercial vessel.

  6. As Chairman of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust I would like to right the erroneous comment posted by Andrew Sinclair in respect of our barge "Pudge". She is not 'rotting into the mud alongside the hard at Maldon'. For insurance purposes we are currently restricted in our commercial use of her. We are allowed to move her under sail and she was the centerpiece of the Dunkirk Commemoration Service in Ipswich last May. Other than the stern quarter the remainder of her hull has been completely rebuilt in the last eight years and is no doubt stronger than many in the fleet. Yes, we are in the process of raising the funds to complete the final section. If you wish to help or donate, please visit our web site for details.

    Having said that, I agree the loss of facilities to support traditional craft is very worrying, particually in Kent. Over the past five years the Trust, and formally as the Thames Barge Sailing Club, have found it almost impossible to operate from a berth on the Thames or Medway. They have all been snuffed out by residential developments or as Nick Ardley mentions, bridges in the wrong places. As the TBSC, we used Standard Quay as a Summer berth. Standard Quay is about the only place left in Kent that can match the facilities that still exist in the Maldon area or Pin Mill. Perhaps a few of the Councillors who are making these decisions should visit Maldon Hythe Quay to see what a draw the barges are to the tourist trade all year round. As a Man of Kent I find it very sad that our Councils have neglected our local maritime heritage.



    More than 200 signatures in days after councillor claims ‘no significant fears’ over traditional boatyard’s future.

    8 February 2011

    For immediate release

    A petition to save jobs and maritime skills at Faversham’s historic Standard

    Quay boatyard has proved an instant success.

    Swale Borough Council’s first-ever electronic petition, it opened for

    signatures at 1pm on Friday 4th February. By 9am on Monday more than 90 people

    had already added their names. By midnight on Monday, the number had climbed to


    Standard Quay’s supporters believe the final count could reach the thousands.

    The e-petition has not yet been widely publicised and spread over the weekend by

    word of mouth, email and Facebook.

    Sue Cooper, of Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd, who started the petition, said:

    “I posted it on the Save Standard Quay Facebook page but have not done

    anything else to publicise it.

    “This response is indicative of the level of concern in Faversham and

    elsewhere about the role of Standard Quay as a vital part of the maritime

    industry of Faversham Creek. I hope Swale will see that and take action to

    secure a future for Standard Quay’s skilled craftsmen and apprentices. With

    companies like Pfizer leaving Kent, they need to protect skilled local jobs

    wherever possible.”

    The e-petition goes directly to the Swale Borough Council's website so support

    can tracked as it grows. Despite some technical teething problems, the petition

    page is now fully operational and will remain open until July 31.

    It was launched on the same day Swale councillor Mike Cosgrove claimed there

    were ‘no significant fears’ for Standard Quay in Faversham. His comments

    were reported on the website by the makers of an independent

    documentary about the plight of Standard Quay.

    Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd loses its lease on June 21, when Faversham’s

    traditional shipwrights and their apprentices must leave their quayside

    workshops. New leases have not been offered and the site’s owner Quayside

    Properties Ltd has earmarked it for development as a tourist attraction.

    “This is not because it is a failing company or because there is a lack of

    demand for its services or any lack of skills to fulfill that demand,”

    explained Sue Cooper. “It is because the land is seen as ripe for

    ‘improvement’ to make it a ‘tourist gem’ with shops and restaurants.”

    Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd has overseen substantial investment in employment

    and training. The facilities at Standard Quay do not need redevelopment to allow

    this to continue and expand. Indeed, suggested “improvements” such as

    allowing increased retail or restaurant use would harm the potential to expand

    training in traditional skills and the continuation and expansion of highly

    skilled local employment on what is presently the working Quay.

    Sue Cooper says: “Without Standard Quay, the future of the Creek is bleak. We

    will do all we can to keep it working.

    “We have been asked for vacant possession which means that all the maritime

    craftsmen who sublet workshop space from the company also have to leave. I have

    heard rumours that the landlord intends to continue the business we established,

    but no one I know of has been offered any kind of lease. Time is running out for

    them and I feel terrible. These aren't businesses you can just move around at

    the drop of a hat.”

    Until 2003, when Standard Quay Faversham Ltd, received its first notice to quit,

    the business was developing well and attracting an ever expanding array of

    traditional and historic vessels to moor and repair.

    Despite huge legal costs incurred dealing with the quay’s new property

    developer landlord, this securely-founded business has continued to survive,

    create skilled local jobs and establish a successful apprenticeship scheme. This

    pioneering scheme is run by a not-for-profit company started for the purpose by

    Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd's Brian Pain in partnership with Cambria Trust

    (not by Cambria Trust alone as is commonly misreported).

    “If you would like to show Swale that you care about Standard Quay and wish to

    see the activities that have been regenerated over the past 17 years continue

    and grow, please add your name and visit and the Save

    Standard Quay Facebook page for updates on the campaign.

    “If you have friends interested in keeping this heritage and these skills

    alive, please pass the link to them too.”

    For more information, please contact Sue Cooper:

    Phone: 01795 539186


    Or Brian Pain

    01634 828115


  8. Andrew Sinclair please note, appearances can be deceptive. Pudge was at the Harwich Sea Festival last year and is booked to appear again this year, as well as the Brightlingsea Music Festival. Wyvenhoe may have changed colours but has been no where in 2010. Iron pots deteriorate just as much as wooden craft. If you have any spare time on a Thursday, pay a visit onto Pudge. When she is there, weather permitting, David Gibson runs volunteer Thursday work parties onboard. No experience necessary. To check details visit our website,

  9. I keep my small gaff cutter at the Maylandsea yard where Pudge was recently worked on by skilled shipwright Rick Cardy. It was pleasing to see the effect that his months of work on the bow section had on her sailing abilities and I have photographs of her stern as she showed us 'a clean pair of heels' on her next trip down the Blackwater. The stern now needs the same attention to make this Rochester barge once more into a formidable racing machine!

    As a yearly charterer of Pudge and the TBST's other barge Centaur since 1992, I have a vested interest in getting support for the Trust and of course in supporting any other effort to keep these elegant craft and their historic homes in good order.

    The 'Brightlingsea Music Festival' is, in reality, the English Country Music Weekend, and that is country music as in trad English and not to be confused with 'Country & Western' which is significantly different.


    If all arrangements are fulfilled, the trust will have Centaur there, moored on the hammerhead and open for visitors. There's not room for both Centaur & Pudge and as we'll be sailing away from the festival for a weeks charter on Centaur then that''s the barge that will be there. As well as the normal open days, there will be music sessions at various times and we hope to raise awareness of the trust, raise money for the restoration work still to be carried out on Pudge (and in the long term on Centaur), recruit members to the trust and support barge matters overall.

    Come and see Centaur at Brightlingsea on June 25th/26th, by which time of course, we'll know if the efforts to save Standard Quay have been successful. In the meantime, put some effort into the Standard Quay protest and heed Nick Ardley's warning – blocks of flats over pipes are very difficult to shift once they're there.

    1. Ha! Thanks for your informative comment John. It's good to have the point about the English Country Music Festival nailed down – I had my suspicions that this was the 'music festival' but was not sure enough to say so…

  10. We support your fight and would also like to enlist support for saving our own dry dock in Appledore. Further details available from the above email address.

  11. I have just returned from Malaysia as winter there through health problems. I was so upset to find out that they are not going to re new the lease for the Quay.

    Also this has lead to closing down of making and suplying roap blocks est which is vital to keep historacall boats rigged – who will make them now!!!

    Also the apprentice ships that had started up there has had to closed down. Many barges and other traditional boats will be left with out a place to birth. This has been a Historical port and the councel should be made to address this fact!!! I just am wondering if any way our govermeant could interven !! As once they start building houses for money it will be gone for Ever !!! Just because you own a land it dose not give you the right to damage the historical part of a town I think there must be some one out there that could do some thing some one who Has enough clout to stop it!!!! We all must still fight – I am racking my brains – I know its been a long fight and every one feels its the end I DO NOT !!!!!! Please let there be some one out there who could help save the Quay at Faversham for all who have loved it and who that may never know of even its exsistance in time to come just through greed!!!! Catherine De Bont a Mate on Thames barges for many Years.

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