A magic lantern slide of the sailing barge Charles Hutton

Sailing barge Charles Hutton

Dorset boatbuilder and Weymouth College head of maritime skills Ian Baird has sent over a scan of this fine magic lantern slide of the sailing barge Charles Hutton being loaded with what is believed to be Portland stone.

Barge folks… Is anything known about this sailing barge, or the Portland stone trade please?

Thanks for the great shot Ian!

PS – This photo and request for information has attracted some great, informative responses from readers. Click on the comments link for more about the barge in the photo, the Portland stone trade, great old photos and something about local wreck archaeology. Thanks everyone, including Chris Brady, Mick Nolan, and Paul Mullings.

12 thoughts on “A magic lantern slide of the sailing barge Charles Hutton”

  1. Could it be the Charles Hutson? The following from the Mersea Museum Barge List
    Rochester 1889
    Conyer, Kent Barge
    56t x John D. Lee, Strood, Kent MNL1893

    1. Hi Paul – This seems very likely. The S or T (as I thought it was) is obscured by the mooring warp but it seems most likely. Can you tell me anymore about her or let me know where I could find out? Many thanks

      Ian Baird

  2. Mick Nolan of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust has kindly written in with the following information:

    The barge is the Charles Hutson of Rochester (the bowsprit shroud is obscuring the ‘s’), built in 1889 at John Bird’s yard at Conyer Creek, for the Hutson barge family.

    She changed owners four times before 1915, when she is recorded as being owned by the famous Horlock barge family of Mistley.

    She spent the First World War years on the lucrative coal run between the Humber and Northern France, and during World War II, she was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence for use as a barrage balloon barge in the Harwich and Ipswich areas.

    In the 1950s, she was a pile driving barge and eventually became a houseboat before being broken up at Pin Mill in 1992.

    It does look like Portland stone being loaded.

    Here are two short film links showing the gruelling Portland stone industry. One of the films includes a brief clip of an unidentified Thames sailing barge being loaded.


  3. Charles hutson and William hutson are both watermen and Charles owned barges. These men are both direct descendants, would love to get a copy of this picture and hear of any more info.

    Dawn hutson

    1. If you click on the image and then reight-click to save it, you should have a pretty good copy.

      I think Ian Baird told Intheboatshed most of what he had to share, but I’ll send him your email address.


    2. Charles Hutson was my grandfather and William Hutson was my brother. My Father was Arthur Hutson and he worked with his father on the barge when it was cut in half by a passing boat and sunk. There was a photograph of it when it was brought up on the bank in the family which has been mislaid and I would very much like to get a copy of it. My father worked for Humphrey & Grey until he retired on the Sir John and John Wilson. Happy memories.

  4. Hello Gavin,

    John Bird is my ancestor. If you are interested I can supply you with further information about him. It’s very interesting to see the Charles Hutson barge in such great detail!

    All the best for now,

    Martin Bird

    1. Thanks for getting in touch Martin! Intheboatshed would certainly be pleased to learn more about John Bird and his Conyer-based barge building business if you have it please!



  5. Hi I remember the Charles Hutson very well as a houseboat in the 1960’s at Pin Mill, Suffolk I think she was broken up in the 1970’s not the 90’s. There was a picture of her in the Castle Cornet museum (Guernsey) wrecked on somewhere on Guernsey in the 1920’s when she was employed in the stone trade. She was obviously salvaged and carried on trading. I don’t know if they still have that picture on display?

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