A Thames barge in the Swin, by Frank Mason. Click on the
picture for a bigger image
I’ve put this drawing of a Thames barge up this morning in honour of a group of pals who as I write are holidaying off the Essex Coast in the Thames barge named Centaur.
The sun’s shining and there’s a good breeze this morning, and needless to say, I’m envious, not least because in addition to sailing I know that there will be some great singing and music-making on board and ashore!
The scan comes from Vanishing Craft, written by F G G Carr and illustrated by Frank Mason. Writing nearly 90 years ago, Carr says this of barges: ‘It is hard to find a picture of the Thames without one or more of these beautiful vessels lending a touch of grace and colour to the scene. One cannot even think of the lower river without the barges, some under way, with their reddish brown canvas full and drawing and carrying them smoothly about their business, while others of their class lie at anchor with sails brailed up and waiting for the tide that sluices past their sides to turn in their favour.’
How times have changed. These days there are just a few barges still sailing compared with two thousand or more in Carr’s time. Still, I’m glad to report that we usually see at least one each time we sail on the North Kent Coast.
For more intheboatshed.net posts relating to barges click here.
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