Buckler’s Hard and its Ships, published 1906



A history of this important old centre for ship building, and now a destination for yacht owners and tourists.

‘Many cottages, now no longer needed, and falling to pieces, have had to be pulled down, and closed is the inn kept once by Mr Hemmons, where the shipwrights and caulkers were paid; as is the New Inn, with its traditions of a ”Smuggler’s Hole,” kept till much later times by Mr. Wort, who was succeeded by his son Joseph. James Bown, probably the ancestor of the Bound family today, no longer fires the kiln, and only hollows in a meadow and by the waterside tell where the ”top and bottom sawyers” laboured. The site of the mould-loft in the lower yard can still be pointed out. The blacksmith’s shop, part of which existed in the writer’s time, and which only ceased operations in 1885, is no more. The last of the Buckles went away with its disappearance, to settle down again as a repairer of agricultural implements and traction engines beyond Lymington.

‘Some three miles by land and five by water, away up the wooded estuary lie the shipwrights and caulkers resting in in the peaceful churchyard of Beaulieu Abbey, side by side with the last Hampshire iron-founders from Sowley Pond.

‘The only actual link with the past which has been known to me personally was an old copper riveter, named Glasby, whom I remember quite well, who died at the ripe age of ninety-one. He could well remember working at the ships in his youth, and was proud to talk about his memories of the time when oak, not iron, ruled the waves’

Trows on the Fleet this summer

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Trow on the Fleet, in Hampshire

Trow on the Fleet, in Hampshire Trow boats on the Fleet, in Hampshire Trow on the Fleet, in Hampshire

It’s good to know that the traditional Fleet trows are still in use on the famous body of sheltered water.

I was concerned that these unusual small flat-bottomed wooden boats were looking unloved and might be on the way out when I last saw them, which was getting on for a decade ago. However, if they’re still here in 2010 there seems no doubt that they’re being used and maintained by someone.

Regular readers will know I have a certain interest in these craft  – to find out more about trows and my reworked version in plywood, the Light TrowClick here and page through the many results for much more!

These photos were taken by my friend and colleague Ed Birch on a cycling trip a few weeks ago. Thanks Ed!

A Sussex beach boat rigged for sailing

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Sussex beach boat rigged for sailing

Sussex beach boat rigged for sailing

Chris Partridge of the Rowing for Pleasure weblog went rowing on Monday (when doesn’t he?) and noticed this traditional Sussex beach boat somewhere up a West Sussex creek.

The great thing about this boat, is that she seems to be rigged for sailing, unlike her motor-only sisters up and down the coast. Thanks for the shots Chris!

See Chris’s report of his rowing trip here; and click here for more posts about this kind of boat and Hastings, where a large number are still to be found among the beach-based fishing fleet.