Following the recent post about EW Cooke, Faversham historian Arthur Percival has alerted me to the existence of this Cooke drawing of the scene at Holly Shore on Oare Creek – this is the spot we now know as Hollowshore.
This low-resolution image is all I’ve been able to get hold of up to now – the original is held by the British Museum but I have not been able to find a record of it on the museum website.
The entrance to Oare Creek and the Shipwright’s Arms will be familiar to anyone who has visited. The barge itself is of the old swim-headed type from long before the Henry Dodd established sailing barge races in the 1860s.
A long-standing fan of EW Cooke’s work, Mr Percival says the artist visited the area on the 9th July 1832.
Another find from searching the Internet is the image below of a sailing barge loaded with hay with a retired man of war in the background. I think this is very likely to depict a scene on the Medway, and is therefore of particular interest to those of us who sail in the area.
The man of war with its masts cut down is clearly not a prison hulk, because they were closed down a few years before EW’s visit.
The image of the hay barge is a thumbnail from the Magnolia Box prints and pictures website, which offers the image in various sizes – the title given is ‘Hay Barge and Men of War on the Medway, 1833’.
Cooke clearly had a particular interest in hay barges – there’s another similar scene of a hay barge in still weather being handled under sweeps off Greenwich here.
We are delighted to report that Hollowshore’s legendary Shipwright’s Arms has reopened following the dreadful night in early December, when the sea over-topped the sea defences and flooded the marshes with salt water.
The pub’s website has this to say:
‘Well folks, it was a long hard haul, but we managed it and are now open for business again… We had to replace just about everything, but on the bright side the pub has never looked better.
‘Although we have made some improvements, the pub is just about as you will remember it, so why not come along and check it out. We need your custom more than ever after being closed for eight weeks so look forwards to seeing you soon.’
Do check out the old pub’s history – I hadn’t realised that there’s some evidence that parts of it apparently go back to the 13th century.
Naturally, I intend to visit this favourite pub for a drink and a chat with friends very soon!
There were two great pieces of news at Hollowshore this weekend: Ham Marshes have been saved from the gravel-diggers, and the sailing barge repair business previously at Standard Quay in Faversham has arrived at Oare Creek.
Swale Borough Council’s planners are to be congratulated for making the right decision on the Marshes – it never did make any sense to destroy an internationally important habitat for wildlife, or to expand one business in a way that would destroy others.
Faversham’s loss of the sailing barge repairers is sad and unnecessary, but their arrival just yards from the wonderful The Shipwright’s Arms on the banks of Oare Creek is good news for the area’s boating community, and for the pub – and at least the repair business remains in the area.
It’ll be fascinating to see which vessels come in for repairs and restoration, and we can watch it all happening from our own mooring over a cup of tea and a slice of malt loaf…