Spitalfields Life takes a trip to Chatham Dockyard

Spitalfields Life and the Ancient Mariner


The excellent Spitalfields Life takes a trip to Chatham Dockyard, and meets and ancient mariner… See also the Gentle Author’s outings to Sheerness and the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

My thanks to Malcolm Woods for spotting this one.

SS Robin – an update, and an illustrated article

SS Robin

Regular readers may remember some Intheboatshed.net posts a few years back explaining the preservation and re-purposing plans for the 1890-built SS Robin – the steam coaster that is said to be the oldest in the world and as significant as the Cutty Sark. Read about her here,  here and here.

Things have been a bit quiet, but an article about the SS Robin in the excellent Spitalfields Life weblog spotted by my pal Malcolm Woods reminded me about the project.

If you don’t know Spitalfields Life, do poke about among its pages. It’s a wonderful example of what a locally-focused weblog can be, and being based in an area boasting the docks and the Thames, many of its posts have a maritime dimension. It also benefits from being put together by a writer who can also take a photograph…

The news with SS Robin is that while the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), has agreed to provide £100,000 to complete essential deck conservation works to help conserve the SS Robin, it has not agreed to provide funds to complete works that would have allowed the SS Robin to open to the public as a heritage attraction.

However, the SS Robin Trust says it remains committed to finding the best outcome and will therefore apply for HLF funding aimed at to explore broader options for the steam coaster. This will make a purely heritage use less likely, it will enable the Trust to explore more commercial uses.

East London’s last sailmaker’s loft

Sailmaker's loft East London

Caird & Rayner’s premises at 777 Commercial Rd was built as a sailmakers’ loft and chandlers’ warehouse, and operated for 80-odd years until it closed in 1972 – so its career included the closing days of commercial sailing ships.

It has not substantially altered and remains undeveloped – and apparently largely derelict today.

My thanks to Malcolm Woods for spotting this one.

Read all about it at the wonderful Spitalfields Life website.

PS. Regular reader Nigel of Bexley has written to say there is a sailmaker’s loft at Dagenham, which is within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. So I guess it could be argued that London has another sailmaker’s loft – or it might be argued that suburban boroughs are something different. Visit the website of Dagenham’s family-run sailmakers: M. Putt (Sailmakers). Thanks Nigel!