Friday 20 July 2007

Another kind of Henry - # 174

For those of you feeling relief that I have finally escaped from the surrealism of Henry's Bar, here is something that is, in my opinion, far more interesting. It's Barge Henry - a magnificent 104 year old Thames Sailing Barge. These vessels were still hard working cargo boats in the 1950s and I can remember seeing them out at sea when I was a boy. They still race, and a barge under full sail is a fine sight. Every sea-going nation has its typical hull form and rigging style. For example, The English Thames Barge could never be mistaken for a Dutch Canal/Coastal Barge. Their unique hull design and sailing rig enable them to slip up shallow rivers and estuaries and then sail out around the coast in deeper, more windy waters.

These ships were built and rigged so that they could be sailed by "one man and a boy". They carried cargoes of agricultural products, particularly barley, malt and beer around the east coast of England and as far as the Guinness brewery in Dublin over in Ireland.

The web sites here have some fine pictures of the barges under full sail and more about their use and history. Fine Pictures/paintings History and information Information about "Greta" built 1892 and still working as a tourist cruiser.


  1. What a beautiful boat - in a beautiful setting.

  2. I really like the little ship and the story which goes with it!!!

    I once had a summer job in a small French port and there was a small wooden ship coming in from Mallorca now and then (depending on winds and streams). They were four onboard, together with some hens and pigs. No radio. When they arrived I always had to send a telegram to the captains's wife: "Bien llegado. Besos. Manolito."

  3. I have to agree with your enthusiasm for the Thames barge. I use the word "iconic" a lot (too much) in my blog, but for me this is also an icon. Especially from the many maritime paintings which feature that ochre coloured sail and distinctive shape