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The Thames barge

What can I do?

We believe that it important to keep The Thames barges sailing. Not just for nostalgic reasons and because they are things of beauty but for the roles they continue to play.

Each barge is a miniature university full of clues as to our commercial and social history. Examine their construction closely and the skills of a myriad craftsmen come to life. The shipwrights shaping the timbers, the iron works forming the spikes that fasten them , the sail maker, the rope maker and so on.

Later barges with their metal hulls reflect advances in engineering and efficiency, even the “Iron tops’l” The engines that came to power many of them can be studied at close quarters in some.

Walk around the hold. On some this will now be a luxury saloon, on others barely changed from their cargo carrying days. On all, imagine filling the space with coal, grain, bricks or gunpowder, by hand!

Today many continue to earn their living on charter, others carry out vital educational work through their role as sail training ships. These vessels and organisations give school children of all ages and backgrounds a chance to experience teambuilding and gain knowledge of our maritime past as they undertake a floating history lesson.

If you share our views on keeping the barges sailing or if you just want a truly memorable experience, book a trip on one of the barges available for charter. Every full trip materially helps assure the future of the barge concerned. (The illustrated guide to Thames sailing barges contains the web addresses of all the barges chartering).

Joining the Thames Sailing Barge Trust helps keep their two barges afloat and gives the opportunity for some active sailing.

Becoming a “Friend of the Thalatta” will help ensure that the East Coast Sail Trust can once more take children to “Five days in another world” on board Thalatta.