Monday, 4 July 2011

Hanging on the wall..

Whilst in Essex last week visiting my Mother and Brother I took the time to also visit my Cousin  Daphne.  Hanging on the wall at Daphne's house was a tapestry featuring a Thames Sailing Barge.  The tapestry was made by Alexander Wright my great grandfather, (Mother and Daphne's maternal Grandfather) who crewed this boat in the early part of  the 20th century. 

Tapestry of Thames Sailing Barge GLENBURN by Alexander Wright

'Glenburn' was built at Upnor on the River Medway by a chap called James Little in 1904. She was capable of carrying 48 ton, a crew of only two operated her and she was owned by Samuel Brice a sand, clay, gravel merchant.   My Mother remembers tales of her 'Grandad' sailing to Vange on the Thames in Essex to load with bricks from the Vange brick fields - now defunct, this would fit with the business of the owner quite neatly.
Glenburn was registered in Rochester and there are Mercantile Navy Lists (crew records) of her up to 1934 but no record of her now so she has probably long gone.  My Great Grandfather, Alexander Wright, continued as a lighterman on the Thames and Medway until the economic depression of the 1930's and his advancing years put paid to that line of work.  He still maintained his contacts however because my Mother was often taken aboard the barges as a small child for a trip to Maidstone and back carrying barrels of beer for the local brewery.
I was just thrilled to find this family connection to Thames Sailing Barges and pleased to be able flesh out a little of the background detail to the tapestry!!


Anonymous said...

Hanging on the wall...something special.
Lovely craft - tapestry + boat! Even more special with historical family connection.
Interesting and enjoyed. Thank you.

Nb Caxton said...

You are welcome Anon