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The Society for Sailing Barge Research

George Skidmores sketch of S.B. Memory at Tollesbury May 1991

Founded in 1963 as the Society for Spritsail Barge Research by a band of of enthusiasts concerned that the rapid decline and possible extinction of these splendid and historically significant craft would pass largely unrecorded. From the thousands of Thames sailing barges once plying the rivers and estuaries of the south east and beyond, today just a handful survive in active commission with charter parties and business guests replacing the grain, cement, brick and coal cargoes of yesteryear.

Now renamed The Society for Sailing Barge Research, reflecting a broadening interest in other allied craft, the ports from which they sailed and the men who built, owned and sailed them. The Society organises walks, talks and exhibitions and publishes various books and journals on sailing barge related subjects.

Amongst these is "Topsail", a regular treasure chest of sailing barge  history, profusely illustrated with fascinating photographs of long lost craft and the ports they once served. Members also receive a twice yearly Newsletter which details the activities of the Society and highlights the fortunes of the barges that survive, as well as providing further snippets of our maritime heritage as ongoing research yields yet more of the barge trade that ceased in 1970 when the Cambria carried her last freight under sail alone. A few ex sailormen continued as motor barges into the 1980's.



Chairman:    Tony Farnham
Vice Chairpersons:       Elizabeth Wood (Exhibitions)

 Richard Smith

Hon. Secretary:     John White
Hon. Treasurer:     Graham Dent
Membership Secretary:   Margaret Blackburn
Minutes Secretary:  George Skidmore
Publications Sub Committee member:  Hugh Perks 
Chairman of Publications Sub Committee  & Publications Co-ordinator:     Richard Walsh 
Editor - Newsletter and Publications Sub Committee member:  Charles Traill 
Archive Curator Don Wright
Sales & Artefacts:    Roger Newlyn
Committee Members:   David Wood (Exhibitions)

Peter Ferguson  

For Membership Information see "Membership" page or Contact :-

Mrs Margaret Blackburn on 01553 617418

For any other information that is not available on this website please contact:-

 The Hon Sec., John White, 5 Cox Road, Alresford, 

  Colchester, Essex CO7 8EJ.

Tel: 01206-825317 or Email: john.white6@talk21.com