You would be hard pressed to find a historic view of the Essex, Suffolk or North Kent coast without a Thames sailing barge depicted somewhere in it.
Hundreds of these red sailed beauties have plied their trade up and down south-east England’s coastline and estuaries and beyond to mainland Europe, for the best part of three centuries.
As well as farmers’ crops, the barges carried numerous other cargoes such as coal, coke and sand. As towns like Southend expanded, Thames barges delivered all the necessary materials to help build the infrastructure of a modern community, as efficiently and as economically as possible. A Thames sailing barge could carry up to 50,000 bricks in a single cargo.
This wonderful exhibition opens at the Priory Visitor Centre on Wednesday 19 May 11am – 4pm and will run until Sunday 15 August.