The Sailing Barge 'WYVENHOE'
OFFICIAL NUMBER: 110012
GROSS TONNAGE: 103.25
REGISTERED TONNAGE: 83.19
BUILT BY FORRESTT & SON LTD. in WIVENHOE in 1898
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For the official Wyvenhoe web-site,
The sailing barge, traditionally referred to as a
Thames Barge', evolved over a long period of carrying bulk cargoes between
coastal areas in England and to ports in the nearer continental countries.
The easily handled sail plan, flat bottom, shallow draught and
considerable cargo capacity for a small ship, was the basis of a
considerable trade in bulk cargoes where speed was not essential. There is
no keel, stability being provided by 'lee boards', one on each side, which
can be raised or lowered as necessary. Similar vessels evolved from the
same needs in near Europe, particularly in Holland and 'Dutch Barge' is
heard as often as 'Thames Barge'.
Most barges carried cement, sand, bricks, stone, hay
and straw and it is known that 'Wyvenhoe' often carried linseed. During
the 1914 war the sailing barges carried munitions to France.
The remaining barges, all 30, have been converted for pleasure use and
there are probably no more hulks lying in East Coast creeks that can be
HISTORY OF 'WYVENHOE'
She was built of iron in 1898, at Wivenhoe in Essex. Like most Thames
sailing barges she was rigged with a spritsail rig which enabled a small
crew of two or three men to handle her.
She carried all sorts of cargo around the coast of Britain and to
She was converted to a motor ship in 1923, and after being rebuilt in
steel in 1947, she traded until 1982. She holds the record of having
traded longer than any other British registered ship.
MORE RECENT HISTORY
'Wyvenhoe' has given great pleasure to many people over recent years where
she has been used extensively for charter work and functions of many
kinds, including weddings and similar celebrations, meetings, training
sessions, press presentations, product launches, seminars, art classes,
film and still photography, staff rewards and customer entertainment.
She is berthed in the heart of London at St Katherine’s Dock by Tower
SOME NOTABLE EVENTS
In 1998 'Wyvenhoe', with three others, sailed
around Lands End and took part in the Bristol International Festival of
the Sea. She was used as accommodation for commercial organisations
involved in the Festival. In 1999, 'Wyvenhoe' was honoured to be chosen to
go to Windsor, with masts lowered (and the river too in some places) to
get under the bridges, to be the venue for the 100th anniversary
of the Sea Cadets. A brass plate on one of the saloon chairs commemorates
the visit of H.M.The Queen to the exhibition staged on board.
The other notable event in 1999 was truly explosive. 'Wyvenhoe' starred
in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough'. The masts were taken
down, the deck was covered with a steel sheet lid, false masts and a
deckhouse were constructed and then the whole upper part was blown-up with
great force on the Thames. It looked like the end for 'Wyvenhoe', but when
the protection was removed, she was as good as old underneath.
Built of iron and steel. Length 85 feet, Beam 19 feet, Draught about 4
feet. Registered tonnage of 83.19 tons.
Sail area: 3,500 square feet. Traditional sails, treated with red-ochre
and linseed oil.
To contact the owners of the Wyvenhoe, click