Gloriana in Greenwich?
Romance on the River
We popped down to The Ahoy Centre at Deptford to wish a young couple who fell in love while manning the Trinity House waterman’s cutter – they invited us both to see ‘Trinity Tide’ set off on a training row ready for the Great River Race from Millwall to Ham. They wedded at St Peter Vincula chapel in the Tower of London a historic monument indeed within a bow shot of Trinity House where they both work – the attached article went straight to my heart!
Other romantic yarns include the sighting of a old friends – the historic fire float Massey Shaw and Touchstone a restored traditional tug boat once based in Deptford – both were on the tideway for ‘Totally London’ the annual Thames festival sponsored by Boris!
More potential for Deptford Creek as Gloriana – the Royal Row Barge is seeking a winter quarters – why not in Deptford Creek just before the road bridge in a tidal spur overlooked by Waitrose and incoming traffic into Greenwich – which has recently been ‘refurbished’ – it could provide a Royal Gateway to Greenwich and compliment the NMM’s Royal Barge Prince Frederick. There are four rowing clubs in Greenwich Reach which could provide a potential crew too!
The Royal barge Gloriana made a magnificent centre piece a fortnight ago to the Trinity Regatta held amongst the Tall Ships – what a magnificent sight indeed!
Sightings on the tideway
Blue Dawn – a house boat being towed downstream to Paul Devrill’s yard for hull maintenance in his dry dock – looked very much like a Chelsea boat based at Cheyne Walk.
Albatros – visited Greenwich tier moorings in a two day visit – a 28,000 ton cruise ship which according to my Berlitz guide book carries a thousand passengers and 340 crew! A much loved ship by German middle class folk. The handsome white painted ship built in a traditional Finnish style matched a Matchbox toy I fondly have of a DDFS Ferry which plied from Newcastle to Bergen – indeed a perfect match which amused me somewhat!
The river has been denuded of the special moorings laid by the PLA for the Tall Ships event – the clear up of Victoria Deep Water Wharf required specialist crane barges to dismantle the various loading arrangements – I can’t think of the cost of these arrangements which I fear might put a repeat celebration out of order.
The very essence of such a splendid gathering really relies on ease of accessibility and close grouping – as I have drawn in Newcastle and Cherbourg. The unique camaraderie between crews was only obvious when the fleet gathered together for the final Parade of Sail which was indeed spectacular.
Further thought s on my idea for ‘Gloriana’ being based afloat in Deptford Creek – as a desperate search for facilities in Twickenham have been thwarted, as the Orleans House site has been too controversial, would be welcome – some sort of vessel site opposite Waitrose would indeed be welcomed at this unique quayside location.
Ever since the Waitrose supermarket opened in this extensive development to the West of Greenwich bordering both the River Thames and Deptford Creek, an inspired idea to add to this maritime scene would be the installation of an historic vessel in the small dock alongside Waitrose.
The newly formed waterside promenade links with the Thames path via a new cross creek footbridge currently being installed and creating a unique public access to this once derelict industrial site – once a busy wharf handling aggregates, coal and later a scrap yard.
Vessels were moored in Dales Dock including a trawler which was converted into studios, and other craft moored here for maintenance. Now the dock has become a highly visual landmark at the riverine entrance to the Royal Borough.
An opportunity has arisen as the Royal Row Barge ‘Gloriana’ is in need of a Thames side base – she has wintered in St Katherine’s Dock but she is in need of a weatherproof shelter with facilities for maintenance.
Down in Faversham at Crown Iron Wharf is a pair of lighters which have been converted to be used as a floating dry dock where the Thames Sailing Barge ‘Cumbria’ was built in the creek alongside a working wharf – a similar craft would be suitable for Dales Dock.
Alternatively a purpose designed display barge could be built to contain the ‘Gloriana’ and transport her to many other Thame side venues – ie Boat Show, Henley Regatta, Southend , across the Medway etc and to The Great River Race and other central London occasions.
This amazing craft is unique and needs a special floating display case which would be towed to where required – comparison could be visualised by the new range of super leisure craft which provide marine dinning facilities – indeed a retired hull could be used ie ‘Father Thames’ – ( a hull lying in Paul Devrill’s yard in Greenwich)
‘Gloriana’ at Greenwich Gateway would indeed be an eye catching introduction to our historic maritime treasure house best viewed from the incoming 188 bus or from Waitrose store in New Capital Quay.
The Master of ‘Gloriana’, Malcolm Knight has been sent the idea.
Chris Livett – has been consulted and also will speak to Lord Sterling.