Being an Essex lad, the junction of rivers into the sea have always fascinated. Maldon in Essex, like Faversham in Kent, has been the been the birthplace of Thames Sailing Barges. These spritsail barges are more than suitable for carrying goods up creeks and then under bridges to upstream mills and wharves.
Living alongside a Greenwich wharf makes barge spotting on their way to and from the capital almost a daily custom. My home town at Colchester had the Hythe – a busy Roman sea port – which had always fascinated me (a short cycle ride from my town centre home). Likewise Anne Christopherson was able to pedal through Greenwich down to the Thames wharves which she adored, and I have just been given a depiction of Pipers Wharf which I will treasure.
A weekend stay with ex-neighbour Sara Thorling and family friend down at Seasalter gave us a splendid viewing of the Swale and Sheppey with the Thames running up towards the capital, Southend and the Essex coast and the ever-expanding container port of London beyond – just where Mayor Boris was intent on building the airport of his dreams. (No man is an island!!)
A further visit this week to Maldon with a coach party from Greenwich may well give me a firstsighting of a newly-completed sprit sail barge built there for youth training.