Thames barges were the articulated trucks of their day, designed for moving all manner of goods around the shallow rivers and creeks of the Thames Estuary. Here’s an atmospheric shot of eight barges at anchor off Bateman’s Tower, possibly awaiting the tide for Colchester, or riding out a gale.
Are any of these barges still sailing? Impossible to tell individual barges from the picture. However, you can still see plenty of these venerable vessels sailing during the annual Colne Smack and Barge Match every September, and locally-based barges include St Osyth-based Edme and Dawn, currently berthed beside Brightlingsea’s smack dock. They’re living history – and we’re lucky to be able to have them as part of the landscape.