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The Annual Thames Barge Driving Race Summer 2001

Well, the Greenwich to Westminster Barge Race has been and gone for this year... photos follow the results below - give them a moment to load... congratulations to Dave Whiting and his team on their splendid victory!

There are other barge races later in the summer... more details soon... Swifty will be out there too, skippers and engineers allowing! If you would like to get involved with Swiftstone get in touch.

Our thanks to Bill Smith (Tugs Co-ordinator) for the full results as follows... congratulations to all the crews for competing well and completing the course on such a hot day !!

Position/awards Race no./Class Crew Freemen Apprentices Sponsor
5th over all Blue 1 D Barlow, J Dwan,
P.Hammond, G Anness
N. Dwan,
R. Dwan
Cory Environmental
7th over all Blue 2 GA Smith, SW Smith,
N Ashby, K Metcalf
M Welsh,
12th over all
ABF Trophy
Blue 3 J Shute, T Shute,
C Briggs, C Windows
L Beysi,
AN Other

5th overall
Class Winner

Blue 4 A Argent, A Lewis,
D Dare, N Howard
B Wilson,
M Towens
Residential Marine
10th over all White 1 D Cossey, G Cole,
B Bullock, J Hughes
E Jones,
D Wakefield
Swann Marine
9th over all White 2 W Collins, J Montague,
S Jones, M Kirby
AN Other,
AN Other
Boatwerk Thames Ltd
6th over all
Class Winner
White 3 JT McCarthy, J Stephens,
D Sargent, G Faulkner
D Hill,
T Jones
General Port Services, Allantone Supplies Ltd, Canary Wharf
9th over all White 4 D Reed, J McCarthy,
P Hickman, F Walker
M Ambler  
Race Winner Red 1 DP Whiting, A Newkins,
J Clifford, C Nelson
D Goatham Alan C Bennett & Sons Ltd
disqualified - ineligible crew Red 2 S Collins, C Spencer,
C Bullas, R Spencer
AN Other  
4th over all Red 3 R Kelly, R Julian,
K Kelly, G Saunders
AN Other Mowley, Carol Craft, W Robertson, British Waterways
11th over all Red 4
L Ball, B Gould,
T Day, G Hayes
J Dean TGWU South East & East Anglian
13th over all
Harry Haywood Trophy
Red 5 B Pink, J Johnson,
D Leader, AN Other
L Cairns Norma Johnson
2nd over all Red 6 S Neicho, M Russell,
W Rickner, A Handley
P Rickner Port of London Authority,
Marine Services

Taken from Wood Wharf - lining up for the start at Greenwich Pier

the river full of craft...

... with The Swiftstone in the foreground

taken from the Massey Shaw - thanks to Jim Mundell & Alan Boakes
the Race winners, although they didn't know it yet !

Grace and Regain

getting lined up to go...

sturdy thighs !!

... working... aboard Ditton

... and Jake e Boy

traditional skills with a modern backdrop...
(do the people in the apartments know what's going on I wonder?)

and in the end - boys will be boys - having fun on board the Massey Shaw !


It's Barge Race season again ! The annual Barge Driving Race from Greenwich - to  Westminster - will be held on

Saturday 21st June 2010

The race starts from Greenwich Pier at 12:00 (tbc) but there will be lots to see before that as barges, tugs and pleasure craft fill the river for this unique event.

("what IS Barge Driving?" see the article below...)

You can watch the barges pass from many vantage points along the river... including a number of riverside pubs... or from a Thames pleasure boat see the map below for more details... or call Transport on Water on 020 7476 2424 for information and programmes


Once the race is finished the spectacle is not over - the attending tugs bring the barges, each one weighing around 30 tons, and their teams, in relative comfort, back to Greenwich for the prize giving ceremonies. At no other time is the river so full of craft in modern times.

Below is a short history & explanation of barge driving reproduced from this year's Race Leaflet:

"Barge Driving has a long history, which goes back to the times when the river Thames, London's main thoroughfare, was used most economically for transporting the City's merchandise.

Barges were used to carry goods from the main docks below Tower Bridge to warehouses and distribution points along the river. Before the introduction of tugs, barges had to (and still have to !) be man handled by Lightermen, using long 'sweeps'... 26feet long 'oars'.

Lightermen and Watermen have to be licensed to work on the river and must be well skilled in all aspects of safety when moving vessels. Having an extremely good knowledge of the river and its tides and currents are essential skills. They still obtain their skills and knowledge today by the time honoured, traditional apprenticeship, one of the few organisations still to use this well-proven method of training.

The Barge Driving Race, apart from being an annual spectacle, demonstrates the skills and strengths needed in handling these large steel barges. Together with the fact that London's River Thames can still be effectively used for cargo transport."

The Swiftstone Trust supports The Barge Race... Swifty will be there this year ... and asks why the potential of the river to transport our goods - off road - is being ignored by those in power. Join us now.

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please contact us before using them for any purpose

The Swiftstone Trust is a Registered Charity no.1083837

Swiftstone works closely with the Massey Shaw Marine Vessels Preservation Trust

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