Video and editing by HUW WAHL
Mandolin by OLLIE EVANS
Run time 4 minutes
As part of Newham Heritage Month, the Thames sailing barge Blue Mermaid, visited the Royal Docks in May 2021.
This type of vessel formed an important part of the trade to London during the last century, carrying all sorts of cargoes such as bricks, coal, concrete, hay, and grain, as well as carrying away the city’s rubbish. Some engineless barges managed to compete with other types of transport well into the 20th century, and only stopped trading in the 1970s.
Blue Mermaid is the newest barge, and has been built to operate under sail alone as many barges did for most of their lives. Her cargo on this was a token cargo of clay from Essex to London for another group running a project about brickmaking.