A totally unique shopping & leisure experience, rich in history!
Launched in 1906, The Cambria was the last Thames sailing barge to trade entirely under sail.
Cambria’s working life began as a river and coastal cargo carrier, regularly sailing the London river to the Medway, and across the channel to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Dunkirk, Calais and Treport. Cambria’s cross channel cargoes were pitch, coke, wheat and oil cake.Her home ports were any harbours between the Humber and Cornwall.
One of the most frequent routes was carrying coal from Keadby on the river Trent to Harwich, Colchester and Margate. Fully laden, Cambria could carry 170 tons, enough to fill seventeen railway trucks; this weight put her down to her sea load line, 11.5 inches from deck level. With less than a foot of freeboard and with 5000 square feet of canvas, the decks were frequently awash, making a hazardous working environment in the often foul weather of the North Sea and the channel.
On 6 September 2007, Cambria came to Standard Quay in Faversham for restoration and rebuilding.
The long process of restoration of the barge began with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and local support from the town of Faversham and commercial sponsors and ended up costing approximately £1.4 million.
She was re-launched into the Faversham Creek on 23 March 2011 and since her rebuild Cambria has worked with various charities taking predominantly Young Carers on weekend sailing experiences. She is also used to train personnel for the Thames Boatman Scheme, and other charities training volunteers, particularly people wishing to become mates and third hands, in an endeavour to meet the dearth of people qualified to sail barges.
Explore the history
Find out more about the history of this famous and important piece of our maritime history and learn about the work, love and care that was used in its restoration.
See the history
The exhibition is packed with interesting information about the history of the Sailing Barge Cambria and its place in Standard Quay, Faversham.
There are relics from the Cambria’s past and pictures that show the painstaking restoration process from start to finish along with some of the tools used in in traditional wooden boat-building.
Along with many original images that show the state of disrepair that the Cambria was in there is a timeline that depicts the pace and order that the considerable restoration work was undertaken.
This timeline also demonstrates the herculean task that was the restoration as well as the part that Faversham and Standard Quay played in securing her future and seeing her launched once more.
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