Category Archives: Apprenticeships

The Present and the Future for Creek and Town

This film is a taster for a new film being produced by Mike Maloney.

This is what it is all about for this Trust, for the future of the Creek and the Town.

Mike’s other work, such as the famous ‘A Sideways Launch’, can be seen at;

http://www.cwideprods.co.uk/productions/

I make no apologies for also reproducing an updated, related, editorial here,  from last June after Alan Staley, Boatbuilder at Chambers Wharf, won the Craft Skills Award for ‘Encouraging Craft Skills in the Workplace, from the same organisation [Heritage Crafts Assoc.] that awarded Sixer his  for volunteering.

Go to: http://ccskills.org.uk/news/story/craft-skills-awards-winners-announced, and watch the video, Alan and his staff star at 3minutes along.

It is interesting to summarise the recent past, the current, and the developing crafts and skills presence on the Creek;

Ironwharf supports several self-employed boatbuilders, and a Chandlery, and accommodates large craft, including Thames Barges, alongside the Quay and in their floating dock for repair. It is a rare reasonably priced onshore store for dozens of craft, where owners can repair and maintain them.

Chambers Wharf is Alan Staley, Boatbuilder, with a slip and moorings for small to medium sized craft, and a history of successful projects; famously quoted above, on UNDINA for Griff Rhys Jones.

Standard Quay, over a period of 18 years, up to 2011, supported up to 10 craftsmen, and many others, several of whom were highly respected Shipwrights, and included a nascent apprentice scheme, a Block Maker, a complete £m1.4 restoration of a historic craft, but more importantly, developed by a knowledgeable, co-operative and supportive management style and with resources that attracted large traditional craft to the Quay, for berthing, maintenance and restoration.

Swan Quay has been the home of the Sail Maker, Wilkinson Sails, for several years, where they have trained young sailmakers,.

Faversham Creek Trust is developing a maritime trades centre at the Purifier, with a specific mandate to develop the training of Apprentice Shipwrights; it is also home for two craftsmen; one displaced by a developer from Standard quay.

Another important near-creek success story is Creek Creative, maybe not maritime, but certainly craft and small business oriented and supportive.

And yet, some still argue that because there is a lack of maritime businesses rushing to take up the available spaces on the Creek now, the only viable way forward is for these spaces to be given over to speculators and developers of upmarket exclusive housing, or to convert the simple quayside workshops and storage sheds in to bijou restaurants, or worse, museums of the maritime glory already forced away.

These are the same people who flatly refuse to investigate any alternative economic case, and have failed to consider intelligently, a major  positive economic report freely presented to them, because it told them something that they did not want to hear.

They are wrong, of course; if we ignore the history of success above, by failing to build on it and create the waterside space needed for its future, then we must all carry the blame in the years to come. What is needed now for the success of that future, is the time to develop small businesses, supported by an infrastructure of affordable space and a network of complementary crafts and businesses.

That is sustainability. That is what the Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development quoted in the National Planning Policy Framework is all about. It is certainly not about banging up a few more houses on every available tired industrial site, extracting some small penalty, or is it a bribe, ostensibly for the benefit of the community, which will disappear into some distant pot.

Amongst the site owners, are long standing businesses that have prospered in Faversham, but who, due to changes in the commercial opportunities, have been left with sites that need regeneration; they are not developers themselves, and generally have been in no hurry to sell off to speculators.

It is to these owners that we should turn, in humility, ask them to remember when and how they started, and ask for their support for the future of the Creek as a thriving busy waterway, with relevant businesses, and community areas. That is the compromise that we seek. They should be reminded that the case for developing maritime businesses on the creek has been researched and proven.

Morrisons took the risk when they agreed to give the Purifier to this Trust, a six month old and unknown group then, but with an interesting proposition about the maritime future of the Creek and training of shipwright apprentices. It took two years for the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to accept the Trust as a representative body with a significant membership.

As Arthur Percival reminds us, Henry Hatch gave his fortune to the benefit of the Town, and the Creek – not a Street. Surely Henry would approve of the development of the Creek and Creekside for the sustainable benefit of maritime trade and employment.

R Telford, Editor.

Trust Apprentice works on Centaur’s New Bottom

We are pleased to announce that the first job that the new apprentices will work on, will be on the 1895 Thames Sailing Barge Centaur.

The Centaur, owned and managed by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust will benefit from a £100,000 Lottery Heritage Funded refit in Tim Goldsack’s dry dock at Oare Creek. She will be worked on over the next few months by a team of local craftsmen which includes the Faversham Creek Trust’s first apprentice, Tom Browning.

Tom, achieved his level 2 apprenticeship with Simon Grillet, during the Cambria restoration at Standard Quay, in 2011. He will commence his level three training through work experience on the Centaur, combined with technical training at the Purifier Building.

The Trust  are delighted to support the Thames Barge Sailing Trust in their restoration and outreach programmes, that do so much to keep alive our local maritime traditions, and this is exactly the type of job that we want apprentices to be involved with.

Note about Centaur and the Thames Barge Sailing Trust

Centaur was built by John and Herbert Cann and launched at Gashouse Creek, Harwich on February 15th 1895 when the Thames and the Medway froze over and the temperature dropped to 30o below freezing!

A typical Essex coasting barge of 65 registered tons, she went on to an active commercial life until 1955 when she and her sister ship Mirosa (now chartered from Iron Wharf) ceased trading; she was converted to carry passengers in 1965.

In 1974 Centaur started her new life succeeding Westmoreland as the flagship of the Thames Barge Sailing Club, later to become the Thames Barge Sailing Trust, who have extensively restored her.

Centaur is now used to provide individuals with weekend voyages, and charters, and every summer she now cruises the Thames Estuary and the Essex, Suffolk and Kent rivers.

Experiencing the full pleasures and excitement of sailing on an historic vessel such as a Thames Sailing barge is not as difficult as one might imagine. The Thames Sailing Barge Trust, which owns both Pudge and Centaur, offers the opportunity to sail to various locations around the Thames Estuary and also to take part in competition with other barges in the various barge matches arranged throughout the sailing season.

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust (TSBT) was established as a club in 1948, becoming a registered charity in 2003.

The Trust, which is run entirely by volunteers, has these key aims:

1. Preserve two historic Thames barges and keep them sailing

2. Preserve and teach the skills needed to sail and maintain our barges

3. Educate the public in the history and traditions of the working sailing barge

4. Support the above by maintaining records and archives of the Club/Trust activities

By becoming a Member of the Trust you will directly contribute to the preservation of Thames Barges and the skills needed to maintain and sail them.

Visit: http://www.TSBTCharters.org to find out more

For more details visit;

http://www.shipshapenetwork.org.uk/regions.php/1/thames-estuary/projects/36/thames-sailing-barge-trust-centaur

Boatbuilding Skills in Faversham Recognised

Alan Staley, Boatbuilder at Chambers Wharf, recently won the Craft Skills Award for ‘Encouraging Craft Skills in the Workplace.

Go to:  http://ccskills.org.uk/news/story/craft-skills-awards-winners-announced, and watch the video, Alan and his staff star at 3minutes along.

It is interesting to simply summarise the recent past, the current, and the developing crafts and skills presence on the Creek;

Ironwharf supports several self-employed boatbuilders, and a Chandlery, and accommodates large craft, including Thames Barges, alongside the Quay and in their floating dock for repair.

Chambers Wharf is Alan Staley Boatbuilder, with a slip and moorings for small to medium sized craft, and a history of successful projects.; more on that later.

Standard Quay, over a period of 18 years, up to 2011, supported up to 10 craftsmen, several of whom were Shipwrights, and included a nascent apprentice scheme, a Block Maker, a complete £m1.4 restoration of a historic craft, but more importantly, developed a supportive management style and resources, that attracted large traditional craft to the Quay, for berthing and maintenance.

Swan Quay has been the home of the Sail Maker, Wilkinson Sails for several years, where they have trained 2 young sailmakers,.

Faversham Creek Trust is developing a maritime Craft Centre at the Purifier, with a specific mandate to develop the training of  Apprentices Shipwrights, starting in August.

Another important near-creek success story is Creek Creative, maybe not maritime, but certainly craft and small business oriented and supportive.

And yet, some commentators have recently argued that there was a lack of maritime businesses rushing to take up the available spaces on the Creek, and that therefore the only viable way forward is for these spaces to be given over to speculators and developers of upmarket exclusive housing, or to converting simple sheds in to bijou restaurants, or worse, museums of past maritime glory for the titilation of tourists.

Wrong; if we ignore the history of success above, by failing to build on it and create the waterside space needed for its future, then we must all carry the blame in the years to come. What is needed now for the success of that future, is the time to develop small businesses, supported by an infrastructure of affordable space and  a network of complementary crafts and businesses; that is what hubs are all about.

That is sustainability. That is what the Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development quoted in the National Planning Policy Framework is all about. It is certainly not about banging up a few more houses on every available tired industrial site, extracting some small penalty, or is it a bribe, ostensibly for the benefit of the community, which will disappear into some distant pot.

Amongst the site owners, are long standing businesses that have prospered in Faversham, but who, due to changes in the commercial opportunities, have been left with sites that need reviving; they are not developers themselves, and generally have been in no hurry to sell off to speculators. It is to these owners that we should turn, in humility, and ask for their support for the future of the Creek as a thriving busy waterway, with relevant businesses, and community areas.

As Arthur reminds us, Henry Hatch gave his fortune to the benefit of the Town and Creek; we must make sure that we can build on that legacy.

R. Telford

Old Roof Off

Progress at the Purifier – the old roof has been taken off the east wing, and the steel frames are being painted ready for the new roof.