PRESS RELEASE – Heritage Lottery Grant

Thames Sailing Barge Trust wins National Lottery support for conservation of Thames sailing barge PUDGE.

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust based in Maldon, Essex has received a confirmed National Lottery grant of £328,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enabling work to be completed on the conservation of their Thames sailing barge PUDGE, it was announced today. The project, which starts in August, will restore the wooden decks and hatches and improve the passenger accommodation. The project is planned for completion by summer 2020.

s.b.PUDGE a Thames spritsail barge, built in 1922 in Rochester, Kent was one of the last wooden barges built. PUDGE is also a Dunkirk Little Ship being involved with the evacuation of troops in 1940. This project will allow the Barge Trust to continue to operate PUDGE for the use of local groups and members of the general public, giving those that sail with us some experience of the way these iconic early 20th  century cargo vessels were worked in the East Coast’s rivers and estuaries. The work will allow some trainee shipbuilders to extend their skills to larger wooden vessels. The project will also provide opportunities for volunteers, youth organisations and schools to research the early history of Pudge and to use modern media and displays to share their output with the wider public.
Gareth Jones Trustee and Secretary of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust said:
“We are delighted that the National Lottery has given us this grant. s.b.PUDGE carried bulk cargoes on the Thames Estuary and the rivers of Essex, Suffolk and Kent for over forty years and these days she is central to the Trust’s aims of passing on to the next generation the traditions of sailing and maintaining these iconic east coast vessels.”

John Whittingdale, the MP for Maldon, said
“I am delighted to learn that the Thames Sailing Barge Trust has been awarded a further grant from the National Lottery to replace the decks of Pudge. For many people, the Thames barge is a symbol of Maldon and the Trust does great work in maintaining the two it owns and at the same time helping to keep alive traditional shipbuilding skills”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said:
“With its distinctive red sails and decades of history from war to cargo, Pudge is an important part of our history. Thanks to National Lottery players an exciting new chapter can now begin for the vessel – restoration will keep it seaworthy, trainee shipbuilders will gain vital skills needed for their careers and for the sector and many more people will be able to share in Pudge’s story.”

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