J.J. PRIOR – A brief history


The information on this page has been put together by myself and to the best of my knowledge is correct.  If you do find any vessels i have missed out or information incorrect ,please let me know ~ Ben


JJ Prior have been in operation since 1870 operating in the Thames, Colne and Medway

The Prior family renamed the company J.J. Prior (Transport) Limited in 1934. (JJP). At the same time, they purchased the Fingringhoe based Thames Sand Marketing Company and formed another London based company called J.J. Prior (Aggregates) Ltd. (JJPA). The sand company was renamed Thames & Colne River Aggregates Limited (TCRA) in 1944. At this time, TCRA produced sand and gravel, JJP shipped it and JJPA distributed it to their customers in London.

In the 40′s ‘Priors’ also acquired Smith & Donovan Limited (S&D) a ship building and repair company and thereby all the repairs to their barges and vehicles and plant was kept in-house. JJP took over the activities of S&D in 1981 and S&D was liquidated.

The freehold of Orchard Wharf was purchased in 1947, as was the adjoining Silvocea Wharf. Brewery Wharf, Greenwich was purchased by JJP in 1955.

The main London wharves (Orchard Wharf and Silvocea Wharf) owned by the ‘Prior’ family business were compulsorily acquired by the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1990, by which time the head office of the business had been transferred to Fingringhoe. As we had no real presence in London, it was felt that it was no longer necessary to have a selling agent so JJPA was liquidated. TCRA took over the customer base and JJP purchased its land holding.

Thames & Colne River Aggregates Limited produces the aggregates and J.J. Prior (Transport) Limited, ship it to London.

In 2010 the two companies merged to form J.J. Prior Ltd.


Fleet List:

Gabriela (laid up for sale)
James Prior
Peter Prior (broken up)
Nigel Prior (since sold)
Bert Prior
Brenda Prior (laid up)
Mark Prior
Francesca Prior (laid up)
Sidney P (sold abroad to Gambia 1987)
Peter P (later renamed J.J Prior) (Houseboat Barking Creek)
Colin P (last seen Queenborough 2005 engine removed)
Margaret G 
David J (broken up at Queenborough 198x, last photo 1984)
A.H.P (no trace after 1985)
HW Wilkinson (from 1994-1995)
Lodella (from 2004)

no photos found of these
SHAWFORD (wrecked on Maplin Sands 1956)
PETERBOROUGH TRADER (registered with JJ Prior 1959) but by 1964 vanished
ARRIPAY – 1948 sank after being abandoned off Walton-on-the-Naze on passage from Fingringhoe for London with sand and gravel


GABRIELLA  - Cement Carrier 
Photo by Ben Mann – 28 March 2006
2064396Photo by Doug Shaw – June 2014

 Photo by Ben Mann – 2007

tedinghamJamesPhoto by Ted Ingham – Strood 2012

PETER PRIOR - ex Eloquence – Arrived for breaking up 13/06/2007

Photo by Ritchie 2007

peterpriorbreakPhoto by Ben Mann 2008

Nigel (phil english)
photo by Phil English


BERT (tedingham)Photo by Tedingham

BERT (Colwyn)



BRENDA (Tedingham 2004)
photo: Ted Ingham 2004
photo by David 1991

BRENDA (Doug Shaw 2013)
Photo by Doug Shaw 2013

Photo by Jonesy 2005

FRANCESCA PRIOR  (suffered small fire in 2011)
Francesca-Prior Francesca prior (Ian Hardie)
photo: Ian Hardie


X105asSYDNEYP290676Jonesyphoto by Jonesy

Peter_P (BOB S)
photo: Jonesy
X57asPETERPRMyers X57asPETERP251084 X57asPETERP081179

X81asCOLINP170877 X81asCOLINP180376


X145asDAVIDJRMyers X145asDAVIDJTedIngham


HW WILKINSON (owned by RMC occasionally used by Priors)

LODELLA (never entered service with Priors)
Lodella(derek Sands)photo by Derek Sands


Aerial Views of London Docklands 1983

Photos by SELondoner

Princess Rose – Hilton to Canary Wharf Service

City Cruises Princess Rose started her first day of two weeks on hire to Thames Clippers to operate the Hilton to Canary Wharf service normally operated by Twin Star whilst she receives a splash of paint in drydock.     Princess Rose operated for City Cruises during the 1990s on sightseeing routes but since being rebuilt tends to fill the role of tendering for cruise ships etc.

                                            Click Thumbnails for Larger photos

                                                           Princess Rose
Sister Boats  - Bertram Rose, Delta Rose, Alpha Rose (Sarah Kathleen) 

                                         Built: 1967 by Cunis,Woolwich
                                                       Length: 60ft
                                      Thompson Launches (1967-1990)
                                           City Cruises (1990-Present)

Princess Rose in 1997 as an open boat
                             Photo: Edward

Princess Rose in 2007
                                                 Photo: Ian Boyle
     In 2007/8 her cabin was extended aft and liferafts placed on the sides
                   as well as rubber upright fendering around her bow

Barge Driving Race – Winners

2014 Winners:

1st Place:  Steve Faldo – CPBS

2nd Place : Balmoral – Thames Clippers

3rd Place: Diana - Trinity Buoy Wharf

Best Dressed Barge - Darren Lacey

Best Dressed Tug – Malamute

Winners from 2013-1975

The following photos were taken in 1976 which show a large amount of lighterage tugs following the race

2013 Blackwall
2012 Diana
2011 Blackwall
2010 Blackwall
2009 Blackwall
2008 Blackwall
2007 Blackwall
2006 Blackwall
2005 Grace
2004 Grace
2003 Grace
2002 Ditton
2001 Shell Bay
2000 Ditton/Diana (Dead Heat)
1999 Blackwall
1998 Ark
1997 Green Machine
1996 Blackadder VIII
1995 Blackadder VII
1994 Blackadder VI
1993 Bow Street Runners
1992 London River
1991 Grace
1990 Blackadder Returns
1989 Blackadder III
1988 Spirit of Mountbatten
1987 Panda Power
1986 Spirit of Mountbatten
1985 Virgin Thames Challenger
1984 Dr Lykes Junior
1983 Old Father Thames
1982 Victory
1981 Saint Pauls
1980 Atlas Castle
1979 Anthony Nolan
1978 Balmoral
1977 Jubilee Venture
1976 George Washington
1975 Black Cap














Barge Race 2014

Ted Hunt – Barge Drive

This morning Ted Hunt joined by his two grandchildren Hazel and Geoffrey got under oars once again for a charity row from West India Dock to Greenwich , unfortunatly a rather wet row at that.    At 94, Ted Hunt still showing others how its done.

A short film by Maryum who was onboard the barge at the time is to shortly be published of the row

Barge Driving Race 2014 photos

                                 Click here for Barge Race 2014

Ted Hunt – Charity Barge Drive


Ted Hunt is due to man a barge under oars for approx half hour before Barge Race this Saturday to raise £500 for Almshouses Charity in Hastings for Watermen and Lightermen.    The time of the event has not yet been finalised but it is said to be around 1030am  where Ted is due to be under oars on his own from West India Dock to Greenwich Pier. 

Certainly one to watch out for!

Thames Clippers launch app



Father Thames – For Sale

The hull of the Father Thames (1973) has appeared for sale at £35,000 as a conversion opportunity.


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