What’s On : Tall Ships Event Guide

Here is a day by day guide of the main events happening during the Tall Ships Event this weekend .  Full information can be found at http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/tallships/whatson

It is set to be a great weekend of events and the largest such event for many years , not to be missed!

Thames Clippers are offering a £5 roamer circle service ticket to visit the tall ships. On Friday, services start at Greenwich pier at 13:30. On 6th, 7th and 8th, services start at Greenwich pier and run between 10.00 and 17:40.

All Weekend Events:

Take a look around the tall ships at Woolwich/Greenwich/West India Dock for FREE everyday 5-9th
Paid Tall Ships Cruises will take place, ask onboard for info.



River Festival: Thames barges
  • Location: Maritime Greenwich to Royal Arsenal Woolwich
  • Date: 05 September 2014
  • Time: 15:00 – 16:30
  • Cost: Free

A parade of traditional Barges along the River Thames, from Lebara Festival Village in Maritime Greenwich to the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Festival Village.

Launch Extravganza – Peixos
05 September 2014

Location: Maritime Greenwich

Time: 20:30 – 21:15

Official launch of the Tall Ships Festival: Catalan street theatre group Sarruga present Peixos, a stunning underwater spectacle at the Lebara Festival Village.

As the sun sets, the event will transform the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College into an underwater Mediterranean world of brightly coloured fish and sea creatures. Illuminated shoals of fish will appear to swim amongst and over the heads of the audience, to captivating effect.

Fireworks Display – Maritime Greenwich
  • Location: Maritime Greenwich
  • Date: 05 September 2014
  • Time: 21:15 – 21:30
  • Cost: Free

Visit the Lebara Festival Village at Maritime Greenwich to see the tall ships with a stunning backdrop of fireworks



River Festival: Traditional ships
  • Location: Maritime Greenwich to Royal Arsenal Woolwich
  • Date: 06 September 2014
  • Time: 12:00 – 14:00
  • Cost: Free

A parade of traditional ships along the River Thames, from Lebara Festival Village in Maritime Greenwich to the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Festival Village.

Crew parade and prize-giving
  • Location: Maritime Greenwich
  • Date: 06 September 2014
  • Time: 14:00 – 17:00
  • Cost: Free

Come and watch the crews of the Tall Ships as they parade through Greenwich in this colourful spectacle. Starts at The Avenue and ends at the Queen’s House.

Fireworks Display – Royal Arsenal Woolwich
  • Location: Royal Arsenal Woolwich
  • Date: 06 September 2014
  • Time: 21:45 – 22:00
  • Cost: Free

See the tall ships sail with a stunning backdrop of fireworks at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Festival Village.

SUNDAY 7th :

River Festival: Royal Pageant
  • Location: Maritime Greenwich
  • Date: 07 September 2014
  • Time: 11:30 – 13:00
  • Cost: Free

See Her Majesty The Queen’s row barge Gloriana with an escort of traditional rowing boats followed by races for the Trinity House 500 Challenge – Lebara Festival Village.



River Festival: Puffers and Dunkirk ships
  • Location: Maritime Greenwich to Royal Arsenal Woolwich
  • Date: 08 September 2014
  • Time: 14:00 – 15:30
  • Cost: Free

A parade of classic boats along the River Thames, starting from the Lebara Festival Village in Maritime Greenwich at 2pm and finishing at 3.30pm at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Festival Village.



Finale – Parade of Sail

Date: 09 September 2014

Location: All along the Thames east of Greenwich

Time: 13:00 – 16:00

Watch all of the 50-plus Tall Ships that have come to Royal Greenwich for the Tall Ships Festival take to the Thames together in this dramatic finale to the event.


Waverley Sept/Oct Visiting Timetable

Well it won’t be too long until we see the stunning paddle steamer Waverley returning to London for her yearly trips starting on September 26th and finishing on October 12th.  

She is by far my favourite regular visitor to the Thames and always in immaculate condition.    Her attending tug this year is the General VIII 



Thames Clippers unveils new sponsor

Photo: Thames Clippers

Thames Clippers has signed a three-year deal with credit card firm MBNA that will enable it to add a new boat to its fleet in 2015 and improve its ticketing and customer service systems.
The partnership with MBNA, which is for an initial three years but which could be extended beyond that, was negotiated by AEG Global Partnerships, part of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which majority-owns the Thames Clipper and The O2 arena

Photo: bodyinsync

Each of the vessels will have a keep a colour to make each boat more recognisable , for example Aurora is blue, Cyclone is orange , Hurricane is green and so on.      The two vessels Cyclone and Aurora used in this mornings press release were branded overnight last night and the rest of the fleet will follow over the course of the week.

Photo: B.Mann

Yacht gets pinned under barge by tide

Yesterday evening a small yacht sailing yacht was spotted by the Yasam Rose pinned by the tide underneath the head of two barges moored overnight on Vic Dock Buoy.       Yasam Rose informed London VTS who in turn called the Predetor 2 which was operating between North Greenwich and Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Predetor 2 went to the aid of the vessel and quickly removed the 2 persons onboard and passed them over to the Tower Lifeboat which arrived soon after along with the PLA’s Barnes.      The yacht was towed clear of the head of the barge by the Barnes and taken to Greenwich Yacht Club.

P1020202 P1020203 P1020204 P1020205 P1020206

C.Crawley Ltd – Fleet History

C. Crawley Ltd was created at the end of 1923 by Thomas J. Metcalf and his wife Eileen Metcalf (nee Crawley). The company had a capital of £4000 in £1 shares held 2000 by each of the Metcalfs who were the only registered Directors. The purpose per the Articles Of Association was to acquire the assets etc of the business being operated by Mrs Eileen Metcalf under the auspices of Charles Crawley (her late father).

Company documents show this company continued until placed in “members voluntary liquidation” in 1999 and was finally dissolved on 27th December 2001. There were other offshoot companies mentioned in the directors other interests such as C. Crawley (Engineering) Ltd.

Over the impressive many year history of the company, C.Crawley have operated a vast number of vessels.     On this page I have done my best to document as many as i possibly can along with a photograph of each one.    There are however, some of which that I cannot find photographs of and would appreciate if anybody can help.    ~Ben

CAERNAVON – Ex Esso Caernarvon – built 1962 – sold to Alba Petroleum Kenya
FRANK C- Ex Shell Distrubutor – built 1972 – Sold 2004 as Whithaven – wrecked 2010 Lagos
BRUCESTONE – built 1964 – C.Crawley 1984-2008  Houseboat
AQUATIC – Ex Busby – built 1963 – Houseboat
TORDUCT – sold as houseboat 2013 – still for sale
AQUADUCT – ex Charcrest – built 1964 – broken up 2011 IPM Jetty C.Crawley 1989-2011
K/TOULSON – Built 1966 – sold 2013 -
MARPOL – built 1957 – broken up
ARTEMISIUM – Built 1963 – C.Crawley 1989 -1996 – broken up 2003
STEFAN SCOTT – Built 1955 – C.Crawley 1977-2008 – ex Vollenhove briefly named VIADUCT (2) Broken up Queenborough 2008 – Engine blew up
POLLY – Believed to be sister vessel of TORDUCT, built by Pollock as OILO 3 for Castrol -
TOMMY – Built 1963 – Houseboat, Essex
VIADUCT – Became Stefan Scott
FULFORD – C.Crawley 1991-1997 – sold to Scotland
DOVERIAN – C.Crawley 1993 – 1996 – Sold to Sweden
PERFECTO – Built 1967 – C.Crawley 1989-2000 – Sold to Nigeria
AQUA – C.Crawley (1985-19??) NO
AQUATOR (2) C.Crawley 1979-1985 – Sold to John.A.Flett, broken up 1986
AQUASEAL C.Crawley 1974-1975 – broken up 1976 Sittingbourne
AQUATIC (1) Built 1944 – C.Crawley 1973-1985 – broken up 1985
FOUNTAIN (2) Built 1951 – C.Crawley 1951-199x – Houseboat at Hythe
CUB H – Built 1932 – C.Crawley 1947-1964 – broken up 1964
CORONATION OF LEEDS – C.Crawley 1937-1941 – Exploded by Mine 1941
AQUATOR (1) – built 1915 – C.Crawley 1927-196x
AQUEDUCT (1) built 1915 – C.Crawley 1924-196x

VESSELS OWNED BY Thomas Metcalf & Mrs Ellen Metcalf

AQUA Built 1915 – broken up 1984
FOUNTAIN (1) Built 1905 – broken up 1950
AQUARIUM built 1895 – vanished by 1966 assume broken up

Other vessels owned by C.Crawley,details unknown or brief

DUTCH COURAGE – Possibly ex veenendaal? -
VASSEN -Sold to Crawley 1978
19??: Completed as VEENENDAAL for NV Vereenigde Tankvaartrederij, Rotterdam
Sold to C.Crawley 1974
19??: Completed as VARSSEVELD by ? for NV Vereenigde Tankvaartrederij, Rotterdam (Known to have traded for Crawley under original name) Sold to C.Crawley 1984
19??: Completed as VINKEVEEN by ? for NV Vereenigde Tankvaartrederij, Rotterdam
19??: Completed as VLIST by ? for NV Vereenigde Tankvaartrederij, Rotterdam
sold to C.Crawley 1978 

Stan Mayes===================================================

photo by Tedingham

CAERNAVON - Photo by Tedingham


 Frank C
photo by Robert Smith


photo by Hilmar Snorrason / credited

Bruce Stone 2002 Hilmar Snorrason Brucestone 224353_7993051666_3685_n 230738_7993066666_4447_n

photo by Jonesy

aquatic 2008 jonesy


photo: John White

John white 2009


photo by Edward



photos by Bob Smith / Mike R

Bob Smith 1994 Mike Robinson

photo by Edward


photo by Bob Smith

Bob Smith 1992

STEFAN SCOTT ex Vollenhove/Viadcut (2)
photo: Ken Smith


Stefan Scott scrapped 341836

photo by Bob Smith


ToMMY - bob smith 2007



photo by Frits
Frits 1995 DOVERIAN

photo by Stan Mayes


seen here as previous name)

AQUASEAL 1974-1975

photo: Jonesy /David Ships

Fountain Jonesy FOUNTAIN Hythe 2009 DAVID SHIPS




photo below seems to show another Dourage Courage (different stern etc)


photo by Tedingham



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


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