Barges at Colchester Hythe. [DW]
Douglas Went saw the Indian summer of the sailing barge and this photograph of Colchester Hythe in the 1930s shows nine spritties, mostly with cargoes of timber reaching well above deck in stacks, probably for Brown's already well-filled timber wharf at the right. Cargoes of soft woods were a regular part of the coasting barge's trade; loaded at the London docks, often at 'the Surrey' from large steamers carrying it from the Baltic and elsewhere. The deck stacks were roped and chained down to the deck and presented almost as much windage as the stacks of hay or straw which in earlier and later times formed a return cargo to the Thames and Medway.
The Hythe dries out at low water and is the navigable head of the river Colne. [JL]
Plate.6 in SWW.
Used in The Sailor's Coast, page 82.