Pudge Centenary Appeal – by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust is a registered charity that exists to preserve two Thames barges in sailing condition for the benefit of the public and to pass on the skills required to sail and maintain them

Pudge Centenary Appeal

To support the Trust’s efforts to complete Pudge, please visit our crowdfunding page by clicking the link below


Introducing the Pudge Project

Thames Sailing Barge Pudge was built from wood in Rochester in 1922. She is a sea-worthy, traditional sailing vessel and National Historic Ship and spent her working life in general haulage, delivering all manner of cargos around the southern and eastern coasts of England.  This year is her Centenary, when she will reach the grand old age of 100.

In 1940 she was requisitioned as a Dunkirk Little Ship and saved around 300 souls from the war-torn beaches of France.

She is now owned by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust (TSBT), a community based, not-for-profit charity, based in Maldon, Essex and run entirely by volunteers.

The TSBT acquired Pudge in 1968. They have taken care of her ever since, enabling her to continue sailing on her local waters. In 2019 the TSBT began a major restoration project to replace Pudge’s rotten decks and rebuild the entire accommodation area below.

What will Pudge be used for?

Pudge’s primary role is to take members of the public sailing, so that they can experience first-hand, what it’s like to return to a bygone age, where just wind and tide transport hundreds of tons of cargo on the water beneath the enormous spread of red canvas sails. She can accommodate up to 12 people for sailing adventures with a qualified skipper and mate.

The TSBT are dedicated to education in both schools, and traditional seafaring skills, that have been handed down through the generations. Each year we recruit ten new trainees who will learn the essential skills required to sail and maintain Thames Sailing Barges and other large iconic sailing craft. Our Training Scheme provides a steady supply of future skippers and mates, which will keep the barges sailing for future generations to enjoy.

We hold regular Open Days for adults and children, and we provide Activity Books to help children engage in learning aboard. We also provide talks and learning material for schools, clubs and other organisations.

The Project so far…

The project to date has been part funded by the Lottery Heritage Fund, and other charitable trusts and funds, as well as donations from TSBT members, volunteers and members of the public.

The project is nearing its completion.  The decks have all been replaced, and the accommodation refit is underway.

However, our budget was based on pre-pandemic costs, and the world has changed significantly since then. So much so that we are finding it difficult to fund the remaining works needed to bring Pudge back into sailing condition so that she can once again earn her own keep.

We desperately want to finish Pudge’s refit, so that we can once again invite the public back on board to enjoy sailing in her unique, comfortable & safe space, where everyone is welcome, where stories are told and songs sung, and where lasting friendships are made.

How you can help us…

Please help us to help Pudge celebrate her Centenary in the style that she deserves and donate to our cause.

Every penny contributed will go directly towards the project.

Please give what you can and please tell everyone you know about our project, to help spread the word far and wide.

Find out more about the Pudge project here: www.thepudgeproject.com

Find out more about the Thames Sailing Barge Trust here: www.bargetrust.org