SB Cambria

Cambria, Standard Quay in Faversham
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Cambria
Owner: Cambria Trust
Operator: Cambria Trust
Ordered: Frederick T Eberhardt (Everard Shipbuilders), Greenhithe
Builder: William Eberhardt [1]
Commissioned: 1906
Decommissioned: 1970
Status: Museum barge open to the public, used for young person sail training.
General characteristics
Length: 90.95 ft (27.72 m)
Beam: 22 ft (6.7 m)
Height: 0 ft (0 m) to top of mainmast
Draught: 7.75 ft (2.36 m)distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel)
Propulsion: Sail and auxiliary diesel engine
Sail plan: mainsail, topsail, mizzen, foresail, jib
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h) maximum speed
Range: 0 nautical miles (0 km)
Capacity: 109 tonnes

The spritsail barge SB Cambria was a sister to the spritsail SB Hibernia which was lost off the coast of Norfolk on the evening of 9/10 November 1937.


William built Cambria for £1895, whilst her sister barge cost £1905. She was also slightly faster than Hibernia and it came second in the coasting class in the Thames and Medway matches in 1906. ‘Brusher’ Milton was her first skipper. He recounted one event, when she arrived in Dover, an hour ahead of a steamer which she had overtaken on her way up the Channel from the Solent. "We were doing nine knots", quoted on the steamer, "and we couldn’t hold you". [1]

It was the last Thames sailing barge, to trade entirely under sail, she was owned by Captain A. W. (Bob) Roberts . Roberts sailed the Cambria for more than twenty years, and gained a reputation for hard sailing and fast passages in other Everard barges.

Cambria's last mate was Dick Durham from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, with whom Bob carried the last freight under sail alone: 100 tons of cattle cake from Tilbury Dock to Ipswich in October 1970. Dick wrote Bob Roberts' biography: The Last Sailorman.[2]

Bob Roberts, sold Cambria to the Maritime Trust in 1971,[3] for display at St Katharine Docks in London. But she was not looked after very well and in 1987, the Maritime Trust was disbanded. It was agreed that the barge was moved to the 'Dolphin Sailing Barge Museum' at Sittingbourne and in 1996. She was then sold to the 'Cambria Trust' for £1.[1]

On 6 September 2007, Cambria came to Standard Quay in Faversham for restoration and rebuilding after the Barge Museum was damaged in far.[4]

Her funded restoration will cost a £1.4 million with help from the National Lottery.[5]

She was re-launched into the Faversham Creek on 23 March 2011. She then underwent sea trials and then re-fitting to prepare her for use in supporting local schools and social outreach programmes.[6]

She won the coasting class in the 2011 Thames sailing barge match.[1] In 2012, the 82nd Thames Sailing Barge Match took place. Cambria won again and Edith May came fifth, behind Thalatta, 'Lady of the Lea' and 'Pudge'. Prizes were presented by Richard Horlock and special guest Griff Rhys Jones.[7]

In 2013 another Thames Barge Match took place. Cambria came 1st in the Coasting class.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cambria". 18 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Durham, Dick (1990). The Last Sailorman. London: Terence Dalton. p. 168. ISBN . 
  3. ^ Ardley, Nick (27 April 2011). "Demise of the barge". Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Atkin, Gavin. "Famous Thames sailing barge Cambria comes to Faversham for restoration". Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Henley, Jon (10 January 2011). "Standard Quay: going against the grain". The Guardian (London: The Guardian). Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Re-launch of sailing barge Cambria". Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Cass, Julian (2012). "2012 THAMES MATCH REPORT". Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Morris, Thom (16 July 2013). "Barges battle it out in Thames Barge Match". Retrieved 22 March 2014. 

External links

  • Thames Barge
  • Cambria Trust site
  • Cambria under restoration photo site
  • The Barge Blog archive about Cambria
  • Documentary about the Cambria narrated by Captain Bob Roberts
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