Tuesday 31 March 2009

DHG Warner

This mornings post - lots of stuff for a change - Docklands History Group. There is a report of a talk by Edward Sargeant on Gravesend skiffs. this might not seem to be much about Greenwich but he says "the Gravesend skiff seems to have been derived from the tupe of skiff in use around Greenwich". What is more he talks anout William Warner, who was born in Greenwich in 1832 where he was apprenticed to Shipbuilder Corbettt (who?? tell me more??). He then moved to West Street in Gravesend and starting building skiffs - so - you see - it all comes from round here, not down there. His skiffs all had to be used round Greenwich because the water was too rough down in Gravesend. He had to add a plank to improve the freeboard. Edward wants to start a Kent traditional boat association - and I think we can claim, very happily, that Greenwich is really part of Kent (and it is!!).
Edward is coming to talk to GIHS in the autumn about the Grand Surrey Canal.


Unknown said...

I'm sorry this is a years late but after reading your post with great interest I have to correct Edward Sargeant on a couple of points.
William James Warner was my great, great grandfather and was indeed born in Greenwich, however he was born in 1843 not 1832 as stated - I think they came from Bridge St, whethter that exists now I don't know. He was a boat builder of very distinctive skiffs (I have a very good picture of one with the man himself) and he did indeed move to Gravesend but to 5 East St not West St as quoted. He met his untimely death jumping from a bus in Mitcham in 1914 and his son William J Warner jnr carried on the business. If you require any further information on this historic family please let me know.
Regards Neil Warner

M said...

indeed we would like to know more -if you would like to contribute an article to the blog thst would be good - or even better come and talk to GIHS about it
emsil me marynmillsmmmmm@aol.com

Unknown said...

Sorry again that this has taken so long to create but here is some more information on my boat building family. There is still one of these distinctive skiffs in storage in Falmouth Maritime Museum-which took alot of Greenwich Maritime Museum's small craft, this is part of an email sent to me with the information from their records-

Nancy was built by Warner Bros and bought by Joseph Sergent grandfather of the donor of the boat. It was built Gravesend fashion with 7 strakes. Further up the river at Charlton and Greenwich 5 and 6 stakes were more usual. The Port of London Authority Licence. entitled her to carry 8 passengers. Up to 2 tons of merchandise could also be carried. The waterman rowed his skiff single-handed, but an apprentice was sometimes taken on to man a second pair of sculls. Two extra tholes are fitted for racing purposes when four oarsmen were carried. The seat boards seen hanging beneath the thwarts could be used to keep a dry seat for the oarsmen. The boat was owned and worked by the Sergent family of Chariton through her entire career. In 1914 Nancy achieved fame by assisting in the rescue of many lives from GSNC's ship ORIEL, sunk in collision with the CORINTHIAN of Charlton. In 1950 the old skiff was in a state of decay and lay on the foreshore at Chariton, Mr Fred Garrett, a local boat builder, decided to take her in hand and was able to restore her to her original condition. She was presented to the Museum by Capt.Tom Sergent in 1970.