Historic, 100-year old, Thames sailing barge Raybel, can now be found berthed at the head of Milton Creek in Sittingbourne, alongside Lloyds Wharf – undergoing restoration in the same location she was built at in 1920, thanks to the Raybel Charters project.
From the mid-19th Century until the Second World War the yards on the creek in Sittingbourne produced over 500 barges; the brick fields and barges of North Kent playing a key role in the growth of Victorian London.
We spotted the barge quite by accident, from the adjacent retail park and found our way over to the site, fortunately bumping into Clive Reader, chairman of the Dolphin Sailing Barge Museum, who kindly gave us a quick tour of the stunning newly rebuilt and relocated museum building (the original barge museum off Crown Quay Lane burnt down in October 2008) and arranged for us to have a quick look aboard the Raybel. The new museum probably won’t be officially open until 2021.
Thames sailing barge Raybel and the Dolphin Sailing Barge Museum, Milton Creek, Sittingbourne