Barges at Blackfriars. 1859. From The Book of the Thames from its Rise to its Fall, p. 440.

Commentary by the Halls

The Southwark side of the river, originally low marsh land, is now thickly covered with houses; the river-bank presenting a continued series of wharves, where may be constantly seen groups of barges, such as are depicted in our cut. They have discharged their cargoes, and are waiting for high water, to be "off" with the next ebb. The principal vessel in the cut is one of the old-fashioned, square bowed, flat-bottomed barges, having a large hatchway in the centre for the cargo, with the small bunk, or cabin, for the crew. She also carries ingenious weather- boards, to prevent the great amount of lee-way a vessel without a keel would make, beating in a fresh breeze. The sails consist of a sprit, foresail, and mizen, and her mast lowers down by the forestay when the vessel is passing under bridges. The crew consists of a captain and three or four men. [439-40]

Other drawings and photographs of Victorian barges

Text and formatting by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the University of Pittsburgh and the Internet Archive and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Hall, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. The Book of the Thames from its Rise to its Fall. London: Arthur Hall, Virtue, and Co., 1859. Internet Archive version of a copy in the William and Mary Darlington Memorial Libray, the University of Pittsburgh. Web. 10 March 2012.

Last modified 12 April 2012