SB Cambria is afloat!
At high water, just after midday on Monday 21st
March 2011, Cambria left the dry dock that has been her home for the past 15 years.
It was a great occasion for the Cambria Trust; for Master Shipwright Tim Goldsack; for Project Manager Bill Collard; for the teams behind both of them (of shipwrights and apprentices, fund raisers and Cambria Trust Volunteers); for the Town of Faversham; for Standard Quay; for the people who have watched the progress of the restoration; for the photographers and artists who have documented it over the years; and to make it really special it was also a great day for the children of Ethelbert Road Primary School who came to watch and cheer and play a part in local history in the making.
There were no knickknack shops or burger vans, no one sold tickets and everyone took responsibility for themselves. The Launch was watched from the open public footpaths on both sides of the Creek as launches here have been watched by generations of locals and visitors alike.
Could someone have made a profit from the day? Yes, probably. Would it have spoiled the day and turn it into a commercial opportunity rather than a simple day of celebration? I certainly believe it would have done that.
This day illustrated a choice that has to be made soon. The issues are embodied in the houses that loom behind many of the shots on the photographs and videos; the people there (and there will have been some) who will have been thinking “why hasn’t anyone charged for this?”; those who may be wondering what relevance the preservation of an old sailing vessel has in the 21st
Century; visitors to the garden centre and furniture shops may have come down the following day and thought ‘what a mess’ when they saw the detritus on the banks and the rusting dry dock with the tattered remains of the covering that had sheltered Cambria while she was reborn. All of these things must be addressed if we are to retain everything that has been shown to work so well at Standard Quay.
The bits of the Creek that do still work tend to be worked by mavericks who go their own way, yet somehow all work together to produce something really special and real. Something they love to quietly share with others (just so long as they don’t stand on the mooring lines or serve them a bad pint). Personally, I like it like that and I think a lot of other people do too.
However, more importantly, IT IS A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS. It works in a way that directly benefits the town and the people here. It is real localism and it does not need developers to make it happen or to change it.
For more photos see our website standardquay.com
. To see video from either side of the Creek see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQow3Hr7Bvg
(a youtube clip from Gavin Atkin www.intheboatshed.net
) for the view from the South, and http://www.thequayfilm.net/?cat=1
, for the view from the North.
There is also a video of the Cambria arriving in Faversham in 2007 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmTi57esdZE&feature=player_embedded
. The text erroneously states that the Cambria will be restored on Iron Wharf. While this is not true, it is the case that Iron Wharf, (where barges are also moored and repaired as part of the activities of a general boatyard) helped bring her to Faversham and many of the members of the restoration team also work on Iron Wharf. Cambria is indeed currently on Iron Wharf to have her massive rig, leeboards and rudder craned aboard. Sadly, such land based activities are not currently possible at Standard Quay since the land that should have been available to shape the leeboards and masts is being used as a free car park.
Local Engagement Forum Minutes (Public Meeting)
The minutes of the LEF meeting held in Faversham a couple of weeks ago can be found here: http://www2.swale.gov.uk/dso/viewminutes.asp?uid=1049
I feel these are a little incomplete – at the end of the meeting I expressed a degree of confusion that we were told on one hand that there was little that the planning process could do to help the situation at Standard Quay, but on the other, we were being encouraged to take make representations to the planning process in order to help the situation at Standard Quay. I am still struggling to make sense of that. This was the reason behind my request to return again to our original idea, which does not seem to have been thoroughly explored, and find out more about CPO (compulsory purchase orders). It seemed to me to be that while the Council were saying they could do nothing through the planning process, there MUST be something they can do. The only thing I can think of as a lay person is CPO. If anyone else has any knowledge of such matters and has any other suggestions at all, please do pass them on.
If you were at the meeting and feel that your views are not well represented by these minutes, please do write and let them know.
As reported, Swale’s Director of Regeneration’ Pete Raine, has offered to mediate between us and the landlord and dates are currently being arranged. This seems to be a helpful step.
Creek Consortium AGM
The AGM of the Creek Consortium is 29th
March, more information here.
It will be interesting to hear what the achievements of the Consortium have been over the past years. Minutes of all the creek consortium meetings can be found here: http://www.swale.gov.uk/faversham-creek-consortium/