Sailing Barge Master
The Story of a Victorian Bargeman published by Chaffcutter Books
George Winn (1869–1951) wrote his memoirs between 1934 and 1949. The manuscript was discovered when his great grand daughter made a family history enquiry to the Society for Sailing Barge Research. This book is written in George's own words from the family heirloom and collection of photographs. George only had two years schooling, before aged eight, joining his father and brother on a tiny old Thames working barge. His writing brings to life the barge men's living and sailing experience and should be read by all who live or work close to the River Thames from London down to the Isle of Sheppey. The family moved from Chelsea to Sittingbourne in Kent and George learnt his trade with his father. When the family fell on hard times, his father out of work, he worked for the Kent brick and cement maker Smeed Deen and worked his way up on their fleet of barges as mate and later skipper. He later commanded much larger sailing barges working the coasts of southern England and the Continent. I could not put the book down after I had dipped into the first chapter. I recommend it.