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Barge Wessex, built 1918, River Hamble
The barge Wessex was built during the First World War at Harvey’s shipbuilders, Clymping, Littlehampton, a boatyard absorbed by the war effort in 1914. Completed in 1918, it was a 30m long, flat bottomed, clinker-built sailing barge with a 96bhp engine – one of the earliest of its kind – classed as an auxiliary ketch. It was owned in succession by Vectis Shipping, Williams Steamship and then Belsize Boatyard, all Solent based companies.
The barge is an interesting Forgotten Wreck as it demonstrates the continuation of traditional wooden boat-building methods at a time of great technological development.
This Frank Spry postcard was kindly sent to us by Anthony Pratt and shows Wessex in 1918.
The hulk lies in a small tributary off the Hamble River, and was recorded by UAV in June 2016.
Photos and model: Brandon Mason