There were hundreds of Humber keels, barges and lighters and as the river trade died many were sold off to become houseboats. Luckily some are now being rescued and there is resurgence of interest in Humber Ships, former sailing trading vessels.
The Humber keels “Comrade”, “Daybreak” and Chris Shelburn’s “Southcliffe” are back sailing with single square sails and Ian Murray’s keel “Onesimus” will be sailing next year.
The 61ft keel Daybreak was built by Richard Dunston, at Thorpe in 1934 for the flour millers Hanley at Doncaster and took 90-100 tons of wheat up from Hull Docks. In 1939 an engine was fitted and all traces of her sailing gear removed. In 1979 Tony and Sally Woodward bought her and returned her back to sail on the Thames. She is based at Church Island, Staines and the tall square sails work very well on the Thames above Teddington lock.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - September 2009 Issue