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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


Gloucester Tall Ships Festival 07

Five tall ships and two pilot cutters were on display for the Tall Ships Festival over the weekend 26-29 Oct 2007, and there was also a good showing of well-decorated narrow boats. Huge crowds came to the docks to see the vessels and to enjoy a wide range of living history demonstrations and other activities.

Ketch Ruth was built in 1914 as a Baltic Trader. She now works out of Penzance as a family-run charter business.

Phoenix was built in 1929 as an evangelical mission schooner. She is now rigged as a brig and used for filming.

Earl of Pembroke was built in 1948 for trading in the Baltic and the North Sea. She is now rigged as a barque and used for filming.

Kathleen & May was built in 1900 as a three-masted topsail trading schooner. Recently restored, she is now the last surviving example of her type. (More)

Phoenix, Earl of Pembroke and Kathleen & May moored at Gloucester for the weekend. The Kathleen & May was particularly welcome as she had brought cargoes to Gloucester in her working days, the last visit being in 1945.

Festival Weekend
        During the day, the four ships pictured above were open to the public, and they provided the setting for a series of living history demonstrations and craft workshops. In the evening, floodlights were turned on to illuminate the ships’ rigging and the surrounding warehouses. To complement the visiting ships, the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association organised a gathering of boats which attracted 25 narrow boats and and three wide-beam cruisers, most being well decorated with flags. On a smaller scale, the Gloucester Model Boat Club demonstrated a good variety of models in action on the water. The IWA and local canal societies had stands in one of the converted warehouses, and there was entertainment for all ages at various sites around the docks. The event was sponsored by the South West Regional Development Agency as a means of helping local businesses after the floods in July.

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