The rotting hull of the Cornish Fruit Schooner, Rhoda Mary, has sat on the edge of a Hoo beach for well over 70 years. She was built in Restronguet Creek, Falmouth in 1868, and came up to the Medway for conversion into a ‘yacht’ and like many of those projects it failed to materialise. When a boy, with my siblings, she provided a bit of a play ground!
My parents visited the vessel’s remains in 1951 during their honeymoon cruise aboard their spritsail barge May Flower. Several pictures appear to have been taken…
One of the ship’s anchors was ‘rescued’ by my father and it became one of the May Flower’s mooring points at Whitewall Creek, Twinney and then at Callows Wharf, Upchurch. I don’t doubt it is still sitting in the mud beyond the wharf where a house barge now rests.
Much to my surprise a communication winged its way to me from the Medway & Swale Boating Association asking me for comment about the good ship’s restoration proposals. Apparently a Cornish organisation is intending to dig her out, float her onto a barge and take her home for a rebuild… Never say die, they always say in the barging and smack world … but this is a much larger undertaking.
I found a web site discussing this vessel and others, see:
The hull of the Rhoda Mary as seen in October 1951.
Her digging out and floating is planned for the spring of 2015, so, if successful, she’ll no longer be the ‘wonder’ she has been to all those that have passed her by!