To further promote the preservation of boats used on the River Thames in the past, in 2015 we accepted the gift of a 1885 Peterborough canoe, “Running Waters” from Mike Pearman, a member of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association. When John and I were sent to inspect her we came back to the Committee saying “we cannot say no!”
This beautiful l6 foot canoe is unusual in that the strips of cedar from which she is made are placed around the boat and not along, as was more common. She was exported from the USA to Paris to be given as a wedding present to a French couple. When they subsequently moved to England they brought “Running Waters” with them, but she was never used it. The story further related that she was very similar to one given by the Peterborough Company to our Queen on her marriage to Prince Philip, now located in the Canoe Museum in Canada.
She more recently had a stern seat fitted and had been re varnished as she was leaking. Kneeling was, and is still used by some, when paddling but sitting is now found by moany to be the most comfortable way to use the craft. A bow seat had already been added by Mark Stanley who initially strengthened the inwhale with mahogany and varnished her.
Since we acquired the canoe, the Society has been presented with two lovely old canoe paddles by member Martin Jarrett, the design being similar to her original paddles. She also has a small “junk” sail with bamboo spars that we think are original.
“Running Waters” is popular with our younger members and is regularly used at Society events, both regular Port Fonty outings and at boat shows. We now have several members who are canoeists and she enables those who do not won their own canoe to attend specialist canoe days and other events.
Susan Greenford, 2021