During the early part of this year I had the privilege of working on the build of the Gloriana. Undoubtedly a very special project for a very special person; but also a tremendous act of patronage for the crafts.

The project was conceived and initiated by Lord Stirling but it is fair to say that the Gloriana is also in many ways the culmination of the work of the Master Boatbuilder Mark Edwards, traditional craft of the Thames is really his field of expertise.

The Gloriana emulates the barges of Royalty and the livery companies of the time. Some wonderful examples still exist such as Prince Frederik’s Barge from the 1730’s in the National Maritime Museum’s collection, the Admiralty Shallop in the Barge House at Somerset House and The State Barge of King Charles II at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

As an individual working on the Gloriana it was a wonderful opportunity to learn while working alongside other tradesmen who have a wealth of skill and knowledge within their respective fields. The guilders and signwriter in particular were a rare treat to watch while I also learnt a good deal from fellow carpenters and shipwrights. Now I have returned to the peace and isolation of my barn it only emphasises the value that can be found in those opportunities to work amongst others.