Lady Jean

Spritsail Barge built 1926 by Short Brothers, Rochester

Designated ensign Designated house flag



Cargo Vessel


Spritsail Barge


Private use













To be confirmed

21.67 feet (6.61 metres)

91.15 feet (27.80 metres)

7.51 feet (2.29 metres)



Built in 1926 by Short Brothers at Rochester for Bradleys of Rochester, LADY JEAN is a Thames Sailing Barge of wooden carvel construction. Her current engine is an inboard diesel made by Kelvin (GEC) in 1973. She made history on her first commercial voyage which was to Coruna in Northern Spain; this is believed to be the longest cargo carrying trip ever made by a Thames Sailing Barge. Subsequently she traded from the Medway to ports in Cornwall carrying cement and returning with cargoes of china clay or granite. In 1937 she was sold to the maltsters R & W Paul of Ipswich who operated her for 36 years on the East Coast. During this time she was given a larger engine and her sails were progressively removed. In 1973 she was bought by the East Coast Sail Trust, completely renovated and renamed SIR ALAN HERBERT; she then worked as a school ship for the Inner London Education Authority and the Trust, sometimes cruising to Belgium and Holland.

Previous names

  1. 1974 – 1991Sir Alan Herbert
  2. 1923 – 1974Lady Jean

Subsequent Developments

  1. July 2011 Since being purchased by current owner in august 2008: Forward 30 ft re-planked; forward 20 ft of keelson replaced (H section steel). Took out some bulkheads and the short bunks used by the previous owners, and took out all plumbing and electrics. Complete renovation of main deck - some new planks and all recaulked. Frames on starboard side doubled where necessary. Stripping of paint, sanding and varnishing of interior planking. External hull repainted. Fitted reconditioned skylight/companionway hatch ex - Edith May. Work planned: new plumbing and wiring; new mast deck and tabernacle, with work to base of mast; engine overhaul and engine room refurbishment. Other work to be undertaken: refit interior; replace soft planking in upper part of port bow. Source: vessel visit by Paul Brown, author


  1. 1975 Sprts'l: A Portrait of Sailing Barges and Sailormen - Perks, Richard Hugh
  2. 1987 The Last Berth of the Sailorman
  3. 1993 International Register of Historic Ships - Brouwer, Norman J
  4. 1995 Barges Sailing Today: Sailing Barge Information Pamplet No: 1 - Wood, D G
  5. 1998 Classic Boat Thames barging


  1. September 2011 A Sustainability Grant of £1000 towards the cost of replacing the mast deck was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships
  2. September 2012 The Sustainability Grant awarded in September 2011 has been withdrawn
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact

landing strake:

the strake between the binding strake and the top strake