Built in 1931 by Hyam & Oliver at Rotherhithe, LADY OF THE LEA is a Thames Sailing Barge with a carvel built wooden hull. Her current engine is an inboard Ford diesel. Listed as a War Department Sailing Barge, her early duties were to carry armaments between Waltham Abbey and Woolwich Arsenal. She was the last sailing barge to be built following plans of canal barges of a century earlier and originally had tiller steering and was stumpy rigged. To deal with her part open river and part canal journeys she was horse and sail propelled. A petrol engine was added by the Navy in 1943, this was replaced by a diesel in 1980. She was sold to W Aslett in 1946 and subsequently to her present owner. She was largely rebuilt between 1980 and 1990 including doubling the bottom and lower hull.
Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships, Anthony Nelson, pp159, Edition 2, 1993
Carr, Frank, Sailing Barges, 1971
Hugh Perks, Richard, Sprts'l: A Portrait of Sailing Barges and Sailormen, Conway Maritime Press, 1975
World Ship Society British Armed Forces Small Craft Historical Society, Survivors Register, 1998
The Last Berth of the Sailorman, Society for Spritsail Barge Research, 1987
Wood, D G, Barges Sailing Today: Sailing Barge Information Pamplet No: 1, Society for Spritsail Barge Research, 1995
Classic Boat: Season round-up, December 2010
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