Salt Trows or Wich Barges

  • 17 Jan 2012
  • Severn Crafts
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Between 1860 and the early years of the present century large numbers of new vessels were built for the salt trade. They were known among the Severn trowmen as 'Wich Barges', the name being an abbreviation of Droitwich. They did not, however, differ in build from the trows. The rising salt trade also contributed to the building of Sharpeness Docks, opened in 1874. Twenty years later, the Gloucester Ship Canal, the Sharpeness Docks, the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the Droitwich Canal were amalgamated under the title 'The Sharpeness New Docks and Gloucester and Birmongham Navigation. A few 'Wich Barges' survived to recent years as dumb barges. One or two traded until the 1950's at Lydney with petrol-parafin engines, but rigged a small steadying sail in rough weather. Now, except for the hulkslying on the mud flats at Purton, they have all gone.