The days when Hydrogen carried her cargoes under sail in all weathers on the East Coast seem far from the balmy times enjoyed by her guests today. Built in 1906, she is the largest surviving wooden barge, a Coaster who’s fine lines and sturdy construction are a great example of the shipwright’s craft.
During WWII, Hydrogen was sent to the Clyde to work as a supply ship and around that time her engine was fitted. For the Queens Silver Jubilee, she joined the river Pageant as a motor barge, carrying a large golden lion on deck. Hydrogen finished in trade in 1976 and in the early 1980’s was bought by Bells Whisky and converted back to sail. Bells took her on an annual UK circumnavigation to promote their brands – so she became a regular visitor at many ports and became known as the “Whisky Barge”.
In 1992 Bells sold her and Hydrogen came to Maldon to join the Topsail Fleet of barges. In 2012 she once again took part in the Queens Jubilee, representing Essex for the day.
After over a century under sail, the Hydrogen continues to work to earn her living and is actively preserved as part of our national maritime heritage.
Take a good look around Hydrogen with our virtual tour below. You can go up on deck, check the access, walk onto other barges and even walk ashore.
Hold down your left mouse button and drag to look left and right.
SB Hydrogen (1906)
- Sailing Capacity: 50 passengers
- Static Capacity: 80 guests
- Dining Facilities: 48 sit down, 80 buffet
East Coast River Cruises
Enjoy a Topsail River Cruise at one of these locations:
Our Barges can accommodate up to 50 guests sailing, and up to 80 on the Quayside.