All posts by pippabutterfield

From the Wheelhouse

It’s at this time of year that the season tends to blur into a continuous round of trips, pump outs, refuelling, and cups of tea!

The highlight of the season so far would probably be the weather – but having had such a dry summer, river levels are down meaning we have to be conscious of low water levels. The Port of London Authority recently carried out a survey down stream of Teddington only to discover some unusual shallow spots. Investigation discovered what appears to be a pontoon structure which had grounded just upstream of Eel Pie Island – presumably washed down in the floods last year!

A lack of summer traffic has not gone unnoticed by the lock keepers who frequently remark how quiet the river is, but for us it smooths the way.  In the busiest time of year our volunteers continue to make sacrifices to make cruises special and indeed possible.  Special mention must go to the five ‘roast chicken crew’ – it’s a long story…  [Editor’s note – apparently a full Sunday roast lunch was prepared for 22 people on a residential trip – impressive!]  and to several regular crew who have had to temporarily stand down for health reasons (nothing to do with crewing on the Venturer!): we wish speedy recoveries.

Peter Oldham, Skipper

Reproduced from the Friends’ Summer 2015 Newsletter

Anniversary Cruise Update

For those wondering how the special anniversary cruise down to the Tower of London went, the answer is fabulously.

Ten members of the Friends signed up for what was an amazing cruise packed with interest and entertainment from the very start to the very end.

An article will be appearing in the Friends Newsletter due out at the end of the month accompanied by some of the stunning photographs taken by John Frye and members of the cruise.

The food, the guests, the fabulous views and the fabulous crew and not to mention the fund raising: It is hard to narrow down the best bits.

The one thing we can be fairly sure of is that everyone wants us to do it again.

Paul Boyd

Chair's Cruise


One day on the Thames Venturer…

I’m William CARBONARO, a French student, and I’m doing 3 weeks work experience in England. Since the 22nd of June 2015 I have been working in The River Thames Boat Project office. When I started this job, one of the things that I really wanted to do was to have a trip on the Thames Venturer (the company’s boat).

On the 25th I had this opportunity! I spent all day on the boat as a crew member. Our trip started at Kingston in the direction of Walton. Along the river we saw some beautiful landscapes, with typical houses and bungalows.

On this day, some customers were disabled people. I think that it was really interesting to work with them and to make them enjoy their trip even if it was a challenge because it was a bit unusual for me.

My task was interesting: I had to welcome the customers, take care of them and help the skipper to dock. I also had the chance to steer the boat, on the river (naturally) and in a lock for quite a long time. I really enjoyed this unique moment!

This day was definitely a very good one. I discovered many different landscapes, I talked with many people and I enjoyed the river rhythm. I definitely recommend this trip which is relaxing and revitalising.

William Carbonaro

Golden Wedding donation

A big thank you to Hugh and Sheila Fells for the donation they made to the Boat Project today. Hugh and Sheila have been clients for many years, enjoying residential and day trips with us. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on 5th June and asked friends and family to make a donation to the Boat Project. Hugh is pictured below handing their collection to Trustee David Bell. We wish Hugh and Sheila many more happy years together and many more trips with us.


Peter Oldham


Summer Garden Party

Elaine Russell has kindly offered RTBP the use of her gorgeous garden for a Summer Garden Party on Saturday 15th August 2015 from 12.30pm

Price: £25 per person, which includes live music and a buffet lunch

If you would like to come, please

  1. Reserve your place on the Eventbrite site here and
  2. Contact Pippa in the office on 020 8940 3509 regarding payment.

We hope to see you there.  Directions to follow, on booking.

Special Anniversary Cruise 3-5 July

Venturer last cruised the tideway to Tower Bridge and beyond ten years ago. Now she is revisiting the Pool of London, sailing from Kingston to the Thames Barrier and back over one weekend, to celebrate 20 years on the River Thames and to fundraise for our second boat.

Leaving Kingston on Friday 3rd July at cocktail hour, we will take an evening cruise down to Chiswick Pier where we will moor for the night. There will be an introduction to the work of the Pier Trust and the RNLI station there, or you can walk ashore with a self-help guide to follow the Thames Path through the historic Chiswick to Hammersmith reach.

On Saturday we depart early and pass through London, to moor late morning at the Hermitage Moorings – only accessible to historic boats. From there, we have a perfect view for watching the Thames Historic Barge Driving event that afternoon; Watermen and Lighterman row barges upstream from Greenwich to Westminster in their annual celebration of the days when rowing was the only power available.  There will then be time to explore ashore.

On Sunday we take the ebb tide down to the Thames Barrier and then turn upstream to enjoy the full flow back home, taking in the glory of Central London’s sights, and views that have changed radically in the last ten years, before disembarking back in Kingston later in the afternoon.

Residential places for the full experience are now all taken but there are two day spaces for Saturday and two for Sunday.  Early starts from Chiswick Pier (Saturday) or the Hermitage Moorings (Sunday).  There is a suggested donation of £75 for joining the cruise for the day including breakfast and a light lunch or (Saturday only) £100 if you’d like to stay for dinner too.  If you are interested email

Reproduced from the Friends Spring 2015 Newsletter

Technical News

Some very interesting new technology will be arriving on the Venturer which will improve the experience of our clients.  Thanks to the generous sponsorship of The Hedley Foundation, we will be buying six tablets and a wireless 4G router.  There are a number of uses for the tablets.  We will go paperless for cruise log sheets and client feedback and be able to upload the information directly to the office.  Clients will have access to the tablets while on the boat to take pictures or research information about the river and what they are seeing.  We will be able to offer them as a communications tool for clients with speaking or hearing issues – some clients already bring devices on board for those who communicate through the use of a keyboard.   And they will also be useful in the education programmes.

In addition to the tablets we also now have FishCam. This is an underwater video camera on a pole which we can use to show what is happening under the surface of the river.  The images are fed directly by a cable to the laptop on board.  This was acquired initially for the education programmes but also has the potential to be used for client groups when the boat stops at lunchtime.  Some might wonder whether the Thames is too murky for much to be visible, but be assured that on a good day there will be plenty of fish to be seen!

(Reproduced from the Friends Spring 2015 newsletter)