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30 April, 2019

Purton Hulks - A Boat Graveyard

The following images were taken in 2010 whilst I was still on a degree course studying Visual Communication in Photography. This project came to light almost by accident. I had visited the site purely on a recce mission to check it out for an upcoming fashion editorial concept with a fellow student who was on a fashion design and styling course. I fell in love with the place and went on to seek more information.

The following words and image titles were kindly supplied by Paul Barnet of www.friendsofpurton.org.uk where you can support and find out more about this incredible site.

    The story of the largest ships graveyard in mainland Britain started by accident literally-

    The 23rd December 1909 saw Mr AJ Cullis, the then Chief Engineer of the Berkeley, Gloucester and Binningham Canal, being hastily summoned to this tranquil backwater in the Gloucestershire in order to assess the destructive power of the River Severn which was affecting the base of the protective earthen canal bank. These powerful erosive forces eventually culminated in a massive landslip which removed some sixty metres of riverbank and overlaying hedge, thus leaving the adjacent main Midlands transport artery exposed and in danger of breach.

    Therefore and by way of a temporary solution, Mr Cullis procured a small fleet of redundant Stroud water wooden barges which were intentionally run aground to plug the breach and shore up the eroding river bank. It worked, and in light of this epic rescue operation the canal and its vital link was saved. That said, the site has seen periodic beaching until 1965 in order to stem the continual march of coastal erosion and has, in part, acted as a convenient place to rid boat owners of the burgeoning cost of maintaining timber vessels. To this end, the site continues to exhibit land development, whilst enstuing the beached vessels are preserved in the Severn's continuous supply of silt, sand and mud. To current times these mournfully remains are now recognised as the last bastion of a maritime culture long since departed and are in essence a final link to our maritime past. As such, 2008 saw the formation of the Friends of Purton who with the help of Maritime Historian Paul Barnett are dedicated to the promotion and protection of this unique Gloucestershire time-capsule and national mari-time treasure The Last 81.


About The Author

David James Coxsell


David is the Photographer and Studio Manager at In-Depth Photos a Photographic Company providing photography services to the general public based in and around Wolverhampton, South Staffordshire and Shropshire.

Our work consists of, but is not limited to: Portraits, Family, Children, Headshots, Events, Fine Art, Location, Environmental Portraits, Newborns and Baby Photography. We work on location or from our studio in Pattingham.

The information and views set out in this blog post are those of In-Depth Photos and its assignees and are for general information only. Any links provided to information stored on other websites are used to illustrate our views and points or showcase a certain piece of information. While we strive to provide quality links to useful and ethical websites, we have no control over the content and nature of these sites. These links to other websites do not imply a recommendation for all the content found on these sites. Site owners and content may change without notice and may occur before we have the opportunity to remove a link which may have gone ‘bad’.


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