St Michael's Mount State Barge participating in Diamond Jubilee Pageant
June 03, 2012 at 2:12 PM
On Sunday 3rd June, over one thousand boats will take to the water as part of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. One of those boats will be the St Michael’s Mount State Barge. Built in 1740, the barge will be one of the oldest boats on the river and is the oldest boat still in commission in Britain. Historically, it has been used to ferry many generations of the St Aubyn family and guests to their breath-taking home - the castle atop Cornwall's St Michael's Mount.
The barge will be rowed by a crew partly made up of Island residents and employees including Adam Poole, Castle Steward, Claire Hillage, Mount Gardener and Head Boatman, Dave Ladner, who will be the Coxswain for the day, whilst James St Aubyn and his wife Mary will be passengers in the boat. The remaining rowers are all members of the Mount's Bay Pilot Gig club who recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary and whose ladies veteran team recently won gold in the Ladies Veteran A race at the Isles of Scilly World Gig Championships.
The Pageant will write a new chapter in the barge’s already elaborate history. In 1846, it was used to ferry Queen Victoria ashore from the Royal Yacht to St Michael’s Mount. A plaque recording the event along with a brass cast of her footprint can now be seen at the head of the quay. During the Second World War, it briefly saw action taking commandos for practice beach landings in Mount’s Bay.
The last time the St Michael’s Mount barge took to the Thames was in 1994 when Mount’s Bay Pilot Gig Club rowed it as part of the Great River Race in London.