Travel Worn Satchel

Maidenhead Boatyard

Like a lot of towns in the South East of England, Maidenhead is experiencing a construction boom. Not least because a new, fast rail link into London is planned (albeit delayed) for 2020. So now apartments and offices are being built in the town centre to meet the perceived demand.

While progress is necessary, the new buildings cast a shadow over Maidenhead’s rich Edwardian and Victorian heritage.

However, on the river Thames, a little way from the town centre is a boatyard that has been operating since 1888.

It’s located on the River Thames, beside a bridge and now is surrounded by a new development of ‘executive’ houses and apartments. And right up against it is a Brasserie, recently opened by the Michelin starred chef, Michel Roux.

Despite the boatyard looking like an unwanted guest at a wedding, it stands as a reminder of the town’s past.

It is a two floored wood and corrugated iron workshop with a small office and engineering workshop. Some of the parts look like they have been in the shed since 1880’s.

The owner, Michael Fletcher, told me about the boatyard history which included making bomb carriages during the Second World War – the full history can be heard on the podcast I produced – here.

Michael in the upstairs workshop

Inside, it’s an Aladdin’s Cave of spare parts

Some more pictures of Michael, the exterior and interior of the boat yard.

As a modern Maidenhead emerges from the detritus of building sites it is good to see such an antithesis to the cold, angular glass and steel monolithic architecture of new corporate world we are in.

And, due to it’s location, close the bridge the land it is on cannot be developed. So there is hope that the boatyard will be here to stay.

The podcast can be found on the ‘Sound – Podcast’ page of this website or you can click here. (It is just over 14 mins long and was recorded, produced, written by me: David Harden)

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