Notes on Hughes bargebuilders

Jim Hughes died in the 1990s – he left a huge pile of notes about Hughes bargebuilders of Providence Wharf (no relation). Here are some of his notes:

ORINOCO of London, built East Greenwich 1895 70 tons 104862 owned by Cranfield Bros. Ltd. College Street, Ipswich. Aux (1949) Ref ‘Sailing Barges’ F.S.Cooper (1955)

WYVENHOE Ref: Kathleeen – The Biography of a Sailing Barge. Richard Walsh Pub Terence Dalton, Lavenham, Suffolk 1986 “Built in 1898 by Forrestt at Wyvenhoe for Augustus George Hughes of Providence Wharf, East Greenwich. Note, Augustus George Hughes in 1898 would have been 47 years.

1851 Census Index for NW Kent Vol III Deptford St.Pauls and St.Nicholas Parishes
p80 Hughes
Frederick A. Age 40 4/342 parents George and Mary Ann
Mary 37
Mary 8
Amelia 6
Agnes C. 4
Frederick W 2
Augustus G 3 months

Prefix 4/ Deptford St.Paul sub-district ie HO 107/1584
1851 Census P33 Borough of Greenwich Town of Deptford
100 20 Florence Road
Frederick A. Hughes Head 40 Lighterman Born Middlesex
Mary Wife 37 do
Mary Daughter 8 Scholar at house Surrey, Camberwell
Amelia Daughter 6 Scholar at house Kent, Greenwich
Agnes C. Daughter 4 Scholar at house Kent, Charlton
Frederick W. Son 2 Scholar at house Kent, Deptford
Augustus G. Son 3 mths Kent, Woolwich
Louisa Martin 20 General Servant

PO London and Suburbs Court Guide 1861 p.363
Hughes Frederick August 8 Florence Terrace, New Cross Road, SE

1861 Census p. 76 St.Paul’s Deptford 90 8 Florence Terrace
Frederick Hughes Head 50 Lighterman and Customs House Agent
Mary Wife 47
Agnes Daughter 13
Frederick William Son 11
Augustus George Son 9
Edmund Son 9
Walter Son 7

Local Directory 1870 p.312 1874 Hughes, F.A. 114 Manor Road
Hughes Frederick Augustus 5 Brockley Villas, Brockley Road.

Garnet 21 Glenluce Road. ref: Neil Rhind

1871 Census p.12 St.Paul’s Deptford 42 114 Manor Road
Frederick A. Hughes Head 60 Lighterman and Shipping Agent
Mary Wife 57
Mary Daughter 28
Agnes C. Daughter 23
Fred.W. 21 Lighterman
Augustus 20 Lighterman
Edmund 18 Apprentice Lighterman
Walter 17 Apprentice Lighterman

1881 p. 16 St.Pauls Deptford. NO mention of Hughes

Correspondence viewed at Morden College
(accuracy will vary – copy very difficult to read and transcribe)

April 1907 Letter to Charity Commissioners ‘the late Mr.A.G.Hughes entitled to the lease of Providence Wharf’

August 2nd 1905 Letter signed by F.A.Hughes ?? Engineering Works, Providence Wharf. re – Conditions of lease – improvements – costs, etc. (Querying the costs)

December 19th 1906 Letter re.amounts of Insurance. Site plan (sketch) includes ‘Launching Way’.

March 14th 1912 Letter from Tilbury Construction and Dredging Co. ‘fire occurred … at Providence Wharf.. which we occupy…..’

February 12th 1906 Letter from Humpherys, Skitt and Humphery. Re.Hughes – Providence Wharf. ‘Kindly allow the insurance to ??????’ (Christmas 1906)

April 12th 1905 From Humpheries, Skitt and Humphery ‘Referring to …… your client …A.G.Hughes’.

April 15th 1905 From A.G.Hughes – ‘Ref …. negotiations with Mr. Coles Child in which agreed to premises and he agreed to sell his interests’.

November 1st 1905 Copy of agreement – Trustees of Morden College and Mr. A.G.Hughes.  Agreement to sell interests etc. prior to Tilbury Contracting and Dredging taking over.

Letter signed by F.A,Hughes 2nd June 1905 Age 94. re Conditions of lease.. Other examples indicate that Augustus G, was now considered the ‘principal’ partner

1892 Register of voters. No. 3789
George Matthew Tapp – Garnet House, Glenluce road Ref. Neil Rhind


1851 Census F.A.Hughes, born 1811 (40) 20 Florence Road, Lighterman.
Sons Frederick W. (2) Augustus G. (3 months)

1861 Census F..Hughes (50) 8 Florence Terrace, Deptford. Lighterman/Customs House Agent
Sons Frederick W. (11), Augustus George (10), Edmund (9), Walter (7)

1871 Census F.A.Hughes, 114 Manor Road, Deptford. Lighterman/Shipping Agent
Sons Frederick W. (21) Lighterman, Augustus G. (20) Lighterman. Edmund (18) Lighterman apprentice, Walter (17) Lighterman apprentice

1874/5 Street Directory F.A.Hughes, 5 Brockley Villas, Brockley Road

1881 Census No longer at 114 Manor Road

1887 Kellys F.A.Hughes (Barge Builders) Providence Wharf, River Bank, East Greenwich

1888 Kellys Augustus Geo Hughes 67 Brockley Road

Kellys 1887 (first) 1890, 1891, 1892, 1900, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906 (no entries after this date) for F.A.Hughes & Co, (barge builders)

1889 Sailing Barge Wyvenhoe built by Forrest for Augustus Geo Hughes

ms 6289/19 1860-1866 Saint Dunstan East
Hughes – Augustus Robert Edmunds bound his apprentice Frederick William Hughes for 5 years beginning 8th September 1863 FREE 15th April 1869
Re: Companies House, City Road. PRO Chancery Lane

SOUVENIR PROGRAMME 1977 T.S.B. and S. Match, Competing Barges.    List includes Orinoco. Built East Greenwich 1895 by Hughes for Masons cement fleet Waldingfield on Deben – eventually bought by Cranfield Bros. Sunk in collision on Thames (1950?)  Raised and brought late 1960s (L.Testar) and re-rigged near Faversham.


  • 1887. First Entry in Kellys – F.A.Hughes and Co.  Providence Wharf, River Bank, East Greenwich.
  • 1890 Pipers took over Dawsons Wharf (September 1890)
  • other adjacent wharves – Mowlems, Thos.Wright & Co., (Coal Merchants), F.A.Hughes, Dawsons…..
  • 1900 others in trade  include Christopherson, T.Scholey
  • 1906 ‘Twenty years of Barge Building’ by F.A.Hughes
  • 1907 New Entry – Tilbury Contracting and Dredging Co. (1906) Ltd.

Lure and Lore of London /river. 1932  Chapter xxx (final)  Thames Hoppers and Matter of Port History 

ref: Down at Providence wharf – small lightering business – carried on by a Freeman, Edmund Hughes.  E.H. saw his chance – 1884 came into existence Tilbury Lighterage Co, Ltd.  Edmund Hughes became first Managing Director – to the far larger Dreadnought Wharf.





One thought on “Notes on Hughes bargebuilders”

  1. Augustus and Edmund Hughes left the FA Hughes barge building company and formed the Tilbury lighterage co specialising in transferring cargo between vessels. Edmund was the director for 30 years succeeded by Michael Mumford Hughes and finally Michael Charles Hughes. The company expanded and diversified internationally into Tilbury Group Plc and finally Interserve Plc in 2001.
    Frederick Augustus Hughes was born in 1812 and died in 1875. He was my Great Granfather. He had several children as Jim Hughes refers to. It’s Walter not Walker. My grandfather had the same name. He owned an ironmongery store in Wimbledon. There are lots of Hughes descendants around still , all over the place from what I can determine. My father was Trevor Hughes and an artist.

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