Saunders Boat Yard at Withymead

Over 100 years ago, the area around Withymead was a thriving boatyard employing a local workforce of over 30 people. It is believed that the company was founded by Cornelius Saunders in 1870 in Goring but was moved to the South Stoke site in 1882 by his son, Samuel Saunders.

SPRINGFIELD WORKS (Saunders Boat Yard)

In the early days the boat yard was called Springfield Works. Between 1882 to 1912 S. E. Saunders was a thriving boatyard building steam powered launches and larger river craft for governments and the rich and famous. In 1906 Saunders was reported to be building a boat propelled by the reaction of air jets and floating on a cushion of air.

The yard was sold to Hobbs of Henley when Saunders moved to the Isle of Wight. Saunders continued to build boats, but also turned his attention to aviation, and in 1929 was joined at Cowes by Sir A.V. Roe and together they set up the Saunders-Roe Company, famous for its flying boats, sea planes and hydroplanes, later to be renamed the British Hovercraft Corporation in 1957.

The information and pictures are taken from the Goring Gap Local History Society archives, with their kind permission.

For more details of Sam Saunders and his Springfield Boat Yard follow this link.

On 7th September 2013 a 'Blue Plaque' was unveiled on the Post Office in Goring which was home to Saunders' first show-room.

Shortly after the unveiling ceremony a flotilla of Springfield built boats visited the nature reserve, our neighbours kindly having offered their mooring facilities. One of the visitors handed us a very special gift saying that it belonged here.

The special gift was a section of 'Consuta' constructed hull from 'Rosetta' renamed 'Victoria', a petrol engined 30' open day boat, built for Hobbs of Henley in 1904

Consuta with Enchantress, both built at Withymead, are pictured heading 'home' on 7th September 2013 (Blue Plaque Day)

 

See also :

Boat Advert Boat Building Slipway Derelict Building