Enfilade

‘Gloriana’ to Lead the Flotilla for the Diamond Jubilee in London

The Gloriana launched in April 2012; from Leon Watson’s
story for the Mail Online, 19 April 2012; Photo by David Parker

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From The BBC (19 April 2012)

The £1m boat that will the lead the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant has been launched on the river. The 94ft (28.6m) royal barge Gloriana was escorted through the streets of London on the back of a truck. It had been transported from a unit in Brentford to Isleworth, west London, where it was placed in the Thames. A pageant of more than 1,000 boats involving some 20,000 people will sail down the river on 3 June to mark the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. . . .

Lord Sterling said: “I became enamoured with the idea of building something timeless and got inspiration from Canaletto’s paintings that showed the great barges of the 18th Century and decided to build one. If we had to give it a style, it would be Regency. Including 18 rowers, it will carry 52 people. No-one’s really built anything like this for 200 years and the way we’ve built it, it will last for 200 years if looked after” . . .

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From the official event website:

Photo from ‘Luxatic’; click image to access the article.

On Sunday 3rd June 2012, over one thousand boats will muster on the River Thames in preparation for Her Majesty The Queen to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The formal river procession will be between 2pm and 6pm, starting upriver of Battersea Bridge and finishing downriver of Tower Bridge. The boats will muster between Hammersmith and Battersea and disperse from Tower Bridge to West India Docks.

It will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. Rowed boats and working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Flags, their crews and passengers turned out in their finest rigs. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will be afloat and there will be an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note.

The flotilla will be bolstered with passenger boats carrying flag-waving members of the public placed centre stage (or rather mid-river) in this floating celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 year reign. The spectacle will be further enhanced with music barges and boats spouting geysers. Moreover, there will be specially constructed elements such as a floating belfry, its chiming bells answered by those from riverbank churches.

The opening ceremony of London’s Olympic Games will be just six weeks away and the public that crowd the riverbanks and bridges will give a rousing reception to the many boats that have travelled from far and wide to represent UK port cities, the Commonwealth countries and other international interests. Downriver of London Bridge, there will be a gun salute and the flotilla will pass through a spectacular Avenue of Sail made by traditional Thames sailing boats, oyster smacks, square riggers, naval vessels and other impressive ships.

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant celebrates Her Majesty’s 60 years of service by magnificently bringing the Thames to life; making it joyously full with boats, resounding with clanging bells, tooting horns and sounding whistles; recalling both its royal heritage and its heyday as a working, bustling river.