Thursday, December 31, 2015

More barge family history in photos

With my research for my next book and also as background to The Skipper's Child, I've been looking at old photos of the Fernhout family's barge, and with Koos's permission, I thought it would be nice to share some more of these with you here. All the pictures below are from a small collection Koos has kept since he was a youngster and has now scanned in the hopes of preserving them further. The originals are becoming very faded and so this is one way of keeping these precious images for family posterity.

Many of them were taken before Koos was born and show his father's barge at various times before and after World War II, so they are especially interesting to me as they show its development over the years.

The one above was snapped at Cheratte, Belgium, before the barge, called Twee Gebroeders, was fitted with a rear engine. There's no date on the photo, but it was probably taken before the war in the thirties. Here the barge only had a small 35 horsepower engine under the foredeck which drove a side propellor close to the bows. The wheelhouse was open at the back with a canopy over the stern to protect the skipper from the elements.


You can see the side propellor in this picture of the loaded Twee Gebroeders in 1955 after the main engine was fitted. Apparently Hendrikus Fernhout kept the system as an auxiliary motor for when the current was very strong, for instance when they were on the Rhine. Notice Papa Fernhout is in a white shirt and tie. Apparently this was normal Sunday wear and Sunday was usually photo day!

 I love this one. It's almost like an aerial shot, but it was taken  from the rocks high above the Maas at NamĂȘche, in Belgium (I told you Belgium was beautiful!)


 And here, the lovely old fashioned bows where two of the Fernhout children are standing.  This one and the one below are on the Maas, again in Belgium. Koos was the youngest of four children who survived. Two others were tragically lost to drowning when they were very small as often happened in skippers' families. The awful sadness of losing those two babies could well have affected Mrs Fernhout deeply, making her more withdrawn than even her very real deafness would have done.



 A wonderful image of the deeply laden Twee Gebroeders in Stevensweert in Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands. I don't have a date for this photo, but according to Koos, it is probably pre-war.





 This one and the last photo below show the  new conformation with the wheelhouse right at the stern and the engine's chimney just in front of the roef or saloon. Such developments were normal in the course of a barge's life in the 20th century, something that makes it difficult for restorers to deal with when deciding on how far to take their restoration.

I'll be looking back to the period of these photos over the next months because I'm also really looking forward to writing my story about the father of my Skipper's Child, which will be set during the WWII. Photos like these give me the inspiration, but of course now I need information too, so it'll mean hours of reading (mostly in Dutch, so that'll take me even longer!) and heaps questions that I'll have to put to people in the know. A happy thought and a special project to take me into the next 

And if you are interested in reading The Skipper's Child, why not take a look the first few pages on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skippers-Child-Valerie-Poore-ebook/dp/B007U79URK/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452444298&sr=1-6&keywords=valerie+poore


HAPPY NEW YEAR ALLEMAAL

14 comments:

  1. Old photos are so precious - in this digital age, when we can snap anything and not think of the cost, it's easy to forget that these old pictures are unique. Thanks for ... I hesitate to say 'sharing' as I hate the phrase, but you know what I mean!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jo, I just love old photos too. They are unique, you're right, and I like the fact that Sunday was photo day when everyone was dressed in their best!

      Delete
  2. What sweet photos, and so important to scan them. Your project to write Skipper's Child sounds very interesting and enjoyable. It is sad and shocking to think two children could be lost to drowning because they lived on a barge. Wish you a Happy New Year, and a great year of health and happiness in 2016, Val.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Patricia. It is sad that children drowned so often. It wasn't unusual for skippers and their families not to be able to swim, but after these two drowned, Koos's family made sure all their children could!

      Delete
  3. I think that it must have been a very hard life and that social conditions were not great.
    Much appreciation to you Val for sharing and Gelukkig Nieuwjaa !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dank je wel, Mel! Yes, it was a tough life and they stuck together with other skippers and their families who understood what it was to live that way. Inter-marriage between skippers families was normal! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar to you and Mrs H too!

      Delete
  4. Hi Val - you've made a good point that some photos could be used either in the blog or on a family blog (which I don't have) ... so they're there for family or interested parties to see at some stage.

    Wonderful shots you've selected - the barge worked for its living that's for sure ...

    Enjoy our Dutch research!!!! Cheers and Happy New Year to you both - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hilary! I'm glad you like the photos. Happy New Year!

      Delete
  5. Old photos are great to look at. It's so sad that two children's were lost overboard but I can just imagine how hard it would be bringing up young toddlers on a boat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awful, wasn't it, Anne? I can imagine how depressed she must become! That's what I was trying to convey in SC - the sadness of a mother who has lost a child that way, and Koos's mother lost two!

      Delete
  6. I know you will be doing all the work and research, Val, but I'm so excited to know that another book is on the way! I love "The Skipper's Child" and find myself thinking about it often. Happy Writing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, these are lovely, vallypee :) I am getting into Skipper's Child mode now!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you! Maybe you'll 'see' the story in black and white too now, TT ;)

      Delete