We all too often look back with longing for simpler better times, imagining that life was somehow easier in the olden days.
Much of the archive focusses on the vessels and ignores the crew but every now and again a picture crops up that tells a thousand words. This picture of a bargee family with their dog's new puppies has so much to say if you spend a little time studying it (and I really want a pair of bib fronted sailors trousers like the skippers.)
Other pictures tell a brutal story, the life of bargees was hard. Incomes were low and uncertain; sailing worn out, overloaded ,under maintained boats was dangerous. Many were wrecked and lives were lost. Fortunately for the crew of the Sepoy, seen clinging to the rigging, they were rescued by a lifeboat having been driven ashore in an easterly gale off Cromer.
The Cromer rowing sailing life boat in the picture had taken 100 people and three attempts to get it launched through the surf and still struggled to make way in the broken water. It could not get to them. Another motorised lifeboat made it some six hours later and they were put ashore by driving the lifeboat on the beach. How they got the lifeboat back off the beach is another epic story
Running repairs are nothing new and another barge can be seen here getting a bit of welding done to fix a pretty tired looking rudder. Even the family picture shows the adhoc replacements for broken wheel handles, the budget presumably didn't run to nice new turned ones.
Snark has an identical caste iron steering wheel but with posh nylon handles. They are warmer and less splintery to hold and more durable than the wooden ones.