Boatbuilding has taken place on Eel Pie Island for hundreds of years: tugs, work boats, passenger boats, landing craft, house barges are all built in the Slipways. House barges and working barges are refurbished and house barges are also converted into Dutch house barges.
Eel Pie Slipways is one of four similar boatyards left on the Thames. The others are in Charlton, Brentford and Gravesend.
Unfortunately these are bad times for the boatyard which relies on supplies and equipment coming from the Twickenham mainland by river. It seems that the local Council has its eye on the town quay for a car park. The Council is also responsible for increased charges for bin collections and increased parking charges. All these additional costs cannot be easily passed on to the customer in the present economic situation, following on from the global financial crisis
Another concern for the boatyard is the lack of local interest in apprenticeships; the need to pass on skills which will otherwise be lost forever.
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