Thameside Family

The Freebody Family have been living and working on the middle Thames, as boatbuilders, bargemen, fishermen and ferrymen, since the 13th century, at Hurley and previously at Caversham, Berkshire

Hurley 1933

In 1933 Peter Freebody's mother and father took over the site at Hurley from Peter's grandmother, and it was here, a year later, that Peter was born.  The boatyard in which Peter grew up was typical of Thames family boatyards of that era.  Wooden boats were built - by hand, and by line-of-eye - in ways that had changed little in a thousand years.

Peter Freebody

But in the 1950's things were changing.  People were embracing plywood and plastic, classic launches were falling out of favour, and the tradition of wooden boatbuilding on the Thames was in decline.  Peter was determined to keep the family craft alive, and after serving an apprenticeship building clinker dinghies downstream at Wootten's Cookham yard, he returned to the family boatyard and began to shape it into the business which stands today.


New sheds were built, new machinery installed, and a slipway dug.  Peter and his friends worked hard, building and repairing wooden boats to exceptionally high standards.  And the work paid off.  The demand for their craftsmanship, and for wooden boats, rose. 

Peter 1934 to 1910

After sixty one years of successfully playing his part in continuing the Freebody family tradition of boatbuilding on the Thames, Peter sadly passed away in December 2010.

Boatyard today

Today, Peter's son Richard is at the helm, assisted by his sisters Melanie, Katie and Helen and the team at Hurley, and the Freebody tradition continues.