Salters Steamers

Salters Steamers

Salters Steamers, formerly known as Salter Bros, is an old family firm based around boating on the River Thames, originally established in 1858. The company runs passenger services in summer along the whole length of the River Thames between Oxford and Staines. They also hire boats from Oxford (at Folly Bridge), Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor. In Oxford in particular, punts are available.

The firm was established when John and Stephen Salter took over Isaac King's boat building firm based at Folly Bridge in Oxford. They built many of the beautiful Oxford University barges at Christ Church Meadow, used over many years as a base for the various colleges for the sport of rowing. These have now all been replaced by boat houses.

On the death of John Salter, the firm passed to his three sons (John, James and George) and become known as Salter Bros, building boats. In 1888, the company started a steam boat service between Oxford and Kingston upon Thames, using the boat "Alaska", previously bought in 1883.

Alaska was built in 1883 as a private vessel but was purchased in 1886 by Salters who used her from 1887 to start their Oxford to Kingston return service. Alaska is still operating today under the management of Thames Steamers Limited.

The service between Oxford and Kingston operated until the 1960s. The entire journey took three days. When the through service became uneconomic the company concentrated on local services between Folly Bridge, Oxford and Abingdon, Reading and Henley, Marlow and Windsor and Windsor and Staines. More recently, Salters passenger services have been reintroduced between Abingdon, Wallingford and Reading, and between Henley and Marlow. Through journeys are therefore again possible, with changes of boats. The journey between Oxford and Staines takes 4 days.


* Hibbert, C. (ed) (1988) "The Encyclopaedia of Oxford", Macmillan ISBN 0 333 48614 5

External links

* [ Salters Steamers]
* [ Company history]

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