Object Detail

Object Name
Preserved and cased Barbel fish, caught by AE Hobbs in the River Thames on the 8th July 1903. Weight 10 lbs 5oz.

Hobbs was born in New Street, Henley in 1871 and lived in Henley all his life. Whilst working as an architect for Brakspear brewery in the 1930's he was responsible for designing many local pubs.

Hobbs claimed to have caught almost 900 Thames Trout, each over 3 lbs in weight, in 55 years of fishing. He fished in the non-tidal reaches of the Thames.


Latin name - Barbus barbus

Colour - Barbel vary in colour, it is usually greyish brown on the back with greenish golden sides (flanks) and a creamy white belly. The fins are grey and the lower fins often have a pink tint.

Size - It grows up to 90cm (3ft) long.

Charcteristics - The barbel is a powerful fish with a long body and a pointed snout (nose) with four barbels. The fish uses its barbels to search by taste for food. There are two small barbels by the tip of the nose and 2 longer ones near the back of the mounth. The barbel is also a member of the carp family.

Diet - It feeds on the bottom of the river and usually at night. It eats insect larvae, molluscs, crustaceans and worms. It also eats small fish and plants.

How fished for - Anglers use either float or ledgering (when a lead weight is used to keep the bait near the bottom of the water) tackle. Dead minnow is known as a good bait when fishing for barbel.

Interesting facts - Barbel fishing was a very popular pursuit with Victorian ladies. They are native to the River Thames and have lived here since the last ice age.

British record - 14lb 6oz - 6.52kg
Accession No
River Thames
Associated Date
08 Jul 1903
Associated Period
20th century
28 Jun 1895