Liquid Highway – Youtube channel

Be sure to take a look and subscribe to the Liquid Highway youtube channel which I regularly update with Thames related videos.

This week i have uploaded two interviews with Thames Waterman John Potter and Lighterman Peter Duggan and some great nostalgic sailing barge footage from 1964

Visit the youtube channel here –

Tattershall Castle – Tow to Woolwich

Tattershall Castle departed her Embankment moorings this morning under tow by tugs GRAY VIXEN , GPS IONIA and GPS IBERIA and is currently moored on buoys at Woolwich prior to her sea tow to Hull for refit when better weather allows.

Tattershall Castle was built in 1934 by W.Gray at Hartlepool.    She operated on the Humber estuary and had a passenger capacity of 1050. She sailed on this route up to eight times a day until her retirement in 1973.   In 1976, she was sold to become a floating art centre and conference centre on the Thames. In 1981, she was sold to the Chef & Brewer Group, and repairs and a refit were carried out by Acorn Ship Repairs on the River Medway. She reopened as a pub and restaurant on London’s Victoria Embankment in 1982. A further refit was carried out by Crescent Marine Services on the Medway in 1991, and another costing £4.75m in 2003-04 at Great Yarmouth.

Photo right: Warrior, Barney & Sir Aubrey 2004

Her appearance progressively changed to incorporate an enclosed main deck aft, a new bridge structure with large windows replacing the wheelhouse. Larger windows were cut into the forward lounge on the port side, and the paddle wheels were removed (and the ship lost her distinctive fan-shaped paddle-box vents). She is thus much more substantially altered than her two sister ships. Her original engines are still in place and can be viewed behind glass by visitors.

Tattershall Castle is said to re-open in early May

Below are various photos starting in time order from Westminster to Woolwich and taken by various people along the route

Leaving the berth – Photos:  T.Castle Owners

prior to swinging – Photo by A.Bouchiba

P1020643 P1020637 P1020636
Approaching Blackfriars

Passing Cherry Garden Pier  – Photo : B.McCann

assing Wapping – Photo: C.Maynard


Approaching Woolwich –  Photos by A.Christy

Moored at Woolwich  – Photo: T.Castle Owners

London’s Wartime Bridges

3 additional temporary bridges were built in Central London (5 all together throughout London) during World War II to aid as additional crossings incase of bomb damage to another nearby bridge, these could still be used.

One of the temporary bridges could be found just below Westminster Bridge , and another at Battersea.   4 of the bridges were dismantled between 1947 and 1948 and another retained for pedestrian and cyclist use for a while longer.

Below is a quote from a 1947 newspaper regarding the removal of the bridges
Mr. W. Foster asked the Minister of Transport if the temporary bridges put over the River Thames during the war could not now be dismantled, and the steel and timber used in their construction put to some useful purpose”

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ALEXANDRA – A sad end

This weekend brought sad news as the breaking up of former GPS tug ALEXANDRA (1963) began at Erith.   As of today (Saturday) there were two major areas of damage, the starboard area of the wheelhouse and funnel , and a hole in the casing next to the towing hook.

Photos below were taken on Saturday 17th Jan 2015 by Krispen Atkinson
ALEXANDRAb Erith 170115 - Krispen Atkinson DSC_5254


I find it strange as to why no attempts have been made to remove fittings that could be sold on to other boat or tug owners/collectors such as the brass porthole/skylights next to the funnel , engine room vents , engine room parts/mechanical parts and so on.     There are certainly people who would.

It is a real shame to see this once proud working tug which was still in service with GPS up until a few years ago (seen below in 2008) end its working life this way.

photo: Michel Floch

Tattershall Castle Tow – Latest details

Details on the tow have been a little patchy to say the least but reliable sources say that the Tattershall Castle will leave her berth at Embankment at approx 4am on Monday 19th January and begin her transit down river to head off for refit/repaint .     She last underwent a refit at George Priors Yard at Great Yarmouth (seen returning below with tugs Sir Aubrey and Warrior)


The tugs involved in the tow are said to be:

Gray Vixen – Lead tug
GPS Ionia – Stern tug
GPS India – Stern tug

Sea Tow: GPS Avenger or substitute GPS Napia

As above, these details may change over the weekend but I will do my best to keep you all informed. Unfortunately I think most of us will be in the land of nod, or on the way to work to see her come down through the bridges.

Conquestor – London Bridge rescue

Yesterday fuel barge Conquestor which was proceeding up river spotted a male in the water who is believed to have jumped from London Bridge.    The skipper of Conquestor stopped the vessel and manoeuvred close enough to grab hold of the person alongside until police and RNLI arrived on scene

hoto: Phil English

Twitter user Keith Barber caught a photo of the rescue below:

Star Clipper rescues man at Cadogan Pier

Yesterday evening (22nd Dec) London VTS put out a report of a person in the river near Albert Bridge.

The Star Clipper which was on the Putney service at the time was heading down river and approaching Albert Bridge and quickly went to start searching for the person.     The man was spotted by the crew at the lower end of the houseboats at Cadogan Pier struggling to stay afloat.

The captain Alfie Gardner manoeuvred the vessel towards the person whilst the mate Dean Drake and 2 male passengers recovered the male and pulled him onboard.      Once onboard the vessel the male was placed into the recovery position, wrapped in a foil blanket and given first aid by the crew whilst the boat returned to Cadogan pier and awaited the arrival of the Tower Lifeboat , Ambulance and Police.

Upon medical arrival the 28 year old male was said to have suffered a head injury most likely caused by falling backwards from the bridge and possibly hitting his head on the bridge itself.
Tower RNLI and a member of the public praised the crew on twitter after the incident

Restoration of Cervia

          Fantastic restoration in 2013 and the re-opening to the public by a dedicated group

History of CERVIA:
UK Navy Empire tug, Foremost-class
Registered: LR47-48:05747 /LR50-51:55212 /LR56-57:55800 /LR60-61:56410 /LR66-67:506753
IMO 5067534 /(GBR)ON 180997
233 GRT, L34,40m(32,01), B8,26m, Dr3,550m, Dp3,81m (112.8′(105.2′)x27.1’x11.7′ or 112’10″(105’0″)x27’1″x11’7.3/4″(12’6″))
1 scr, T3cyl by shipbuilders, oil fired, 144nhp-700ihp

1946 -21/01: Launched by “A. Hall & Co” at Aberdeen (GBR) (YN 709)
1946 -30/04: delivered to Ministry of Transport, handed over to “Townsend Brothers Ferries Ltd” at London for onward delivery
1946: Sold to “William Watkins Ltd” for £36,000, mng J.R. Watkins at London (GBR)
(GBR flag, regd London, ON 180997, c/s GDPM)
1947: renamed CERVIA
1954 -25/10: capsized and sank while towing the turbine steamer Arcadia at Tilbury (GBR) (master + 4 crew lost)
1954 -28/10: raised and repaired at Ramsgate (GBR)
1955: mng “Ship Towage (London) Ltd”
1968: amalgamation between “William Watkins Ltd” and “W.H.J. Alexander Ltd” to form “London Tugs Ltd” (GBR)
(“Ship Towage (London) Ltd” still managers)
1971 -xx/06: laid up with surveys overdue (reported an unknown Australian party agreed the purchase: sale not completed)
1972 -xx/03: Sold to Mrs M.L. Brain and Stevens as an exhibit to the new Medway Maritime Museum, Kent (GBR)
but soon returned to towage work, optd “ITL – International Towing Ltd” at London (GBR)
1976: Sold to “ITL – International Towing Ltd”, mng M. List-Brain at Sittingbourne (GBR)
1979: transferred to Ramsgate (GBR)
1984: transferred on permanent loan to the East Kent Maritime Museum at Ramsgate (GBR)
has been worked on by groups from the “Manpower Services Commission”, partly restored in William Watkins livery
2013: Total restoration (to waterline) and re-opened to the public by volunteers


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