It is of sad news to hear that Ray Harrison recently passed away. Ray worked as a tuggy on the Medway for 45 years mainly with J.P Knight. Upon retiring in 2002 he set about creating the website titled “Riverman” for all those of us that have an interest in tugs of the Thames & Medway. Ray was also a regular sight onboard the preserved J.P Knight tug KENT at Chatham.
When I first decided to create The Liquid Highway back in 2005 , Ray’s website was a place I always enjoyed visiting and although I never met Ray in person, over the years we exchanged emails and Ray was kind enough to share photos to help get the ball rolling with my own website. Our websites were quite similar in the sense of archiving photographs of a working River, although Ray mainly concentrated on the Medway rather than the Thames.
I last spoke to Ray via email in December and it was sad to hear of his passing today
The Riverman website is currently down (although it was up a few days ago), but I do hope Ray’s hard work in creating it (especially the photo gallery) can be kept online for others to look at and enjoy for years to come.
Rest in peace
Ray “The Riverman” Harrison
HCH Marine Services was a management buy out of F.T.E Lighterage LTD by David & Nick Howard . The company was formed in 1990 and still operates today with minimal vessels mainly PURGO which operates between Erith Oil and Jurgens Jetty at Purfleet – the home of Stork margarine and other fatty/oily food products.
HAZEL E – Built 1939 ex S.A Everard – Operated by HCH 1990-2007 / Broken up 2009 at Chatham by GPS
CAROLE A Built 1949 – Built ex Pinklake/R.A Everard – Operated by HCH 1990 – 2012 – Sold as houseboat to Hoo
JOKER – Built 1947 – Last seen at Greenhithe rumoured for Benfleet with new owners
TORBROOK – Built 1958 – still owned by HCH laid up inside Jurgens Jetty
ESSO OSLO – Built 1962 / later sold as yacht
PURGO – Built 1962 – Bought by HCH in 2004 and converted for carrying edible oils
photo: Ken Smith
Photos by Edward / KenJonBro
In yet another waste of a loved vessel , the Ton Class Minesweeper M1151 was sold to the breakers at Erith and currently sits behind ALEXANDRIA – Better photos will follow in the next few days
A great pity that this vessel was not passed onto a preservation group
Decommissioned: 1992 – sold to Sea Cadets at Tilbury
Sold in 2014 to a Tilbury Pilot by Sea Cadets
seen here passing Vic Deep in 1990
Seen here in May 2014 on the final night with Sea Cadets – the vessel itself not in too bad shape
photo by Bob Smith
Once a regular sight on the river up until a few years ago , the SEMOIS delievered stock to party boats and passenger boats along the river. This week SEMOIS was sold to a new owner at Cadogan who plans to turn the vessel into a liveaboard
Former Dutch barge, built 1901 at Dordrecht, 130 gt
Length: 32 m
Last week Manor Marine the yard which built LONDON TITAN at a cost of £7million launched the new vessel which is due to enter service around early July this year. The vessel will be used for overhauling moorings and buoys , lifting sunken vessels and plough dredging.
The vessel is using the name of the well known PLA floating crane LONDON TITAN which was 779tonnes . Built by Fleming & Ferguson, of Paisley, Scotland, and its name when completed was M.O.W.T.9. The floating crane was bought by the PLA in 1947 and later sold.
The new vessel is to replace the CROSSNESS (built in 1969 and sold in 2013 renamed AVON) and the HOOKNESS (built in 1969 and due to be sold in late 2015 also to Jenkins Marine who own AVON)
London Titan Specs:
2 x Cranes able to lift 25T each
Its certainly great to see a vessel being built by a British shipbuilder for use in the UK
Photos above : Manor Marine/PLA
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 – https://www.youtube.com/user/liquidhighway
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
Passing Wapping – Photo: C.Maynard
Approaching Woolwich – Photos by A.Christy
Moored at Woolwich – Photo: T.Castle Owners
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”