MEETING REPORTS FOR 2006

 

January 2006

At our meeting on the 2nd January Ian Wells showed us Part Two of his collection of slides, “Tilbury Shipping 1994”. We picked up where we left off last month with “Flecha” an ex Soviet ship on charter to Jordanian National Line and operated by Baltic Shipping. There were pictures of ships at the (then) new cold store; vessels included Green Reefer’s “Green Frost” bringing in a cargo of dog food, Chiquita Brenda with fruit from New Zealand and Galia Carmel (originally built for P&O [British India] as Zira) with a cargo of fruit from Israel. Ian’s interest in bulk carriers and tracing the voyage history of such ships began this year with the arrival and subsequent visit to “Dynamic” with a cargo of plywood and timber . Also delivering plywood to Tilbury were an array of Chinese bulkers. Bulkers were also shown at the scrap berth, Sanko’s “New Amethyst” was one such, loading scrap for Turkey. Ian had also been aboard “Al Yarmuk” which had loaded tractors for Syria, with hundreds of tractors old, very old and new (ish) on deck. In lay up were Lloyd Brasileiro’s “Lloyd Pacifico” and Nigerian National’s River Mada both of which spent many months in Tilbury. Other interesting ships viewed in the river and on the landing stage were Costa Allegra (originally the container ship Annie Johnson), the liberty ship Jeremiah O’Brien in European waters for the D Day celebrations, and the cruise ships Kareliya (ex Leonid Brezhnev, the present “CT Neptune”), and “Fedor Shalyapin” (Ex Cunard’s Ivernia).As always Ian presents a polished and well-researched presentation, and we look forward to another show from the “Tilbury” series.

 

February 2006

February’s meeting is devoted to the annual slide competition for the Colin Viney Trophy. Our wining six slides will be entered into the Leslie Sargeant Slide Competition held in May and covering branches in the South East of England area. The number competing was down on past years with only 4 entrants. We can only speculate on the reasons but sickness and the move to digital photography has played a part. The choice however becomes more difficult by the year as the content and quality reaches such high standards as can be seen by the results below, only 5 points separating the top ten slides. The entrants were, Tony Hogwood, Ray Smith, David Berg, and Ian Wells who gave us twenty-four views of a very diverse selection of ship types from bulkers to cruise ships to container ships and reefers. The slides were mainly taken in northern European waters with one set from Shanghai. Thanks to Ian Wells who mentally computed the result during a longer than normal break. The ships subsequent details and histories kept us occupied for the rest of the evening.

 

Competition Results 

Position Entrant Score Set

1

Ray Smith

289 

2

2

David Berg 

282

3 

3

Ian Wells 

271

4 

4

Tony Hogwood 261 1

 

Individual Slide Results (Top 11)

 

Position

Set No 

Slide No

Score

Entrant 

1

2 

1 

52

Ray Smith 

1

2 

52 

Ray Smith

3

2 

4 

51

Ray Smith 

3

5 

51

David Berg

3

3

6

51 

David Berg

6

2 

6

50

Ray Smith

7

1

6

48

Tony Hogwood 

7

4 

5

48

Ian Wells

9

3

4

47

David Berg 

9 

4

1 

47

Ian Wells 

9

4 6 47 Ian Wells

 

March 2006

The meeting was unfortunately marred by illness. Roy Kittle who was to have shown his slides of the St Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes (Part 1) had only just left hospital so was unable to attend. Fortunately, member David Berg, was able to pick up the slides and commentary and we were able to see the show. Thanks to Dave for arranging that and our best wishes go to Roy for a speedy recovery. The slides were from Roy’s collection that he has acquired over the years during correspondence with a member in Canada. These started in 1959 with a selection of “lakers”, some of great vintage being built at the turn of the (20th) century. There were also ships converted for the lake trade typically T2 tankers, some still having a recognisable appearance and others, that had been lengthened widened and deepened, showed no recognition to a T2 whatsoever. One early “laker” from the show was the Mohawk Deer of 1896 that had the distinction of sinking three times and being declared a total loss each time. The first was in 1914, the second in 1943 and the last instance was off the Italian coast on her voyage to the breakers. When coming to builders of ships it showed that Britain was, pre 1960s, a large shipbuilding nation. Many ships were attributed to British yards, from Aberdeen and Dundee to Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle. Also shown were ships from familiar lines of the time (and some still surviving), Manchester Liners, Cunard, Finnlines, Canadian Pacific, Head Line, Stolt Tankers, United States Lines, Maersk and Moore McCormack. This was also the time of the emergence of containers and the decline of transatlantic liners. It was good to see a slide of Polish Ocean’s Batory of 1936, to be followed by her successor, Maasdam, a few slides later. There were also some slides from January 1966 with Russian and Canadian ships making their way through the ice floes. We thank Roy for compiling the show and look forward to part two which will be shown later in the year. It was good to note that with only a few exceptions the quality of the slides had been maintained after 40 to 50 years.

 

 

April 2006

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos taken from Simon & Janet Buxton’s Web Photo Gallery.To view further photos from their trip on the Huang Po river see their website http://au.cactii.net/~sb/gallery/0503-huang-po

  

Last October/November, branch member Ray Smith visited Shanhai, Bangkok, and Singapore with the TSS “Jewels of the East Tour”. Shanghai is the largest port in China. It is also the centre of China's coastwise traffic; its central coastal position gives access to all Chinese ports north and south. The Changjiang (Yangtse) River is also a link to the inland provinces. Rays firs slides showed that Shanghai was a modern city with a skyline of high rise blocks similar to many worldwide. During his five-day visit Ray took the afternoon public cruise down the Huang Po to the Yangtse. The TSS had also organised two private cruises both up and down river. The river was a hive of activity and the banks were lined with craft of all types. Shipbuilding and ship repairing activities were abundant along the banks of the river. Bulkers delivering coal to the power stations on the riverside formed a large proportion of bulk traffic and it was noted that most bulkers had had their “gear” removed presumably to improve access to onshore grabs and unloaders. Ray’s interest is tugs, so slides of these craft were plentiful, depicting the wide variety and types on the river. Photography did not seem to be a problem anywhere even when passing naval facilities and naval ships, although the up river private tour was halted briefly until the correct paper work was verified. Upriver they passed the many shipyards where “Maersk Nairn” & “Maersk Naantali” together with “Stena Nordic” & “Stena Moster” were seen at an advanced state of build. Everard’s “Speciality” was also seen approaching completion. Shanghai certainly lived up to it’s “world’s third largest” status being a very busy port. Bangkok featured in the later part of the evening. Ray spent three days in Bangkok and we hope to view more of Bangkok and Singapore next month at the “Members Meeting”

 

 

May 2006

May’s meeting always coincides with the May Day Bank Holiday. To account for holidays and possible travel difficulties the May meeting is always a members evening. Our meeting saw further slides of Ray Smith’s TSS trip to the Far East last year. We left Ray last month on a boat on the Chao Phraya River during his visit to Bangkok. This month we saw further examples of shipping in this busy port, which also included naval vessels. These were mainly LSTs and minesweepers, some of considerable age including 611, which looked like an Algerine class sweeper of the last war. This turned out to be the “HMS Minstrel” built in Canada in 1944 for the R.N. and now a training vessel. There were a large number of smaller ships engaged on coastwise traffic including refers, tankers and bulk carriers. The river also supports repair and building facilities complete with floating docks and a full range of harbour services such as tugs dredgers etc.Following the break Tony Hogwood showed us slides of ships he had taken only a couple of weeks before during his Easter trip to Rotterdam, Antwerp and the New Waterway. The weather apparently had been rather poor, but Tony entertained us with a good selection of slides with the sun shining. Notable ships seen in Antwerp were the new tug Fairplay 27; Jumboships, Jumbo Challenger; the Isle of Man registered Iron Baron in Safmarine colours, with a cargo of imported coal; the tug Elbe which is part of the Rotterdam Maritime Museum and was the vessel “Greenpeace”; and a barge carrier loading barges. In Antwerp Tony took the dock tour and showed us gas tankers, bulk carriers, reefers, container ships, which included the COSCO Ningbo, a feature in our local press and on TV recently as the largest containership to visit Felixstowe at over 109,000 grt. Another giant was CMA CGM Othello with a teu count in excess of 8,500. Another surprise was to see the 2002 built UK registered BP tanker British Endeavour.Our thanks go to Ray and Tony for their excellent slides and informative commentary. We look forward to part three of Rays trip when he will be showing us ships in Singapore, and no doubt Tony will be showing us further slides of his visit in due course.

  

June 2006 

At our June meeting on Monday 5th, we were pleased to welcome back Bill Mayes from Thames Valley branch who showed us slides of the many ships he saw during ferry trips to Croatia and Scandinavia and a voyage on his very favourite ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2.The ferry trips around Croatia started at the Italian port of Ancona where various ferry companies radiate out to serve the islands and communities of Croatioa, Serbia and Montenegro, Greece and Turkey. This employs quite a large number ex-European ferries, as we were to see. Also featured were small cruise liners such as Silverwind and some larger ones such as the Costa Classica. There was also a fine shot of the 2000 built 5 masted ship Royal Clipper.The Scandinavian ferry “extravaganza” started at Newcastle and was timed around the 2005 Society AGM at Keil. This took in (at least), Gothenburg, Stromstad, Keil, Rostock, Talin, Stockholm, and return to Gothenburg. Ferries included the Princess of Scandinavian, Colour Fantasy, Victoria 1, Dana Scandinavica and Bill’s favourite ferry, Finjet, now withdrawn and based in the USA. There were a good number of interior shots of many of the ferries, which demonstrated how spacious and luxurious these vessels are. Also featured were pictures of the many ports visited and some of the notable features of those towns. Also include was the WSS cruise on Stadt Keil and afterwards on the Nils Holsingborg. Finally the Dana Sarena brought Bill back to Harwich. The final set of slides brought us back to a more serene way of travel covering a 20-night voyage on QE2 to Canada and the USA. Slides included a large number of the interior of QE2, cabins, public rooms and decks. To add even more interest Bill included some pictures taken ashore on the several excursions taken from the ship. These included St John’s Newfoundland, Sydney Nova Scotia, Quebec, Halifax, Boston, Newport R.I., and New York. It was then the 5 day crossing back to Southampton. Ships seen on the voyage included all the ferries encountered in the waters around the coast, Jewel of the Seas, and Saga Ruby. We thank Bill for taking the time to visit us and for all the effort that went into the research and commentary. We admired his skill at booking ferries so precisely.

  

July 2006 

Roy Fenton was our guest speaker at the meeting held on 3rd July. This featured his slide show, “Merseyside and Manchester Revisited”. Roy was born at Ellesmere Port and influenced his interest in ships from an early age. The show was mainly of ships underway in the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. This was an evening of nostalgia with photos from the 1960s and 1970s, just as the conventional cargo ships were in their twilight years before ousting by the ubiquitous box boats.Manchester Liners had just introduced their first generation of container ships with some conversions from general cargo and were probably one of the first lines to be so comprehensively equipped. The show was based around a “Co-op” Manchester Ship Canal cruise from Liverpool to Manchester and also included ships taken from many of Roy’s favourite spots along the river and canal. From Liverpool we viewed the Manx Ferries, which numbered seven at that time. Shell’s Stanlow refinery at Ellesmere Port was a busy ocean refinery attracting a large variety of ships. These included the Shell lightening tankers Halia and Naticinia, a large variety of coastal tankers including those from the Rowbotham and Metcalf fleets carrying refined petroleum, chemicals and bitumen and a Buries Markes LPG carrier. Other cargos included iron ore destined for Birkenhead, car export and import from Eastham, salt export from the Cheshire salt fields and Guinness imported from Ireland. The voyage up the canal not only included the ships but also features such as the Eastham masting crane, bridges and docks along the way. The docks at Manchester had seven ships alongside what are now luxury apartment blocks! We left Manchester with a view of Fishers heavy lift ship Aberthaw Fisher alongside the CEGB quay. We thank Roy for making the journey to show us a fine set of slides, which reminded us of the days of centre island tankers, Blue Funnel Line, Brocklebank, and other well known ship profiles and lines. 

 

August 2006

At our meeting on the 7th August we featured the concluding part of Roy Kittle’s DVD of the London Docks 1957 to 1980. The first part was screened in August last year. After the break two naval films were projected. All this waspossible thanks to Alan chapman of North West Kent branch who bought with him his brand new LCD projector which had only been briefly tested before his visit to us. Fortunately all was well and the projector behaved impeccably. Roy’s London Docks DVD started where we left off last year, proceeding down the Thames to Tilbury. These were taken from vantage points along both sides of the Thames and included Belvedere, Erith, Purfleet, Tilbury Fort and Gravesend, as well as within the Tilbury dock complex. There was a picture of the training ship HMS Worcester that lay at Greenhithe until as late as 1978. We were reminded of the many coaster companies that plied the Thames, from purpose built coasters that fed the many Thames side power stations and gas works, the vessels of the CEGB, Stephenson Clark, Cory and Esso, to Everard and General Steam Navigation Co. We also had a good picture of Queen of the Channel on her run down the Thames to Margate or Clacton via Southend pier.Also featured were regular visitors of the Palm line, Clan Line, Bank Line, Harrisons, US Lines, Bowater, P & O, Royal Mail, Port Line, Strick Line, Atlantic Steam Navigation, Blue Star, Russian, Chinese and Blue Funnel. Liners shown included P&O’s Arcadia, Royal Mail’s Highland Monarch, Russia’s Mikhail Kalinin, Mikhail Lermentov and Baltika, Polish Ocean Line’s Batory and Stephan Batory, British India’s Uganda: Achille Lauro’s Angelina Lauro; and the ex Southern Cross, Calypso. This DVD from Roy is packed with memories of the Thames as it used to be. With the recent news of the approval of Thames Gateway Port on the old Shell refinery site, shipping in the Thames is due for a further revolution.The second half of the evening featured two naval films. The first was made in 1945 and called the “Broad Fourteens” (1945) and was a story of the new crew of a Motor Torpedo Boat working up to their first engagement with the enemy off the Dutch coast. It was filmed in Weymouth. The second was called the “Dragon Squadron” and featured the ton class minesweepers assigned to Hong Kong during the 1980s. This showed the various duties and responsibilities of the squadron. Our thanks goes to Alan Chapman for his visit to bring the LCD projector and Naval films and to Roy Kittle for assembling his slides into a very watchable Power Point presentation.

  

September 2006

 

 

 

We were pleased to welcome back Peter and Christine Ives to our September meeting on Monday 4th. The September meeting is now pencilled in every year for Peter and Christine’s visit where they share their worldwide “shipping” visits. At the September meeting they showed us slides taken over the Christmas periods of 2004/5 in Singapore, Bangkok, Sydney, Newcastle (NSW) and in 2005/6 in Jakarta, Freemantle and Darwin. In Bangkok they took the boat trip along the Huang Po River and showed us a good selection of container ships, bulk carriers, gas tankers, fishing vessels and refers. In Singapore at the anchorages we saw a large number of bulk carriers and tankers such as “Nordstrength”. However, only one out of the three days spent there had weather suitable for photographing ships!The period spent in Sydney was taken at Darling Harbour where there were not a large number of ships seen but the New Year firework display was quite spectacular. The nearby Navy base was busy preparing ships to sail for the Indian Ocean to aid in the tsunami disaster.

 

The visit to Newcastle proved very rewarding in terms of shipping. Newcastle is a large coal port with a large grain terminal. There were about three-dozen ships anchored off and six movements were witnessed during their brief stay. Ships portrayed included “Bluebell” on the coal berth and “Seto” at the grain terminal.Jakarta old docks were like stepping through a time warp. The majority of craft found here were large (about 500 tons) sailing ships of wooden construction, which acknowledged modernity by having an engine fitted. The cargoes were either bagged cement or timber and were unloaded manually down a narrow gangplank – not much evidence of “health and safety” here. There was also a fish dock on similar lines. Stepping back to today there is also a modern container terminal.Moving on to Freemantle there were a variety of container ships, geared bulkers, and car carriers to be seen. At the nearby Stirling Naval base a Collins class submarine, the “RAN Anzak” and the “Westralia” were shown. Towards Darwin Pearling trawlers, oil tankers and bulk carriers were shown. We thank Peter and Christine for coming to Mid- Essex once more and sharing their far-flung visits. Plans for their next trip are well underway and we look forward to seeing them both next September

  

October 2006 

At our October meeting we saw Roy Kittle’s collection of slides, Ship’s on The St Lawrence Seaway Part 2, built up by swapping photo’s with various photographers in Canada over a long period of time. We were treated to a tremendous variety of shipping with Tankers, Bulkers and Container ships and of course Lakers such as MENIHEK LAKE, CAROL LAKE, SARNIADOC, and MANTADOC which were all built in Canada by Collinwood Shipbuilders,Ontario in the fifty’s and sixty’s. We started with slides taken in 1959 going right up to the late 1980’s, the oldest ship seen was the Dutch flagged UTRECHT built in 1947 by Sun Shipbuilders in USA and photographed in 1961. We were again impressed that some of these really old slides had retained their quality and colour. Weather conditions were mostly sunny, but several pictures showed thick ice and snow and looked extremely cold, brave photographers indeed. Time again beat us so we were unable to get to the end of the show so perhaps we can look forward to a part 3 in the not to distant future. Thanks to Roy we thank Roy for his research and assembling them into an entertaining show.Thanks to David Berg for this months report

  

November 2006 

Mike Jackson from Dover visited us complete with video player, an LCD projector and a selection of films from the collection of the late John Norton.John Norton was by profession an architect but had a passion for trains and ships and took up the cine camera during the 60s and filmed both trains and ships. He originated from Birmingham but various career moves eventually brought him to Kent in the mid ‘70s. Sadly John died of a heart attack at the early age of 72. His widow has allowed his films, of which there are literally hours, to be transferred to video and ultimately DVD for public viewing. John not only filmed the ships but was passionate in taking “men at work”.The first film that was shown was one in the process of being edited and portrayed the activities within the Humber ports in the mid ‘60s, covering Boston, Grimsby, Immingham, Hull, Selby, Goole and Newark. In Grimsby we saw the fish dock and trawlers and drifters leaving for a fishing trip. Also to be seen were boats being attended to in the repair yards. At Immingham was an “A” class Shell tanker in the repair yard. Coal was a large commodity export with deliveries to the dockside being made by rail wagon and barge. The barge traffic was largely from Newark where we also saw the work carried out in Hepworths barge building yard. Hull docks looked busy with ships alongside nearly every quay, but it was thought that this was taken during one of the seaman’s strikes. We also crossed the river on Wingfield Castle, now restored and at Hartlepool Historic Quay. There were some shots of handsome freighters and ferries of the time: City of Gloucester; Huntingdon; City of Khartoum, and Norwind to name just a few. Hull, the home of Ellerman Wilson line, meant we saw a good many ships owned by them including their tugs. There were also many small coasters and North Sea traders from the Danish “butter boats” to Polish Ocean and coasters from Everard’s and Metcalf’s. Everard’s ships always looked so clean and tidy from the paintings on the back cover of Sea Breezes, but from this film they were perhaps not as we remember. The large number of tugs in use compared to today also struck one. Following the break we saw a short film of John and his wife taking a trip to Hamburg and Bremen on Argo Line's Auriga. In another film, on a visit to La Rochelle, there was a brief sequence showing the coaster Maria arriving in dock. She of course was the 1890 built Robin and is now administered by the SS Robin Trust and moored at West India Quay in London’s Docklands. The last film showed ships in ports around the north of the UK, taking in Grangemouth, Blythe, and the Tyne. At Seaham harbour we saw the old paddlers Eppleton Hall and Reliant, and also Ewell and Croydon, regulars to London feeding the power stations. In Middlesbrough we took in the Transporter bridge and, in a much better state than at present, the paddle tug John H. Amos. We also visited Barrow before ending the evening at Birkenhead with some fine views of Ellerman and Blue Funnel ships. We must thank Mike for making the journey from Dover on a rather “murky” night and for showing us some remarkable films. Also to John Norton’s wife for allowing their showing and of course to John who took such a remarkable series of films recording the shipping activities of the day all at a time when film and processing were by no means cheap. These form a unique history of shipping at the time, and demonstrated the amount of hard phisical work that was involved in ship handling.

  

December 2006

We held the branch AGM at our December meeting, the minutes of the previous AGM held in December 2005 were read and approved and the chairman secretary and treasurer gave their reports. After a vote the standing committee were re-elected en bloc and the following members form the 2006/7 committee; chairman, David Brown; secretary and treasurer, Ian Wells; vice chairman Robin Butcher, and committee members, Roy Leach , Andrew Smith and Ray Smith. Ray Smith and Tony Hogwood were adopted as joint auditors. We try and keep our AGMs short and this proved no exception. We handed over the rest of the evening to Ian Wells who showed us his collection of slides taken in the Royal Docks in 1972. Ian’s career with the Port of London Authority started in the docks but he had been moved to the PLA Head Office in the City. After a reorganisation in 1972 Ian found himself, much to his great pleasure, back in the Royal Docks. He was however one of a very few of his colleagues from the City delighted with the move out to the ”business” end of the PLA. Fortunately for us even whilst at work, his camera was never far away, and the fruits of his labours formed the unique catalogue of visitors to the docks at that time. This was a time when boxes were just appearing and often carried as deck cargo on regular freighters and liners. There were still a large number of lighters working on the Thames and many a dockside shot showed lighters alongside accepting cargo discharged by ships derricks. There were still a large number of war built standards around and still a few pre-war examples also. Of the newer built the smartest and most modern looking were those of Messageries Maritimes with their shiny black hulls. Other companies with representatives in the show were Cunard, Ellerman and Shaw Saville to name just a few.The Russians were well represented, as were Greeks and the Balkan states. There were some interesting shots of the raiasing of the PLA tug Plangent which sank in the Thames near the lock gates after suffering damage in one of the locks. She survived her ordeal and lived to work another day.We thank Ian for his accomplished commentary and ship research, and we look forward to some further of the same in January.