At our December meeting we held our AGM chaired by Ian Wells. He and Secretary David Brown gave their reports on the branch activities during the year. It was decided that the room hire donation would remain at £3 for a further year. Our thanks to the Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Centre for maintaining their fees, as we know of other branches that have had to close due to the increasing cost of room hire. Our assistant treasurer, John Hampson, tendered his resignation as he feels he is unable to provide the service required following his recent serious illness. David Brown agreed to handle the day to day treasurer’s job temporarily until a replacement was found and Andrew Smith would consider performing the society membership renewals side in the future. The decision to maintain the 7:30 p.m. meeting start time was generally agreed and will now be our official start time. Members commented on the finish time which occasionally stretched to 10.30. It was agreed that we would make every endeavour to finish at 10.00 p.m.

 The Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary were unanimously re-elected for a further year and the Treasurers position remains vacant. Other Officers and Committee members were re-elected en bloc.


Current Committee:


Chairman: Ian Wells


Secretary: David Brown


Treasurer: Vacant


Vice Chairman: Jerzy Swieszkowski


Honorary Vice Chairman: Robin Butcher


Honorary Auditors: Ray Smith and David Berg


Committee: Andrew Smith, John Raven, John Harrison, David Berg and Ray Smith.


After the break David Brown presented a short PowerPoint from his photo library covering ships taken over the last 10 years in various locations around the country including the ill-fated new chain ferry at Cowes, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH at Portsmouth and various cruise ships at Southampton.


November 2017

At our November meeting branch member David Berg presented a show titled “And Then They Were Gone”. David is always a front runner at our photographic competitions so we were expecting some superb photography and we were not disappointed. The show covered the ships that he had photographed over the years that were now no longer sailing. We started in 2005 with an image of SCI MAHIMA  at Terneuzen, one of David’s favourite locations for ship photography along with SWANLAND and STENA TRANSFER. Others included bulk ships at the Tate & Lyle refinery and Tilbury power station on the Thames.  Several ships featured at Tilbury landing stage including CALYPSO. Other passenger ships included the ex-EMPRESS of BRITAIN as Peace Boats TOPAZ and the ex-PORT MELBOURNE as PRINCESS DANAE. Also included were a few car carriers that are always taken when they pass in front of David’s lens. We thank David for an first-rate evening of photographs and an excellent accompanying commentary and look forward to a further show.


October 2017

October 2nd was an evening of pure nostalgia as we showed the latest PowerPoint presentation from the Mid Essex Branch. This was the last of the trilogy from Ian Wells slides of ships in the Thames and London Docks in late 1972.  This unique collection shows ships and docks working the “old way” before the impact of containers. Ian was able to photograph ships in the docks and the river during his breaks from work with the PLA and, as this show demonstrates, is an exclusive view of ship working on the Thames at that time. Ian had thorougly research each ship outlining its history and fate. Apart from favourite liners from the well-known shipping lines of the time, there were also a good selection of coasters, tugs, dredgers, lighters, and tankers. Also included were pictures of the recovery of the PLA tug PLANGENT after sinking in the dock.Thanks to Ian for the photos and script and thanks also to David Brown for scanning the slides and compiling the PowerPoint. We are now looking forward to March when we will see Ian's latest PowerPoint show, London Docks 1962.



PLEASE NOTE: The quality of the above imges in no way reflects the quality of the slide show images


September 2017

At our September meeting we welcomed Peter & Christine Ives on their annual visit, telling us about their visits to far flung parts during the year. This year featured their visit to Buenos Aries and their return to Europe aboard MSC POESIA.

Peter started his show with ships in the old dock systems of Buenos Aries. These were mainly small craft and included the HS ferry to Montevideo and the sailing ships, LIBERTAD, the museum ship URAGUAY and the 19C warship PRESIDENTE SARMIENTO.

A-33, the Spanish Oceanographic Research Ship ‘HESPÉRIDES’ was seen preparing for the 30th Spanish Antarctic Campaign. She is the only Spanish ship purposely designed to carry out multidisciplinary scientific research activities in all world seas and oceans. Also seen was the high speed ferry to Motivedeo, a small shipyard and several naval auxiliaries for which our Andrew Smith was able to supply some additional details. Further up the river were many wrecks and hulks of small coasters, some of which had been there for some considerable time. The most numerous craft seemed to be heavily overloaded log ships and sand dredgers presumably for construction sites use.  

Local transport was taken up country to see shipping on the River Palana, a busy stretch of water where container ships, tankers, bulk carriers, sand dredgers and car carriers were seen. Upstream are large industrial complexes including two car factories. There was also some video of ships on this part of the river.

The journey home was a three week cruise on MSC POESIA stopping at Rio de Janeiro, Salvador Bahia and Recife where Peter and Christine’s journey ended this month. The continuation to Genoa will be shown at another time.


August 2017

Our month started on August 5th with an interesting and informative visit to DP World’s London Gateway Port arranged by Stuart Emery, secretary of Southend Branch. We were given a talk on the port history and installation followed by a tour of the site. Our thanks to Stuart for facilitating this visit.  On Monday 7th branch member Ray Smith showed us a selection of the many ships seen during a visit to Gibraltar in 2016. Ray, the current winner of the branch photographic competition, provided a glorious display of pictures from cruise ships to ferries and container ships to tankers along with many smaller local vessels and tugs.  Our thanks to Ray for his photographic skills and for providing a most enjoyable evening. For branch information and “what’s on” see our website


London Gateway Quay side  Container ship Yan Ming Express alongside

London Gateway Land Side Container delivery





July 2017

We were pleased to welcome Derek Sands from Dovercourt to our July meeting. He gave a most enjoyable digital presentation featuring a recent cruise on BLACK WATCH from Harwich to Casablanca, Vigo, Leixoes, Lisbon and Cadiz with a good balance of ships and places of interest brought to life by some beautiful photographs.


June 2017

At out June Meeting we showed Maurice Napier’s PowerPoint presentation “Fishing Vessels”.  Maurice spent most of his working life in the business of vessel stability largely with fishing vessels. This involved world-wide travel visiting many far flung locations. On these trips Maurice took a vast selection of photos of fishing vessels ranging from large factory ships to the dying art of using cormorants in China. Fishing methods covered trawling, seine netting, squid jiggers and long line. Ship design and stability was also discussed in this most interesting show. Our thanks to Maurice Napier for compiling such a comprehensive review of fishing methods and the ships/boats involved. For a full report and what’s on see our website


May 2017

Our meeting on a bank holiday and as is usually it was a local or home grown affair.  We watched Part 2 of a film on the building of a large modern containership. This showed the precision required - often down to a milimeter - when constructing and securing such things as the container guide rails. The great day of the launch arrived when the dry dock was flooded and the ship manouvered out.The massive engines, over several floors of the vessel, were tested and found to be ready for the first sea trial. An absorbing presentation demonstrating the care and precission required in shipbuilding today.


April 2017

Unfortunately the speaker for our April meeting had to cancel at short notice but we were pleased that our good friend from Haven  Ports branch, Derek Sands, was able to save the day and join us for the evening bringing his show "Cycling and Ships".
Derek has in recent years taken up cycling and has holidayed with friends in and around the Hook/Rotterdam area of Holland. Living near Parkstone Quay it is but a short cycle to the ferry and The Hook. The area is a centre of wildlife particularly at the wetlands near Maasluis and Vlardingen and strangely these coincide with ship movements.  Derek takes any and every opportunity to view and photograph the ships nearby. His Dutch friends have a flat overlooking the waterway giving rise to many of the fine photographs of ships seen as well as from vantage points on his cycling excursions. A varied collection of ships featured on the show along with some of their social gatherings and some of the wildlife encountered.

We are indebted to Derek for standing in at short notice and making the journey from Harwich. We only hope that he will have sufficient pictures to entertain us at his next scheduled visit in July.


March 2017

Our March meeting we showed the latest PowerPoint presentation from Mid Essex. Titled London Docks 1972 Part 2 it featured the scanned slides from the Ian Wells collection of ships and activities in the London docks and the Thames dring mid 1972. This unique collection shows ships and docks working the “old way” before the impact of containers. Ian was able to photograph ships in the docks and the river during his breaks from work with the PLA and, as this show demonstrates, is an exclusive view of ship working on the Thames at that time. This period also saw a dock strike and there are pictures of ships anchored n the Thames estuary awaiting a berth. Apart from favourite liners from the well-known shipping lines of the time, there were also a good selection of coasters, tugs, dredgers, lighters, energy company colliers and tankers. Thanks to Ian for the photos and for the script which highlighted the life of the ships, one or two of which are still in existence! Thanks also to David Brown for compiling the PowerPoint. We are now looking forward to October when we will see the concluding story with "London Docks 1972 Part 3".


February 2017

Our February meeting is traditionally the annual photo competition for the Colin Viney Trophy.  Pictures must have been taken in the previous calendar year and may be digital, slide or photograph. Slides and photographs are scanned for incusion into a PowerPoint presentation.  David Berg, David Brown, John Harrison, and Ray Smith submitted their best six images for judging by the members. The selection included images from Gibralta to Terneuzen  and from the Orknies to Felixstowe. During the break scores were totalled, followed by the entrants giving information on their pictures. Our 2017 trophy winner is once again Ray Smith, with just 2 points between Ray and runner-up David Berg. Ray's pictures of  the tug SVITZER KENT and the Gibraltar patrol boat HMS SABRE at speed were joint best pictures .


Click  HERE  to view a slide show of the images entered into the competition.


David Brown

Listedc belotw are the score details of each image and each set

PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 1-143JAYNEE W20=
Image 1-251HYDROGEN13
Image 1-346BEAUTRADER17=
TOTAL266 4


 Ray Smith


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 2-350GEORGIA TRADER14=
Image 2-460HMS SABRE1=
Image 2-552SKSSATILLA7=
Image 2-660SVITZER KENT1=
TOTAL329 1


 John Harrison


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 3-146MAGELLAN                 17=
Image 3-249SCAPA PIONEER16
Image 3-339AIDAVITA23=
Image 3-443GLEN MASSON20=
Image 3-550MARCO POLO14=
Image 3-652HAPPY DRAGON7=
TOTAL279 3


David Berg


PhotographPointsShip NamePOSITION
Image 4-1             52     MERGUS


Image 4-257JS ALULAR 4
Image 4-355BSL CAPE TOWN5=
Image 4-552TERNEUZEN7=
Image 4-659OCEAN BEAUTY3
TOTAL327 2


January 2017

Our first meeting of the New Year fell on a bank holiday and is usually a local or home grown affair.  We watched Part 1 of a film on the building of a large modern containership. This gave us an idea of the hard work involved in the design, fabrication and assembly of the hull. The design effort required to provide efficient engines and correctly designed propellors was also covered in some detail. Perhaps when we see one of these gigantic ships in our local waters we will appreciate the time and effort put in to achieve such a large structure.