The Biggest Dredger in the World

Santos
25th April 2005, 20:08
I have it on very good authority that the S.D. Leviathan ( picture below ) built in 1909 by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead and owned by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, was the biggest dredger in the world at that time.

She had accommodation for a crew of 44, was twin screw and her dimensions were, length 487 ft., beam 69 ft., and depth 30 ft. 7 in. with a gross tonnage of 8590 tons. A big ship in more ways than one.

I saw her laid up in Birkenhead and she looked huge. I sailed regularly to South America in a smaller ship.


Santos.

flyer682
25th April 2005, 21:10
Certainly a big dredge for her time! Looking at the pic though - where did they put 44 crew?? (?HUH)

Santos
26th April 2005, 20:04
Yes, a good question David. I seem to remember having seen a builders model that there was accomodation in the bows and some in the stern.The focsle certainly looks big enough.

Santos.

danube4
21st August 2005, 13:56
hi santos,i was a crew member on the s.p.d.leviathan and s.p.d.hoyle in the 1950s. deck and engine crew lived in forecastle, officers and catering staff lived aft
leviathan had two suction pipes on each side.
hoyle and hilbre iseland had one pipe each side.
i hope this is of interest to you.
danube4.
p.s i have never done this before.just learning to use a computer
this is an exellent site. thank you.

Santos
21st August 2005, 16:20
Hi Danube4, (Wave)

Very glad you like the site, it is great isn't it.

Thanks for the info on the Leviathan, very interesting. A ship, the likes of, we will never see again I am afraid. Hope to see more of your posts in the future and perhaps you could tell us of your times on the Leviathan.

Kind regards,

Chris.

tell
21st August 2005, 22:38
hello and welcome Danube, I remember the levi well from my times on the shb Delta, Remember her? she used to dump the refuse from Liverpool household bins out past the Bar, think was though ,in order to get an early night instead of starting the dump at the NW lightship we started at the bar, consequently people from southport etc were complaining of the rubbish washing up on the beaches, we couldn't argue too much as they had medicine bottles and such with Liverpool adresses on them, I think it was a dying practise though with the Environement people starting up,She was sold to the westminster Dredging Co soon after .Tell

michael james
22nd August 2005, 09:46
Welcome danube4,
Hope you enjoy all aspects of the SN site.

R58484956
22nd August 2005, 11:15
WElcome Danube4, enjoy the site and all it has to opffer.

danube4
25th August 2005, 21:31
Danube4
Thank you for the welcome. There is a very good picture of the leviathan with a hopper along side, and the Hoyle or Hilbre Iseland astern they are both dredging. the picture curtainly shows how big she was. Check www.mersey-gateway.org/serverphp?show=ConMediaFile.1180
Barney

danube4
25th August 2005, 21:37
Danube4
Sorry the end of the web site is ConMediaFile.1180

Santos
25th August 2005, 21:57
Thanks Barney,

Found the picture, you are quite right it really shows just how big she was. Makes me wonder why she was not kept on the Mersey longer.

Chris.

Norman Owen
26th August 2005, 14:28
Danube4
Memories, infact dirty memories of working on the bottom doors of Leviathen in No. 6 drydock at Lairds in 1945 in the middle of winter, just 14 shillings & ninepence per week, wish they where back all the same.

Norman.

danube4
21st September 2005, 22:20
hello and welcome Danube, I remember the levi well from my times on the shb Delta, Remember her? she used to dump the refuse from Liverpool household bins out past the Bar, think was though ,in order to get an early night instead of starting the dump at the NW lightship we started at the bar, consequently people from southport etc were complaining of the rubbish washing up on the beaches, we couldn't argue too much as they had medicine bottles and such with Liverpool adresses on them, I think it was a dying practise though with the Environement people starting up,She was sold to the westminster Dredging Co soon after .Tell


Hi Tell,and any one interested. The leviathan, Hoyle,and Hilbre Iseland work patten was, join ship monday-morning , and spend 11 days dredging in the river and Queens Channel near Crosby and Formby buoys. Dock on friday after-noon. 11 days later. Week end off then back on monday for another 11 days. The week end the Hoyle & Hilbre where in dock, Leviathan worked. Week end Leviathan dock other two worked. One day dredging near Formby buoy the Delta came passed heading inward. One of the lads said, There she goes trying to get back before the rubbish, she will never make it. Our dumping ground was Jordens spit if i remember rightly. That will do for now. Cheers. Barney Danube 4

danube4
22nd December 2005, 18:15
In the 1940-50s, Biggest dredger in the world. Picture thanks to Victor Young ,Wellington NZ.

danube4
1st February 2006, 00:03
I deleted picture by mistake.

Jan Hendrik
1st February 2006, 06:53
Interesting reading here.
Somebody can tell which todate is the biggest dredger in the world?
Jan

p.s. I give you a clue: Belgian flag.

ruud
1st February 2006, 07:31
Ahoy Jan,



W.D. Fairway or Pearl River? or recently the Vasco da Gama?But she is flying the Luxemburg flag, if I am right, but flags and names changes in these days so often, that it is hard to follow.

Jan Hendrik
1st February 2006, 08:22
Correct Ruud.
When I discussed this topic with Boskalis, they told me the Vasco da Gama (Belgian flag - perhaps now Luxemburg flag?) was the biggest and the recent modification of WD Fairway (Dutch flag) would be more or less identical.

So how do we compare these two?
By DWT or Hopper capacity as the latter seems to be the norm.

Jan de Nul owns the Vasco and Boskalis the WD F.


Vasco da Gama WD Fairway
Built Thyssen Emden 2000 Verolme Heusden/Sembawang
1997/2003


length in metres 201 m. 232.35 m.
breadth 36.2 m. 32
draft loaded 14.6 m. 13.68
DWT 60,000 59,798

Hopper capacity 33,000 cub.m. 35,508
Kw Engine Power 37,060 27,550

Going by the hopper capacity, then it would be the WD Fairway which is the largest, so my initial posting was perhaps not right.
Prior to the conversion the WD Fairway had a hopper capacity of around 23,000.

http://www.boskalis.com/index.php?l=2&page_id=00235

http://www.jandenul.com/jdn.html

Jan

ruud
1st February 2006, 08:43
Ahoy Jan,

Maritime Data says Luxemburg, so does Equasis and Lloyds.

AndyJohannessen
14th March 2007, 23:58
Hey danube,
My dad served on Leviathan for a couple of years, maybe you remember him, Otto Johannessen? He also served on the Hoyle for a while.Ther is an excellent builders model of Leviathan in Merseyside Maritime Museum, which was of course aquired from the Dock board buildings on the strand on it's closure.

danube4
15th March 2007, 19:59
Hi Andy, sorry I can't remember any of the crews names except one of the cooks on the Hoyle, George Deacon, he lived a couple of streets away from me in the Dingle. Was your dad on the Hoyle in the early 50s when one of the crew saw a mans body in the water. We where either dredging near Formby buoy, or comming back from dumping site early one morning. We launched a boat and picked the body up. After notifying the authoritys, they cleared the landing stage at Liverpool. The body was taken off at the I.O.M. birth on the landing stage. It was reported in the Liverpool Echo. They said he had been in the water for about four or five hours. he had no identy on him. I don't think they found out who he was.
All the best .
Barney.

AndyJohannessen
17th March 2007, 00:35
Hi Barney,
I do remember my dad coming out with allsorts of stories similar to the one you mention, unfortunateley he isn't around to ask anymore.However he served also on "Mammoth" until his retirement in 1974. It was just nice to hear from someone who had been on the same ships my dad had served in.I spent a lot of time onboard "Mammoth", during my school holidays as a kid and the experience and memories are some of my most treasured.

Take care,
Kind wishes
Andy.

archway
19th April 2008, 17:13
Santos, The Leviathan was not kept on the mersey because she was replaced by the WD Mersey a Westminster Trailer which was more efficient and more economical. Archway.

kypros
2nd July 2010, 19:42
I Am A Very Recent Member Of Sn And Only Cathe Across This Thread So A Little Behind Times.i Was One Of The Last Crew Of The Levi When She Was Hauled Off The River I Would Say Feb/march 1961 I Also Suffered The Same Fate On The Hilbre Island A Few Weeks Previous They Were Both Laid Up For Disposal.i Was A D/boy At That Time I Am Pretty Sure Levi Carried A Crew Of About 90 Hilbre Island Half As Much.also Recall Working On The Mamouth At Various Times As Well As Other Floating Cranes Until I Went Deep Sea. Dont Recall What Finally Happened To Them But Have Very Happy Memories Of The 2 Years I Spent In The Mdhb Floating Plant.

Pat Kennedy
3rd July 2010, 14:47
When I was a young lad about 12 years old, my dad had a mate called George Convin, a Cornishman living in Wallasey who was a crew member of the Leviathan, I think he was a leading seaman.
He took me and my brother aboard Leviathan, Hoyle and Hilbre at various times during the early fifties, and on one occasion we sailed from Birkenhead to Langton dock on the Hoyle. A first taste of the sea which I'm sure led to me joining the MN. My brother Jimmy was later an apprentice fitter for the MDHC and sailed on all the floating plant.
Regards,
Pat

kypros
3rd July 2010, 18:02
Hi Pat Glad To See Your Observations On The Mdhb Floating Plant.its Incredible To Recall That It Consisted Of About 100 Vessels Of Varying Types Dredgers,hoppers,f/cranes,grabs,b/dredgers,survey Boats,even Had The Largest Tug On The River At That Time The Attendant Which Was Used To Tranfer Relief Crews To The Dredgers On A Weekly Basis When I Served On Them.i Did My Time In The F/plant Before Going D/sea A Lot Of The Lads Did This At That Time We Did Not Have To Go To Training Schools We Were Accepted Into The Mn As A Jos.i Have To Say I Got A Good Grounding In Seamenship Off The Men Who Invariably Were Ex Mn.when I Joined My First Ship D/sea Good To Say Most Of The Lads Thought I Had A Lot More Expeirence Thanks To The Excellent Schooling Of The Men In The Mdhb I Was Always Proud To Have Worked With These Men Many Who Were Veterans Of Ww2 And Had Sailed On Every Shipping Line Out Of The Mersey Including Bf Who I Believe You Spent A Lot Of Your Sea Carreer With I Cant Say For Sure I Recall Your Brother There Was So Many Staff Best Wishes Kypros

Pat Kennedy
3rd July 2010, 20:23
Kypros,
Our Jimmy during his five year apprenticeship spent time in various departments, including the buoy store in the South end docks, the black gang who looked after lock gates and heavy plant, the marine base, the pilot boats, and the floating cranes as well as the dredgers. After all that he walked into Blue Funnel as a junior eng with no trouble. He always says that MDHC gave him the best marine engineering training he could have hoped to get anywhere.
Some years later, I tried for a job on the floating cranes but never stood a chance, it was 'dead man's shoes.'
Regards,
Pat

kypros
5th July 2010, 18:30
Hi Pat You Were Right About Getting Into The Mdhb At That Time I Recall There Seemed To Be A Bit Of A System Which Recognised Previous Service By Family Members Who Served During The War In The Mn I Myself Could Have Benefited From This As My Fathers Brother Was A Engine Room Fitter Before The War In The Mdhb He Volunteered For Active Service Despite Being Reserved Occupation He Paid The Ultimate Sacrifice And Is One Of Many Names Of Dock Co Staff In The Dockboard Buildings Memorial Tablets.i Vaguely Recall There May Of Been A Policy Of Remploying These Men After The War And Possibly There Families Rightly Or Wrongly I May Of Benifited From This Policy Although I Had No Knowledge Of Anybody Vouching For Me In The D/board To Me It Was A Means To Get In The Mn.a Lot Of Men When They Swallowed The Anchor Reapplied To Join The Mdhb Which Was A Very Good Firm To Work For In My Case I Went Elsewere.hope This Answers Your Question.best Wishes Kypros

archway
15th August 2010, 20:15
Hi Tell, I was a Master with Westminster Dredging Co when they aquired the SHB Delta and renamed her the WD Wirral. I remember a guy named Milliachamp came with the ship and stayed with W.D. for some time. She was a fine ship and a joy to handle. Archway.

kingorry
16th August 2010, 09:14
Came across this from the September, 1962 'Sea Breezes'
Hope it may be of interest,
John Shepherd (kingorry)

LIFE IN THE 'LEVIATHAN'
by Harry W. Bristow

I was a member of the first crew of the LEVIATHAN. I was in fact offered the post of engineer-mechanic to take charge of a new 35-ft motor surveying launch which was kept in patent davits on the deck of the LEVIATHAN, on the starboard side opposite the engine room door.
When not required to run the new launch I was employed on day work as engine attendant in the pumping and propelling engine rooms. I took up my appointment during the first week of April 1909 from my home town of Chatham, coming up to Liverpool to join the LEVIATHAN on Good Friday.
I was soon dubbed "The Southerner", but the officers and crew were all very friendly disposed to me during my time in the dredger which ended in September 1910.
The LEVIATHAN's motor launch was a beautiful craft, 35feet long and teak built. Built on the Thames at Weybridge, Surrey, by a son of the well-known Coates family, cotton machine manufacturers of Greenock, the launch had a speed of 7.5 knots. Mr Coates in fact came to Liverpool to see me about the craft as some of the officials of the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board were not satisfied with this speed. However, he was unable to get any more out of the launch and I was left to carry on with my job. Whenever the launch came to the Liverpool Landing Stage with the Chief Marine Surveyor and other officials it always aroused much interest among the crowd of spectators, stage employees and ferry crews.
During the summer of 1909 the launch went out for surveying duties beyond New Brighton with the Chief Marine Surveyor on board.. These outings, I recall, were always very pleasant in that fine summer. After I had been on day work for six weeks and when not out with the launch, the LEVIATHAN's chief engineer, Mr John Wright, said he would have me in the propelling engine room on the second engineer's watch and instruct me in the running of the triple-expansion engine.
I was soon competent to run the port engine and duly placed in the second engineer's watch (Mr Gallagher). In the period 1909/10 the LEVIATHAN carried a crew of 58 all-told, including an elderly Maltese cook and his assistant.
The Chief Marine Surveyor and his personal steward lived on board the LEVIATHAN from Monday afternoon until Saturday morning when they were landed at either Prince's Landing Stage or Woodside Stage.
Our sleeping quarters forward were cramped for the bunks were in tiers of three. For the six weeks I was on day-work from 6.am to 5.pm, with time off for meals, there was no bunk for me. At night time I had to occupy the bunk of one of the men who was on duty until 2.am. When he came off duty I had to get into the bunk of another man going on duty at 2.am. This was all done without any grumbling on either side.
It was a happy LEVIATHAN. There was no wireless on board when i was in her, and when she was in dock every three months for a boiler blow down, oil lamps had to be used, and at weekends too. Every thirteenth weekend I took my turn for the weekend watch from Saturday afternoon until 8.am on Monday when the crew came on board.
The enginemen and firemen were catered for by one of the cranemen who charged us six shillings a week for our food. Our watches were long, six hours off and six hours on; with four on and four off dog watches.
It was stated that the four pumps could load 10,000 tons of sand in fifty minutes. In my eighteen months in her she never did this, although she achieved it on her trials in March 1909 when the coal was hand-picked. It was a good working-week when the LEVIATHAN dredged thirty-five full loads, a huge total of 350,000 tons of sand. For this my wages were 2-5s-0d (2-25p) a week : I never drew more.
In 1959 I wrote to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board about my service in the LEVIATHAN. The Assistant Engineer-in-Chief told me that the crew then totalled 88, in three watches or shifts. ////

Kaituo
17th August 2010, 04:34
When did the Leviathan get converted from coal to oil-fired boilers ?
I remember seeing her taking coal from the old bunkering facility at Rea's Wharf near Duke Street Bridge in Birkenhead ( dont know if was called Rea's Wharf then....), probably in the early 1950's.
I seem to remember there were a lot of coal fired vessels on the Mersey at that time, including the ferries, and the West Float bunkering station was always busy and surrounded by clouds of coal-dust..........

Scabby Rat
19th August 2010, 15:19
Aye Aye lads, Yes, the Dock Board was very much Dead Mens shoes for getting a job. My Granda served in the Levi in the inter war years, a fireman, the my oul feller as a dock gate man, plus bouy stores in Herculaenum Dock till he had to retire with cancer. I came out of the Army and got a job in the Bouy Stores but I had to go to Training School to prove my seamanship after being trained in the Army Maritime Regt. after that I served in Salvor, Vigilant, Aestus (the survey boat), then after that I was in the Survey launches for a spell then went rigging in the Black Gang.

Capt Howard was the Senior Capt at that time, and the Water Bailiff was Comdr Knight R.N retd.

The Wreck Master was I believe Capt Lebesque, or "Bacon Billy" as we called him, he used to ghet someone to sit on the lavvy seat to warm it for him when ever he came in a survey launch. Strange days, Strange days, but great ones, Oh yeah, and the Board even pretended to pay us (LoL).(Thumb)(Thumb)

Scabby Rat
24th August 2010, 14:51
Was over at the Liverpool Maritime Museum a few days ago, there,s a great model of "Leviathan" there but other models of M.D.H.B vessels are held by the Curator, I,ve got a number to contact him.

kypros
24th December 2010, 19:00
Hello Lads Just Back To This Thread After Scouring Other Sites On Sn For Old Ships And Old Shipmates Still Only Halfway Through After Months Of Looking This Site Is Well Named.i Have Long Since Realised How Fortunate My Generation Was To Have Been A Mn Sailor Fifties To The Seventies No Conflict At Sea Just Travelling The World The Pay Not Great But Personal Satisfaction Aplenty I Checked My Discharge Book And Found I Sailed On Fifteen Different Companies Out Of The Mersey And Traversed The World Sad To See This Option Very Limited For The Younger Generations Of Today Best Wishes To You All This Christmas And New Year. Kypros

Cobbydale
7th March 2011, 17:46
When I was a young lad about 12 years old, my dad had a mate called George Convin, a Cornishman living in Wallasey who was a crew member of the Leviathan, I think he was a leading seaman.
He took me and my brother aboard Leviathan, Hoyle and Hilbre at various times during the early fifties, and on one occasion we sailed from Birkenhead to Langton dock on the Hoyle. A first taste of the sea which I'm sure led to me joining the MN. My brother Jimmy was later an apprentice fitter for the MDHC and sailed on all the floating plant.
Regards,
Pat

I remember a George Convin he lived just across the road from us in Wallasey and was at the time the watchman aboard the BURBO in Morpeth Dock, he moved to the MERSEY No 33, and later the CENTAUR. I used to go down to the docks and spend many hours aboard with him, a great old seaman.

Pat Kennedy
7th March 2011, 19:22
I remember a George Convin he lived just across the road from us in Wallasey and was at the time the watchman aboard the BURBO in Morpeth Dock, he moved to the MERSEY No 33, and later the CENTAUR. I used to go down to the docks and spend many hours aboard with him, a great old seaman.
Cobbeydale,
I seem to remember him and his wife lived in Hallville Rd, off Poulton Rd. He was a good old bloke, wore a brown trilby, even in the house, and called everyone 'love'.
regards,
Pat(Thumb)

Cobbydale
7th March 2011, 23:44
Cobbeydale,
I seem to remember him and his wife lived in Hallville Rd, off Poulton Rd. He was a good old bloke, wore a brown trilby, even in the house, and called everyone 'love'.
regards,
Pat(Thumb)

Yes your right Pat, we lived across from him in Sunbury Road, my father a skipper on Wallasey Ferries, spent many happy hours going up and down the Mersey on the old steamers, memories ah..
Cheers
Alan.

Pat Kennedy
8th March 2011, 09:16
Yes your right Pat, we lived across from him in Sunbury Road, my father a skipper on Wallasey Ferries, spent many happy hours going up and down the Mersey on the old steamers, memories ah..
Cheers
Alan.
Alan,
My dad probably knew your dad, he was pals with most of the Ferry skippers, particularly Sonny Lewis, and we lived next door to one of the Seacombe stagehands, Bill Ward.
Mrs Convin was a friend of my mother, a little thin stick of a woman, always wore a wraparound pinny and a turban. She had dentures that didn't fit and was always clicking them. I reckon she got them from the pawnshop!
Best Regards,
Pat(Thumb)

Cobbydale
8th March 2011, 18:20
Alan,
My dad probably knew your dad, he was pals with most of the Ferry skippers, particularly Sonny Lewis, and we lived next door to one of the Seacombe stagehands, Bill Ward.
Mrs Convin was a friend of my mother, a little thin stick of a woman, always wore a wraparound pinny and a turban. She had dentures that didn't fit and was always clicking them. I reckon she got them from the pawnshop!
Best Regards,
Pat(Thumb)

Hi Pat,
I sailed with Sonny Lewis when I joined the ferries in 1957 as a 15 year old decklad straight from school, stayed there until I was 16 and then went into the tugs Lamey's first then Rea's, all coal burners in those days.
Cheers
Alan.

Pat Kennedy
8th March 2011, 19:32
Hi Pat,
I sailed with Sonny Lewis when I joined the ferries in 1957 as a 15 year old decklad straight from school, stayed there until I was 16 and then went into the tugs Lamey's first then Rea's, all coal burners in those days.
Cheers
Alan.

Alan.
You would know Jerry McGovern and his brothers then.
Pat

Cobbydale
9th March 2011, 00:14
Alan.
You would know Jerry McGovern and his brothers then.
Pat

Yes remember Jerry, and Ernie Edwards there was also a big guy who worked on the 'IRIS' in the summer nicknamed the 'Whaler', think he was the bouncer..! Dave Barbour was another one I remember along with Alec Clark and George Pew ( think that was his name). Have a photo of my old man aboard the Wallasey must dig it out and post it.
Cheers
Alan.

Pat Kennedy
9th March 2011, 10:20
Yes remember Jerry, and Ernie Edwards there was also a big guy who worked on the 'IRIS' in the summer nicknamed the 'Whaler', think he was the bouncer..! Dave Barbour was another one I remember along with Alec Clark and George Pew ( think that was his name). Have a photo of my old man aboard the Wallasey must dig it out and post it.
Cheers
Alan.
A small world Alan, and very pleasant to look back on those days.
regards,
Patr

Cobbydale
2nd April 2011, 18:45
A small world Alan, and very pleasant to look back on those days.
regards,
Patr

Fine photo of the BURBO in the gallery today.