I.O.W blacked out!

16th July 2008, 10:18
In the early 1960's ? one of E.Cole & Sons Cowes dredgers dredged up a power line to the I.O.W. which blacked out part of the island for some hours / days? ...does anybody rememebr the event and / or which ship was involved ( Allard? Crowmoor? Friargate? Eko? Other?) . Paul

20th July 2008, 10:49
I have been trying to find out about this but nobody remembers, and I certainly don't remember having no electric for days on end due to a cable being cut. I worked on farms on the IOW in the early 60s and would have remembered being cut off because the milking machines relied on electric. The only time we had problems was due to the severe winter 1962/63. My sister has kept a diary for years but can't remember this or wrote about it. But being on the doorstep I will ask others who may know when I see them some in the local World Ship Society who may remember it.


20th July 2008, 11:22

Could not find anything whilst 'scratching about' on the Internet, but following link may give you some directions (see item 23).


20th July 2008, 20:02
Thanks Dennis

That link certainly gives directions. None of those I have spoken to remembers being cut off and neither do I, but I will certainly sound around when I meet up with those who may remember.


Don Matheson
20th July 2008, 20:58
Not quite the same place but I do remember around late sixties the jack up rig Offshore Mercury left the Clyde bound for the Argentine. She stopped in Lisbon and was anchored there for a couple of days. Ready to go and with the tugs hooked up she picked up her anchor to find a rather large cable across it and no way to get it off.
American toolpusher, in best oilfield style, sends for the welder and tells him cut it off. Lot of sparks coming from the cable but thats no reason to stop cutting. Finish the cut and now free to go but one side of the river is black as this was a main power cable.
Arrested till it was all sorted out but lots of complaints and lots of insurance money. Welder not worried as he did what he was told, toolpusher still cant see what he did wrong.
Cant beat a welder and his burning torch.

22nd July 2008, 06:42
Thanks for that Gents...my information first came from an ex senior manager of Ameys who owned Coles at the time. Paul

26th August 2008, 12:37
Found her! 'twas the Friargate which damaged the IOW's power cable....does anybody have any stories about her or any of the other E. Cole & Sons / Amey ships Allard, Crowmoor or Eko ?

29th August 2008, 20:32
Good evening from Cowes, bought an ex RNLI Lifeboat with Stan Cole, used to have a lot of Survey work on the Coles dredgers, Eloc, a converted barge,
Crownmoor, ex paddle, very narrow beam. Friargate, ex Humber coaster, this was the one that disrupted power supply - inexperienced skipper brought ship
alongside coal quay when the unloading crane gantries were in the working position, i.e. horizontal instead of being topped up, not only ruined the grab cranes but also knocked the foremast aft, demolishing the wheelhouse.
Allard, ex GSN Mallard, was the best of their vessels with proper dredging gear, it took a whole tide to load the Crownmoor, with engine flat out, a following tide and fair wind took for ever from Forts to Cowes, Stan and Sid Coles owned the old Marvin's Shamblers Yacht Yard, with an excellent Dry Dock which had an 1890 steam engine driving the huge winch, used to haul out vessels up to 900 tons, all such facilities have long since gone.


30th August 2008, 20:28
Many thanks for that WLH. To be clear, are you saying it was the collision with the shore crane which disrupted the power supply and not a case of out of area dredging? I understand that the 1890 steam engine was a Philadelphia Grasshopper which once pumped water at Osborne House and which was converted to run on compressed air when the Amey Group purchased E.Coles & Son in 1966. Perhaps you can also confirm that when Ameys took over Coles the Shamblers Yard workshops fabricated new iron gates to replace the old wooden ones. I believe the Allard was broken up at Northfleet but don't know the date nor yet how / when / where the Crowmoor, Eko or Friargate ended their days. Paul

31st August 2008, 10:13

When did this happen?. I certainly can't remember it. Seems there are quite a few SN members on the Isle of Wight. We should have a get together?!.


3rd September 2008, 14:22
I can remember the dredgers very well, as Medina Wharf was a playground for my brother and I in those happy days before Health & Safety and ISPS. I can't recall a blackout, though, perhaps because of our proximity to Kingston Power Station opposite, at East Cowes. In those days Kingston was a coal-fired plant, being supplied by colliers such as Stephenson Clarke's Totland and Steyning, and the CEA/CEGB steamers - Mendip, Polden, Pompey Power, Poole Island etc. Perhaps the trans-Solent cable was only intended as an emergency link to the National Grid in case the floodlights failed at Fratton Park - and as a mooring tether to prevent the Isle of Wight drifting too far from the Dell, for those of us Caulkheads from Cowes who were (still are) Saints supporters. That right, Pompeyfan?

21st October 2008, 21:22
I believe the Allard was broken up at Northfleet but don't know the date nor yet how / when / where the Crowmoor, Eko or Friargate ended their days. Paul

Just the other day I was sent some recent photos of the Eko. She is half-sunk on the banks of the River Suir, above the town of Waterford in south-east Ireland. I don't know why she is there, but there is a ship-broker just downstream and maybe she's part of his stock.