Tyne Dredgers in the 1920's

10th April 2010, 17:36
My first post in this Forum and I apologise if it's not exactly blue-water stuff - rather the opposite in fact!

My Grandfather Johan (later John) Thuresson was born in Stromstad, Sweden in 1862. He married in North Shields on Tyneside in 1887. I have a copy of his British Naturalization certificate from 1920 which gives his occupation as Master of a Dredger. He died only two years later.

I know that some of these questions must seem a little bit 'Janet and John' but it's a new area to me.

Can anyone say who he could have been working for? The Tyne Improvement Commission perhaps (whose archives I have not yet been able to access). Has anyone knowledge of Dredgers working on the Tyne in those days? Would they be on the British Register just like (forgive me Johan) 'proper' sea-going vessels? Would he have had (or needed) a Discharge Book even if, before 1920, he would not have had a red Seamans Card. That's assuming the system was in place at that time. And are there any experts out there who can say what records exist and how they are accessed if I am ever to find out a little more about him.

Ironically, I am in close touch with his family in Sweden and know a great deal more about the descendants of his brothers and sisters than I do about my own ancestor. And, yes I did think about posting on the Dredgers forum but thought this might all be a bit old reallly.

Roger Griffiths
11th April 2010, 14:56
First off I would try and see if he has any records in the Fourth Register of Merchant Seamen Central Index. Cost you 15 to find out one way or the other.

If you find nothing there then Tyne and Wear archives may be the place to go.

Go to 1850-1968 minutes Register of Commissioners
Hit IC.T Link to online catalogue
Piece 101 and 102 may be of interest.


11th April 2010, 17:49
I sailed with a 2nd Eng about 1963 who had been and engineer on the T.I.C steam hoppers that removed the spoil dredged up by the dredgers. His name was Tommy McQuire and he was over 60 when I sailed with him. At the time I sailed with him his wife was landlady of a pub in North Shields call the Queens Head, the sold McEwans beer so I assume the pub belonged to McEwans Brewery. I far I as I Know Tommy lived all his life in North Shields. The T.I.C operated steam bucket dregers and in the 1960's they had 3. This information may be no use to you, but I have written it because my daughter is tracing our family history and seams to be able to find out a great deal from snippets that I remember, which I consider to be unimportant.

11th April 2010, 20:53
I’m not sure if this helps or confuses the issue

In the 1897/8 Wards directory for North Shields Thuresson John is a shopkeeper living at 35 Victoria Street according to the street addresses and alphabetical directory

RG12/4225 Page 9.1891 Census Living No 4 Lawson Street West, Chirton, North Shields
John Thuresson aged (looks like 28) (DoB 1863)? Seaman. Stromstrad Sweden
Wife Mary aged 30 born North Shields

John Thuresson married Mary Thomas Hobbs in 1887 registered in Tynemouth in September quarter

Daughter Kate aged 9 born North Shields ( Possibly registered as Kate Fernandes Hobbs in 1881 in the December quarter )

RG 13/4800 Page 23 1901 Census Living at 2 Victoria Street North Shields
John Thuresson aged 38 (DoB 1863) Waterman Barge. Sweden
Wife Mary aged 40 born North Shields

Daughter Kate aged 19 single born North Shields Assistant Grocer

Son Lionel John aged 8 born North Shields Registered September quarter of 1892
Daughter Isabella aged 7 born North Shields registered March quarter of 1894

Daughter Annie Mary aged 2 born North Shields Registered June quarter of 1898


fred henderson
12th April 2010, 16:35
A warm welcome Eggnog. I wish you the best of luck in your quest.

12th April 2010, 23:05

Thank you all for your interest and help.

Yes, I was aware of Johan Thuresson's timeline (save for the Wards Directory entry - more research needed!).

Ray1buck1 - Before they married his wife Mary Hobbs seems to have had a bit of an 'accident' and produced a daughter (who I remember as 'Aunty Kate') by a John Fernandes, a Portuguese lamp-trimmer who died very soon after. His daughter Isabella was my Grand-mother. And a very splendid lady indeed. When I was 14 she comandeered (sp?) the River Police launch and sent it to pick me up from the South Shields ferry landing late at night.

William H and Roger Griffiths. Thank you for confirming that he must have worked for the TIC. I have already spoken to the Tyne and Wear Archives. It seems, strangely to me, that there has never been a consolidated list of the vessels they operated. I shall have to visit and go through the decades of minutes books. Unfortunately, most of the time, Newcastle is several thousand miles away. If I could I should love to draw out a list - it would save future researchers at least a bit of effort!

William H. Nothing remembered is unimportant. It all has it's place. We moved away from Tyneside when I was in my mid-Teens but I do recall seeing the steam-dredgers working when crossing on the (steam-powered) Shields ferries. But looking down into the gleaming, spotless engine room was the best bit of the trip to visit Granny.

26th April 2010, 08:04
I can identify nearly 60 vessels operated by the Tyne Improvement Commission, a mixture of ferries, dredgers, hoppers, tugs and maintenance vessels. Regarding dredgers I have names and basic details for 4 as follows:

TIC DREDGER NO 10, Built 1906, 749 grt, Built by Fleming & Ferguson, Paisley, Steel bucket dredger, Ex PLA No 3, Ex Thames Conservancy No 3.

TIC DREDGER NO 8, Built 1912, 357 grt, Built by Fleming & Ferguson, Paisley, Steel bucket dredger.

TIC DREDGER NO 9, Built 1923, 565 grt, Built by Fleming & Ferguson, Paisley, Steel bucket dredger.

TIC GRAB DREDGER NO 2, Built 1939, 402 grt, Built by Lobnitz & Co., Renfrew

The TIC may appear in some records as T.I.C.

They do not appear to be listed in Lloyds Register as they were not seagoing vessels.

Hope this is of some use.

27th April 2010, 13:37

That was very useful. Thank you. As Johan Thuresson died in 1922, your list pretty well esatablishes that he must have worked on TIC Dredger No 8 or No 10. Which saves me a great deal of research.

Have you published your list anywhere? I have noted in other Family History-type threads a couple of generally similar enquiries. So there is a demand out there!

Roger Griffiths
27th April 2010, 16:10
Hello again,
TIC 8 appears to have sunk in 1911
I think these vessels would have had a official number if they appeared in Lloyds Register or not. Official numbers are the key to finding crew agreements.
I have found TIC GRAB DREDGER 2 O/N 165769 here
Maybe TIC10 is there also. I found several dredgers with the prefix TCC, maybe a typo?
I still think your best bet is to enquire at Southampton City archive. As indicated in post 2.


27th April 2010, 20:45
TCC stood for Tees Conservancy Commissioners, a very similar sort of organisation, but on the Tees as opposed to the Tyne.

If you need the Official Numbers then the best place to find these is the Mercantile Navy List which was an annual publication listing all the UK registered vessels. Each ship is basically one line on a page giving basic owner and ship information plus the ON.

Regarding publishing the list, no I haven't as it is not really my own work, but based on details provided by a number of researchers. It does appear in basic form in the Databases section of the Yahoo Group Teesmaritime.

Again, hope this helps.

28th April 2010, 21:14
I'm always amazed by how helpful people are.

Yes, I've already sent for the Southampton record. And spent some time using a variety of search terms on the Mariners list. Off back there now via the Teesmarine Group. Is there a 'Digging' smiley?