Open Bridge ?

5th August 2010, 21:25
I joined a Cardiff tramp over sixty years ago as a sailor, she had been built in 1923. I suspected the wheelhouse was a DIY job, possibly constructed by the ship's carpenter when she was loaded with a timber cargo. Over the years the timber had become warped and standing at the wheel it was possible to view the fore deck and hatches. What led me to suspect this as the steel bridge rails ran right through the wheelhouse. She was the only ship I sailed on which had ratlines up the masts. There was an outhouse built on the poop for ablutions, which was rather bracing when traversing in foul weather. I would have thought by 1923 that most ships were built with an enclosed wheelhouse, although there were those that on supposedly "safety grounds" opposed the practice as watch keepers would be liable to fall asleep if the were too comfortable. Obviously the owners of the Pendeen were of this view. She was the only ship where the Master refused to give me a reference on leaving. When he repeated for the upteenth time "what do you need a reference for ?", I realised that I was not going to get one. so finally politely replied, "well Sir, I don't want to end up in a company like Chellews of Cardiff. On being instructed to "get out" I hastily complied.
Happy Times.

John Dryden
5th August 2010, 21:57
Binnacle,I,ve just had a look at a photo of the Pendeen in the gallery,not much of a bridge on her when that was taken in 1928 so reckon it had been patched up many times by the time you sailed on her.Happy times though,as you say.

6th August 2010, 04:15

There are four photographs of two Pendeens here ( which may be of interest to you. (Thumb)

6th August 2010, 10:07
Binnacle, luxury indeed ablutions with a Bidet as well, in bad weather.

8th August 2010, 09:17
Thanks all for photographs and comments. She was certainly built with a wheelhouse. Possibly it has been necessary at one time to remove wheelhouse planking to maintain steam. Later gaps having been replaced by "cargo brand" timber. Mystery remains as to why the bridge rails continued through the wheelhouse. I would add that only honest poverty and an uncaring Reserve Pool clerk got me up that gangway. Happy Times

Don Matheson
8th August 2010, 15:56
Binnacle An interesting view of an older ship. I remember my father telling me that his ships had wooden wheelhouse on building that were rebuilt and improved over the years.
He mentioned the Clifton Bridge going up to Bristol being closed to people when a ship was passing under during the war. This was to stop people dropping stones on the ships, said stones would kill a seaman on the wheel or watch officer on an open or even a wooden toped wheelhouse.
Dont suppose the authorities were to concerned with the sailors, they just needed to keep the port open.


Don Matheson
8th August 2010, 16:10
Just checked the photos of the Pendeen which Gulpers provided, Isnt photo 3 one of Pendeen passing under the Clifton Bridge?
Coincidence or what?