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Piloting in the Thames 50 years ago.

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  #201  
Old 29th June 2013, 08:25
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Can't imagine pilots going afloat these days not using a buoyancy aid: not given a thought to fifty years ago! See HERE
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  #202  
Old 29th June 2013, 10:30
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Quote:- 'no pilot can afford to drink on duty'

What??? Not even a glass of lager before lunch! In all of the many hours I spent aboard a cruising pilot cutter I never saw a drunken pilot nor even one who had had one too many.
After the days of cruising there had been a few cases of a pilot arriving at the Folkestone Pilot station a bit the worsr for wear but he was stopped from going afloat by the Duty pilot, reported, and in three instances I recall, lost their licences.
And whilst actually piloting a ship it was commonplace to have a glass of beer brought to you on the bridge with your lunch or whatever.
And, on anchoring awaiting berth/tide it was the norm to join the captain for a chat and a tot.

Surely, Barrie, it cannot be the case that now a pilot is afraid to put a glass of something to his lips whilst on duty!?
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  #203  
Old 29th June 2013, 10:53
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Hi, Hugh,

I can only report the information as it is given to me. I have been out of practice since 1988 and so have no first-hand experience since then.

But I have certainly seen a sea-change in the general attitude towards alcohol. A further factor is the stricter approach to drink-driving on the roads; which is a factor in the life of almost every pilot today.

B
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  #204  
Old 29th June 2013, 11:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie Youde View Post
Hi, Hugh,

I can only report the information as it is given to me. I have been out of practice since 1988 and so have no first-hand experience since then.

But I have certainly seen a sea-change in the general attitude towards alcohol. A further factor is the stricter approach to drink-driving on the roads; which is a factor in the life of almost every pilot today.

B
Same here, Barrie, I retired from piloting in 1982 and it's unknown culture to me since then but I cannot believe the alchohol thing has changed all that much.
For some nationalities I guess nothing much changes: I can remember boarding a Rumanian ship-many years ago-and being handed a glass of brandy about breakfast time! i declined the offer.
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  #205  
Old 29th June 2013, 15:01
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As a more recent retiree from piloting (12/31/2010), I can confirm Barrie's report of a sea change towards the consumption of alcohol. None of my shipmates would ever consider having a drink aboard a ship during a job, or before a job. If there is an incident, the first thing the USCG does upon arrival aboard the ship is administer a breathalyzer to determine if alcohol was involved.

Times have certainly changed! It was normal to have a beer with lunch on a long river transit, or go down to the Captain's stateroom for a heave of head (or two or three) after a difficult job. The distribution of a bottle of booze by the Captain was also very common, and is seldom seen today. Bummer!

All in all, it's certainly a good thing. There was much too much drinking aboard ship in the past, and it's good to see that it's not tolerated today. The Exxon Valdez caused a sea change in our industry.
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  #206  
Old 29th June 2013, 16:47
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Yes, of course Wallace, I had forgotten about the Exxon Valdez, that must indeed have become a defining moment.
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  #207  
Old 5th July 2013, 08:47
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This has nothing to do with piloting on the Thames but is very much a part of that great river's long history. The gesture of the crane drivers dipping the jibs of their cranes in tribute to Churchill on the day of his funeral. Click HERE
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  #208  
Old 5th July 2013, 15:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Ferguson View Post
This has nothing to do with piloting on the Thames but is very much a part of that great river's long history. The gesture of the crane drivers dipping the jibs of their cranes in tribute to Churchill on the day of his funeral. Click HERE
Should you be wondering who Walter Thompson might be click HERE
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  #209  
Old 27th September 2013, 01:00
TommyRob TommyRob is offline  
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I am surprised that the heart rate/pulse monitoring did not include boarding from the cutter. That element of the job alone seemed to me to be over and above the normal call of duty.
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  #210  
Old 28th September 2013, 01:38
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good day hugh furguson.sm.5thjuly.2013.17:47.re:#207 a great gesture by the crane drivers dipping the jibs of there cranes in tribute to Churchill on the day of his funeral.your post#208 about walter Thompson.i have the dvd set about him and Churchill.a great partnership.thank you for posting,regards ben27
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  #211  
Old 2nd October 2013, 01:04
Michael Peter Robinson Michael Peter Robinson is offline
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Pilot boats in Gravesend 1960

Hi Hugh Can you please help me I use to work on the pilot cutters in Gravesend in 1960. I was on the incomeing cutter delivering the river pilots. Can you help me with some of the boat names at that time please, There use to be one called Lady....... ?

and do you know if there are any photos around or books on them. Thank you. Michael
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  #212  
Old 2nd October 2013, 07:32
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Peter Robinson View Post
Hi Hugh Can you please help me I use to work on the pilot cutters in Gravesend in 1960. I was on the incomeing cutter delivering the river pilots. Can you help me with some of the boat names at that time please, There use to be one called Lady....... ?

and do you know if there are any photos around or books on them. Thank you. Michael
I'll look into it, Michael, but nothing comes to mind at the moment.
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  #213  
Old 4th October 2013, 14:57
John Jarman John Jarman is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Peter Robinson View Post
Hi Hugh Can you please help me I use to work on the pilot cutters in Gravesend in 1960. I was on the incomeing cutter delivering the river pilots. Can you help me with some of the boat names at that time please, There use to be one called Lady....... ?

and do you know if there are any photos around or books on them. Thank you. Michael
Michael,

For some time I have tried to remember the same as you. I only remember there were three cutters - two in use and another available.
In the '50s and early '60s I used to go with my dad to the Royal Terrace Pier and watch the operations of the Pilot Cutters. Often I went on their trips just to see my dad off and sometimes going with him on his allotted ship and it's journey up river.
Since your post I have tried to find the names of the cutters without success - hopefully Hugh will have more luck.
I did locate a site run by Anthony Blackman - an artist and expert on Thames history, especially of the Gravesend area. Unfortunately, when I emailed the site, the person who responded was not Anthony - he had sadly died earlier this year so they could not help. They sell maritime art including his paintings and prints of the river and craft.
The R.T.Pier with pilot cutters (one river and one sea cutter I think), is one of the prints available at the moment.
Sorry I can't help further at this time.

JJ.

P.S. I haven't a clue how to post links(!) so PM me for it if you are interested.
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  #214  
Old 9th October 2013, 01:14
Michael Peter Robinson Michael Peter Robinson is offline
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found photo of my pilot cutter 1961

Hi John. Thank you for your reply. Yes you are correct, from January to April in 1960 worked on the incomeing pilot cutter, which I have found a photo of. I will try to attach it. I don't think this cutter had a name. But I do know that the spare cutter was a wooden hull boat name started with Lady ?. I often had to go on board her to hand pump the bilges.
I would now like to find information /photo of her and the out going pilot cutter. So I hope someone will read this and maybe help.

Thanks again, Michael.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Jarman View Post
Michael,

For some time I have tried to remember the same as you. I only remember there were three cutters - two in use and another available.
In the '50s and early '60s I used to go with my dad to the Royal Terrace Pier and watch the operations of the Pilot Cutters. Often I went on their trips just to see my dad off and sometimes going with him on his allotted ship and it's journey up river.
Since your post I have tried to find the names of the cutters without success - hopefully Hugh will have more luck.
I did locate a site run by Anthony Blackman - an artist and expert on Thames history, especially of the Gravesend area. Unfortunately, when I emailed the site, the person who responded was not Anthony - he had sadly died earlier this year so they could not help. They sell maritime art including his paintings and prints of the river and craft.
The R.T.Pier with pilot cutters (one river and one sea cutter I think), is one of the prints available at the moment.
Sorry I can't help further at this time.

JJ.

P.S. I haven't a clue how to post links(!) so PM me for it if you are interested.
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File Type: jpg Thames river pilot boat off Gravesend 1961.jpg (62.7 KB, 28 views)
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  #215  
Old 9th October 2013, 01:25
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good day hugh furguson,sm.29th.june,2013.17:25 #201.reiloting the thames 50 years ago.i have posted this thread before,but watching your link was worth a comment,it is a very descriptive video for its age,it shows what a risky job poloting was and is,thank you for posting,regards ben27
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  #216  
Old 4th November 2013, 16:21
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Royal Terrace Pier: Gravesend
Attached Images
File Type: jpg R.T.P.1.jpg (46.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg R.T.P.2.jpg (41.7 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg R.T.P.3.jpg (94.1 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Royal Terrace Pier Gravesend.jpg (48.4 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Another job done!.jpg (48.5 KB, 8 views)

Last edited by Hugh Ferguson : 4th November 2013 at 16:26.
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  #217  
Old 4th November 2013, 16:29
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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Originally Posted by Hugh Ferguson View Post
Royal Terrace Pier: Gravesend
The final part of piloting on the Thames fifty years ago

Coming ashore: Landing on R.T. Pier: Chatting to the pier master: Job done, off home.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Coming Ashore.jpg (26.3 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg Landing.jpg (28.1 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg Chat with Piermaster.jpg (31.7 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Another job done!.jpg (48.5 KB, 32 views)

Last edited by Hugh Ferguson : 4th November 2013 at 18:16.
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  #218  
Old 9th November 2013, 13:04
RogertheLodger RogertheLodger is offline  
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Have just read this excellent thread in one sitting. Many thanks to Hugh and all who contributed with such interesting comment. Hopefully there is yet more to come.

.......Roger
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  #219  
Old 15th November 2013, 15:38
Henry Miles Henry Miles is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Peter Robinson View Post
Hi John. Thank you for your reply. Yes you are correct, from January to April in 1960 worked on the incomeing pilot cutter, which I have found a photo of. I will try to attach it. I don't think this cutter had a name. But I do know that the spare cutter was a wooden hull boat name started with Lady ?. I often had to go on board her to hand pump the bilges.
I would now like to find information /photo of her and the out going pilot cutter. So I hope someone will read this and maybe help.

Thanks again, Michael.
Hi Guys,

I,ve only just found this site.
I started work on the Gravesend Cutters in 1961 and ended up spending most of my working life there. The photo is of the 'Sea Cutter' built in Holland in 1958 a fast twin screw boat she was considered to be 'High Tec' in her day and she operated at Gravesend until 1979. The wooden boat that you refer to was the 'Lady Apsley'
built in the 1930's she was said to be haunted by Capt. Toby Evans the channel pilot who designed her and apparently died before she was completed. Her hull was damaged when she was run across the clinker bank opposite the Gravesend canal entrance where the old coal burning tugs dumped their ashes and she was never watertight again which is why you remember all the pumping.She was replaced in 1962 by the 'Sea Cutter 2' the first twin schottel powered vessel to work in the Thames.
The inward cutters or River Cutters as they were known were larger tug style single screw boats with an elevated boarding and landing deck. Built in Renfrew Scotland they were the 'Thames Pilot' built 1946 and the 'River Thames' built 1951. There was also an older iron hulled vessel the 'Pilot' originally a steam boat she had been converted to motor after World War 2. Also for a brief period around that time they operated a smaller high speed launch named 'Pilot2' ( nicknamed 'Sputnik') but it was eventually withdrawn for safety reasons. These were all replaced in the mid sixties with 2 new purpose built vessels of similar design the 'Pilot' 1965 and the 'River Thames' 1967. It is worth remembering that Gravesend was the biggest pilot station in the world in those days and 40 ships a tide was routine business. I hope this is of help i did put together a bit of a pictorial history for the younger generation now working under the P.L.A so I will try and post some pictures, if i can master the technology.

All the Best Henry ' Bill' Miles
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  #220  
Old 15th November 2013, 18:16
John Jarman John Jarman is offline  
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Originally Posted by Henry Miles View Post
Hi Guys,

I,ve only just found this site.
I started work on the Gravesend Cutters in 1961 and ended up spending most of my working life there. The photo is of the 'Sea Cutter' built in Holland in 1958 a fast twin screw boat she was considered to be 'High Tec' in her day and she operated at Gravesend until 1979. The wooden boat that you refer to was the 'Lady Apsley'
built in the 1930's she was said to be haunted by Capt. Toby Evans the channel pilot who designed her and apparently died before she was completed. Her hull was damaged when she was run across the clinker bank opposite the Gravesend canal entrance where the old coal burning tugs dumped their ashes and she was never watertight again which is why you remember all the pumping.She was replaced in 1962 by the 'Sea Cutter 2' the first twin schottel powered vessel to work in the Thames.
The inward cutters or River Cutters as they were known were larger tug style single screw boats with an elevated boarding and landing deck. Built in Renfrew Scotland they were the 'Thames Pilot' built 1946 and the 'River Thames' built 1951. There was also an older iron hulled vessel the 'Pilot' originally a steam boat she had been converted to motor after World War 2. Also for a brief period around that time they operated a smaller high speed launch named 'Pilot2' ( nicknamed 'Sputnik') but it was eventually withdrawn for safety reasons. These were all replaced in the mid sixties with 2 new purpose built vessels of similar design the 'Pilot' 1965 and the 'River Thames' 1967. It is worth remembering that Gravesend was the biggest pilot station in the world in those days and 40 ships a tide was routine business. I hope this is of help i did put together a bit of a pictorial history for the younger generation now working under the P.L.A so I will try and post some pictures, if i can master the technology.

All the Best Henry ' Bill' Miles
Bill, Thanks for all that info and welcome to SN. Now you have mentioned the names, it all comes flooding back! I especially remember my dad talking of the 'Sputnic'.....rolled a lot I believe!!!!(?). Looking forward to hearing more from you.

JJ.
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  #221  
Old 15th November 2013, 18:36
Leratty Leratty is offline  
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John, was your father a pilot or associated with them?
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  #222  
Old 16th November 2013, 09:07
John Jarman John Jarman is offline  
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John, was your father a pilot or associated with them?
Yes Richard, a River Pilot. I spent a lot of time in my youth at the Royal Terrace Pier, on the cutters and doing trips on lots of vessels, with my dad.

JJ.
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  #223  
Old 16th November 2013, 09:18
Leratty Leratty is offline  
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John did u get my 2 e responses to yr query e?
Richard
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  #224  
Old 16th November 2013, 10:23
John Jarman John Jarman is offline  
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John did u get my 2 e responses to yr query e?
Richard
Yes Richard - have just replied.

JJ.
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  #225  
Old 18th November 2013, 19:10
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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No one could imagine that the port of Ramsgate had anything to do with the subject of this thread but it happens to reside in the London Pilotage District.
For me it was where I performed the two most unusual acts of pilotage in 27 years of piloting ships. THIS was one of them!
The beam of this contraption was more than the beam of the last ship I sailed deep-sea in!

And THIS for a better photo Thanks to Jan H

Last edited by Hugh Ferguson : 18th November 2013 at 20:29.
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