Only Working Steam Bucket Dredger

19th October 2010, 09:43
At the Gloucester Waterways Museum, the volunteer Friends of the Museum look after the working bucket steam dredger SND No 4, built by the De Clop shipyard at Sliedrecht in 1925.

As part of current fundraising, we would like to claim we have the only working bucket steam dredger in the world (or perhaps in Europe).

Can anyone confirm or dispute this claim?

marco nista
19th October 2010, 10:26
In 2004 I saw the Dutch steam bucket dredger FRIESLAND working at the excellent Dordrecht steam tug rally.

As soon as I can get access to a scanner I'll post some snaps, but there are plenty of references & pix on the internet.

The rally, held every other year [odd-numbered years have the similarly-excellent Flensburg rally], is massively popular, the Netherlands being a nation that unlike the UK has not turned it's back on the sea.

Well worth a visit, about 20 steam tugs & other steam craft including passenger vessels - the SHIELDHALL & British steam tugs have attended.

The Dutch being the Dutch, they even towed the dredger round in the parade that opened the rally - they also towed round a floating steam grain elevator !



19th October 2010, 15:31
Many thanks for your information. I have now found some photos of the bucket steam dredger Friesland but very little information.

Can you suggest a website that will say where Friesland is based, where she used to work and who is looking after her now.

marco nista
19th October 2010, 17:39
Hugh -

The National Dredging Museum [only the Dutch would have a museum devoted to dredging !] at Sliedrecht should be able to help -

When I saw her in '04 she had a Westminster Dredging/Boskalis logo on her funnel - maybe Boskalis sponsor her.



19th October 2010, 19:39
marco nista #4, Sliedrecht is the foremost dredging port in the world. Roughly 90% of world dredging is handled from this port, or at least by people connected to it. Generally the people of Sliedrecht keep to themselves and are very friendly towards any seafarer. They think in cubic meters!

20th October 2010, 18:18
I will indeed contact the Museum. Thanks again.

24th November 2010, 12:56
Last summer I made some pictures of the Friesland, i will put those on the site and when i'm finished will put the link here.

I am going to the Baggermuseum this Friday (26th of Novemner 2010), so I can pass a message (if the questin is still actual, of course)

24th November 2010, 13:44
hereby the link:

24th November 2010, 17:27
I can hear it clanking, banging and screaming (as the link's go over the Top Tumbler) from here.

24th November 2010, 18:16

Many thanks for the link to your excellent photos of Friesland and for providing interesting information. From this I have found that gives most of the information I was looking for.

There is information about our older working steam dredger in Gloucester, England, at


Clifford Cocker
9th April 2015, 20:53
My father was a dredging Master with Westminster Dredging Company (formerly the Tilbury Contacting and Dredging Company) He served on both Bucket and Suction Dredgers in fact he took the SD Tilburian to the Mulberry Harbour in Arromanche shortly after D Day to ballast the blockships and to keep the approaches to the harbour(s) clear. Then on to Walcheren Island to fill up the holes in the dykes left by the Royal Engineers demolition teams. His last Bucket Dredger command was the Dredgewell. I never served with him but did do 3 years an the Danube Tugs as Chief Engineer servicing the Dredgers and towing the spoil hoppers. My first experience of dredgers was in 1938 when my mother and I spent a week on the Stewart Clan (I think) when Dad was dredging for the new harbour in Leith. Noisy old buggers when dredging. He told me that the worst job was ladderman especially when he was dredging in places like Harwich after the 39-45 conflict when unexploded ordnance was picked up in the buckets especially large bombs!!

17th April 2015, 01:05
good day duke.m.24th nov 2010.21:44.#8.only working steam bucket dredger.just reading this old post.great link and photo's.thank you for posting.regards ben27

17th April 2015, 21:47
This is certainly not the only one in Europe: in Sliedrecht the steam driven bucket dredger "Friesland" is still in good condition and working!
Frans Lijmbach