River Hull

13th December 2006, 14:02
A photograph of the old 'Steersman' navigating the River Hull, posted by Marconi Sahib in the Coaster section of the Gallery, brought back memories of short but notable passages up this narrow river on the same vessel 'Steersman' many years ago. We used to enter the river at about half flood, then drop an anchor and short round by Drypool and then dredge up the river stern first to the Rix petroleum depot at Stone Ferry, arriving there a little before high water. The narrowness of the river was not helped by the number of barges and small coasters moored alongside the many busy riverside wharves. The two ABs would be running from ships side to side on fender duty, it was sometimes nesessary to push our way through between barges. All the backing and filling on the way up river gave the two engineers a hard time, with all the multi movements rung down from the bridge
telegraph. We normally completed discharge in time to float on the next flood tide. The passage down stream was a piece of cake compared to up stream.
I noticed that the Photo in the Gallery next to the 'Steersman' was one of the 'Aridity' posted by Ruud. When I sailed on this vessel many years before my time on the 'Steersman' we used to take china clay up the River Hull to Reckitts Dyes Factory, the whole factory and wharf was always covered in blue dye.
I don't know if the practice was commonplace in those days before small coasters carried radar or any electronical navigation aids but, on one two coasters that I sailed on, in fog we would smell our way into the Humber, then anchor until the flood tide and then dredge our way up to Hull Roads stern first, in order not to lose our turn for a pilot up the Trent or the Ouse.

K urgess
13th December 2006, 15:44
Thanks for the great description, Bruce(Thumb)

I didn't know they went upriver backwards so I wasn't sure whether Steersman was going up or down. The warehouse to port isn't there any more so getting bearings was a bit difficult.

I used to do radio surveys & repairs on vessels at Spillers wharf just north of Chapman Street bridge but couldn't recognise from where the photo was taken.


13th December 2006, 18:09
Hello Fubar,
Looking at the photo of the 'Steersman', she appears to have a bit of a propeller wake and, looks to be in a ballast condition so, I would assume she was proceeding bow first downstream against the flood tide.
Cheers. Bruce.

K urgess
13th December 2006, 19:25
Thanks, Bruce

I'm sure you're right. The location is a bit confusing. The original picture titles it at Chapman Street bridge. Heading downstream from that bridge requires a turn to starboard and here it shows a shallow turn to port.
Looking at another one of my gallery pics showing a barge being punted downriver I would say the pic of Steersman was taken from the same place which is Scott Street bridge. That's the one just upriver from North Bridge and one down from Chapman Street. Which means the shipyard is the next thing on the port bank after the warehouse.

I really should know because I used to work at Malpa Conveyors which is just behind the building to port. Used to walk over the bridge every lunchtime (more or less) to go to the pub. Surprising how little you notice when you pass it every day! (EEK)

Scott Street bridge is the old water hydraulic operated cantilever bridge that's now permanently raised because the hydraulics are shot.

Thanks again

14th December 2006, 12:01
Hello Fubar,
I am unable to shed any more light on the location of the photo, I am not familiar with the local geography and it must be nearly 40 years since I was last that far up the River Hull. I have been in the 'Drypool' dry docks a few times in the late 60s and the early 70s. I believe that 'HMS Bounty' was built in one of the Drydocks at 'Drypool'.
Cheers. Bruce

14th December 2006, 20:41
hi lads the HMS Bounty WAS BILT IN THE DRY DOCK opperset Drypool dry dockin UINION DRY DOCK sam

22nd December 2006, 00:38
Yes I sailed with Alan Stockwell who told me about this Skipper who dredged up the river stern first he said it was a load of s""t and went up the conventiional way at 10 kts.!!