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hughcj 19th October 2010 09:43

Only Working Steam Bucket Dredger
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 !



hughcj 19th October 2010 15:31

Thanks to Marco
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.



Billieboy 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!

hughcj 20th October 2010 18:18

Thanks again to Marco
I will indeed contact the Museum. Thanks again.

Duke 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)

Duke 24th November 2010 13:44

hereby the link:

chadburn 24th November 2010 17:27

I can hear it clanking, banging and screaming (as the link's go over the Top Tumbler) from here.

hughcj 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

Dredgers in my Blood
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!!

ben27 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

flijm 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

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