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Manchester Ship Canal

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  #1  
Old 21st February 2011, 20:28
sheringham sheringham is offline  
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Manchester Ship Canal

Recently took my grandson to the Lowry gallery in Salford Quays. Among other exhibitions was one relating to the MSC.

It reminded me that as an apprentice with BP Tanker Co in 1959 (British Strength) I had traversed the canal to the Cadishead fuel depot to discharged heavy fuel oil loaded at Old Kilpatrick. I had never stepped and dropped masts before and it was a good lesson learned but true to life...never a single question at ticket exams and never repeated.
Question asked was how did we get out again?
I don't remember going through the Barton Locks so those of you in the know please enlighten me

Ron
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  #2  
Old 22nd February 2011, 07:13
bob2bob bob2bob is offline  
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Depending on size it is possible to swing below Irlam lock, bow into big lock, use the bullnose, stern round into sluiceway, you are then head down. John
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  #3  
Old 22nd February 2011, 17:30
Tony Shaw Tony Shaw is offline  
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I've been wanting to put a thread out re-the Manchester Ship Canal for some time now but never got round to it. As a young lad I was never away from Latchford Locks, living in Warrington, and when I eventually went to sea I went up and down the canal several times. Leaving deep sea ,I spent a year on the Manchester sludge boat "Mancunium", after which I became lockmaster at Latchford Locks. After 8 years I returned to seagoing and went up and down it yet again on Harrison Line vessels. Unlike the majority of people I thought gthe canal was one of wonders of the world. (I even liked the smell of the water in summer !!!) It would be nice to hear of from those who have experienced the pleasures (or displeasures) of transitting 'the big ditch'
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  #4  
Old 22nd February 2011, 18:33
Windsor Windsor is offline  
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My first of many canal transits was in 1960, when movement ceased at sunset. One of our choice pilots was Jack Warren, luckily, because he would always press on to a set of dolphins, or whatever else offered for a night berth, that was within striking distance of a pub; albeit usually involving a mile or two's hike across ploughed fields!
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  #5  
Old 23rd February 2011, 01:49
Trader Trader is offline  
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Ship Canal

Ron,

you must have come up to Salford Docks to turn around unless your vessel was quite small and you swung below Irlam locks as bob2bob says. I joined an iron ore boat, Orelia, at Irlam steel works and had to come all the way to Manchester to turn round. I have also joined ships at Partington coal basin and we were small enough to swing below Irlam locks.

Tony,

I spent over ten years up and down the canal mostly on Manchester Liners from 1956 to 1966. I was also on Prince Line, Robertsons of Glasgow (Gem Line), WM. H. Muller & Co.( Paris & Rouen run on the Somme) and a couple of one offs, s.s."Uskmouth" and Kyle of Lochalsh. The last time I was up there was in 1972 on the Baltic Viking.
One of the AB's on the Viking was Stan Perry who went on to become Bosun on the Mancunium. You may have sailed with him.

Windsor,

I cannot remember stopping navigation at sunset, in fact I remember sailing at midnight on the Manchester Fame in 1964. Don't ask me why I remember it's a long story.

Regards..............Alec.
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  #6  
Old 23rd February 2011, 07:58
bob2bob bob2bob is offline  
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The bank navigation lights made night movement possible, if I can recall correctly if you had a light level with your bow the next but one was in the middle of the canal.
Tony the smell from Irlam up could be a bit heavy espcially after a night on the beer, and Irlam lock full of pink foam, I can remember as a tug lad ( tug man from 68 to 84)Latchford was a regular pit stop for food and cigarettes from the shop near to the dairy and you had the time of locking up or down to get there and back. If we were fog bound it was everyone into the Richmonds club.

Most of the ships you mention I would have come into contact with, Jack Warren is a name I have not heard in a long time, No matter where on the canal you moored there was nearly always a pub apart from a few isolated berths I think Moore lane dolphins was about the worst. you could set your watch with the passage time of ore boats Eastham to berth 8hrs berth up swing and down to Eastham 10hrs.

I know it always seemed that the red container boats of Manchester liners always seemed to leave 9dock 1 after 18.00. Tony I bet it was like an office job being on the Manc after being deep sea, start Monday finished Friday morning.
John
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  #7  
Old 23rd February 2011, 17:46
Tony Shaw Tony Shaw is offline  
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Alec/
I don't remember Stan Perry but I had a friend on the "Baltic Viking", an engineer from Warrington, but I'm having a senior moment and can't remember his name !!

John/
I know what you mean about the pink foam. I remember the Warren brothers, choice pilots for the Prince Line. Lovely chaps and neither of them could drive. I see you were on the tugs. I used to know Jim Nelson very well. I'm afraid it wasn't quite like an office job on the "Manc". I was second mate and I had to doall the steering in the canal. By Friday I was quite a zombie !
Tony
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  #8  
Old 24th February 2011, 04:56
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I was on the Carchester which I believe was the biggest ship to go up to Manchester.
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  #9  
Old 24th February 2011, 07:25
bob2bob bob2bob is offline  
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Hi Tony
I knew Jimmy well sailed with him a few times as deckhand, when I was on the Quest he was on the Rover we worked as a pair till 24hr shift pattern started. Certainly knew his stuff, good bloke all round, I think his son was on the Clyde tugs.

I bet you loved getting stuck behind a deep tank going to Stanlow,the MSC condition known as swollen ankles.
The Carchester was moored at Old Quay Lock on her first trip up the canal , the day I started (1/1/1968) there was a problem with the draft twenty six and a half feet, loads of fun in Runcorn bridge hole and coming round Weaver Bend. Johnny Law was her appropiated pilot, and could he shift treated ships as power boats. John
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  #10  
Old 24th February 2011, 16:23
Tony Shaw Tony Shaw is offline  
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I don't know about getting stuck behind a big tanker John, it was the Manchester Liner container vessels which were the bug bear. If one entered Eastham ahead of us sometimes we never passed her until Latchford, depending, of course, on the pilot's mood !
As a young lad we tried to cadge a lift, with our bikes, to the next lock on any vessel available. I remember the nice skipper of the "Bison" giving us a lift to Irlam, as well as a Harker tanker and a Cooper's sand boat.
On a cheekier note, also as a lad, I was swinging the big weight on the end of the trip wire and the whole thing parted. The lockmaster, Mr McGuiness, chased me on his bike. Several years later, I was Lockmaster at Latchford Locks and he was the telephone operator. I never let on !!
Tony
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  #11  
Old 24th February 2011, 16:42
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Pat Kennedy Pat Kennedy is offline  
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As lads we used to cross Eastham locks to the East bank of the canal and walk as far as Stanlow Island, and have a picnic. The East bank was positively alive with rabbits in those days, they would come as close as three or four foot away and cadge crusts of bread.
Regards,
Pat
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  #12  
Old 24th February 2011, 20:42
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jmcg jmcg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janathull View Post
I was on the Carchester which I believe was the biggest ship to go up to Manchester.
Jan

Was Ronnie Safe the OM on Carchester. Sailed with Ronnie on Silvershore and Binsnes. The only OM that had a certificate to say he was not mad.

I got on really well with him -others didn't.

BW

J
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  #13  
Old 25th February 2011, 11:10
bob2bob bob2bob is offline  
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Thats true of Liners Tony, anything that double slipped was a pain Shell tankers to B.O.B, Carchester just a steady 10-12hour plod especially if you had to go to a laybye or lock dolphins. Still I would go back tomorrow given the chance.
Till I was 8yrs old we lived about 200 yards from the ship canal down the street and the Bridgewater at the top so play was centred round these. in the summer families used to spend the day down "ferry hut" kids paddling and swimming in what was basically an open sewer which was only flushed out by spring tides, still ignorance was bliss I suppose a lad from our street acuall y caught dysentry or diptheria I can`t remember which.

As you say Pat great spot for rabbits the battermen used to snare them. I can remember walking as far as Manistys mount one day and the skipper started blowing for us as we had been called out, 3 of us got back absolutely knackered after climbing over bracken and pipes rushing to get back, we had to go to the Ferry Hotel that night to get over it, even talked the landlord at the time Malcolm into a stay behind till 01.00.
John
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  #14  
Old 25th February 2011, 11:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janathull View Post
I was on the Carchester which I believe was the biggest ship to go up to Manchester.
Honest poverty forced me to sail on her in 74/75. She was what the pilots referred to as a "slipping job". There wasn't enough room in the locks for the ship and two tugs, so we had to let go the for'd one when we needed it most. Would be interested to know if she was indeed the largest ship to transit the canal ?. First went up the canal on the Polar Maid in 55 to discharge whale oil at Weist. I believe an American master referred to it as an uncovered sewer.
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  #15  
Old 25th February 2011, 12:05
callpor callpor is offline   SN Supporter
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From the innumerable MSC transits I made on Esso tankers between 1972 and 1979 it was my understanding gleaned from our choice pilots and helmsmen that the Carchester was the largest vessel to transit up to Manchester. Invarably it would be a 0200 tide at Eastham to arrive Modewheel for 0900 but if the Carchester was ahead we would not make it until the afternoon?
Incidentally, we would swing below Modewheel locks using the mole to spring ourselves around. I'm sure we had at least 6 foot of clearance each end - anyway, that's what it felt like from the Bridge.
If you look at my photos in the gallery you will find some with us passing one of the Liners in the canal. You could shake hands from bridge wing to bridge wing!
Chris
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  #16  
Old 25th February 2011, 19:27
kudu kudu is offline  
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Did'nt mind the MSC,even the smell.It was like comming home,especially if we were not working by,and could go home for a few days.I did a number of trips to Manchester 1965 to 1968,always to Brown and Polsons at Trafford Park.Stag line ships were regular visitors during the sixties,before they invested in larger vessels.There must have been times when it was not possible to transit the canal at night.I
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  #17  
Old 25th February 2011, 19:51
kudu kudu is offline  
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Sorry about the previous message,I must have posted it by accident.I'l continue......I remember laying by at Runcorn one night ,don't know why but we could'nt transit the canal at night.I also remember the cook doing a runner at one of the locks,a trip to many perhaps.I don't think we signed on another cook,so whoever did the cooks job must have done well.A trip where food is not up to scratch is always remembered
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  #18  
Old 25th February 2011, 20:21
j.d.robinson j.d.robinson is offline  
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f irst went up canal in late 50s, then occasionally till late 60s. started regularly in late 90s in arklow shipping ships to cerestar elevator ( known to locals as polsons) with grain from france, 22 hours discharge, then load scrap at irwell park or salt at runcorn. with a total crew of 6 this was quite a work up, and i agree with the arklow skipper who thought that the whole canal was prime real estate for land fill.

headland
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  #19  
Old 25th February 2011, 21:23
ccurtis1 ccurtis1 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcg View Post
Jan

Was Ronnie Safe the OM on Carchester. Sailed with Ronnie on Silvershore and Binsnes. The only OM that had a certificate to say he was not mad.

I got on really well with him -others didn't.

BW

J
Ronnie was the OM when I was on the Carchester as C/E. I too got on really well with him. Weren't you the lucky lad, Carchester and Binsnes. What did you do wrong
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  #20  
Old 25th February 2011, 23:51
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jmcg jmcg is offline
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Thanks ccurtis1.

Binsnes was a memorable L______________________ONG trip with very many difficult moments for all departments - not least down below. She was GP crewed with only 2 qualified AB's and a bosun. The remainder of the GP crowd were ER chaps; they rarely got out of ER. We were proper short handed on deck and as you know they were complex and "heavy" on deck machinery. Ronnie was good to us though and he also refreshed his AB skills in times of woe.

Sorry to stray from thread!

BW

J
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  #21  
Old 26th February 2011, 00:13
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I was delayed in joining a ship in Manchester in the mid 60s because the canal was closed.
The reason given was that the canal had actually caught fire at Bob's Ferry. It seems that a ship had spilled gas oil into the water which floated down to the ferry where a discarded cigarette set fire to it. As far as I remember there was a report of fatality(s).

Does anyone know anything about this?

Derek
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  #22  
Old 26th February 2011, 08:19
bob2bob bob2bob is offline  
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I remember that well Derek, I think I posted it before, I think it was the "Tacoma", discharging at Cadishead and there was a spillage of either gas or oil.
It drifted down stream to below Bobs ferry. Men going on shift on the Partington sideof the canal were waiting to use the ferry asked the ferryman to cross, the details are a bit sketchy in my mind but the result was someone on the ferry lit a cigarette and ignited the gas killing several people on the ferry and the flash charred the bank for approx quarter of a mile, at the time Cadishead handled a lot of low flash cargo, hope that helps

John
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  #23  
Old 26th February 2011, 13:10
Tony Shaw Tony Shaw is offline  
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The skipper on the "Tacoma" at the time of the incident was a really nice chap, especially seeing he always 'dropped' the lockgatemen five bob every timehe passed through the locks. I think Colin Broom was the other appropriated pilot n the "Carchester", and, John, I think the "Speedmaster Pilot's Trophy" went to Derek Clulow - he always put himself about 5 miles ahead of where he was when he was reporting his position to me at Latchford !!
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  #24  
Old 27th February 2011, 07:05
bob2bob bob2bob is offline  
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I had forgotten Clulow as we always called him, your spot on there, a hell of a character as well, we were going down 9 dcok one day to pick a ship up he was with , he was on the wing of the bridgeas we dropped alongside he shouted down to us "hows that for a cloth eared elephant", he`d turned his pants pocket out and whipped his old man out.
Tony when I was on the Sceptre we were runnig light to Manchester with the Sabre, heading for the small lock at Latchfordwe were neck and neck at the railway bridge playing chicken, Lockmen were waving us to slow down, when the skippers of both tugs ran into the wheel houses (we were nearly swapping fender rubber). To say the other deckhand and me got a verbal was an under statement, I can still see Wally Garvey stood there in draws cellular with his skippers cap and me trying not to p##s myself laughing at the sight , to make it worse when we got settled in the lock we copped it again from the Lockmaster.

That Bobs Ferry business was terrible, we went through a day or so after and to see the banks scorched from the water line to the top of the bank and the distance it covered was a bit scarey.
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  #25  
Old 27th February 2011, 12:13
Bob S Bob S is offline  
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Changing the subject a bit, do the Mersey Ferries still do the occassional outing along the canal?

Regards

Bob
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