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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had never heard the term "Bovril boat" until visiting this site but it is obvious why they were so called.

As a kid I enjoyed a mug of hot bovril before starting my newspaper delivery round in NW London at 06:00 in winter in the early 60s. It was very fortifying prior to setting forth into smoggy streets and coughing your way around with a scarf over your mouth and being unable to see the other side of the road. (For those that didn't experience it, smog - a cross between smoke and fog - was a yellowy fog which used to cover London from time to time and in my locality caused partly by the coal-burning power station about half a mile from my house, and partly by the coal fires in people's houses. You couldn't blame cars because nobody in my part of the world had one. But I digress!

I did know that these boats took sewage away but never gave them much thought at the time. I believe the London sewage was discharged somewhere in the Thames estuary around Southend-on-sea.

My question is when were these boats brought into service, when discontinued (I assume that we don't still dump sewage in the sea any more!) and what process for disposal of huge quantities of ordure has replaced Bovril Boats.

Brian
 

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Don't know the dates you are looking for but a good friend was Master on one of them 1968 to 1970.

As for the smog, remember walking down the middle of the Kingsto bypass with a tourch leading my mates Austin 7. Just like the horse and carriage days. When at King Ted's, we used to wear plastic shirt collars so that they could be washed out a couple of times a day. Would love to see some of the modern day environmentalists reaction if they had been around.
 

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They had similar boats running down the Manchester Ship Canal and discharging the sewerage into the Irish Sea.
When I was on the M/S Arabella going to Irlam, the pilot told us that those ships had the nickname "Banana Tankers".

Frank
 

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The Thames Bovril boats were certainly running in 1973. They always looked increadibly clean and tidy.
The 'Shieldhall' (Clyde Bovril) is still running as a tourist/museum piece, based in Southampton.

regards
Dave
 

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James shipping had one in Southampton James No61 "the sh***r" picked up cargo from the sewage works on the River itchen and dropped it off the I of W
 

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dont know if its true but heard a crew member was sacked for pilfering cargo once(*))
 

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These were actually stopped in 2000. Because of the fact we dumped sewage at sea, we never signed up to the MARPOL regs governing it. It is a little known fact that ships in UK waters do not have to treat sewage
 

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The so-called Bovril Boats took London's waste from Crossness and Beckton to the Thames Estuary at Black Deep, where the valves were opened and the sludge discharged. This continued into the 1990s, but EU legislation preventing the dumping of sewage at sea forced this process to cease.

Around half of London's waste is now incinerated at Crossness and Beckton. The electricity generated from the incineration is sufficient to power the treatment plants, and Beckton even has a surplus to sell back.

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the information folks.

So it looks like we haven't yet managed to turn base metal into gold but have managed to turn shhhhh-you-know-what into electricity. I guess that is alchemy of a sort. (*))

BTW Phil, do you know what happens to the other half of the stuff that doesn't get incinerated? When I lived in Leicester the local sewage works used to turn the stuff into compost and sell it in bags - I used to put it on my allotment when I had one. I always thought it was a bit of a cheek really having to buy back that which was freely given!

Brian
 

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A Liverpool pilot once told me that when he was bringing a Russian ship up-river they passed one of the Manchester sewage boats and the Russian Captain was interested enough to enquire about it. These boats were named after Manchester civic dignitaries, a dubious honour as the conversation proved.
"Pilot, vat sort of a ship is dat?"
"A sewage carrier, Captain."
"And whos is dis Joe Bloggs (or whatever the name was)? ......Vat did he do so wrong?"
 

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Long....hot....smellly summer...

If the Manchester boats got as far as the North Sea to discharge....then it certainly floated back in...!

I can remember the hot summer of 77 when I lived in Colwyn Bay. The place stank for months and there was a rancid frothy s*** floating on the sea. They even had a tug boat there for weeks that spent it's whole day going around spraying detergent on it.

Can't understand why the Costa del Colwyn never may the dizzy heights of resorts where people would want to spend their time on the beaches....
 

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Frank P said:
They had similar boats running down the Manchester Ship Canal and discharging the sewerage into the Irish Sea.
When I was on the M/S Arabella going to Irlam, the pilot told us that those ships had the nickname "Banana Tankers".

Frank
frank
Brings back old memories - as a boy of fourteen I worked on Latchford Locks as telephone boy and well remember the "banana boats". At that time there were two of them Mancunian and Salford City.This was in 1935 just before I went to sea.
Allan Wareing.
 

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Bovril boats

I worked on the "J H Hunter" for a while in the 50's.
In those days you got the job from London County Council, not the pool.
The Hunter had a few full time guys aboard but mostly the crew were guys that were spending some time covering up a DR or it suited them to be home for a certain date for a wedding or something. They had a hard time getting crews in those days.
They paid well and it was a 5 days a week job Monday to Friday. Sometimes we had to go into the tanks for the distastful, or more like disgusting, job of power washing the tanks out. There was always about a foot deep of sand down there as well as thousands of condoms and womens sanitary towels hanging up on the ladder rungs and stringers. (I did say it was disgusting!) But we did get a few days pay for a few hours work for doing that.
Actually I've had worse stinks from a cargo of hides and bones from Argentina.
The only smell on the Hunter was one of disinfectant from the chemical treatment it got before going into the tanks.
They were of necessity the cleanest ships afloat, but you soon learned not to let anyone know where you worked because if you did when you walked in a pub, no-one had to say anything, they just held their nose. That said it all!
 

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I recall the Divis (and Divis 2) calling into H&W for a few running repairs. Open the tank hatch and stand well back. Ahh the aroma of old Belfast, decomposing Ulster Frys, Guinness and champ, sure a million flies can't be wrong. To be serious both these vessels were a credit to their crews, smart and well kept. You could eat your dinner off them, aye well perhaps not (EEK) (LOL) [=P]
 

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Guy gazing over the rail on the Divis says to his mate, "See yon tu*d there well that came from a homosexual" "How can you tell?" asks his mate "It's countersunk at one end." says the old salt. (K) (K)
 

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On H.M.S. Worcester part of our signalling training was to call up by morse lamp passing ships. The Bovril boats would usually answer and invariably we would ask "What cargo".

Their standard reply was ... .... . _

As 15 & 16 year olds we never tired of the "Joke"!!!
---------------------------
Tony C
 

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Bovril Boats

"My Old Man's the Old Man on the chattiest tub afloat,
He wears a pair of Wranglers and a manky old Duffle coat,
He's on the Salford City going from Manchester to the sea,
and he carries the types of cargo that some folks don't want to see"
One dark and windy night he tripped and fell into the s---e"
.....and on.
To the tune of My Old Man's a Dustman
I heard this at a Sod's Opera on the MV Trevelyan in 1961 penned (I believe) and certainly sung by an AB Alan Hansen accompanying himself on a long necked Banjo with support by a lad who's name time has stolen.
Alan was a musical genius and I am sure he must have gone on to greater things, did he?
Yours aye,
John Kelly
Indentured Apprentice Hain SS 1958-1961
 

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Talking of Bovril boats, I was idly watching a news clip of Marines patroling the Basra waterfront when there amongst the line up of motley craft was "Hounslow", still in her original colours and name clearly visible. A long way from home!
 
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