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Discussion Starter #1
I have a pretty well complete listing of ships broken up by this firm for the period 1908 to 1980. If anyone is interested in, or seeking information on any of the ships broken up by them send me an e-mail. The list includes warships, merchant ships, railroad trains, and even some buildings.

Joe
 

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Modassa and Mulbera

I would be grateful if you could confirm whether or not the ss Mulbera and the ss Modassa (both BI ships) were broken up at Blyth, and let me know in which year.
 

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Modasa. BI Liner 9,073 Gross Scrapped Blyth 1954.

No sign of Mulbera, but I will search some of the other files.

Regards, Joe
 

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Hi Joe,

There are a lot of queries that come up about the fate of ships so if you have a simple list you could upload onto SN it might be helpful to those doing research in the future.

If you are prepared to take more detailed queries you could add at the end "send me a personal message". It would be unwise to include your private email address in a posting as all sorts of s*** search through websites to send spam to them.

Brian
 

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Joe Rooney said:
I have a pretty well complete listing of ships broken up by this firm for the period 1908 to 1980. If anyone is interested in, or seeking information on any of the ships broken up by them send me an e-mail. The list includes warships, merchant ships, railroad trains, and even some buildings.

Joe
Does that include trawlers ?, if so would be interested in list.

Regards............WLH
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will try to answer several questions in this one e-mail.

Hughes Bolckow limited was first established in August 1906 as a partnership between Ralph Townsend Hughes, born Feb 29.1864 in Suffolk, and Charles Frederick Henry Bolckow born Dec 2, 1874 in Middlesborough. Both were connected if not wealthy. Hughes was the son of a Baronet, who set up in Newcastle as scrap metal dealer, while Bolckow was the son in law of Sir Arthur Dorman, the founder and chairman of Dorman Long of Middlesborough.

Initially, the pair started business in Hughes existing Wharfage site in Derwenthaugh on Tyne. This is above the Newcastle bridges, so it would be quite restrictive when bringing ships in for scrapping.

Thei first scrapping was a Norwegian cargo ship, the "Norfolk" which ran aground on the Black Middens at the mouth of the Tyne in January 1908. They could not have made any money, because between weather delays and such it took until 1914 to finish this 1813 gross ship.

Their first warship, "HMS Collingwood" was towed up to Dunston buoys, and dismantled to lower her draft sufficiently to tow her alongside at Derwenthaugh.

The next warship, "HMS Barfleur" was an old battleship of 10,500 tons. On arrival in the Tyne in 1910, she became wedged between the sides of the Tyne swing bridge. She had run aground and refused to budge.

After that uproar was settled, Hughes approached the Tyne improvement commission for a deeper water site further downstream, but was rejected.

On November 11, 1911, Hughes signed two Fifty year leases for a new shipbreaking site in deeper water at Cambois, which is on the North side of the River Blyth.
One was with the Blyth Harbour Commissioners for the dredged site and wharfs. The other was with Lord Ridley for plant acreage and railroad connections.

The Derwenthaugh site remained in service until about 1923, and may have passed into other shipbreaking hands, since I remeber merchant ships being towed above the Tyne bridges for scrapping after WWII.

They were busy and apparently successful from then on, and I remember also that they manufactured and sold different types of furniture from recycled wood after the war.

The first ship scrapped at "Battleship Wharf" was the old "HMS Southampton" a wooden frigate dating from about 1819.

In WWII, the yard had no scrapping business, and turned its hand to fitting out warships built at Blythh DRydocks and Shipbuilng who across and down the river from Cambois.

After the war, they switched back to scrapping, and were busy for a number of years, up to about the 1970's. At that time, either because of international competition or the UK"s nationalised steel industry, they slowed down noticeably, and were closedat sometime in or after 1980.

The last ship I show them breaking was the collier "Sinnes" in 1980.

Over the Seventy odd years that they existed, the handled ships of all types: Warships, Submarines, British and German, Passenger Liners, Tankers, Cargo ships,
Trawlers, Tugs, Various Crane and support ships. And outside of shipping, there were railroad stock, bridges, even complete factories. Whatever had steel in it.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have just finished reading my last rant. And God I am an awful typist!

Concerning other comments and suggestions about making a file available for access online, I would love to,""BUT"".

Most of my files are on both sides of 8X11 paper, and I need to set them up in a searchable format. I was thinking either Microsoft Access or Microsoft Excel.

My son tells me that Access is a much better idea.

What I want to do is set up an alpha file, in which each individual file can be sub divided into columns which would each indicate such things as Name,Scrap Date, Ship type,Owners ,Building date, ship specs, Etc.

I would then be able to sort by any of the above criteria, and produce reports to user needs. Say Range of years for scrapping, listing by alphabetic names, listing by owners, or listing by class of ship. Say you need a list of Shell tankers, or BTC tankers, German U-boats or British submarines, or Trawlers scrapped.

Can anyone help me on this with advice of which package to use. My kid would love nothing better than to do it all for me. But unfortunately he's just too clever for this. He can do all the technical things, he owns a software service firm. But he does'nt understand ships and he really does think that my kind of affection for the ships of my youth, and the men I equate with them is a rather quaint manifestation of the old and
impractical.

So there you have it. How best can I do this?

Any suggestions please?

Joe
 

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Thanks Joe, 1923 was a little before my time so that's why I would have no memory of Hughes Bolckow, I do recall ship breaking on the Tyne above the bridges up till the 1960s but for the moment the firm involved has slipped my memory.
 

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A bit more on Hughes Bolckow

Joe,

Thanks for the excellent potted history of Hughes Bolckow.

In about 1980 I arranged for a talk to be given by the then general manager of HB to the North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders. Unfortunately, the talk was scheduled for the week that the yard was finally closed down. The speaker understandably withdrew but not before giving me a box full of old slides and photos and some 16mm film and a book called "Battleship Wharf' dating from 1961. The book includes a list of all the ships broken up on the Tyne and at Blyth from 1908 to 1961 and a loose sheet with a full list of all ships scrapped from 1961 to closure in 1980. The collier SINNIS was the last ship to be scarepped (HB27), but the final scrap contract was the NORMANBY which was described as a barge (HB28).

If you want the lists for cross-checking or for general interest I would be glad to scan them in and send them to you.

By the way, I passed all the photos and film on to the University and I understand they are now in the Newcastle City archives.

Cheers!

David Byrne
 

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Hi Joe
Many thanks for the information. I am sure that you are aware of this but the Company produced an excellent soft-backed history many years ago. If memory serves me right this was approx A4 size with a blue/grey cover and contained my photos of ships being broken up.
I had a copy of this in the 1960's but sadly and much to my regret, my copy has long since disappeared during many various house moves since then.
Peter4447 (Read)
PS Have just read the above post and I see I am not the only one to have seen the booklet and yes, I remember now that the one I had was called 'Battleship Wharf'.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks David. I have a copy of Battleship Wharf, and an accompanying list of ships scrapped up to 1961. But I most certainly would appreciate a copy of the list of ships scrapped after that date. it would give a useful cross check to the data I have gathered over the years.I will send you my E-mail address in a private message.

Two main questions continue to interest me. Who was the Derwenthaugh site sold to? and did they continue to scrap ships above the bridges up into the 1960's as Jef says.
secondly, what were the cir***stances leading up to the final closure of the firm.

Like you, it was marriage and more likely parenthood which led me to consider , and then pursue, a degree in Economics. I enjoyed the experience so much, that I went back a few years later and obtained a degree in History. One gave me a whole new career, the other gave, and continues to give, years of pleasure.

Regards, Joe
 

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Modassa and Mulbera

Thank you for the information about the demise of both ss Mulbera and ss Modassa. My father sailed on the Mulbera in the 1930s and my mother served aboard the Modassa from 1938 to 1942, hence the interest. I'm still watching shipsnolstalgia forums for news of ex pupils of the Royal Merchant Navy School - most of the boys went to sea and surely there must be one or two old salts viewing this excellent site.
 

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Good evening, being involved with steam trawler research, would it be possible to obtain a copy of vessels scrapped Tyne/HB. Happy to pay costs incurred, postage etc;
Regards..................WLH
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would be only too pleased to put together a list of trawlers scrapped by HB over the years . Send me your E-mail address by private message, and I will be in touch .

Joe
 

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Hi Joe.

Good to make contact - I received your email address ok.

I will send a scanned version of the 1962 to 1980 list to you today/tomorrow.

As for your other two questions I will do some digging and let you know. being 'local' it shouldn't be too hard to find something.

David Byrne
 

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Discussion Starter #18
the barge you mention NOMANBY was employed for many years by smiths docks taking all the yard rubbish out to see for dumping she once sank at dock gates as they had loaded it with too much spent shotblast.
cheers tom (*))
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Looking through and old booklet on the industrial river tyne, I found a pen and ink drawing of the upper river, from about Elswick to a bridge above Dunston. It has the inscription "Shipbreakers", on the North side of the river. A description of the area mentions shipbreakers, Clayton & Davie, and later T.J.Thompson.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #20
i am almost certain that clayton davies was on the south side of the tyne just upriver from harrisons slipway dunston.

cheers tom (*))
 
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