Ships Nostalgia banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I need some help with my faulty memory. In the fifties when we used to sail into London I have this persistant memory of using up to 3 pilots,the river pilot, the mud pilot and the dock pilot. I know it was a complicated trip up the Thames but I am sure I am wrong however the memory still sticks in there, can anybody set me straight please.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
144 Posts
Your memory serves you well,there were 3 pilots involved although the "mud pilot" also acted as helmsman from Gravesend inward
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Many thanks for clearing that up, I really thought I was wrong, it's been bugging me for ages
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hi Thunderd,I was one of those pilots.Your ship would have had a channel pilot from the sea pilot station off Harwich or Dungeness.Then a River Pilot from Gravesend to London then a Dock Pilot in the docks who sometimes acted as a helmsman going up the river (whilst the pilot sorted out the Captains newspapers).Things have now changed and only one pilot is often used and only Tilbury Docks remain open.Harold Russell
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
960 Posts
Docking at Tilbury,'64 to '71 it was always Messrs Wynn and Fothergill who took the Brocklebank ships I was on from Gravesend and into the docks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,354 Posts
Hello Hugh,
I knew Gilbert Fothergill quite well,he was pilot for Bustards ships - Empire Baltic - Empire Celtic etc,,
You may also have known George Atkinson and Colin Pugh who piloted Glen Line,Elder Dempster and Johnson Line and earlier was Vic Tyrrel for Palm Line..
Regards - Stan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
960 Posts
Stan

I only recall Wynn & Fothergill from repetition - and a 2nd or 3rd mate telling me it was always these two - and as apprentice entering the Bridge Movement Book with "Pilots Wynn and Fothergill board". I can't remember if the river pilot went off at that point or waited untill the locks/docks. The abiding memory is that one was in uniform, and the one taking the helm into the locks was in civies, complete with flat cap. But which name was which escapes me.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
I can remember Frankie Lofts' crew of Watermen from Gravesend and one in particular was George Tidd. A real character, he was the "Knuckle 'arry" of Sou'west India Dock. He and my father got well and truly p****d one night and George drove him home in his Merc. and then flaked out on the front room floor.
The last time I saw any of that motley crew was in Silvertown back in late '73.
Good times now long gone......sigh!!...........................pete
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,250 Posts
I can remember boarding the London pilot at Brixham, then a river pilot somewhere near the Nore, then the mud pilot and helmsman somewhere just short of the Royal Docks. But outward bound, I cant remember this succession of pilots. I seem to remember the mud pilot getting off at the locks, then a sea pilot all the way out into the channel, sometimes, he would stay on board all the way to Hamburg or Rotterdam and board another London bound ship in that port.
The Elbe pilots certainly seemed to be familiar with their London counterparts.
Maybe this was just Blue Funnel, they just had to be different!
Regards,
Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hi again everybody it is nice to know that all these names stand out in the memories of seafarers as they were characters all in their own right unfortunately the majority have gone to the big dock in the sky.I think Colin Pugh is still around.Harold Russell
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,535 Posts
Hello Hugh,
I knew Gilbert Fothergill quite well,he was pilot for Bustards ships - Empire Baltic - Empire Celtic etc,,
You may also have known George Atkinson and Colin Pugh who piloted Glen Line,Elder Dempster and Johnson Line and earlier was Vic Tyrrel for Palm Line..
Regards - Stan
I well remember Gilbert having a nasty fall off of a pilot ladder back onto the tug he was boarding from. I had watched him climbing and there appeared to be no reason whatever for his losing his hold. Did you ever hear anything about it, Stan? Regards, Hugh. (And by the way, did you ever know a Derek Godfrey who was once in one of those Empire boats?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Hi all, I can remember the Dungeness (sea reach) pilots changing for the river pilots off Gravesend and we had a regular mud pilot on the sugar boats berthing at Tate and Lyle's wharf Silvertown. I may be imagining it (40+ years ago now!) however I recall the latter being quite a character and wearing a trilby and long raincoat no matter the weather! Called everyone (except the Old Man!) 'Mr Mate'! He may have been known as 'Nobby' but I'm probably wrong in that!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
564 Posts
Hi all, I can remember the Dungeness (sea reach) pilots changing for the river pilots off Gravesend and we had a regular mud pilot on the sugar boats berthing at Tate and Lyle's wharf Silvertown. I may be imagining it (40+ years ago now!) however I recall the latter being quite a character and wearing a trilby and long raincoat no matter the weather! Called everyone (except the Old Man!) 'Mr Mate'! He may have been known as 'Nobby' but I'm probably wrong in that!
I think that you are thinking of Ron Butcher. He always worked with Captain Richardson. If you go to youtube and look up P.L.A. River Pilots at work. It is a 4 min. film and the second half shows them docking the Sugar Producer
Nobby was the chief rigger and if I remember more or less ran things when Sugar Line ships were in London.
When we got alongside a gang of fitters under Harry James would start work in the E.R
and if you needed a cab Johnney Mercer was always on hand.
Happy Days
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I think that you are thinking of Ron Butcher. He always worked with Captain Richardson. If you go to youtube and look up P.L.A. River Pilots at work. It is a 4 min. film and the second half shows them docking the Sugar Producer
Nobby was the chief rigger and if I remember more or less ran things when Sugar Line ships were in London.
When we got alongside a gang of fitters under Harry James would start work in the E.R
and if you needed a cab Johnney Mercer was always on hand.
Happy Days
Hi George, a brilliant find! That's him on the wheel and I also recognise Jeffrey Leaver, Master in the film! I sailed with him on Sugar Carrier in 1977. Think I also spotted the Bosun, Harry Bramley but I didn't recognise the 3rd Mate!
Sailed on Sugar Producer in 1976 taking sugar to Liverpool from Fiji of all places!!
I also recall that the hatches were opened and the grabs in discharging before the vessel was fast since the berth only had enough water on the top of HW for fully laden vessels.
Nip across to the Railway for a pint at lunch and then, if you were feeling brave enough, the Kent Arms for an "interesting" night out!
Last in Silvertown (joining said Sugar Carrier!) in 1977! Memories....!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
564 Posts
Hi George, a brilliant find! That's him on the wheel and I also recognise Jeffrey Leaver, Master in the film! I sailed with him on Sugar Carrier in 1977. Think I also spotted the Bosun, Harry Bramley but I didn't recognise the 3rd Mate!
Sailed on Sugar Producer in 1976 taking sugar to Liverpool from Fiji of all places!!
I also recall that the hatches were opened and the grabs in discharging before the vessel was fast since the berth only had enough water on the top of HW for fully laden vessels.
Nip across to the Railway for a pint at lunch and then, if you were feeling brave enough, the Kent Arms for an "interesting" night out!
Last in Silvertown (joining said Sugar Carrier!) in 1977! Memories....!
I thought that it looked and sounded like Jeff Leaver but I don't have the best memory for faces. This settles the matter though. I never knew that he had been on the "Producer" He always seemed to be on the "Crystal" until he moved to the "Carrier" Always think of the "Producer" as George Pirrie's ship.
A lot of happy memories for me in seeing the ship again and we didn't realise at the time what a good job it was.
The pubs were as you describe. The Kent Arms was an experience and we used to go to the gents in two's! Just the place for a quiet pint!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top