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12 Oct 2018 40 views
 
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photoblog image Boat Friday

Boat Friday

SS "Shieldhall" is a preserved steamship that operates from Southampton. She spent her working life as one of the "Clyde sludge boats", making regular trips from Shieldhall in Glasgow, Scotland, down the River Clyde and Firth of Clyde past the Isle of Arran, to dump treated sewage sludge at sea. These steamships had a tradition, dating back to the First World War, of taking organised parties of passengers on their trips during the summer. SS Shieldhall has been preserved and the accommodation is again being put to good use for cruises.

 

The 1,972-ton "Shieldhall" was laid down in October 1954, built by Lobnitz & Co. of Renfrew who also constructed the two triple expansion steam engines which are set vertically in a similar way to the much larger engines on the RMS Titanic. By the 1950s Lobnitz usually built its engines with enclosed crankcases but the Shieldhall was deliberately fitted with traditional open-crank engines. Glasgow Corporation had long allowed day-trippers access to the engine room of its ships while at sea and the older-style engines allowed passengers to see the workings of the engines in operation.


She was built on the classic lines of a 1920s steam tanker with a traditional wheelhouse of riveted and welded construction, a slightly raked stem and a cruiser stern. Her length is 268 feet (82 m) and breadth 44 feet 7 inches (13.59 m). Accommodation was provided for 80 passengers. She entered service in October 1955 and was operated by Glasgow Corporation to transport treated sewage sludge down the Clyde to be dumped at sea. She and her sister shps were jocularly known as Clyde banana boats as the livery resembled that of a well known banana shipping company.


In 1976 after 21 years of service on the Clyde, Shieldhall was laid up, and in the following year was bought by the Southern Water Authority to carry sludge from Southampton, England, to an area south of the Isle of Wight.


Due to rising fuel prices she was withdrawn from service in 1985, then was taken over by a preservation society, The Solent Steam Packet Limited, which operates as a charity. All work associated with the Society and Shieldhall is carried out by unpaid volunteers. The remaining Glasgow sludge boats kept going into the 1990s, when changing environmental standards led to new ways of treating the sludge.

 

With work carried out mainly by volunteers she has been restored to sea-going condition, and now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, the Shieldhall is now a frequent sight around the Solent running excursions, crewed by volunteers. She has been to the Netherlands for the Dordrecht Steam Festival and has been at International Festivals of the Sea at Bristol and Portsmouth. Passengers are encouraged to visit the bridge and see the engine room, getting an understanding of the days of steam.


In July 2005 the Shieldhall made a return visit to the Clyde, taking part in the River Festival in Glasgow, and berthing at Custom House Quay, Greenock. She made a number of excursions, taking passengers on cruises from Greenock on her old route down the Clyde to Arran.


In 2012, to mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic, the Shieldhall was repainted in the same colour scheme as the liner.


A £1.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund) , announced in April 2013, is for essential hull works to meet modern regulations, improved passenger facilities and interpretation.

Boat Friday

SS "Shieldhall" is a preserved steamship that operates from Southampton. She spent her working life as one of the "Clyde sludge boats", making regular trips from Shieldhall in Glasgow, Scotland, down the River Clyde and Firth of Clyde past the Isle of Arran, to dump treated sewage sludge at sea. These steamships had a tradition, dating back to the First World War, of taking organised parties of passengers on their trips during the summer. SS Shieldhall has been preserved and the accommodation is again being put to good use for cruises.

 

The 1,972-ton "Shieldhall" was laid down in October 1954, built by Lobnitz & Co. of Renfrew who also constructed the two triple expansion steam engines which are set vertically in a similar way to the much larger engines on the RMS Titanic. By the 1950s Lobnitz usually built its engines with enclosed crankcases but the Shieldhall was deliberately fitted with traditional open-crank engines. Glasgow Corporation had long allowed day-trippers access to the engine room of its ships while at sea and the older-style engines allowed passengers to see the workings of the engines in operation.


She was built on the classic lines of a 1920s steam tanker with a traditional wheelhouse of riveted and welded construction, a slightly raked stem and a cruiser stern. Her length is 268 feet (82 m) and breadth 44 feet 7 inches (13.59 m). Accommodation was provided for 80 passengers. She entered service in October 1955 and was operated by Glasgow Corporation to transport treated sewage sludge down the Clyde to be dumped at sea. She and her sister shps were jocularly known as Clyde banana boats as the livery resembled that of a well known banana shipping company.


In 1976 after 21 years of service on the Clyde, Shieldhall was laid up, and in the following year was bought by the Southern Water Authority to carry sludge from Southampton, England, to an area south of the Isle of Wight.


Due to rising fuel prices she was withdrawn from service in 1985, then was taken over by a preservation society, The Solent Steam Packet Limited, which operates as a charity. All work associated with the Society and Shieldhall is carried out by unpaid volunteers. The remaining Glasgow sludge boats kept going into the 1990s, when changing environmental standards led to new ways of treating the sludge.

 

With work carried out mainly by volunteers she has been restored to sea-going condition, and now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, the Shieldhall is now a frequent sight around the Solent running excursions, crewed by volunteers. She has been to the Netherlands for the Dordrecht Steam Festival and has been at International Festivals of the Sea at Bristol and Portsmouth. Passengers are encouraged to visit the bridge and see the engine room, getting an understanding of the days of steam.


In July 2005 the Shieldhall made a return visit to the Clyde, taking part in the River Festival in Glasgow, and berthing at Custom House Quay, Greenock. She made a number of excursions, taking passengers on cruises from Greenock on her old route down the Clyde to Arran.


In 2012, to mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic, the Shieldhall was repainted in the same colour scheme as the liner.


A £1.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund) , announced in April 2013, is for essential hull works to meet modern regulations, improved passenger facilities and interpretation.

comments (11)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 12 Oct 2018, 00:27
My eye is drawn to the smoke, Alan.
Alan: Steam from the capstans. They just had to move her back by around 3m as she was blocking the departure of the "Waverley" paddle steamer. These used the mooring ropes to do this rather than the main engine.
Quite a thing, isn't it? I like that they painted it like the Titanic.
Alan: I'm still trying to find a date and a trip that are mutually suitable for me; I'd like t have a sail on her. She was restricted to Southampton Water for a while but unsure if she is cleared for the open seas now.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 12 Oct 2018, 06:40
This is delightful, good to see the dear old thing safe in preservation

It makes you think though, as late as the 1990s they were dumping raw sewage in the oceans..
Alan: Part of our heritage. One trip I would like to do on her is for the Bournemouth Air Show but the Air Show is usually affected by poor weather.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 12 Oct 2018, 07:06
She seems to be a very large ship. I wonder about the last word 'interpretation' in this context.
Alan: Lottery grants usually have to have some sort of education element attached to them and I think in this case "interpretation" means making perhaps sort sort fo interactive display about the ship's history (I'm guessing, though). I've yet to have a tip on her which i must remedy in the next year or so.
Glad to see her history will be preserved, Alan. Knowing you, you'll ride her one day (if not already?)! Actually, now that I see it in the text, we have been to the Dordrecht Steam Festival and wonder if it was there?
Alan: Not been on her yet. One trip I would like to do on her is for the Bournemouth Air Show in August but the Air Show is usually affected by poor weather. I think at the moment she is restricted to Southampton Water and so can't go on the open seas. I've wondering if the lottery grant for the hull works is associated with this.
This is such an elegant boat, Alan and that is quite the history. I am a little bit older, she is from October 1954 and I am from August 1954... a good year though grin...
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 12 Oct 2018, 07:44
A pleasing design of ship.
A fine old tub Alan ....the boat that is
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 12 Oct 2018, 08:14
I hope your wish comes true, Alan
What a fine old vessel, good to see her still in use.
  • CherryPie
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 12 Oct 2018, 16:09
A fine ship, it is good to see she is still sailing.

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