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Clare's Shipyard Sankey Bridges


Tracey Bennett
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Yes the photographs are of WW2 vessels of which many were built again due to steel shortages and the speed with which they could be built. None were built at Fidler's Ferry so I don't know much about them as there isn't a Penketh connection. The MSC Company owned and operated a lot and they tended to be identified by numbers rather than names - all the WW1 vessels were named and pre - fixed "Crete". Construction of the WW1 vessels was of two types - concrete being poured into a monolithic mould to form the hull or the fabrication of ferro - concrete components individually which were then joined together. Work could not be carried on in very cold or frosty weather as the concrete would not take (wouldn't be much use at the moment lol). I do remember those boats on the Causeway and from a distance they did look like wood construction. They were behind Greenall's Brewery I think.

 

Peridot

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Peri, may be of interest to you. Although I believe your primary interest is focussed on Fiddler's Ferry this account is of the same company building at Preston.

 

The Ritchie Unit System, ferro concrete shipbuilding, Fiddlers Ferry.

Due to a shortage of steel during the first world war, several experiments were made in the construction of ferro-concrete ships. Land was leased from Preston Corporation by the company Hughes and Stirling.

Four slipways were constructed adjacent to the bull nose on the south side of the river. Orders were placed by the shipping controller (London) for Ten 700 ton engineless barges. These barges were much in demand for bringing iron ore to Britain from Spain.

The method of construction adopted was the 'Ritchie Unit System' of pre cast sections assembled on the slipways. The first ship completed was the 'Cretemanor' (PD110) launched in September 1919. The second ship to make her way down the stocks was the 'Cretemoor' (PD 112) launched one year later in December 1920. Work was started but never finished on two further unnamed vessels.

After the cessation of hostilities the scheme was abandoned and the yard fell into disuse. Cretemanor was transferred to the London board of trade and then on to Crete shipping Co (UK) She was sold to Spain in 1927 then sunk in harbor construction. Cretemoor struck a submerged object while under tow between Newcastle and Dunkirk. She was also being towed by a concrete tug (the Creteboom) and now lies on the bottom just off Dunkirk.

For a short period after Hughes and Stilring moved off the site, the facilities were taken over by Ritchie Concrete Engineering and Shipbuilding Company. They then succesfully launched a small coater 'Burscough' which ended it's days as a foundation for a jetty in the Isle of Man.

The chapter was not yet closed on concrete ship contruction at Preston. A small firm Steelcrete Marine Ltd. set up operations just inland from the old slipways in 1970 to produce specialized leasurecraft such as yachts and canal cruisers. The smooth hulls of several abandoned craft could still be seen amongst the weeds in the early 80's

For many years after the main slipways had been abandoned the frames of the two unfinished H&S vessels lay on the stocks but were eventually demolished in the mid 60's.

No trace remains today of this enterprise other than a few bricks and the odd bit of concrete on the banks.

Dimensions of Cretemanor & Cretemoor: 747grt 712 nrt / 54.86m x 9.58m x 5.79m
Cancelled orders: PD 111, 113, 114,115, 116, 117, 118, 119.

 

1939 Map of boat building slips at FF.

1939map_zps4ea06900.jpg

 

3980473142_677feac522_b_zps9331e9e0.jpg

 

3979714555_d031ee9ce7_b_zps1f3b424f.jpg

 

3980474862_7c1a0c0e44_b_zps7f6672af.jpg

 

 

3979714929_4eb5b22cfd_b_zps75b2684f.jpg

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I don't know the physics of the strength of the hulls Davy but some of the WW1 vessels ventured as far as the Baltic and were classed 100+A1 at Lloyds. I think the Baltic was only allowed in the Summer months but I believe they were as durable as steel and did not suffer from rusting until there was wear on the outer concrete encasing the iron framework and then obviously that would begin to rust when it was exposed. See concreteships.org

 

Peridot

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Algy is there anything known about the strength & durability of  concrete hulls as opposed to steel when used in ship construction ,particularly the type in your picture of the coaster ? Were they really seagoing compared to steel hulls ?

Great strength and would stand up to the odd knock with the dockside but wouldn't stand up to head on impact, they made a narrowboat in concrete but had to scrap it as the repeated banging against lock sills resulted in serious damage to the bow.

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I've only just noticed on the photo of the launch of the Santa Rosa, there are dozens of people clinging on to the deck as it launches! I guess health and safety hadn't been invented yet.

They are all lying down on the starboard side away from the water to counterbalance the hull and prevent it rolling over and possibly sinking..

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I'm struggling to place the location of the Santa Rosa launch, my best guess is that the picture was taken from the lifting bridge over the canal with the photographers back to the Sloop pub.

And that is just a guess...

 

This map will illustrate where they launched thie boats FJ.

 

ClareampRidgway_zpsdd5dc7a2.jpg

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They are all lying down on the starboard side away from the water to counterbalance the hull and prevent it rolling over and possibly sinking..

But they still have to cling on for dear life! What if they accidentally let go? Or turn out not to be heavy enough and the ship rolls over?

 

Thanks for the map too, I was struggling to imagine where the yard was in relation to the Sloop.

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But they still have to cling on for dear life! What if they accidentally let go? Or turn out not to be heavy enough and the ship rolls over?

 

Thanks for the map too, I was struggling to imagine where the yard was in relation to the Sloop.

It's all worked out previously to the nearest body, Trace. :D:wink:

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  • 8 years later...

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