Number 2 - Summer 2011
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Building 86 Progress Update
Portable Boiler (1885)
The faceplate is from a Lancashire Boiler built 1889 by W.J. Galloway
& sons of Manchester. A complete boiler can be seen here,
with a detailed history. The intention is to mount the faceplate on
one of the ground floor walls inside Building 86.
& Co was founded in 1854, initially building threshing machines
and portable boilers, but soon expanded into all types of steam
engines. Clink here
for the history of Robey & Co. The
Robey Trust has supplied details about this particular boiler.
trust is very grateful for the generous donations made by the two
DIY companies, especially to Darren (Gillingham B&Q), John (Dartford
B&Q) and Matt (Chatham Homebase). Materials received include
timber, paint, sanitary ware and fittings, along with assortments
of screws, nails and other sundries, all of which will help towards
the repair and refurbishment of Building 86 at Sheerness Historic
Town was alive with the sights and sounds of yesteryear at the
Dockyard Festival over the last weekend in June.
wearing period costume welcomed hundreds of visitors to the festival
to celebrate Sheppey's proud maritime history and to mark the 50th
anniversary of the dockyard's closure.
Medway Maritime Trust booked some space to display photos of
our work. We asked for volunteers and 23 people applied.
Thanks go to the Caledonian Plywood Company Ltd who kindly donated
the plywood to display the photographs. The plywood was used
again on our stand at the Kent Show and again when moving Vigilant.
The people involved were Sam Ballard, director, Helena Faulkner,
logistics co-ordinator, and Roger Bromley who transported the
Rotary Supports The Trust
group of members and their families from Medway Sunlight Rotary,
based in Gillingham, visited us on 24th July to see our projects
first hand and determine how they could best offer support. Martin's
1951 vintage RT bus ferried the group from site to site. The tour
was a real success, everyone enjoyed it and came away impressed
with the restoration and preservation work the trust is undertaking.
Our first joint activity is a 'tools amnesty', where local businesses
and individuals are being asked to donate surplus tools in good
condition to the trust to help with our projects. The first tool,
an electric drill, was recently presented during the weekly breakfast
meeting at the Sunlight Centre Cafe. The Rotarians have also pledged
a donation of window glass, which will hopefully make Building
We would like to thank Medway Sunlight Rotary and look forward
to more joint projects in the future.
- Sunday 16th - 18th JUly
to work commitments, preparing our stand couldn't commence until
the Thursday. Martin Stevens, Ben Tindale and myself put it together,
with Ben and Martin working until about 2 am Friday.
centrepiece was a stand with the Vigilant model on it surrounded
by photos of its working days. We also had a piece of the scroll
from her bows together with the wheel of TID 164. This drew people
into our area which also contained the forward capstan from the
Vigilant, found in the bilges. Visitors commented on what good condition
it was in considering where it was found. Another photo arrangement
told the stories of the three boats, Vigilant, John H Amos and TID
164. Steve Rayfield brought along his detailed model of TID 164.
Ben had his CNC cutting machine and demonstrated its uses.
There was a steady stream of visitors, including Kent County Council
officers, who were very impressed with what we were trying to achieve
and our plans for the future. Our thanks to Kent Life Society for
looking after the Vigilant model overnight in their shed. Also to
the Pie mash and liquor stall which kept us going. Nicola Roesch from
Germany was converted to good British food (apart from jellied eels),
although the Bratwurst stall nearby was a bit too tempting!
in all a very successful 3 days, and a pleasant surprise for us
all when we received a certificate for 3rd best stand in our category,
(Geerings Award for the best exhibition by a charity or voluntary
organization). Although tiring, the weekend was most enjoyable.
Roll on next year, planning has already started!
would like to thank Davies and Eason of Faversham for the loan
of a giant tv screen for showing our videos and photographs.
John H Amos
crew member Tom Skelton, accompanied by son David, visited the boat
on his 80th birthday.
TID 164 at
Chatham Historic Dockyard Steam Festival
saw the annual Steam Festival at the historic dockyard. As
we have TID164 moored there it was an opportunity not to be
missed to drum up interest in the Trust's work.
We were not allowed to put up the large display and table
that we wanted to, however there was a photo board, and members
handing out leaflets sufficed.
chatted to many people and a few dared the long ladder climb down
to the TID for a closer look. (Why is it that on all occasions when
we have lots of visitors the tide is out?). An enjoyable weekend albeit
a bit cold, but good practice for the Kent County Show later in the
95 'Ernest Brown' Scrapped
tug 95 'Ernest Brown' took its final journey earlier this year.
The tug crossed the Channel in 1996 to attend a large sailing regatta
in Brest, but was destined never to leave. For years it stagnated
and rusted at Landévenec. On April 15th it was towed to a
quayside and lifted out of the water to be transported to the scrapyard
of Guyot Environment. Click here
for more photographs.
95 was constructed by Richard Dunston Ltd, Thorne, and launched on
28th May 1944. The vessel was one of a dozen completed by C. D. Holmes,
TID Model at
Arromarches Museum features a large model of the Mulberry Harbour,
including this TID tug, built by Alain Dechorgnat. Click here
for the museum website. Information supplied by Hervé
on the Move - "All's Well That Ends Well"
Customs Cruiser Vigilant has been in Faversham Creek since
her rescue by the Medway Maritime Trust.
When the owners of the quay where she has been berthed for
four years rented the building and the berth to a sail maker
the time had come for Vigilant to move. The facilities at
Sheerness are not yet ready so an interim berth has been
made available through the generous help of Marine and Industrial
Transmissions Ltd of Queenborough.
best laid plans ...
secured full insurance, including removal of wreck insurance,
permission from the Medway Harbour Master and an escort
from his official launch, escort from a vessel whose skipper
knows the creek, complying with stringent conditions imposed
by a marine surveyor, arranging the services of two approved
tugs and funding courtesy of the Vigilant Trust ... it all
tug master had to tow Vigilant stern first and then decided
it would be better to turn her.
This took precious time and by the time she had cleared other
vessels moored in the creek the tide was ebbing.
With the benefit of hindsight the tug master might have decided
to postpone the tow until the next day.
Instead he increased speed. The wash from his propellers pushed
Vigilant to one side and she went aground.
The two tugs combined were unable to pull her off on a falling
rescued the Trust volunteers from the Vigilant, who were there
to man the four pumps if required, the next several hours
of the night were spent collecting plywood from Sheerness.
This was to be fixed to the deck of Vigilant to waterproof
it and prevent the vessel filling up before she could float.
the while Vigilant was listing more and more.
Stevens said, "I am the eternal optimist but I thought
we had lost her. The probable outcome was that she would
end up upside down in the middle of the creek blocking the
fairway. With no possibility of getting a crane over the
marshy fields or up the creek the only outcome would have
been to chop her up."
tide had covered the deck about a foot deep at the critical
lowest point. Defying all logic and physics Vigilant then
decided to float again.
said that whoever you believe in was looking after us that night.
Others have said that Vigilant is telling us she wants to be
tow continued through the night, Vigilant yawing from side
to side up the Swale until she was finally tamed when the
two tugs were lashed alongside her. The temporary deep water
berth for the next two days was near the Coal Washer on the
Pump at Rushenden, Queenborough.
is now sitting comfortably, none the worse for her ordeal,
alongsde a tug at the MIT berth at Queenborough. She will
be there while the Trust design and build a portable cradle
which will transport her across Sheerness Docks to the land
behind Building 86 where restoration will start.
has been associated with HM Customs and Excise (now HM Revenue and
Customs) since the 18th Century, and 12 vessels have carried the name
continously for over 350 years.
to the Revenue
Cutter Association for permission to use their photographs.
1, based Harwich.........?-1774
Vigilant 2, based London .........1777-1805 The Commissioners
Vigilant 3, based London .........1797-1805 Patrol Cutter
Vigilant 4, based Dartmouth......1806-1819 (wrecked at Torbay)..
Vigilant 5, based Gravesend .....1824-1865
Vigilant 6, based Gravesend .....1865-1900
Vigilant 7, based Gravesend .....1902-1919
Vigilant 8, based Gravesend .....1919-1928 formerly HMS Esther
Vigilant 9, 1946-1960 formerly HMS Benbecular (1943)
Vigilant 10, 1965-1980 V class cutter
Vigilant 11, 1989-2003 Protector class
Vigilant 12, 2003-present Damen Stan Class
to the item in the Spring newsletter ...
missed the Spring 2010 Newsletter, please click here
So You Think
get off a ship and head for the nearest bar. Each one orders two whiskeys
and immediately downs them. They then order two more whiskeys a piece
and quickly throw them back. They then order another two apiece.
One of the men picks up one of his drinks, and, turning to the other
man, says, "Cheers!"
The other sailor turns to the first and says, "Hey, did you come
here to talk, or did you come here to drink?"
decided scrape and paint the hull of his boat. Not being sure how
much paint to buy and knowing that Paul, a close friend who had the
same size boat had recently painted his, he gave him a call. "Paul,"
he said, "How many gallons of paint did you buy for your boat?"
"Six," said Paul. John went out and bought six gallons of
paint but when the job was done he had two gallons left over! Calling
Paul again, "Paul," he said, "I bought six gallons
of paint for my boat, but I've got two gallons left over." "Yes,"
said Paul, "So did I."
it when you transport something by car its called shipment, but when
you transport something by ship it's called cargo?
to stay in touch?
wish to receive future issues of the Newsletter, please send an email
to Mike Toms
with the word 'newsletter' in the subject box.
Friends of the John H Amos
Friends of the Vigilant
Friends of TID 164
setting up all of the above to help raise funds.
If you would like to help by creating a monthly direct debit or standing
order for whatever sum you think you can afford then please contact
Mike Toms who will explain how easy it is! The government will also
add 25% on top of your donation through the Gift
can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
and help raise funds for the Trust
click on the link below for details