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TILBURY CONTRACTING AND DREDGING COMPANY LIMITED

This is a fleet list of the Tugs belonging to The Tilbury Contracting and Dredging Co. Ltd.
Although not a ship handling concern, and in the early years a lighterage company, the larger tugs of this company performed a vital function, towing hopper barges loaded with dredged spoil from the docks and river to the dumping grounds in the Thames Estuary. The Company was formed in 1884. On 3-10-1938 they joined forces with W.H.J. Alexander Ltd, and Tate and Lyles Ltd to form Silvertown Services Ltd., transferring some of the smaller tugs to this operation. The dredging operations continued also and T. C. & D. traded until 1965, when they became part of the Westminster Dredging Co. Ltd. 
 
Last updated 3-9-2013
 
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Tilbury Contracting and  Dredging Company

 
Started by Edmund Hughes, a lighterman then working from Providence Wharf Greenwich. The Hughes family retained a controlling interest until 1927.  Edmund ran the firm until 1916 when he was succeeded as managing director by his son Arthur who carried on until 1946.  Edmund wanted to do something independent of the family business and saw a chance to make money from the new docks under construction at Tilbury by providing a service connecting it with the other London docks.  Having sold the idea to the docks company, he set up The London and Tilbury Lighterage Co. Ltd. in 1884, working out of the Dreadnought Wharf Greenwich, and built up a lighterage business carrying over 600,000 tons a year, much of which was sugar.  This lasted until 1938 when Tate & Lyle decided to run their own lighterage service and the company sold its interest and transferred their craft to the new business, Silvertown Services.  In the light of this the firm became Tilbury Contracting & Dredging.  W H J Alexander Ltd was the other party to the transaction and it transferred its lighterage business to concentrate on ship towage.
Mr Hughes had moved into other activities almost as soon as the lighterage work got going and by 1888 was transporting ballast and not long after had a contract with the river authority, later the PLA, to dispose of material dredged from the docks and river bed, an association that was to last for over seventy years.  The PLA had their own plant and did their own dredging, so Mr Hughes was able to gain experience without incurring immediate heavy expenses.  His firm also worked on some technical innovations such as armoured buckets and the pumping of dredged material through pipes to give it an advantage over rivals.  Having become known in the business and having acquired some plant, he got contracts to dredge privately owned berths on the Thames and at other British ports, where for example deep-water channels were needed for the large passenger liners then under construction.
As the company had no sea-going tugs at this time tugs were chartered from, amongst others, the Empire Towing Co. and the Dominion was used on the Clyde, the Mersey and at Southampton, even though there was a rival dredging firm based at Southampton.  The Empire Towing Co. itself had something of a reputation in dredging and similar activities and their boat Commonwealth had been as far afield as Narvik.
To run ahead, The Empire Towing Co. disposed of the Dominion in 1908 and Mr Hughes decided he should have some large tugs of his own.  The result was the Danube 11 of 1910, followed later by the 111, 1V, V and V1, at the time the largest tugs on the Thames.  The slightly smaller V11 and V111 arrived in 1946.  The first tug to carry the Danube name was initially engaged in lighterage, especially the movement of large, insulated meat barges and her first master, Captain Smith, was an up-river man who had learnt his trade under the bridges.  The tug was later used to handle mud hoppers.  The larger tugs were in the hands of men with sea-going experience and the first captain of the Danube 11 was Captain Mears, succeeded in 1913 by Harry Jewiss, while the first master of the Danube111 was Gus Couves, who was senior master until his retirement in 1930, when Harry Jewiss took over the 111, which was regarded as the best in the fleet with excellent appointments, including a bathroom, until he too retired in 1939.  The Danube11 had a very busy time in the First World War being involved in the hunt for the Koenigsberg, when monitors were towed to the Rufiji river in East Africa to sink the German raider, working in the Dardanelles and Persian Gulf, working around the British coast as a rescue tug, when she salvaged among others the Haverford, finally being sent to Archangel, not being returned to her owners until 1920.  The tugs were busy again in World War Two, with the V1, for example, working around the British coast and at Arromanches, and the 111 and V on the examination service based at Southend.  It was while on this service that the 111 was mined and sunk on 13th October 1940.
On the dredging side contracts were obtained for work beyond the British Isles and one with the French Government to divert and improve the Loire between Nantes and St Nazaire lasted from 1909 to 1914.  This added greatly to the value of the port of Nantes during the war and thereafter provided work for tugboat companies, Les Abeilles becoming important there.  One of the firm's suction dredgers was named La Loire in recognition of this work.  There was also more work around the British coast, in particular a contract for improvements to Aberdeen harbour that lasted for some four years in the 1920's.
During the First World War much of the firm's work was for the British Government and this was also the case in the Second World War with the difference that most of the firm's plant had been requisitioned and the work was managing contracts using other plant requisitioned by the government and made available to them for the period of the contracts.  The work included clearing ports and harbours during and after the war and planning proposed clearances in South East Asia, these last being left in abeyance when the war ended.  The Second World War had intervened before the proceeds from the lighterage business could be re-invested and any plans were put on hold.
Foreign work had grown between the wars with contracts in Canada and South America and in 1930 the firm formed a company jointly with Egyptian interests for work at Haifa, which led to further contracts that kept them in and around the Nile Delta until 1950.  When this ended the firm joined an Anglo- Dutch outfit, Overseas Dredging, that managed non-European contracts in the Arabian Gulf, India, Pakistan and East Africa between 1953 and 1967.  On the home front the firm became involved in rubbish disposal and land reclamation after the war as bombed areas were cleared which led it into construction and civil engineering.  Work for the PLA, including dredging, resumed, but on a reduced scale and was run down over a number of years before ceasing in 1964.  As the firm had little dredging equipment they had joined forces with another member of Overseas Dredging, Westminster Dredging, that had vessels available, and this joint venture continued until 1965 when Westminster took over this side of the business, reflected in the change in colours from red and yellow to yellow and blue.  Tilbury re-organised as a holding company whose subsidiaries engaged in a range of quarrying, civil engineering and management activities operating world-wide.
 Kindly supplied by Kevin Haydon.
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 FLEET LIST

TUGS

DANUBE
 
Photo B. Hunt colln.

Built 1886 by D. J. Dunlop and Co., Port Glasgow. YN181. L80' B18.1'. D9.8'. 93grt. 70hp 3cylTE 15"x23"x35"x24"s 150psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1886. Disposed 1915. Scrapped 1928. Official No. 91938.

1886 Launched by Mrs Dunlop. 1886 Delivered to T.C. & D Co. Ltd, London. 1915 Sold to R. E. V. James Ltd., Southampton. 1916 Sold to George Alder, Middlesbro. 1928 Scrapped by G. Broad, Sunderland.
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DANUBE II
 
 Photo K Haydon colln.

Built 1910 by Philip and Son Ltd., Dartmouth. YN368. L100.2'. B25.6'. 227grt. 150hp 3cylTE 16"x24"x40" 27" stroke 180psi steam engine by Earles Ltd., Hull.. Acquired 1910. Disposed 1935. Scrapped 1962. Official No 129105. Call sign MDJW.

1910 Delivered to T.C. & D. Co Ltd., London. 1914 Req for war duties, renamed Danube . On Army duties in the Dardanelles and Persian Gulf. Transferred to Admiralty control and assisted  a Monitor through the Mediterranean enroute to the Rufigi River delta, East Africa, in order to destroy the German raider Konigsberg. Returned later to UK and served as a rescue tug, including the rescue of the American ship Haverford, 300 miles out in the Atlantic 27 to 29-6-1917. 7-12-1917 Whilst towing a battle practice target from Portsmouth to Scapa Flow, under command of Lt. Harry Jewiss RNR, the target took a sudden sheer to port and struck and sank the Norwegian steamer Norona, which was anchored in the Thames Estuary. Later served at Archangel before returning to the Thames in 1920 and renamed Danube II. 1935 Sold to Falmouth Towage Co. Ltd., renamed Norgrove. 23-12-1941 Req by Admiralty. 7-7-1945 Returned to owner. 1959 Owners Falmouth Towing Co. Ltd., renamed St. Eval. 1962 Scrapped by T. W. Ward Ltd., Briton Ferry.
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DANUBE III
 

Built 1924 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd., Selby. L110.2'. B27.6'. D12.2'. 234grt. 3cylTE 15"x25"x42"x30"s 190psi steam engine by C. D. Holmes Ltd., Hull. ON147715 Callsign MLZY. Acquired 1924. Lost 13-10-1940.
 
1924 Delivered to T.C. & D. Co Ltd., London. 28-8-1939 Req by RN for examination service. Fitted with 1x12pdr gun. Lost 13-10-1940 mined off Sheerness.2.5 cables 305 degrees from outer bar buoy.Ten crew and one marine gunner lost.
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DANUBE IV
 
Built 1927 by Alexander Hall and Co. Ltd, Aberdeen. YN604. L110.4'. B27'6". D12'2". 239grt. 4nrt. 830ihp TE3cyl 15.5"x25"x42"x30"s 190psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1927. Disposed 1968. Scrapped 1968. Official No. 149816. Call sign MNTY.

5-1927 Delivered to T.C.& D. Co Ltd., London. 12-1950 Converted to oil fired boiler. 1968 Scrapped by Scrappinco SA, Boom, Belgium.
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DANUBE V
 
Photo Ray's colln.
Photo J Tiley colln.
Photo F Cable colln

Built 1935 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd., Selby. YN1144. L110.6'. B27.6'. D12.2'. 241grt. 1nrt. 900ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x26"x42"x30"s 200psi steam engine by C. D. Holmes Lrd., Hull. Acquired 1935. Disposed 1968. Scrapped 1968. Official No. 164524. Call sign MKLK.

20-7-1935 Launched. 9-1935 Delivered to T. C. & D. Co Ltd., London. 3-1937 Converted to oil fired boiler. 1939 Req by RN for examination service. Pennant No W36. 30-6-1944 Arrived Southampton assisting towing of PLUTO conuns from Tilbury. 7-1944 Assisted in laying of PLUTO across English Channel. 1945 Returned to owners. 1965 Owners became Westminster Dredging Co. Ltd., London. 1968 Scrapped by Scrappinco SA, Boom, Belgium.
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DANUBE VI
 
Photo C Perrier
Photog unknown.

Built 1935 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd., Selby. YN1145. L110.6'. B27.6'. D12.2'. 241grt. 1nrt. 900ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x26"x42"x30"s 200psi. steam engine by C. D. Holmes Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1935. Disposed 1968. Scrapped 1968. Official No. 164540. Call sign. MKMF.

31-8-1935 Launched. 10-1935 Delivered to T. C. & D. Co. Ltd., London. 2-1937 Converted to oil fired boiler. 8-1939 Req by RN for examination service. 6-6-1944 Under COTUG control departed Littlehampton towing three ammunition barges for Normandy beachhead.  20-6-1944 Working off Normandy following  D-day landings. 04-1945 Returned to owners. 1965 Owners became Westminster Dredging Ltd., London. 1968 Scrapped by Scrappingco SA, Boom, Belgium.
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DANUBE VII
 
Photo R. Stanford colln.

Built 1946 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd., Selby. YN1312. L110.6'. B27.6'. D12.2'. 237grt. 900ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x26"x42"x30"s steam engine by C. D. Holmes Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1946. Disposed 1969. Scrapped 1987. ON180857. Callsign MMZV.
 
1946 Delivered to TC&D Ltd. 1965 Owners became Westminster Dredging Ltd., London. 1969 Sold to Soc. Anon. Italiana Lavori Marrittimi, Italy, renamed Giove Sailem. 1987 Owners Acc Ferriere Palermo Spa., Italy. 24-10-1987 Broken up at Palermo.
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DANUBE VIII
 
 
Photo R Stanford colln.
 
Built 1946 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd, Selby. YN1313. L118.3'. B26.6'. D12.2'. 237grt. 900ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x26"x42"x30"s oil fired steam engine by C. D. Holmes Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1946. Disposed 1968. Scrapped 1968. Official No. 180863. Call sign GMYG.

Delivered 5-1946 to T.C. & D. Co. Ltd., London. 1965 Owners became Westminster Dredging Co. Ltd., London. 28-9-1965 Whilst towing a hopper near South Oaze Buoy in fog the hopper collided with and sank the sludge carrier Sir Joseph Rawlinson. 9-1968 Scrapped by Scrappingco NV, Boom, Belgium.
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K.B.S.
 
Built 1892 by G. Rennie and Co., Greenwich. YN436. L65'. B15.2'. D7.7'. 46grt. 8nrt. 200ihp 2cyl compound steam engine by Plenty and Sons, Newbury. Acquired 1897. Disposed 1926. Scrapped 1933. ON99070.
 
1892 Delivered to Robert, Edmund and Wilfred Bevan, London. Operated for Knight Bevan and Sturges, Northfleet Cement Works, Northfleet, Kent. 1897 Owners London and Tilbury Lighterage, Contracting and Dredging Co Ltd. 1905 Owners became TC&D Co Ltd, London. 1926 Sold to C A Etheredge Ltd, London. 1933 Scrapped.
 
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LADY SYBIL
 
Built 1912 by Hepple and Co., South Shields. YN628. L76'. B20.7'. D9.7'. 97grt. 400ihp 2cyl 16"x34"x24"s compound steam engine by builder. ON135206.

1912 Delivered to unknown owners named Anne. 4-1913  Sold  to Arthur J. Humphrey & Henry Grey Jr Ltd.,  London renamed Lady Sybil. 15-8-1914 Req by War Office. 19-9-1914 Returned to owners. 4-10-1914 Req by War Office, based Cherbourg and Boulogne. 30-4-1919 Returned to owners.  1936 Sold to Tilbury Contracting & Dredging Co Ltd., London. 1939 Req by Admiralty for Naval Control Service.  1944 Returned to owners.  1954 Sold to J H Piggott and Sons Ltd., Grimsby. 6-1964 Scrapped by T W Ward Ltd., Inverkeithing.
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LEE
 
Steam Launch Tug

189? Sold to Gaselee and Son Ltd. Used for carrying 50 eel boxes on deck  and towing Dutch eel boats from Thameshaven to Billingsgate. 1896 Sold, Owner not Known. 1900 Sold to J. Constant, London. (Brokers)
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MARK LANE

Built 1923 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd., Selby. L74.6'. B19.1'. D9.3'. 81grt. 2cylC 15.5"x33" 24" stroke coal fired steam engine by C. D. Holmes Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1923. Disposed 1963. Scrapped 1963. Official No 147487.
 
1923 Delivered to T.C. & D. Co. Ltd., London. 6-3-1963 Arrived at  T. W. Ward Ltd., Grays, Essex, for scrapping. Yielded 139 tons of iron and steel scrap.
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MINCING LANE
 
Photo K Haydon colln.
Presence of the life boat aft would seem to indicate that photo was taken during delivery voyage.

As Silverlane. Photo Ray's colln.
 
Built 1925 by Alexander Hall Ltd., Aberdeen. YN596. L77.5'. B19.6'. D9.4'. 90grt. 37nrt. 76nhp 3cylTE 12"x20"x34"x24"s 185psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1925. Disposed 1966. Scrapped 197? Official No 148664.
 
5-8-1925 Launched. 1925 Delivered to T. C. & D. Co Ltd., London. 1938 Transferred to Silvertown Services Lighterage Ltd., London, renamed Silverlane. 31-12-1939 On RN service with Thames Balloon Barrage. 12-11-1940 To RN examination service. 7-2-1946 to 23-5-1946 laid up. 1954 Transferred to Silvertown Services Lighterage Ltd. 1956 Rebuilt and re-engined with 480bhp 8cyl Crossley diesel engine. 1966 Sold to Flower and Everett Ltd, London 1967 Renamed Bankside. 1966 Sold to Purser Plant Ltd (Michael J Purser), Nyes Wharf, Greenwich renamed Pursuers. 1967 Sold to South Heighton Engineering Co Ltd, Newhaven. 1967 Sold to Land Reclamation Co Ltd, London. 1970 Sold to George Ephraim Bullas, Gravesend. 197? Sold to A. B. King, Gravesend.  197? Scrapped by Mayer, Newman, Erith.
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MOSELLE

Built 1887 By D. J. Dunlop, Port Glasgow. YN184. L70.2'. B16.1'. D9.4'.  71grt. 50nhp 3cylTE 12"x18"x30"x22"s steam engine by builder. Acquired 1887 (1918). Disposed 1915 (1924). Scrapped 1934. ON94323.
 
9-8-1887 Launched by Miss Dunlop. 1887 Delivered to London & Tilbury Lighterage Co., London. 1905 Owners London & Tilbury Dredging Co., London. 1915 Owners R.E.V. James Ltd., Southampton. 1917 Owners James Dredging, Towage & Transport Co., Southampton. 1918 Owners Tilbury Contracting and Dredging Co., London. 1924 Owners Clements Knowling & Co., Brentford. 1934 Scrapped.
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PULLWELL

Built 1954 by Werf Voorwaarts, West Graftdijk, Holland. YN375. L19.90m. B5.03m. D2.04m. 49grt. 300bhp 400rpm 6cyl Industrie 4D7 diesel engine No 4080. Acquired 1962. Disposed 1975.
 
1954 Delivered to G. Gommers Scheepvaart Mij Lerna, Dordrecht, named Gerard Constance. 1962 Owners T. C. & D. Co., London, renamed Pullwell. 1964 Owners Westminster Dredging Co. Ltd., London. 1975 Owners Frank Pearce Tugs Ltd., Poole. 1983 Owners Mayhew, Bristol. 1983 Owners M & M Maintugs Ltd. Torquay, renamed Mainpull. 1986 Owners Main Tow Ltd, Torquay. 1989 Owner J. Sullivan, London. 2000 Owner M. Baker, Southampton, renamed Susie B. 2005 Laid up at Southampton.
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RHINE

Built 1887 by D. J. Dunlop, Port Glasgow. YN183. L70.1'. B16.1'. D9.4'.  70grt. 40nhp 3cylTE 12"x18"x30"x22"s steam engine by builder. Acquired 1887. Disposed 1918. Scrapped 1918.
 
3-1887 Launched. 1887 Delivered to London & Tilbury Lighterage Co., London. 1905 Owners Tilbury Contracting & Dredging Co., London. 1918 Scrapped.
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RIDGWAY

Built 1896 by J. T. Eltringham, South Shields. YN187. L88'. B19.1'. D10.4'. 112grt. 1nrt. 750ihp 66nhp 2cyl compound 17.5"x36" 24" stroke steam engine by Hepple and Co., South Shields. Acquired 1916. Disposed 1919. Scrapped 1946. Official No 105894.
 
10-1896 Delivered to Gamecock Steam Tug Co., London, named Condor. 1899 Owners Da Costa Herdeiros, Portugal. 1915 Owners R. E. James Ltd., Southampton, renamed Ridgway. 8-1-1915 to 11-10-1915 Req for Admiralty service. 1916 Owners Tilbury Contracting and Dredging Co., London. 1919 Owners John Cooper, Belfast. 1927 Owners Fowey Tug and Salvage Co. Ltd., Fowey. 1928 Renamed Penleath. 1941 Owners Radcliffe Towing and Salvage Co., Ilfracombe. 1942 Owners Cargo Fleet Iron Co. Ltd., Middlesbrough. 1946 Scrapped at Dunston-on-Tyne.
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SEETHING LANE

Built 1937 by Alexander Hall Ltd., Aberdeen. YN662. L78.1'. B21.1'. D7.6'. 88grt. 1nrt. 500bhp @ 220rpm 4cyl British Polar M44M diesel engine. 18bhp Russell Newbury auxiliary diesel engine driving Reavell air compressor and Hamworthy general service pump through clutches.  Acquired 1937. Disposed 1966. Scrapped 1973. Official No. 165474.
 
Launched 4-1937. 1937 Delivered to T. C. & D. Co., London. 1938 Transferred to Silvertown Services Lighterage Ltd., London, renamed Silvermark. 1966 Sold to W. E. White and Sons, London, renamed John White. 1973 Scrapped by T. W. Ward Ltd., Grays, Essex.
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SOUTHAMPTON
 
 
Photo RGR Colln.

Built 1910 by Philip and Son Ltd., Dartmouth. YN369. L100.2'. B25.6'. D12.4'. 227grt. 3nrt. 63nhp 3cylTE 15"x24"x40"x27"s steam engine by Earles and Co Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1910. Disposed 1934. Scrapped 1967. Official No. 129132. Call sign HTCD later MDPJ.
 
9-1910 Delivered to T.C. & D. Co., London. 1919 Req for RN service, renamed Hampden. Served in Mediterranean. 1924 Returned to owners, renamed Southampton. 3-2-1926 Rescued 20 crew and the pilot from the sinking SS Marcato following a five vessel collision in fog near Barrow Deep buoy. 1934 Sold to John Cooper Ltd., Belfast. 1967 Demolished by Hammond Lane Foundry, Dublin.
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WATER LANE

Built 1929 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd., Selby. YN1038. L77.6'. B19.6'. D9.5'. 95grt. 461ihp 3cylTE 12"x21"x34"x24"s 185psi steam engine by C. D. Holmes Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1929. Disposed 1960. Scrapped 1960. Official No 161219.

14-1-1929 Launched. 4-1929 Delivered to T. C. & D. Co., London. 1963Scrapped by T. W. Ward Ltd., Grays, Essex.

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