Harry belongs to: The Coble and Keelboat Society
Harry grew up on the Lawe Top in South Shields. He served an apprenticeship on the tugboats and worked on the Titan Crane. Harry is a member of the Coble and Keelboat Society.
Harry was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 31 January 2006. The interview took place at South Shields Museum and lasted 1 hour, 20 minutes and 15 seconds.
Cabin boy's routine
"The first job I got was on a tug called the Tynesider- she was an ex-war boat tug"
The first job I got was on a tug called the Tynesider- she was an ex-war boat tug. A pretty big tug, she was. I joined it on the Monday morning on the ferry buoys.
And the first job I got was scrub the fore cabin, scrub the skipper’s cabin, polish the brass, and that was for the first few days, and you were there until you’ve finished. Sometimes you were there a week. You would go aboard on the Monday morning and you might tow two or three ships in that day because the work was tremendous then.
And after about a day or so, they would put you ashore and give you names of the different places where the different crews live, and you would go to their houses. And their wives would have their food made up, their cigarettes and their pot pies, their potatoes and everything because you would, what we call grub together- we didn’t carry cooks, there was just a galley boy, so if you wanted you took your own bacon aboard, or whatever, for yourself if you wanted if you were working all night, tomorrow morning you would go in the galley and fry yourself a bacon sandwich, or bacon and egg and that. And your wife would have made a pudding- a steak and kidney pie or something like that with gravy and peas. So that when you went on the galley on some of these tugs there would be little jugs of gravy and pans of tatties.
If you work the next night you were away ashore again, go to the house, sometimes I went on- sometimes I think we went on 80-90-100 hours a week, all times, sometimes we’d finish at 11 o’clock at night and you had to be back on board at four o’clock in the morning, and you got paid off for the five hours. There were no bonuses or anything like that- you just worked basically 24 hours a day. But the galley boys- the tugs were immaculate, 90% of the tugs were immaculate.
Harry has 24 memories in the memorynet:
Harry's memories with a Change theme:
Harry's other memories:
- Joining the tug boats
- The role of the tug boats
- Cabin boy's routine
- The galley
- The foy boats and skulling
- Value of the tug boat apprenticeship
- Routines on the tug boats
- Working on the Titan Crane
- Coble smells – black varnish
- Foy boatmen
- Sculling a foy boat
- The Tynesider
- The Joffre
- The crew of the Tynesider
- The Titan crane
- The Titan crane at work
- Loading coal
- The crew of the Titan crane
- The Titan Crane
- The Mary Young
- The Royal Diadem II