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.
Routines on the tug boats
"I enjoyed the steamboats, me, like. You know, in the summertime, you know, there’d be towing ships to Newcastle Quay, the river was alive"
I enjoyed the steamboats, me, like. You know, in the summertime, you know, there’d be towing ships to Newcastle Quay, the river was alive, the ship yards, you know, the tugs. You enjoy, you had a routine on the tugs. You’d done, like I say, you’d done the job, plus the crew had their jobs, I mean, the tugs were what they called surgied down once a week, washed from top to bottom, funnels right down to the deck, although they were coal burners. I mean, every other week you went for bunkers, what they call your coal, filled up with coal so the whole tug would be covered in black soot. Now we washed down, that was all hands, all hands washed the whole tug down.
And on a Friday, all the deck hands and crew bar the lad would go down the engine room, and all the engine room would be cleaned and emery papered, cylinder heads were all polished. I mean, some of the old steam trawlers, the chief engineers on the cylinder heads they would take the nuts off and take the home and their wives would polish them up so when they were at sea they would swap them around.
I was on one tug, the Tynesider, she was immaculate. When you went into the engine room, the chief had, I don’t know what you call it, you know when the grain, to make it look like woodwork, he had the columns on the engines and everything grained like that, everything to look like wood. The skylights and…apart from you going down the engine room to clean, you had to, you couldn’t just walk through the engine room and sort of, you know, that was chief’s, you didn’t get near unless, I mean, you went to the back of the engine and to the front- it was immaculate. They were polishing them all the time. You got the odd tug boats which were scruffy buggers, like, but I would say 99% of them were immaculate.
Harry has 24 memories in the memorynet:
Harry's memories with a Traditions theme:
- The foy boats and skulling
- Coble smells – black varnish
- Foy boatmen
- Sculling a foy boat
- The Mary Young
- The Royal Diadem II
Harry's other memories:
- Joining the tug boats
- The role of the tug boats
- Cabin boy's routine
- The galley
- Progress through the tug boats
- Value of the tug boat apprenticeship
- Routines on the tug boats
- Leaving the tug boats and moving to the Titan Crane
- Working on the Titan Crane
- 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