Thursday, July 24, 2008

24th July 2008 A fine Museum, and a not so fine FOG

We woke in a mist which cleared quickly, so as we needed some shopping we went down into Hartlepool and the supermarkets, then across the busy dual carriageway to visit the free Museum of Hartlepool, which featured among other things the old humber ferry Wingfield Castle: before the Humber Bridge this paddle steamer used to ply between corporation pier and the New Holland Pier and Railway Station on the opposite bank.
First view is from the dockside looking from the front of the ship: what has changed is the colour scheme, if memory serves the Hull used to be white with a blue band at the water line, and of course there were two sister ships, the Wingfield and the Tattersall Castle.
Our first view aboard is from aft looking towards the bridge:this is the area where we used to park our cycles when on a ride to Market Drayton in Lincolnshire, and it used to be packed with pedestrians looking forward to picking up a train at New Holland Station, taking then either to Cleethorpes or Skegness.
In the Summer Time there used to be evening cruises along the river as far as Grimsby, and Jazz dances called "Riverboat Shuffles" where top line bands like Acker Bilk, Chris Barber and Kenny Ball would entertain a happy (and often drunk!) appreciative audience.
The bar was hugely popular and a trail of bottles (no cans then) followed the ship for miles!
The bridge itself was of course "off limits" so it was nice to be able to go up there at last!
and enjoy the splendid view forrard:you can see how wide the boat was, and it made a great open air dance hall!
From the Bow looking back looks equally good and brings back happy memories of jazz dances of long ago.
Late autumn each year there was a memorial service for those lost at sea during the world wars, a voyage that actually took the boat a mile or two out to sea past Spurn Head: this was pretty rough and a lot of the passengers were glad when the time came to cast the memorial wreaths on the sea and head back to the relatively smooth waters of the Humber.
While we were enjoying ourselves a couple of stokers were hard at it feeding the three boiler furnaces in the bowels of the ship.
Ever popular was the view through these side windows into the engine room where you could watch the big ands and connecting rods rise in the slots between the divisions in the floor, and the engineer in charge used a long pole to flip open the oil reservoirs on top of the big ends, and use a long nosed oil can to spray some lubricant into them as they rose to the top of the stroke.
Quite often the paddle steamer would run aground on a sand bar in the middle of the river (strange but only on warm summer days) and the bar would open till the next tide..........
Ah me, oh so long ago it seems now...
Last picture is a rear view of the Frigate Trimcomalee, the second oldest ship still afloat: we are going to see that on another visit.
We had intended to go for a run up the coast, but the dreaded sea fog closed in, so back to the caravan and a rest write our postcards, and a good read were the order of the day after that.

1 comment:

cathleon said...

Hi Tony enjoying the blog i used to live in Seaton carew in the 1960s a nice place have a nice hoiday