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The Shieldhall came into Falmouth docks recently for a bit of a refit and it sparked a memory which rather contradicts the facts as given about the vessel which now does chartering on the Solent.
The Shieldhall's potted history on the website says that it was built to carry raw sewage from Glasgow and to dump it down the estuary in some unfortuneate location. It also says that it was always intended to carry passengers on 'doon the watter' type jollies.
Now here we come to the conflicts. I cannot imagine any kind of Glaswegian who would have contemplated a day trip on a ship which stank of raw sewage no matter how impecunious he might be.
I spent a lot of my time as a kid wandering around the docks (especially the George V and Queens Docks) in the days before 'Elf and Safety' and excessive security - I suppose it would have been the late 50s and very early 60s. I'm sure I can remember the Shieldhall, painted in grubby grey and a sort of reddish maroon colour, berthed there. But the thing is that I am certain she was actually a dredger although whether she was of the continuous bucket or scoop type I cannot recall. The other thing is that I'm sure she used to berth beside a companion vessel maybe called the Elderslie which might have been the necessary hopper.
The other strange thing stated by the website is that they say that the Shieldhall was built in 1954 which would have made her brand spanking new when I remember her and that is certainly not the case.
I suppose there must have been two Shieldhalls with the one I remember being scrapped before the current Shieldhall took to the water. But I cannot find any definite trace of this.
Perhaps someone here might remember the Shieldhall that I recall and save me from thinking I'm going senile?
Shieldhall and her compatriot Dalmarnock were indeed built specifically for the transportation of Glasgow's sewage from the upper reaches all the way downriver until just past the Wee Cumbrae Lighthouse, whence they discharged their valuable cargo. They were known locally as "the banana boats". They were brightly painted in the livery which Shieldhall still has, and were well known for providing pleasant sailings downriver to the civilized part of the Clyde, having a wel[ appointed lounge and seating accommodation. They were always meticulously well maintained, with immaculate paintwork, and frequently the passengers (most of whom were employed by, or were retired employees of Glasgow City) could be see enjoying the fresh air of the Lower Clyde as the ships proceeded up and down.
But I'm still sure I can remember Shieldhall as a dredger. I have a very vivid memory of her scruffy working paintwork which certainly doesn't correspond with your description.
But your description that the passengers on the day trips were Glasgow City employees makes sense because I'm sure that nobody would have paid to endure the rank smell of sewage which must have pervaded even the most well appointed passenger accommodation.
Surely there must have been two Shieldhalls.
There WERE two vessels called SHIELDHALL :
S.S. SHIELDHALL built in April 1910 and served the Glasgow Corporation until October 1955
S.S. SHIELDHALL built in October 1955 and served the Glasgow Corporation and Strathclye Regional Council until 1977
The former vessel (O.N. 129487) was built at Dalmuir by the William Beardmore shipyard.
The latter vessel (O.N. 185030) was built at Renfrew by the Lobnitz & Company shipyard.
Each were steam ships with twin-screw steam reciprocating main engines and auxiliaries.
The former vessel was withdrawn from service in October 1955 when the replacement vessel came on the scene, and was sent to Merssrs Smith & Houston of Port Glasgow for demolition. For this transient period she had been renamed the SHIELDHALL II in order to release the name for the new ship.
The new SHIELDHALL was launched on 7th July 1955 and completed in October of that year and took over the service.
I well recall the 'doon the watter' excursions enjoyed gratefully by the old folks courtesy of Glasgow Corporation. I served my apprenticeship in one of the many shipyards the SHIELDHALL passed on her way down the river each day and can remember the banter and calls across the River Clyde as the shipyard workers did their best to wind up the oldies with a variety of risque comments that could only emanate from the hard cases of the Clyde! The old folks loved it though, and laughed at the exchanges as they proceeded downriver.
Au contraire, there was never any nasty smells involved, that ship was kept immaculate, and above deck was almost yacht-like, brasses gleaming, woodwork stained and varnished and decks you could almost eat your food of. It might sound incongruous ...... but that's how it was.
[As for Mr Watson's comment - 'to the civilized part of the Clyde' - pay no attention, his mind is addled and he in any case is a relative newcomer to the lower (inferior) Clyde area having moved there from the upper (superior) Clyde area. Poor soul, he suffers from selective amnesia ........... ]
I am surprised though because I don't recall the Shieldhall II so I must have been hanging around the docks when I was 7 or so! Can you imagine doing that nowadays?Angus Mac Kinnon wrote: The former vessel was withdrawn from service in October 1955 when the replacement vessel came on the scene, and was sent to Merssrs Smith & Houston of Port Glasgow for demolition. For this transient period she had been renamed the SHIELDHALL II in order to release the name for the new ship.
It's still very hard for me to imagine, no matter how much cleaning and polishing was done on board, that the smell could ever be vanquished. The smell of sewage has a clingy nature.Au contraire, there was never any nasty smells involved, that ship was kept immaculate, and above deck was almost yacht-like, brasses gleaming, woodwork stained and varnished and decks you could almost eat your food of. It might sound incongruous ...... but that's how it was.
Oh well, thank you so much for clearing it up for me. I'm looking forward now to seeing Shieldhall leave Falmouth docks next month. I may even get close enough for a whiff of steam.
The relatively odour-free nature of the vessel is all to do with the pre-treatment at Shieldhall Sewage works before it is pumped on board, and the methodology in pumping / transferring precludes the free release of obnoxious odours, in addition to which the tanks were well sealed off.
A visit to a modern sewerage / effluent works will evidence how far technology has come, but the main evidence of how harmless the experience was to the elderly passengers is that there were never any complaints - a large corporation like the Glasgow Corporation would have to have cast-iron guarantees in that regard and inspections and checks would be regular.
Hope I have convinced you
Ah well that certainly explains it. When I was doing my own research into the Shieldhall, I saw somewhere that the sewage it was carrying was of the raw variety and hence my doubts about the passenger day tripping. My childhood wanderings did not include the sewage works so I was unaware of the pre-treatment of the sludge. And my vision of open sludge tanks must have come from looking at the open holds of the hopper barges.Angus Mac Kinnon wrote: The relatively odour-free nature of the vessel is all to do with the pre-treatment at Shieldhall Sewage works before it is pumped on board, and the methodology in pumping / transferring precludes the free release of obnoxious odours, in addition to which the tanks were well sealed off.
Thank you once again.
Deck view, and as you can see. Very smart and one could wander at leisure where ever.
The hopper alongside is not at all familiar and neither are the ones of Dalmarnock which I assume is from a later era than my times.
Nevertheless they are great pics and I'm very glad to have seen them.
Incidently try searching our new (clydeships.co) database under the ships names you recall. Many now have photographs added.
eg old Dalmarnock with the tall funnel.
As previously stated all sewage was treated and scented before loading, it looked similar to dark coloured water.
There would be a slight odour around the sewage plant on hot summer days but none whatsoever on board.
Passengers would be carried maybe twice a week in the summer months and they would arrange for their own caterers, you couldn't beat a mug of Shieldhall's own Bovril the best for miles around!! it had it's own distinctive taste.
Outside the heads (excuse the pun) a wide sweep at slow speed would be maintained and on a signal from the ships whistle valves were opened to disharge the load.
2nd. Mate was the helmsman from the berth to the Cloch Lt. and vise versa.
All was spotless and shining on board, the vessels being very well maintained. On saying that I wouldn't go swimming around the Fairlie area at that time.
Colin Campbell wrote:Just struck me....Clyde Trust did have a dredger called SHIELDHILL built early 1900s and lasted into 1950s.
HILL not HALL so you spot on. Colin
Well done, Colin, I think you have solved it - Nicodemus must have been referring to the old steamship bucket dredger S.S. SHIELDHILL that went for breaking at Messrs W.H. Arnott Young & Coy in May 1959. Go to top of the class - again !
Aaaah yes thank you Colin. That photo takes me right back. And I remember the Flying Merlin too. Also, not there, but present in my memory is the Flying Drake and several other Flyings....... The older ones had tall funnels and the newer ones short squat funnels.Colin Campbell wrote:Heres an old photograph taken in the Queens Dock, with the stern of a hopper in the old Clyde Trust colour scheme.This you will remember.
But I'm a bit confused now. Are we saying that the Dredger Shieldhall that I remember was actually the Shieldhill? I suppose it might have been - we are talking of my memories of over 50 yrs ago after all. But surely Shieldhill is not a district of Glasgow?
Are you REALLY sure it was Bovril?riverman wrote:you couldn't beat a mug of Shieldhall's own Bovril the best for miles around!! it had it's own distinctive taste.
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