Trevor’s bid to make Tyne model shipshape

Pupils of Springfield Comprehesive, Jarrow, with a model of the Locksley Hall, built by Palmers of Hebburn.
Pupils of Springfield Comprehesive, Jarrow, with a model of the Locksley Hall, built by Palmers of Hebburn.

A dedicated model-maker is hoping for help in his bid to breathe new life into a “rundown” replica of a ship built on the Tyne.

Enthusiast Trevor Watson has been hunting high and low for plans or photographs of the SS Locksley Hall so that he can restore a model of the ship to its former glory.

So far, however, he has had little success in finding any images of the model, apart from a photo which recently ran in the Gazette.

As a result, he is appealing to readers for help, as he explains.

“The task I am faced with is to find details of this ship, launched at Palmers & Co Jarrow in 1889, yard number 585,” said Trevor.

“Two identical ships, Branksome Hall, build number 586, or Rufford Hall, build number 588, had the same appearance and would also be of use to me.

“I purchased the builder’s model, but it was in a semi-derelict state. This model has, in past, been the subject of exhaustive and very detailed searches for information, but it seems photos are very scarce.

“Records seem to state that the shipyard gifted this model, around 1933 to Springfield Comprehensive, Jarrow, which had it on display in the school entrance till around 1980 when, due to deterioration, it was sold.

“The Gazette took a photo of pupils gathered around the model, and this photo (which Mr Watson has since acquired) is of particular interest to me.

“The general layout of the ship is what I need, the details and any information relating to it, so any photo, even of poor quality, would be welcome.

“I presume the plans of Locksley Hall or her two sisters are long gone but you never know.

“The model’s previous owners searched a great many museums and archives 20 years ago, but without success, so I would appreciate any help, no matter how small.”

If anyone can help Trevor with his search then they should get in touch and I will pass on the details.

Meanwhile, another boat, the ex-Tyne Pilot boat Caer Urfa is also the subject of an inquiry from a reader, this time, Rob Denness.

Rob wrote: “Basically my brother and I bought the boat back in 2011/12 and sailed it back from Eastbourne (where the chap saw her in your article) to Shoreham where we kept her until April, 2017.

“After that we moved it again to Brighton marina where it has been to date.

“Over the time we’ve been in ownership, we have been gradually restoring her.

“In 2013 we took her out of the water where we had a professional shipwright do six weeks’ work to the hull.

“Since then we pulled her out again last August for some running repairs, repaint and relaunch. Over the winter we have shink-wrapped the top to let things dry out and so work can progress without breaks – it looks like a floating cocoon!

“We are hoping to restore the masts and finish the inside with view to putting her on the market (sadly).

“In the meantime, we want to find out more about her history from anybody that may remember her.

“She was built in Scotland in 1956 for The Tyne Pilot Authority and used in service right up until the late 1980s.”

Over the years the Gazette has made mention of the Caer Urfa (details of which can be found the on the paper’s website on www.shieldsgazete.com).

Apparently she was one of three cutters of “the early part of her era”. The others were the Guide and the Tertia.