Video: Five Vessels Launched Sideways (1938)

Five Ships Launched Sideways (1938)

This video was formerly a short cine film which would have been shown in cinemas across the UK.  That film was made in 1938 at the shipyard of Richard Dunston Limited on the bank of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal, Thorne, Yorkshire, England.

A brief report in the Hull Daily Mail of Wednesday, 29 June 1938 confirms the date of the launch:



      A launch took place today at the Thorne yard of Messrs Richard Dunston Ltd, of five motor barges designed and constructed to the order of Messrs Furley Limited, the Hull firm of canal and river carriers. They will be in service between Hull and Sheffield.
      The barges will be fitted by the builders with Diesel engines and will be completed at the rate of one per week.
      All five vessels were sent to the water in 35 minutes.

All vessels were later inspected and registered under the Canal Boats Registration Act with Thorne Registration Authority:

Balder registration number 181, registration date 20 Jul 1938.

Meden registration number 182, registration date 20 Jul 1938.

Noe registration number 183, registration date 3 Aug 1939.

Riccall registration number 184, registration date 20 Jul 1938.

Skell registration number 185, registration date 20 Jul 1938.

Just one month earlier, the Hull Daily Mail of Thursday 5 May 1938 reported that the motorised steel barge Sheaf  had been launched from Thorne for the same customer:


for Service Between Hull and South Yorkshire

     The launch took place at the shipyard of Messrs Richard Dunston Limited of Thorne, of the motor barge Sheaf.
     This is the second of seven boats which are being built for Furley and Company Limited of Hull and Sheffield, for trading between Hull docks and places served by the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Company’s system. The vessels are constructed throughout of British Lloyds-tested steel and are to be fitted with Diesel propulsion engines.
     The christening ceremony was performed by Mrs H Furley.

The newspaper report talks about Sheaf  being the “second of seven boats” but no record has yet been found relating to the earlier launch of a barge other than Sheaf. If you can help solve this mystery please get in touch using the contact form below.

 Publication permission for copyright images

We acknowledge that copyright images are being shown for which no explicit permission to publish has been given to this Society. Many of the digital images shown had originally been produced with the knowledge and permission of the now defunct Yorkshire Waterways Museum from original photographs deposited there for public display.  Following the closure of that organisation in 2019 and the break up of their collection those original photographs have disappeared and have effectively been lost to the public.

Through an incredible stroke of good fortune digital copies of those images were donated to this Society in 2022 allowing our volunteers to finally achieve the wishes of those photographers and collectors who had made the original donations.

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