Santa Maria on the River Tees c1927

t15372 t15373I’ve recently been given this postcard of The Santa Maria, I was intrigued as to why it had been produced as a postcard, I did some research and found that it, and it’s sister ship Santa Barbara, were the first motor driven cruise liners built to sail under the American flag, all previous liners were steam powered, it had twin Diesel engines.

It was built by The Furness Shipbuilding Company of Haverton Hill for The Grace Shipping Line of New York City, it was launched in 1927 and went into service in 1928, it’s route was from New York to Valparaiso in South America, calling in to a number of other ports along the Western coast of South America.

During the Second World War the US navy used it as a support vessel and it figured in the rescue of American sailors from the USS Lexington in the Pacific, after the war it was used to transport immigrants from America to Australia then later it was sold to an Italian shipping line and used to transport Italian Immigrants to America, it was finally scrapped in 1966. A long, diverse and interesting career of a locally built ship.

The poster advertising the inaugural sailing of the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, isn’t directly connected with Stockton but it’s interesting none the less.

Photograph courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Londonderry Bridge, Durham Road c2016

As part of the Lustrum Beck flood alleviation project the demolition of Stockton’s oldest bridge, Londonderry Bridge on Durham Road, Stockton is well underway. The existing bridge has been replaced with a single span structure which will allow water to flow more freely and reducing the risk of flooding in the area. Completion is scheduled for winter 2016/17.

Photographs taken by Tony Flynn, during March, July and November 2016.

Transporter Control Cabin in 1969

t15185A view of the Transporter in 1969, looking towards the Middlesbrough side. I think the time would have been the early afternoon, but I can’t remember what time of the year it was. Maybe early spring. There isn’t many cars on the platform and the walkway over the top had been closed. It all looked a bit derelict. It seems to show that the Transporter needed two men for its operation. One the driver, in the cabin, and his mate to look after the loading of the cars and opening and closing the gates. I suppose in those days they would have been getting about £12 a week, but these costs would have had too much impact on the toll charges. Does anyone remember what they were in those days?

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

Anderson Foundry Port Clarence 1969

t14978 t14978aThe Anderson Foundry at Port Clarence must have been something in it day, as can be seen from the design and sheer scale of the building. As with other pictures from 1969 this was taken from the Clarence railway embankment which over looks the river, just upstream of the Transporter. The name seems to be a slight corruption of what it should be called, the Anderston Foundry, the Port Clarence works being a branch of the original Glasgow company.

The map from 1938 shows the extensive sidings alongside the foundry, with an indication that the company had its own dock. I wonder if the size of the sidings suggest that this branch of Anderstons was engaged in mass production of castings. Does anyone know what they were specialising in?

Photographs and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

Dredger on the Tees

t14862The wash form the steam tugs was believed to wear away the bank side.  It was the task of the TNC to maintain the riversides. The TNC turned to dredging the river to allow larger vessels, especially at the coal staithes, to move along the river unaided.

Dredging was used to create more depth to the river and allow ships easier passage.  Between 1845 and 1900 upwards of 34 million tons of material had been removed by dredging of the bed of the river.