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North Thames Gas Board

History

The Allens lumped together a group of ships under the heading of 'Colliers'. I have now provided new pages for these colliers even though the numbers of ships involved is small. The Colliers page has been retained HERE but now just lists the ships and provides redirects to their new locations. The importance of colliers through to the middle of the 20th Century should not be underestimated. Coal was used to heat homes, was used in the gas industry to make town gas, was the main fuel for electricity power stations, and was the fuel for steam ships. Gradually alternatives sources of fuel were developed and colliers were phased out - in the UK at least.

The history of gas supply is long and interesting but this article will focus on what became the North Thames Gas Board. You may find it useful to compare this article with that for the South East Gas Board.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, proposals were made to provide gas-powered street lighting in London. On 9 June 1810 the Gas Light and Coke Company was established and from 31 December 1813, Westminster Bridge was lit by gas lights. The use of gas lighting took off and rapidly spread. By 1815, company chemists had found that useful by-products could be produced from the tar that was left after processing the coal used as the raw material for the manufacture of gas, including turpentine which was used as a solvent in paint and varnishes.

By 1862, the company had gasworks at Horseferry Road/Great Peter Street Westminster, Goswell Street/Brick Lane and Curtain Road. None of these sites had direct railway or shipping services and in 1868 construction began on Beckton Gasworks which also produced coke used for home heating. The new site was accessible by railway and ships and barges on the Thames. Much of the transportation capability was owned by the company.

By 1876, the company had merged with various other gas companies and had works at Beckton, Bow, Silvertown, Bromley, Pancras, Haggerston, Fulham, Kensal Green and Lupus Street in Pimlico.

In 1912 the Company orded a large self-trimming collier called Fulgens. In 1924 the company merged with Brentford Gas Co and was the largest supplier of gas in the world.

When the UK gas industry was nationalised in 1949, the area the company supplied was so large that it was renamed North Thames Gas Board - one of twelve regional bas boards. North Thames Gas Board was dissolved in 1973 and became a region of the British Gas Corporation.

The North Thames Gas Board is understood to have owned at least 24 ships over the years. At least some of them, including Thomas Goulden, were managed by Stephenson Clarke Shipping Ltd.

The image of Thomas Goulden appears to be flying the Red Ensign. I do not recognise the funnel markings - they are not those of Stephenson Clarke.

Ships

John Orwell Phillips

John Orwell Phillips
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers North Thames Gas Board
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder William Pickersgill & Sons Ltd.
Shipyard Soutwick
Country where built UK
Yard Number 336
Official Number 186194
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 3,391
Deadweight (DWT) 4,550
Net Tonnage 1,716
Length 339 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 46 Ft 8"
Depth 22 Ft 3"
Draught 20 Ft
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 19", 31", 54" and stroke 39"
Engine Builder North Eastern Marine Engineering (1938) Ltd.
Engine Builder Works Sunderland
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 310 NHP
Maximum Speed 10.5

Career Highlights

Date Event
27 September 1954 Launched
February 1955 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Agios Fanourios and owner to Bovoyag Cia SA 1968. She was involved in a collision with Epimelia on 16 April 1971 in dense fog in the Baltic Sea at approximate position 54° 31' N, 11° 24' E. She was taken to Kiel for drydocking but found to be extensively damaged and declared a constructive total loss. She was taken to Sarpsborg for breaking 16 August 1971.

Thomas Goulden

Thomas Goulden
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship/Collier
Original Owners and Managers North Thames Gas Board
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Hall, Russell & Co. Ltd.
Shipyard Aberdeen
Country where built UK
Yard Number 837
Official Number 186225
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 3,332
Deadweight (DWT) 4564
Net Tonnage 1,678
Length 339 Ft
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 46 Ft 4"
Depth 20 Ft 1"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 19", 31", 54" and stroke 39"
Engine Builder North Eastern Marine Engineering Co. (1938) Ltd.
Engine Builder Works Sunderland
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 310 NHP
Maximum Speed 10.5

Career Highlights

Date Event
1 July 1954 Launched. Mrs Burns, wife of Dr J. Burns, chief engineer of the North Thames Gas Board, named the Thomas Goulden. Dr Burns was a graduate of Aberdeen University. In 1941 he was awarded the George Medal for heroism at Bromley Works during the blitz.
April 1955 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information The vessel was one of three colliers purchased from Hall, Russell & Co. to carry coal from the Tyne to London gasworks. Change of name to Brick Ottavo and owner to Gino Gardella 1968. Taken to La Spezia 3 November 1983 for breaking by De. Co. Mar.


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