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Shipping Wonders of the World

Part 53


Part 53 of Shipping Wonders of the World was published on Tuesday 9th February 1937.


This issue included a colour plate illustrating the French liner Normandie. It formed part of the chapter on The Modern Ship’s Maintenance. This plate had previously appeared as the cover to part 30. The plate was attached to page 1677 of this part.



The Cover


““This week’s cover shows one of the giant grain elevators at work in Bromborough Dock (River Mersey) on the Nigerian. Since this picture was taken the Nigerian, which formerly belonged to the United Africa Company, has been sold to Moss of Liverpool and renamed Kyrenia. Her gross tonnage is 3,543, and she has a length of 321 ft 9 in, a beam of 46 ft 2 in and a depth of 28 ft 2 in.”

One of the giant grain elevators at work in Bromborough Dock (River Mersey) on the "Nigerian"


Contents of Part 53


Chinese Piracy

Cardiff, South Wales

The Modern Ship’s Maintenance

The French Liner Normandie (colour plate)

Ship-and-Shore Communication

Seamanship To-day

Story of the Mersey Ferries

Open Boats of the British Coasts







Chinese Piracy


The story of piracy in the coastal waters and rivers of China, concluded from part 52. This chapter is by Frank Bowen and it complements the article on Gunboat Patrols in China

in part 35.

(Pages 1669-1670)


The Sunning

CAPTURED BY PIRATES IN 1926, the Sunning was saved at the last moment by the outstanding bravery of her officers, who recaptured the vessel and drove the pirates off. The Sunning, 2,555 tons gross, was built in 1916 at Hong Kong. She had a length of 310 ft 4 in, a beam of 41 ft 2 in and a depth of 22 ft 5 in. She was lost during a typhoon in 1936.”

(Page 1670)







Cardiff, South Wales


Famous for its exports of coal, Cardiff owes its importance to the proximity of the coal-fields of South Wales, and to the enterprise of the men who, having built the docks on the foreshore, brought steam coal from the mines and shipped it to every part of the world. This chapter is by Sidney Howard, and is the seventeenth article in the series on Great Ports of the World.

(Pages 1671-1674)


A Modern Coal-Shipping Appliance

“A MODERN COAL-SHIPPING APPLIANCE of the electrically driven conveyor-belt type in use at Cardiff Docks. The vessel in the dock is the Yugoslav ship Podmladak. With a gross tonnage of 3,862, she has a length of 350 feet, a beam of 51 ft 1 in and a depth of 23 ft 10 in. The belt-conveyors are situated in Roath Dock, which is equipped also with six coaling cranes and thirty other cranes.”

(Page 1609)







The Modern Ship’s Maintenance


The debit side of the shipowner’s accounts includes many heavy expenses of which the passenger knows little. The interior and the exterior of the ship must be frequently examined and all deterioration made good. Maintenance of the machinery alone entails a huge expenditure. This chapter is by Frank Bowen.

(Pages 1675-1678)


The Modern Ship’s Wireless Installation

“ALL CONTINENTS ARE WITHIN CALL of the modern ship’s wireless installation. Ships that are equipped for medium and short-wave transmission, direction finding and long-distance telephony may need three separate cabins to house all the apparatus, and economy of space is essential. The medium-wave telegraphy equipment on the Orion (23,371 tons gross), illustrated above, is a good example of a modern ship’s lay-out, with the receivers and amplifiers in front of the operator’s chair, and the transmitting instruments to the right. One clock shows Greenwich time and the other local or ship’s time.”

(Page 1679)








Seamanship To-day


A sudden emergency is often the supreme test of the quality of seamanship, although the ordinary routine work in the handling of a modern vessel demands a high standard of efficiency and reliability. Seamanship is a comprehensive term, and includes knotting and splicing, boat work, helmsmanship, and so forth. This chapter is by Frank Bowen.

(Pages 1685-1690)


Ship-and-Shore Communication


Wireless is no longer regarded merely as a means of summoning assistance in an emergency. It is an invaluable aid to navigation, and its use does much to reduce the possibility of accidents. It is still the principal means by which a ship can communicate beyond her visible horizon. This chapter is by L H Thomas.

(Pages 1679-1684)



Story of the Mersey Ferries


Some of the most efficient ferries in Great Britain, if not in Europe, ply across the River Mersey with a regularity that even fog rarely disturbs. The vehicular ferries linking Liverpool with the Cheshire shore are of a type rarely seen elsewhere. Users of Queensway - better known as the Mersey Tunnel - will know how much time is saved by not having to wait for the vehicular ferries. The tunnel, however, is available only for commercial vans and for private cars, no buses being allowed to go through it, and a vast army of people whose work is in Liverpool but who live on the Birkenhead side of the river still use the passenger ferries daily. It is therefore imperative, in the interests of these workers, that the ferry services should be run strictly to schedule, and their time-table is adhered to in all weathers. The crossing occupies several minutes, and on a choppy day it is not difficult to imagine oneself out at sea. This chapter is by Peter Duff.

(Pages 1691-1696)




The Sapphire

“EARLY TWENTIETH-CENTURY VESSELS engaged in the Mersey ferry services are shown in this photograph taken from Liverpool Landing Stage. In the background are a few two-funnelled vessels of the type which preceded the existing steamers. In the foreground is the paddle steamer Sapphire, engaged on the Eastham ferry, now discontinued. Built at Liverpool in 1898, the Sapphire was of 223 tons gross, 140 feet in length, with a beam of 24 ft 1 in and a dpeth of 8 ft 1 in.”

(Page 1692)

 of 10 ft 6 in. She proved such a useful vessel that  the next two ferry steamers, the John Herron and the Pansy, were built on similar lines, but with raked mast and funnel. The Pansy, of 332 tons gross was lost in Bull Bay, Anglesey, during the war of 1914-18.


THE PROTOTYPE of the present vessels in the Wallasey Corporation fleet was the Rose, built with her sister, the Lily, at Birkenhead in 1900. The Rose had a gross tonnage of 514. Her length was

155 ft 7 in, her beam 42 ft 1 in and her depth 11 feet. She was sold to act as a tender to transatlantic liners in Queenstown (Cobh) Harbour, Ireland. The present vessels of the Wallasey Corporation and Birkenhead Corporation fleets have many points in common with the Rose, although their design and propelling machinery have been considerably modified and improved.”

(Page 1695)







Open Boats of the British Coasts


The combination of the boat-builder’s art and the seaman’s skill has produced a wide variety of open boats. Each is adapted to the particular conditions with which it has to contend, and many of the most primitive types still survive. This chapter is by Frank G G Carr, who has made a special study of this subject. The article is concluded in part 54.

(Pages 1697-1700)


A Yorkshire Coble

“A YORKSHIRE COBLE on the beach at Whitby. The chief characteristics of these boats are a high, powerful and deep bow, and a shallow, keelless stern. The bright bands of colour painted on the broad planking are also a distinctive feature. Similar cobles are found on the coast of Northumberland and as far south as Yarmouth, Norfolk.”

(Page 1697)

The "Sunning"A modern coal-shipping appliance in use at Cardiff Dock


The King George V Dock


“THE KING GEORGE V DOCK, London, provides accommodation for vessels up to 30,000 tons. Dry dock rents vary with the size of the ship to be docked, but may amount to £150 to £200 a day. The Kaisar-i-Hind is a P and O twin-screw steamer of 11,518 tons gross. She has a length of 520 feet, a beam of 61 ft 2 in and a depth of 33 ft 1 in. She was built in 1914.”


(Page 1677)

The French liner "Normandie"


The Normandie


“ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST SHIPS, the French liner Normandie is a vessel of 86,496 tons gross. She was built at St Nazaire, France, and launched on October 29, 1932. The Normandie has an overall length of

1,029 ft 4-in, a beam of 117 ft 9-in at the main deck and a depth of

57 ft 7-in. She is fully described in the chapter which begins on page 73. The Normandie held the Blue Riband of the Atlantic until it was wrested from her by the Queen Mary in 1936.”


This illustration was previously used as the cover for part 30.


(Page 1677)

The modern ship's wireless installationA collision averted on the River Avon


A Collision Averted


“A COLLISION AVERTED by the skilful handling of ships and tugs in the River Avon. This remarkable photograph was taken from the Clifton Suspension bridge. The strength of tides and currents, particularly in tidal rivers, greatly complicates the work of tugs handling large ships.”


(Page 1689)

The Federal liner "Norfolk" under sail


A Steamship Under Sail


“A STEAMSHIP UNDER SAIL. The Federal liner Norfolk was a four-masted steamer without a single yard. In 1906 she was crossing the Indian ocean when her propeller shaft fractured. Her captain decided to give her a jury rig, using the ship’s derricks as yards and tarpaulins as sails. Eventually under a jury rig of four squaresails, two headsails and several trysails, she was sailed to the coast of Western Australia.”


(Page 1686)

The "Sapphire"Mersey ferries


Mersey Ferries 2


“TWIN SCREWS FORE AND AFT propelled the Snowdrop (top) and her sister, the Crocus, which were the first screw-driven vessels introduced to the Wallasey ferries. Built in 1884, the Snowdrop, 300 tons gross, had a length of 130 ft 11 in, a beam of 35 ft 3 in and a depth of 10 ft 7 in. The upper deck was built over the saloons and did not extend to the full beam. Either ship had accommodation for 1,303 passengers. These two vessels, with their straight funnels placed fore and aft, did not have a great speed and were rather ungainly in appearance. Because of these defects, a number of later vessels were propelled by paddles.


A REVERSION TO PADDLES was made in the Thistle (middle), built at Kinghorn, Fife, Scotland, in 1891, because the screw-driven Snowdrop and Crocus did not prove a great success. The Thistle was a vessel of 301 tons gross, with a length of 150 feet, a beam of 26 ft 3 in and a depth

A Yorkshire coble