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Shipping Wonders of the World

Part 7



Part 7 of Shipping Wonders of the World was published on Tuesday 24th March 1936.


It included a centre photogravure supplement featuring the Port of London, which formed part of the article on London’s Link with the Sea.



The Cover

The cover of the current number shows HMS Duncan (displacement 1,400 tons) leading the First Destroyer Flotilla through the Corinth Canal. The canal is about 4½ miles long and 26 feet deep; ships must not exceed 6 knots.


The cover was later reproduced as the colour plate in ipart 37, to accompany an article on the Corinth Canal.

Shipping Wonders of the World part 7 - Corinth Canal


Contents of Part 7


Heroes of the Trevessa

Hell Ships and Floating Homes

London’s Link with the Sea

A Great Ship Sails

Special Tropical Service (Crude) Oil Tanker

The Lure of Lost Gold







Heroes of the Trevessa


Click on the image to see a short clip from a British Pathe newsreel. It shows the Trevessa heroes arriving home, with “a wonderful welcome accorded to Captain Foster and his gallant comrades who spent more than 3 weeks in open boats before reaching safety”. The article is concluded from part 6.

(pages 197-200)


A Great Ship Sails


“For New York left Southampton”. This is the brief announcement of a liner’s departure. But before sailing day arrives organizations are at work to prepare for a voyage that may take six days or six weeks. This article is by E. Burnand Mount. The illustration above shows the liner Normandie leaving port.

(pages 217-222)


Hell Ships and Floating Homes


Life at sea was formerly a strange mixture of hardship and comfort. Some ships, because of the barbarous conditions in which their crews worked, were known as “Hell Ships”. Other vessels, even in the days when a career at sea was inseparable from hardship, were comparatively comfortable. The story of the Gatherer (otherwise known as the Bloody Gatherer) can be read here. This chapter was written by Frank Bowen.

(pages 201-206)




(Left) A Notorious Vessel, known as the Bloody Gatherer. Her record for the appalling ill-treatment of her mean was bad even for San Francisco in the old days of the “Barbary Coast”. Two suicides occurred on one of her voyages.

Below the bridges near Gravesend


The Port of London - 1

The photogravure supplement in this issue complemented the article on the Port of London with three photographs, two of which are shown here.

(pages 211-214)


Below the Bridges

The illustration, taken near Gravesend, depicts the Thames at the Tilbury-Gravesend ferry, and in the background an Orient liner at the Tilbury landing-stage. The Tilbury Docks were opened in 1886. In 1929 extensive work was undertaken to improve them. The water are of the Tilbury Docks is 105 acres, the maximum depth is 42 ft 6 in. They are used chiefly by the Bombay and Australian steamers of the P. and O., the Orient, Clan, Harrison (Calcutta service), Bibby (homeward bound) and Ellerman Lines.


Click on the small image to see a British Pathe newsreel clip showing the construction of new facilities at Tilbury (1929).


London’s Link with the Sea


To the Port of London come large ships and small ships carrying passengers and cargo along its sixty-nine miles of waterway. More than one-third of the overseas trade of the United Kingdom is handles by the Port of London.  This is the second article in the series Great Ports of the World, and it was written by F. A. Bex.

(pages 207-216)


Click on the small image to see a British Pathe British Instructional Films Ltd “Classroom Film” about the Port of London (c1940-49) lasting about 10 minutes.”


You can read more on London’s Docks in Wonders of World Engineering.

The Upper Pool from London Bridge

One of the busiest sections of the Port of London. The Port of London consists of the tidal portion of the Thames, from the sea up to Teddington in Middlesex, a distance of sixty-nine miles. The Port contains five main dock systems with an area of 4,247 acres, including 722 acres of water. In 1934 the value of overseas trade handled by the Port of London Authority amounted to £444,924,748. In 1935 over 59,000,000 tons of shipping arrived and departed.

The Royal Albert Dock


The Port of London - 2

“A busy scene at the Royal Albert Dock which is a part of the group known as the Royal Docks. The Royal Albert Dock was opened in 1880. The Royal group forms a three-mile stretch of water parallel with the fairway. The system is the largest in the world with a total water area of 245 acres and about thirteen miles of quays. Regular services are maintained to and from the Royal Docks by many of the big shipping lines, and vessels sail from here to all parts of the globe. As many as half a million tons of shipping have been known to be in these docks at the same time.”


Click on the small image to see a British Pathe newsreel clip showing a new berth for bananas in the Royal Albert Dock (1938).

The Special Tropical Service (Crude) Oil Tanker


This ship is called the Criollo Fiel or more familiarly, Faithful Creole. She was built on the Tees at the yard of the Furness Shipbuilding Company, to the order of the Standard Shipping Company of New York for one of its South American subsidiaries, and designed for service on the Parana River. We have called her a tropical service ship because she is almost identical with those vessels which bring the crude oil across shallow Lake Maracaibo (Venezuela) to the refineries at Aruba, where their contents are made into petrol and lubricating oil for shipment overseas. The duties of the two types of vessel are largely interchangeable. The Criollo Fiel is therefore a special service tanker, and, since she was built with the initial idea of carrying crude oil, steam is employed for propulsion, because this is necessary for pumps and for heating tanks.


The ship is particularly interesting because of the remarkably short time occupied in her construction. She was brought to the launching stage in a little over fourteen weeks, and, when launched, was practically complete except for her propelling machinery. This was afterwards installed by the North Eastern Marine Engineering Company, Wallsend-on-Tyne. The completion then occupied three weeks. The Criollo Fiel has an overall length of 362.75 feet, a beam of 60 feet, and a depth of 17.5 feet. When fully loaded with 5,350 tons of crude oil she draws 15 ft. 3½-in water, and has a corresponding speed of about 10½ knots, which is given to her by means of two sets of triple-expansion steam reciprocating engines having cylinder diameters of 16 in, 26 in and 43 in, with a common piston stroke of 27 in. These engines are designed to develop a total ihp of about 1,700, and take steam at 180 lb. per sq. in. from ordinary Scotch multitubular boilers burning oil fuel.


The vessel is called a trunk deck type ship, having an expansion tank for the oil on the centre line, but no tanks at the side of this; when fitted these are known as summer tanks. There are two fore-and-aft centre-line bulkheads forming seven sets of triple tanks. The propelling machinery is arranged aft, and the pump room is forward of the cargo oil tanks. Oil fuel bunkers are arranged at the sides of the machinery space and alongside the aftermost centre cargo tank. The cargo and fuel oil tanks are provided with fire-extinguishing apparatus.

The accommodation is specially arranged to meet tropical conditions and is entirely aft, although the navigating officers’ quarters are arranged forward of the midships in a special bridge house. There are two masts, the aftermost of which has a 3-tons derrick for handling cargo hoses and for putting any necessary gear on the deck.

Steering Gear.


This is the fourth article in the series on Merchant Ship Types.

(page 223)


The Lure of Lost Gold


Rumours of lost treasure have for centuries enticed men to set out on quests that have sometimes brought them profit, or sometimes sent them to their deaths. In recent years Cocos Island, in the Pacific, has held out an ever-beckoning finger to adventurers. The photograph above shows Wafer Bay, one of three possible landing-places on Cocos Island. The other tow are Chatham Bay and a third bay, unnamed, on the south coast of the island, which is of no use as a harbour sine it is exposed to the surf. Wafer Bay suffers from a heavy swell at certain seasons, and so Chatham bay is preferred by treasure-hunters. About 1883 a concession to search the island for treasure was granted by Costa Rica to a German named Gieseler, who was also appointed Governor. Gieseler settled at Wafer Bay and lived about twenty years on the island with his wife and a servant, but he did not find any treasure. This article is written by Sidney Howard and is concluded in part 8.

(Pages 224-228)

The Gatherer or The Bloody GathererThe Upper Pool from London BridgeThe Normandie leaving portRoyal Albert Docks
the Criollo Fiel or more familiarly, Faithful CreoleWafer Bay, Cocos Island