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The “Fulham”

A Thames “Flat Iron” Collier


The Fulham, a Thames flat iron collier

THIS is a good example of one of the many craft which bring coal from the north-east coast ports to the Thames-side gas works and power stations. Because of her peculiar appearance, this type of vessel is known as the “flat iron” collier. She has a low superstructure and a hinging funnel, so that she can navigate under the London bridges.

The drawing above shows the Fulham, ordered by the Fulham (London) Borough Council. Under the management of Stephenson Clarke and Associated Companies, Ltd., of London and Newcastle-on-Tyne, she operates between Newcastle and the Council’s generating station at Fulham. When the construction of the new Fulham generating station was decided upon, with its eventual 310,000 kilowatts of installed plant, it was decided also that the most economical means of bringing coal to the station was for the borough to have its own fleet of colliers.

The Fulham is the first of a trio of such vessels. The conditions in which she has to operate have necessitated the most careful design, and particular care has had to be taken in connexion with the draught, trim and clearances both in the load and in the ballast condition. She has to navigate the arches of the numerous low-span bridges across the River Thames before reaching her destination, and for this reason the mast and funnel are arranged to be lowered easily and rapidly. Similarly, all deck-houses and superstructures have had to be made of navigable limits. The vessel has to steam up the River Thames loaded to the Fulham power station on any tide during the year and then, after having been discharged in about six and a half hours, she has to go down the river on the next flood tide. The cargo holds have therefore been designed with sloping wing ballast tanks, so that the cargo flows by gravity to the discharging grabs, thus providing expeditious handling of the coal.

The main deck is continuous all fore and aft, with stores and crew accommodation below deck fore and aft. Accommodation is provided for her crew of sixteen men, this space being well fitted and ventilated. The whole of the deck gear is steam operated.

The main propelling machinery consists of one triple-expansion surface-condensing engine with maximum continuous rating of 950 indicated horse-power. It has a maximum propeller shaft speed of 82 revolutions, giving a speed of 101 knots in the fully loaded condition.

The steam generating plant consists of one cylindrical assisted-draught boiler, which has an external diameter of 16 ft. 9 in. and a length of 11 feet. This boiler is provided with three furnaces. The total grate area is 60 sq. feet and the heating surface 2,800 sq. feet. The boiler is capable of supplying, at maximum continuous rating, 14,500 lb. an hour at 200 lb. per sq. in. Pressure.

The Fulham has a deadweight capacity of 2,390 tons. She has a length of 238 feet, a beam of 28 ft. 1 in. and a depth of 18 ft. 8 in. She has a draught of 15 ft. 10 in. forward and 16 feet aft.

You can read more on “Bow Well Bucket Dredger”, “The N C Monberg” and “The Svealand” on this website.