A few weeks before Easter it was my good fortune
to go to Ostende and Brugges on a North Sea Ferries Minicruise, and it was my
misfortune to hit a force seven gale as we came out of Zeebrugge. As the people
in the passageways below ricocheted of the walls like balls in a Pin Ball
Machine, and as I attempted to ascend the companionway on my hands and knees,
which for the umpteenth time was doing a good imitation of the slopes of
Everest, I began to think of those unsung heros of the past who in their "dirty
little coasters" brought food and goods to the ports of this country, and after
experiencing the type of weather they had to travel through they deserved a
But it wasn't just the people who lived around the ports who owned and manned these ships,some where quite local for example Kilners Bros. Glassworks
Denaby Main owned two schooners for bringing supplies of white sand fro the Continent to Goole where it was transhipped into three or four of their open boats for carriage to either Denaby Main or to Barron's Glassworks Mexborough, (they where related through marriage, I believe it was Thomas Barron's sister who married one of the Kilners).
But this is all 1 have managed so far to find out about their vessels, and it is the ships owned by local pits where information is more readily available, in particular The Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries Company Limited.
That was the time of "King Coal" and Denaby and Cadeby Pits exported to such places as Europe, Russia, and South America. The first of their ships was called Denaby and was built by S. P. Austin and Sons of Sunderland in 1891,
two years after the sinking of Cadeby Pit, and two years before the forming of Denaby and Cadeby Collieries Com. Ltd., the ship was classed as a coaster, and was sold in 1909 renamed The Spray and re - registered in Aberdeen, it previously having been registered in Hull. The second -was built by the same firm in 1t592 and was called Uadeoy, this being sold in 1906 to A. e. and J. U. Blackater of Glasgow.
The South Yorkshire Junction Railway joined the Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries Company Limited viz, the Hull and Barnsley Railway to Alexandra :Docks at Hull from 1894, and it was with this in mind that they ordered a third ship from this firm this one to be named The Scawsby and was larger than the previous two.
Yet another ship was oredered in and it was built by the magnificent shipyards of Swan Hunter at Newcastle Upon Tyne and was named Reresby, being sold six years later to the Birkdale Steamship Company.
in 1900 the decision was made to obtain another, the largest ship ever to be owned by the company. it was built by W. Gray and Co. of West Hartlepool, it was 219:37 tons gross, 1,930 tons net and had the official number of 1107909 The first ship called Denaby was renamed Firsby and the new ship given the name of Denaby. This ship was kept for a futher nine years until 1909 when it was sold to The Glasgow navigation Co. Ltd., and registered in Glasgow so bringing an end to the direct interest Denaby and Cadeby Hain collieries Company Ltd. held in shipping.
In 1909 after the sale of their last ship the decision was made to export coal on a contract basis giving the advantages of being able to export without the responsibilities of ship ownership. The main fort used being that of Hull, wagons leaving the pits had a ticket fixed to it showing the name of the ship in which the coal was carried, and from that ship then to the customer.
So came to an end eighteen years of ship ownership which had served mainly the ports of Hull, Grimsby, Goole, Liverpool, and the Manchester Ship Canal.
But it appears that ships were not the only vessels they owned as Fred Schofield in his book Humber Keels and Keelmen states that they also owned " some keels trading to hull with coal". But the majority of coal transported in this way was by contract and in the latter days of the pits' lives most
went to Doncaster Power Station and the last load of coal being taken there from Denaby Staithe ( a staithe being a shute to enable coal etc to be loaded onto a barge) was in March 1981 by Waddington's Barges and Mike Taylor in his book of Memories of The Sheffield and South Yorkshire navigation has two beautiful photo's of the staithes, taken when it was in full swing in the 1930's and in 19d1 when the final load of coal was removed.
As you can see the newsletter this month is much shorter than it usualy is, this being a consequence of decorating and newsletter writing not going hand in hand.
Books used in the writing of this newsletter were:-
A Railway History of Denaby and Cadeby Collieries.
Memories of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire navigation. by Mike Taylor. Humber Keels and Keelmen. by Fred Schofield.