Steam Tugs

Photo:The tug Richard Lee Barber

The tug Richard Lee Barber

Great Yarmouth Port Authority

Photo:Tug and tow entering port

Tug and tow entering port

Great Yarmouth Port Authority

Photo:Tug Gensteam towing three barges

Tug Gensteam towing three barges

Great Yarmouth Port Authority

Photo:Postcard of Tug GENSTEAM

Postcard of Tug GENSTEAM

Courtesy of George Carr

Photographs of tugs formerly operated by Great Yarmouth Port Authority

By Paul Douch

Do you remember these vessels, so familiar on the River Yare for many years?

The George Jewson worked the port for some forty years up till 1952, and the Richard Lee Barber was retired from the river in 1965.

More information about the Gensteam - possibly not owned by the Port Authority - would be welcome.

This page was added by Paul Douch on 29/04/2007.
Comments about this page

About the tug Gensteam,she was one of two tugs that used to take three barges of coal from Yarmouth to Norwich gas works,the other tug was named Cypress,on which,I was deckhand,we had a crew of three,skipper,engineer,deckhand,the skippers name was Herbert Cook,the engineer was Charlie Harris.We would leave Yarmouth in the morning and it would take us all day to get to Norwich ,when we arrived we then had to take the loaded barges to the gas works and then bring the empty barges (proper name lighters) out and moor up for the night in front of Thorpe railway station, then back down to Yarmouth which took another day.As can be seen from the photo the funnel could be lowered , the wheelhouse roof came off in two halves,then the windows would fold down so we could pass under the low bridges in Norwich. The tugs were owned by THE YARMOUTH SHIPPING CO , the barges had a crew of two,and in the winter the knots in the mooring ropes would freeze and could not be undone ,so an old wood saw was used to saw through the ropes,the tug had two cabins,one forward,one aft ,the skipper was up forward,and myself and the engineer slept aft,for heat and cooking there was a small cast iron stove (coal fired) one night we turned in I banked the stove up(but was heavy handed with the coal) turned down the paraffin lamps to dim and dozed off,next thing I was woken by swearing and lots of coughing when the lights were turned up I couldnt see across the cabin,good job old Charlie woke up when he did or we wouldnt be here now,I had filled the tortoise stove up too much so the smoke and fumes couldnt escape up the flue.

By Brian Beech
On 14/10/2007

Have enjoyed this page about Yarmouth tugs which I remember well, but often wondered about the fate of tug 'United Service, which was not seen after WW2

By Len Dawson
On 09/11/2007

The GENSTEAM Team was built in 1924 by Fellows & Co. Ltd., Great Yarmouth for the General Steam Navigation Co., London. Her Official Number was 147723, gross tonnage 31. Her registered dimensions were 57.0 x 41.9 x 6.2 feet. She was sold by General Steam on 31,12,1931 to the Great Yarmouth Shipping Co. I do not know her eventual fate.

By A J Smythe
On 17/06/2008

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