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Old 10-03-13, 11:28 PM
Trader Trader is offline
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Default First trip on the m.v."Farringay"

Posted by Trader on Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:15 pm

I left school in 1950 and as my mother wouldn't let me go to sea I did the next best thing and started work in a shipping agents office in Manchester my home town. The company was A.E. Bowen, Ltd. who were also agents for E.H.Mundy & Co. It was only a small company employing about six people and that included the boss. A.E. Bowen Ltd. were agents for most of the coasting companies that traded to Manchester and all of the berths on the canal itself. Amongst them were W.A. Savage Ltd. (the Field boats), Monroe Bros.(the Kyle boats), Richard Hughes Ltd. (the Rose boats), Gardners of Lancaster, Loverings of Cardiff, Fishers of Barrow, J.S.Monks of Liverpool, Kellys of Belfast, Robertsons of Glasgow, Coppack Bros. and many more small companies including Tyrells of Arklow and Hall of Arklow.,Capt.Ken Griffins "Farringay" of which more later.
The E.H.Mundy side of the office dealt with tankers and were agents for Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. (Shell) and Eagle Oil which were deep sea ships. They also did the coasting side of Shell and tankers from Everards, Metcalfs and a few Scandinavian companies.
I was a dock runner, taking the wages, mail and new orders down to the ships. I spent more time on ships than in the office. We had quite a few coasters coming from foreign with timber etc.and I had to go to the Customs office with the Captains to Report etc. and deal with the manifests.
A lot of the trade was from N. Wales with stone to Pomona docks, coal from Partington Coal Basin to Ireland, timber from Scandinavia, Gas oil from Heysham to Barton Oil berth and to Irlam ore berth.
After 12 months of going aboard ships, meeting the skippers and crews I had got the bug and wanted more than ever to go away to sea. I got my chance when my boss asked Capt. Ken Griffin, skipper/owner of the "Farringay" if I could spend my summer holidays on the "Farringay", he agreed and I joined the ship at Partington Coal Basin on the canal where she had loaded coal for Bideford, N. Devon where Capt.Griffin lived.

We cleared the locks at Eastham and proceeded down the Mersey, I was so excited I couldn't sleep and spent all my time in the wheelhouse looking at all the lights on the river. I eventually turned in and woke up in the morning in the Irish Sea and she was rolling like a bastard. I remember sitting by the lifeboat and spewing my ring up and felt like nothing on earth. Every one was very nice to me and asked if I was feeling unwell and did I want something to eat, including the skippers wife who was doing the trip, she even took her trick at the wheel to give the AB a break. The weather calmed down later and I thought to myself,"this is the life". We had the weekend in Bideford before discharging and then we sailed across the Bristol Channel to Port Talbot to load Carbide in drums for the ICI in Runcorn. It was a horrible cargo and I can even smell it now, it took your breath away.

From Runcorn we sailed to Penmaenmawr, N. Wales to load stone for Preston. From there back to Port Talbot to load another cargo of Carbide for the ICI in Fleetwood where I "paid off" and went back to my "office" job in Manchester. Every one kept asking me if I had enjoyed my "cruise", I said "yes, it was wonderful". I never told them that I was as sick as a dog and had spent most of my "cruise" down the holds sweeping up after the various cargoes.

I worked in the office for a few more months and my mother relented and let me go to sea full time. My Dad paid for me to go to Aberdovey Outward Bound Sea School (£20, a lot of money for him in those days) and I went deep sea with Blue Funnel sailing to the Far East from Birkenhead.

I sailed deep sea for a good few years with Blue Funnel, Manchester Liners and Prince Line before going on the coast with Wm. H. Muller & Co on the Paris run from Manchester/Liverpool /Glasgow to Rouen and Paris. I even reached the dizzy height of Mate for good attendance.

Sorry if I have bored you with my "First Trip" account but I got carried away, I haven't told that story for years.

All the best.........Alec.

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Old 10-03-13, 11:30 PM
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pete barc pete barc is offline
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Peter Barc on Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:12 pm

nice one Alec,
I can still picture the Farringay in my mind (Black Pig) i could never fathom out why she was black and always seemed to run with china clay :?: in her later years 1980s. nice story though, i often wished that i did a spell deep sea before getting the coaster bug. :wink:
I only went to Sea
To go Ashore

Peter Barc
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Old 10-03-13, 11:31 PM
Trader Trader is offline
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Trader on Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:41 pm

Hi Peter,

I didn't know that she was nicknamed the "black pig" but the photos that I have seen of her confirm that. The skipper must have got a job lot from some paint firm who wanted to get rid of it. It saved a lot of soojing I suppose. I never came across her again after my little time on her in 1950 until the late 70's when I saw her coming out of the locks in Calais covered in white dust, obviously she had just discharged China clay. I was working on the ferries by then.
I think the reason for all the China clay cargoes was that the skipper lived nearby the clay ports and it gave him a chance to get home. She lasted for 38 years according to Miramar, not bad for an old Chant. She must have been well looked after even though she was an ugly looking ship.
The skipper was a character, he had a hole cut in the ships side by way of the saloon (mess room) to get a piano in there. He loved a singsong being a Welshman. He also had a small garage on the foredeck to keep his little car in, I think it was one of those 3 wheelers. It had a lid on it which was well battened down.

As regards going deep sea, I spent longer on some coasters without getting home than some deep sea trips that I did. For example Manchester Liners. Manchester/Montreal/Manchester = 1 month.
Robertsons of Glasgow. Casablanca/Whitehaven, Llandulas/Norway backwards and forwards= 4 months. I loved it though.


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Old 26-01-14, 07:18 PM
keithelcomb keithelcomb is offline
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I can shed some light on the Farringay - the "Black Pig" - the owner skipper, Capt Griffiths was paranoid about rust. He decided that black bitumastic was the answer. Quite good except in the heat of summer. Of interest too is the fact that she was triple screw. Yes, a main engine and two wing engines. The smaller wing engines had to be run at sea to prevent drag. There is an interesting story if you are interested on why she ended up with three engines.
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