Ihave been informed today that the oldest surviving Thames tug BRITANNIA ex T.B. HEATHORN (built 1893) is currently taking on water and sinking in Barking creek and has been sold by her owners for scrap and will be towed from Barking Creek at high water on Tuesday 3rd October to E.R.M at Erith by Plashy/ General VIII. A very sad end to one of the finest looking tugs to operate on the Thames. A great pity that people buythese historic vessels and simply have no intention of looking after them - writes thameshighway.wordpress.com.
I willdocument and photograph her journey on Tuesday
HISTORY OF THE BRITANNIA
T.B. Heathorn was a steam tug built by Watsons Shipyardin 1893 and believed to be one of the oldest tugs in Britain. She was built of riveted iron construction for the South Metropolitan Gas Light& CokeCompany as a coal fired steam powered lighterage tug, 68ft x 15ft 6in with 60HP.
She was used by the Gas Company and its successors to tow coal and coke barges and to attend craft around the premises. In 1956 it was sold to Greenhithe Lighterage Co. who rebuilt and converted her to diesel over a period of 18 months, the new 7 cylinder diesel engine giving her 365HP.