This is the seventh instalment and final entry in a series of posts about BCN tugs. Other posts in the series list below can be accessed by clicking the ‘Introduction’ link below:
2. Tug Portrait: Enterprise No. 1
3. Tug Portrait: Bittel
4. Tug Portrait: James Loader
5. Tug Portrait: Judith Anne
6. Tug Portrait: Caggy
7. Tug Portrait: Pacific (this post)
Pacific is the sister boat to Bittel (see tug portrait HERE) and was built in 1934. As with Bittel, her hull was fabricated at Yarwoods and superstructure at Harris Bros. Her hull length was just 40ft, with a relatively shallow draught of 2ft 8ins.
In her early BCN working days she did not have a name and was known simply as Tug No 4. Both tugs, No. 4 (Pacific) and No. 5 (Bittel), worked from the Stewarts & Lloyds Tube Works at Coombeswood, Birmingham and were employed in a relentless coal-carrying merry-go-round, towing empty open boats up to the Cannock Coalfields and returning with day boats loaded with coal to fuel the works.
The ‘sisters’ were fitted with a similar engine – a Lister HA – and a similar transmission unit.
At some point No.4 went into the ownership of BWB, however the date is unknown. There she worked as a tug, towing hoppers and day boats. At some point in the 1950s both No.4 and No.5 were fitted with new Lister HA3’s.
No.4 entered the Alfred Matty fleet based at Coseley around 1960. Matty, the last main carrying contractor on the BCN, used her to tow phosphorus waste to various old mine shafts. She was also used as general tug. At some point she was named Pacific.
After Alfred Matty’s death she was allowed to slip into a state of disrepair until she was sold to Rex Wane/Steve Priest and then shortly afterwards to Roger Farrington at Ivy Bridge Marine who undertook all the hull work.
In 2001 she was bought by John Pattle who completed a wonderful job of restoration, spending years restoring her cabin and totally rebuilding the engine.
Pacific was fully restored by 2006 when, at a launching at Watford, she again joined Bittell after being built side by side some 70 years previously.
(Apologies for fact that these photos are unattributed. They were drawn, sadly without attribution, from a general web search. I believe some of the images were taken by Andrew Watts, my apologies for not knowing which ones… If anyone knows anything more I’d be happy to credit or remove the images if requested. Nick)