NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby fitter » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:03 pm

The engine at Beamish is testimony to the pettiness or incompetence of those in charge of Regional Museum Store. Men that formed the Doxford Engine Friends Association to support and work on the engine, voluntarily, are now not allowed on site. These were all highly experienced Doxford engineers who have already donated massive amounts of their own time to restore the engine. It has taken a few of the dedicated DEFA team a while, but with the outstanding help of Sunderland Maritime Heritage, a wooden replica was made and taken to Beamish, but the management there will not allow it to be fitted. If they were demonstrating the skill of making toffee apples or some other quaint practice, there would be no shortage of enthusiasm from the management. The funding for the whole Doxford engine was to preserve it and make it available fro the public to view and it is a scandal that the museums between them are refusing to cooperate with each other and allow the engine to be worked on. Perhaps the funding should be returned.
It's similar In T&W Archives. If you are seeking family tree information, they will bend over backwards. Once you express an interest in shipbuilding and Marine engineering, it sends shivers down the spines of the search room staff whose default mode is to switch off and offer the least amount of help, primarily because they haven't got a clue about it and don't want to know. I used to visit there regularly in years gone by but wouldn't dream of going there now. I have encountered some appalling responses from the staff there.
Sunderland Museum and local studies are no better. I salvaged two large van loads of Doxford material from Kincaids when, after being appointed to supply marine engine parts for Doxford (and other) engines, were themselves closed down. After sorting it and taking some of it to Sunderland Local Studies, I was met with a sarcastic, "Do you know how much Doxford stuff we have downstairs." Resources are extremely limited for archiving masses of material but knowledge and enthusiasm are rarer still.
Outstanding, experienced and professional men who have met regularly at T&W for several years to sort material are now not allowed. When they pass away, there will be no one left that knows or understands the material. it will be useless and disposed of, but if it was a relic from a Roman site it would be regarded with the utmost respect.
It is quite clear that unless we get a dedicated shipbuilding and Marine Engineering museum , we simply will never be able to make the thousands of records, photographs, models and other artefacts that have been donated in good faith, available to the public for whom they were intended. and enquirers in future years will have to rely on hear say and imagination.
The Doxford 760J9 model that was made in Sunderland, by the tool room staff, is now at the discovery museum. It was taken from Sunderland and the discovery have been allowed to keep it. This should be returned to Sunderland, where it belongs. but the otherwise indifferent and uncooperative management would break their necks to prevent its return.The first obstacle they throw in the way is the cost of removing and insuring it for removal. It didn't stop them taking it in the first place.
We ourselves are partly to blame because we don't even raise a whimper to object to the malpractices of museum management.
Last edited by fitter on Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby Hornbeam » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:27 pm

Thank You Fitter for the explanation in regards to the Doxford at Beamish, if it had been a Triple Expansion ‘The Management’ would have had a different approach possibly. The Steam Queens moving over to Diesel for their tickets were usually steam turbine background Engineers whose first question was “How many bearings in the Doxford?”, for those of us who had sailed on Triple Expansions how many bearings was not the problem :) Never could get the hang of the Doxford “Dance”. :D
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby fitter » Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:30 pm

Keep at it Hornbeam, there are fewer and fewer that can do the Doxford dance. I heard of, but never saw, nine men doing the dance to represent the nine cylinder engine. Even Michael Flatley might have shrunk from choreographing that !
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby fitter » Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:22 am

DOXFORD 580 JS3 ENGINE AT BEAMISH:
Ten of these engines were built at Doxfords in Sunderland. Seven went into service with Ellerman and Furness Withy ships built at Appedore. Two were dismantled and used for spare parts. The original prototype was eventually moved from Doxfords to Hawthorn Leslies yard, (see below). It was owned by Marine Design Consultants (subsidiary of British Shipbuilders). Tony Wickens (Hawthorn Leslie and then MDC), contacted Adrian Ostler of T&W Museums to investigate the possibility of the engine being saved for preservation. The MDC board had decided to scrap the engine as the yard was to be demolished. A sum of £17,800 had been offered by a scrap merchant for the engine. British Shipbuilders had forbidden the engine to be given to the Museums free of charge. The MDC board offered T&W Museums a last chance to buy the engine for £15,000.
A National Shipbuilding Heritage Centre was proposed and part Hawthorn Leslies yard was purchased by South Tyneside Council for it. AMARC (Training , Education and Safety) who then occupied the premises, agreed to the engine being installed in one of the fabrication sheds. AMARC also set up a government sponsored programme to dismantle the engine, move it and re-erect it at Hebburn.The dismantling and transportation occurred in late 1986 with the help of Doxford personnel.
The £15,000 was funded by Sunderland and South Tyneside councils and a £7,500 Grant from PRISM fund (administered by Science Museum).
Whilst the engine was being moved to Hebburn an urgent request for an exhaust belt, upper piston and other parts was made for repairs to one of the engines in service, the former "City of Oxford." The agreement was that these would be replaced. They weren't and a cash payment was made instead that contributed to the re-erection.
South Tyneside's bid for lottery funding was unsuccessful, so the National Shipbuilding Heritage project was abandoned and the Council commenced proceedings to sell its property at Hebburn.
The sale of the yard to Cammell Laird led to a reprieve when Cammell Laird allowed the engine to remain, rent free and without sharing the site security costs.
In 1999 Bank Line requested some parts for the former "City of Hartlepool" and made a donation to the Regional Museums Store. Hedley Engineering (Bob Hedley) and Neptune Engineering (Owen Crags) between them removed the components, refurbished the damaged ones and replaced them on the engine at Hawthorns.
Planning for a building at Beamish, Lottery funding as well as complicated contractual agreements were signed by spring 2001
Former Doxford employees assisted in the arrangements to dismantle and move the engine with the help of Cammell Laird. The shock of the news about Cammell Laird going into receivership meant that a benevolent landlord and the contracted work were now in danger. The receivers, Price Waterhouse advised that they were not able to do the work . George Dowse of G.H. Dowse was contracted to do the job with the assistance of Doxford men.
The engine was partly dismantled and moved to Beamish on August 29th 2001, then the building was erected over it, then the rest of the large objects in the museum collection at Hawthorns were moved in.
Hopes that Andrew Wier (Bank Line) would send parts from their engines when ships were scrapped, didn't materialise.
John Clayson and several of the men that had been involved with the project along with Maurice Clyde would eventually form the Doxford Engine Friends Association to support the preservation ad restoration.

That account is extracted from a report by John Clayson the then Keeper of Science and Industry at Tyne & Wear Museums, ("The Story of Doxford 58JS3 Engine SO500")
John himself worked tirelessly for several years in support of the DEFA and organised many meeting for the group at Tyne and Wear Archives before his retirement. Colin Boyd was also an enormous help before he also retired.
The Doxford Engine Friends Association is still alive, just. Many of its members have passed away and there is not much interest even amongst many who have worked on Doxford engines on land and at sea. Those that are still members have been disappointed and discouraged by the indifference and apathy of those with authority who seem more interested in closing the project down than striving to keep it alive. What began as an ambitious and enthusiastic preservation project in 2003 is now in tatters due to the pettiness and squabbling of the organisations that were glad to receive the funding but have betrayed the project and the 580JS3 engine is now languishing in uncertainty. The words that precede the song "Everything is Free in America," seem appropriate: "America is pregnant with promise and anticipation, but is murdered by the wicked hand of the inevitable," AKA Tyne & wear as well as Sunderland Museums.
Anyone interested in Joining the DEFA would be made welcome.
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby Hornbeam » Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:40 pm

In the past I have had the experience of being involved with preserving historical items and funding for a Museum project, it is a bit of a quagmire. Myself and a few friends set up a Museum in a member's business premises and we all contributed with our own collections, the aim was not to make a profit but enough to pay for heat and lighting. We then asked the Council for permission to erect signs directing people to the Museum which was not on the main road. The 'Department' responsible for road signage said it would take at least a year for the relevant permissions to be agreed, to cut a long saga short we could not attract enough people through the door to pay for the heat and lighting and eventually the Museum closed. The problem arose as to where the collection would be stored and an approach to the Council was made and they agreed to store the items until a place could be found in the Council run Museums, in the meantime the Council themselves had approached the National Lottery for funding on the back of our efforts and this was granted, by that time our Museum had closed. One of the members was making a presentation and wanted some of his items back for his presentation, this was refused despite the fact they were his property and he had provide a list, at this point he had to resort to Legal measures in order to get all of his property back which unfortunately he didn't as some of the items had gone "missing" whilst in Council Care.
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby Whickham » Mon Feb 01, 2021 5:39 pm

Off the subject of anything maritime, but Hornbeam's story of the signage and council "issues" reminds me of a story of a few years ago where a wildlife centre on the south coast which was called something like Parrot Land, wanted a road sign and the council would only allow one of those brown signs with an elephant logo on it. The owners of Parrot Land said "but we don't have any elephants - only parrots". Apparently the elephant logo was the standard and their pleas landed on deaf ears. Propably very large ones.
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby fitter » Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:25 pm

The late George Taylor had an identical issue with Sunderland local studies when he loaned them an exceptional photograph he had taken of a Bank Line ship returning to the Wear after sea trials. He had the sense to record when he deposited it. after some time he requested it back, they said they had lost it. it took threats of legal action to get it back, when he did, he only got a copy, not the original, so someone, somewhere had the original to produce the copy. It was a dirty trick after he had loaned them it in good faith, free of charge. He vowed he would never again loan or leave anything to any museum and said he would rather burn photographs than leave them to a museum. He is not alone, none of my Sunderland shipbuilding and marine engineering archive will be left to any museum.
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby Hornbeam » Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:21 am

Found time last night to watch a programme I recorded from around a week ago about the sunken Japanese Fleet in Truk Lagoon (a Bucket List Dive site for me). The Dive Team were swimming around a sunken Merchant/Auxiliary Vessel the ??? Maru and entered into the Engineroom, lo and behold out of the gloom what looked liked a Doxford Engine Upper Piston appeared still in good condition ;) bearing in mind the time the vessel has been down there.
Any ideas what the name of this vessel could be ?????Maru?
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby fitter » Sun Oct 03, 2021 8:54 pm

Hello Hornbeam
I only have three ships listed as having being named "Maru" but that doesn't mean there were not others because my lists are mainly ships original names and subsequent names are added if and when I find them.
Two of the ships can be discounted:
Dominion Monarch by Swan Hunter with its 4 doxford engines (Two by Swan Hunter and Two by Doxfords), was called Dominion Monarch Maru for its voyage to the breakers in Osaka in 1962.
Dr Atillo Malvagni, one of the Argentinian built SD14s that all had Doxford engines was called Shimaki Maru. It ad a Doxford 670J4M engine but it was broken up at Alang in 2003

Beiko Maru was launched as the East Indian in 1918 but was re engined with a Sun (Pennsylvania) Doxford in 1926. I have it as torpedoed in 1942, 37.23 degrees south and 13.43 degrees east. ( off Capetwown ??)
If you find out I would be pleased to know
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Re: NORTH EAST MARINE ENGINE BUILDERS

Postby teesships » Sun Oct 03, 2021 11:41 pm

Aftyer a bit of web searching the only British built ship sunk at Truk Lagoon seems to be the HOKI MARU, built as HAURAKI for Union SS of New Zealand by Wm/ Denny, Dumbarton, in 1922. I found entries in Lloyds Register showing that she had oil engines installed by North British Diesel Engine Works, Glasgow. Might thery have fitted a Doxford engine? Not my expertise I'm afraid.

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