The Leith Shipyards website is proud to have been asked to help promote this welcome project which can only help further the publics awareness of our fine maritime background and help future generations who may aspire to learn about our legacy of ships and the sea, well known to older generations of Britons.
Restoration and Conservation of the Tug KENT
You may well wonder why we feature the work being done on this fine old Tug, which is based down south and has never been near a Leith Shipyard, although she was based at Invergordon on the Moray Forth for a while, well the answer apart from the fact that this restoration has been done very well and she is also looked after very well now and all by volunteer labour is the fact that one of the principle drivers in her restoration and running today spent some time in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Limited supervising the build of Ship No 532 the oil rig supply ship BALDER LEITH and it must be said right away that he was not to impressed with some of the goings on at the Leith yard during this build.
His story about the build will feature in the forth coming new book about the ships built at Leith Shipyards so it is enough to say that all was not well in the yards at the time and this was by no means confined to the Leith yard as there was the same feeling in most of the shipyards under the control of the Government Quango that was British Shipbuilders.
The Tug KENT
'Kent' was built for J.P.Knight at Richards yard Lowestoft in 1948, engines M45M British Polar, with 2 Lister JP2 auxiliary's.
Specifically built to service the new Oil Refinery at the Isle of Grain,(this is now closed) It worked there until it became too small to handle the ever increasing sizes of tankers using the facility. Eventually she was moved to Invergordon and J.P. Knight's operation on the Moray Firth.
The vessel was launched by Anthony Knight who at that time was an engineering Superintendent with the firm, Anthony had served an apprenticeship with British Polar, he also eventually became Chairman of the Company and when he passed away his ashes were scattered on the Medway from the stern of the boat. JPK is now chaired by his son Richard Knight.
The KENT is on the National Register for Historic Ships for more info see http://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/register/1937/kent
Here we have some of the volenteer help taking a well earned rest on the River Thames with HMS BELFAST in the background along with London's Tower bridge
The old tug KENT is a fine example of what can be done and indeed needs to be done to keep restored ships going and it is only down to the dedication of her volenteer crew and helpers that all this hard work can pay off to present a fully functioning old ship still with a purpose and lessons to pass on to future generations.
The Kent is in fact passing through the lock to go out into the Medway at Chatham.
The Donkey Men in the engine room pose for a photograph and admire the gleaming engine, all due to there hard work it has to be said.