The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1939 to 1945 M.S.C. NYMPH - Yard No 320 - Tug - Manchester Ship Canal - Built - 1942

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M.S.C. NYMPH - Yard No 320 - Tug - Manchester Ship Canal - Built - 1942



The flag of the Manchester ship Canal Co, Ltd.

 MSC NYMPTH Ship No 320 towing a ship on the canal.

(Photo by kind permission the M.S.C.Co, Ltd)

Owners    Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd
Registered    Manchester Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Diesel Tug Launched    17/12/1941
     Lloyds Class 1 for towing services Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    86' 0" Weather    
Beam    23' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     12' 0"      
G.R.T.    131 tons      
Engines   Crossley Diesel 2 stroke,single acting reciprocating internal combustion engine producing 770h.p.      
Props    2      
Speed    10.25 knots      
Other known names    1970-SQL1    
Current Status   Scrapped in 1981    

Content on MSC NYMPH will be added as and when available. 



 The tug Nymph outbound on a tow on the Manchester Ship Canal 1962

(Photograph by Ken Smith, Warrington)


Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to to pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was hoped for a long and successful working life.MSC NYMPH was the Fourth of the four ship order for Diesel-engine tugs from the Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd. This order had been put back a little due to the outbreak of World War II. The order was still required, despite the war and the tug was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

She was launched late 1941.

Nymph and Sister Neptune both reported sold in 1956.I (Keith Smith) think it was later - to South Ocean Services, Portsmouth, renamed SQL1 and SQL2 for salvage operations to remove nickel plating from the WW1 14,000 –ton cruiser H.M.S. Drake which sank on 2nd October 1917 in the North Channel of the Irish Sea, - by a torpedo from the German U-boat U-79 .
1970 Both vessels may have passed on to one other owner
1980 finally owned by West Scotland Shipbreakers Ltd, Ayrshire, and both scrapped 1981

Note:- They were in fact sold on to South Ocean Services of Portsmouth in 1970.

They were superior it was said at the time to the steam powered tugs previously built for the company. The tug NYMPH along with NEPTUNE was scrapped in 1981 after a working life of 40 years service on the canal.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.


Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.



The above photograph by Ken Smith, Warrington

Outward bound-Keith Smith
MSC Nymph When I was a schoolboy I knew the Nymph skipper's son who lived next to the control box at Stockton Heath Swing Bridge, I spent a weekend on board in 1958 travelling from Latchford Locks to Salford Docks as lead tug, an experience that I have not forgotten. Photographed here as she passes Coopers Sand Quay at Walton shortly after I had left her that Sunday afternoon

Note in the background the funnel of the Mary P. Cooper being a regular visitor to the quay it's ironic that she worked in this area ,sank a few hundred yards away at Stockton Heath ,raised and taken Naylor's Quay 100 yard away and cut up for scrap to the water line ,the hull moved 100 yards to the remains of the Old River Head were it remained for a time before being buried---but not alone three concrete constructed barges are also buried in the old river one under the park ,two somewhere under Gainsborough Road


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0 #1 K Barlow 2015-08-06 12:42
My Grandfather, T A Guest, was Senior Engineer to the MSC at the time of the launch of the Nymph. I still have a silver casket presented to my Grandmother (Ethel) on the occasion of the launch, 17/12/1941.
Finding these details of the Nymph helps fill in some of my family background, thank you.

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