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 1946 to 1984 CRESWELL - Yard No 474 - Diesel Grab Dredger - Blyth Harbour - Built 1959

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CRESWELL - Yard No 474 - Diesel Grab Dredger - Blyth Harbour - Built 1959



 The Dredger MV CRESWELL tied up dockside

(photo by J.King)

Owners    Blyth Harbour Board
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Single Screw Grab Dredger Launched    16/06/1959
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    128' 6" Weather    
Beam    28' 6" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     12' 0"      
Props    1      
Speed    10 knots      
Other known names    N/A    
Current Status    She was broken up in 1992    
Content on the CRESWELL will be added as and when available. 
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 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.

CRESWELL Ship No 474

Built for the Port of Blyth, a port on the North East Coast of England the Grab Dredger CRESWELL was yet another in the long list of speciality ships built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

Built not for their looks but to do a specific job and the dredger was just one of the types of ship that were a lot more complex than they looked with a complicated hopper system to enable the ship to dump there load of silt mud and of course sea water.

Strange as it seems the hopper would open up at the bottom of the ship while at sea.

As yet we do not have much information on the CRESWELL and hope that our readers will be able to supply some more on her.

The following pictures where sent into the website by Dave Judge who worked on the Creswell as a diver, along with his father Norman who was Skipper on the Creswell as well.


Got these pictures off my dad. One of the Creswell and the other one is of the Crofton mentioned by Raymond Daniels comment #2 both at Blythe before the ships retired and moved on from the work in the harbour.

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.

 This is to bring the story of this humble old workhorse right up to date and is told by the man who purchased her last and when he could not find a buyer for her sent her to be scrapped.

As told by John King

I started my career in shipbuilding as an apprentice
draughtsman at J Bolson & Son Ltd, Poole in 1965.

One of the ships we built in that time was a low air draught
tanker "Banco" which was a sister of the Robb built vessel

Scrapping the "Cresswell" was quite a sad
experience. I bought her for £ 12,000 lying at the McNulty yard in South
Shields 1992. We steamed her down to Lowestoft,
averaging over 10 knots, which is pretty much her original speed. She
never missed a beat.

I tried to sell her on as a going concern, but the direct
reversing main engine frightened every one off. She was cut up at the old
Brooke Marine yard.

Sad to think that we no longer build and operate these
humble little ships, maybe just one of the many follies of an island nation!


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.

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0 #4 Dave Judge 2015-02-03 07:21
MY father was skipper of this vessel when owned by Blyth Harbour Commission. It was later bought by Don Cox and Lol Blewitt and used as a salvage vessel on the N.E coast. I was on board as a diver Many an adventure was had on board during these times
0 #3 Mike Cutchie 2014-06-30 07:49
Worked on the Cresswell as a student in the summer holidays 1964-66.
One became reasonably expert in using the high pressure hose to keep the decks clean.

The grab/crane was driven for many years by Norman Penrose, ex Blyth Spartans wing-half.
The abrupt rising sensation when the hopper doors were opened out at sea to dump the silt, was quite unforgettable.
0 #2 Raymond Daniels 2014-01-14 18:01
I joined Blyh Harbour in 1978 as apprentice fitter, the Cresswell was there and working, she was used for clearing out silt and mud in spaces between jetties and anywhere the other suction dredger Crofton could not get, i always remember the engine room was kept very clean, all painted white and the brass polished, i can remember the Priestman crane which i helped change in the early 80s, i can still name some of the crew, she would use a bucket grab to fill her hold then sail out 4 mile to dump then back to do this several times each day, i can still picture her rocking back and forth with the slewing of the crane.
0 #1 John King 2013-04-04 09:07
Creswell-I bought this vessel around 1992 in Newcastle, steamed her to Lowestoft where she was scrapped. i have some drawings and photographs.

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