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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Manchester Ship Canal

This will be all about the many tugs ordered by the company, and some history on the Canal.



The opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894 turned the inland City of Manchester into one of the major Ports in the British Isles.

It is interesting to note that when the then Queen Victoria came to officially open the canal in May of 1884 and onboard the Admiralty yacht "Enchantress" the yacht was towed the final leg of the journey by the small tug "Florida" built at Leith in 1887, so even at the opening of this great waterway a ship from Leith was involved.

Manchester being all off 35 and a half miles from the Mersey would mean that all ships travelling this long waterway would require the use of tugs, and it would not be until 1935 that the Manchester Canal Company would turn to the shipbuilders of Henry Robb Ltd at Leith, Scotland for the first of some twenty such vessels to be ordered from the Leith Shipyards.

The first of such orders was for the special fire fighting tug the MSC FIREFLY Ship No 212 built and launched at Leith in 1935

The Manchester Ship Canal Company was to order some twenty tugs from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd, and we shall feature some of them here along with much more on the ships to appear soon in the new set of E-Books being prepared so keep visiting to see progress.


The above photograph shows MSC SCEPTRE from Acton Grange Railway Viaduct, near Warrington outward bound photograph by Ken Smith of Warrington.

She was one of the newer type of tug deployed on the Canal, she was not a Leith built ship, but was a product of the Appledor Shipbuilders P.K.Harris (Shipbuilders) Ltd.



The tugs were the work horse of the waterway all thirty five or so miles of it, in peacetime and in wartime.


The photograph above shows the Manchester Liners ship MANCHESTER PROGRESS outbound on the canal in the photograph by Ken Smith of Warrington and shown here by permission.

Watch out for more on the canal and the new E-Books which will be available soon



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