ABERDEEN BUILT SHIPS


Name
CRETETREE
Construction
CONCRETE
Type
BARGE
Date
1919
Official Number
143055
Description
Yard Number: 1

Ordered as PD146 but completed for the Shipping Controller, London as CRETETREE.

Launched 14 December 1918, named by Lady Taggart, wife of the Lord Provost, Sir James Taggart.
Completed in March 1919

Transferred to the Board of Trade in 1921.
Owned in 1922 by Crete Shipping Co. Ltd, London.
Owned in 1928 by John W Robertson, Lerwick.
Owned in 1948 by W A Bruce, Stornoway. Used as a coal hulk.
Deleted from Lloyds Register in 1955.
In 1955, was taken as a hulk to the island of Scalpay and used as a fishing gear store. Later filled with water but remains on the beach.

As of December 2000, this vessel was afloat at the Isle of Scalpay near Tarbert, Harris.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 20/9/1918:
Concrete Shipbuilding - The last summer excursion for the present season of the members of the Aberdeen Mechanical Society was held on Saturday afternoon, when a visit to the yard of the Aberdeen Concrete Shipping Company Ltd., at South Esplanade East, proved most interesting. The building of reinforced concrete vessels is a subject which has been attracting much attention in these times of national emergency. One of the chief advantages of the use of concrete in the building of ships is that unskilled workers can be largely utilised, and that the work does not take away labour from the steel shipbuilders. At the Aberdeen yard, where the company is showing great enterprise there are at present three vessels in course of construction - two 1000 ton dumb barges, for towing purposes, to be used for crucial traffic, and a tug which will be propelled by steam, with engines of 750 horsepower, and which will displace 535 tons. The dimensions of each of the barges are - Length 180ft, bean 31ft 6in, moulded depth 19ft and of the tug - length 125ft, beam 27ft and moulded depth 14ft 6in. Reinforced concrete vessels it may be mentioned, displace about 40 per cent more than steel vessels of the same deadweight. The steel is only about 42 and a half per cent of that in steel vessels.

Aberdeen Press & Journal, 8/11/1918:
Latest in Concrete Ships - The latest in concrete ships is under construction in a yard at Granton. Instead of the usual 2 and a half to 3 inches there is only a thickness of three quarters of an inch in the shell, but the concrete is said to be so reinforced as to give a strength equivalent to that of half inch steel. The vessel is the first to be constructed according to the specifications of Mr. A. W. Hillard, the patentee, and the builders are the newly-formed Granton Shipbuilding Company. The vessel is a fishing smack, built after the style of a yacht so far as the main outline is concerned. Its length is 38 feet, width 11 feet 9 inches and depth 7 feet 3 inches, and the weight is about 4 and a half tons, being thus as light as a wooden vessel of the same size.
Little over three weeks has been required for the building of the vessel and it is estimated that a large ship could be completed in six or seven weeks, a considerable saving of time being effected in consequence of the fact that mould are dispensed with in the construction. In the building of this new type of ship there is a large saving in material and the patentee anticipates a great demand for vessels built according to his specifications.

Aberdeen Press & Journal, 17/12/1918:
Launch of Concrete Barge - The Aberdeen Concrete Shipbuilding Company, Limited, have all arrangements completed for the launch of the first concrete ship built at Aberdeen, from the yard at South Esplanade East on Saturday afternoon at 3:15. The barge, 180 feet long by 31 feet 6 inches beam and 19 feet in depth, and having a carrying capacity of 1000 tons, has been built to the order of the Admiralty, and will be named the CRETETREE. Her launching displacement is 850 tons. The barge is of reinforced concrete, designed for cross-channel and coastal traffic, and will be fitted with a donkey engine to supply steam for the steering gear and a compound windlass. It may be mentioned that the work of constructing the vessel has given employment to between 200 and 300 men, that a similar barge is already well under way, that four reinforced concrete tugs of 725 indicated h.p. for the Admiralty have been contracted for, and that while Saturday's launch directly from the ways will be the first of its kind in Scotland, so far as a reinforced concrete vessel is concerned, it is likely to be followed within a comparatively short time by many other.

Aberdeen Press & Journal, 23/12/1918:
First Aberdeen Built Concrete Ship. Features of New Industry - The first launch of a concrete vessel at Aberdeen took place on Saturday from the yard of the Aberdeen Concrete Shipbuilding Company, Ltd., South Esplanade East, when a reinforced concrete barge to the order of the Admiralty was successfully launched directly from the ways, the first time in Scotland of such an achievement. The barge is 180 feet long, with a beam of 31 feet 6 inches, and a depth of 19 feet, and will have a carrying capacity of 1000 tons. The barge is designed for cross-channel and coastal traffic, and will carry a crew of six. It will be fitted with a donkey engine to supply steam for the steering gear and a compound windlass. The work of construction has been given employment to between 200 and 300 men. Another barge of the same type is well under way, and the firm has also received contracts to build four reinforced concrete tugs for the Admiralty of 725 indicated horse-power.
Successful Launch - A large company of ladies and gentlemen had been invited to witness the launching ceremony, the naming being performed by Lady Taggart, who was accompanied by Lord Provost Sir James Taggart. As the vessel left the ways she was named CRETETREE. The derivation from concrete and tree, of which the vessel is constructed, is obvious. The CRETETREE took the water in graceful style, amid the hearty cheers of the spectators, thousands of whom lined the Victoria Bridge and the whole extent of Point Law, on the opposite side of the Dee. The barge was afterwards taken in tow by tugboat. Cake and wine were served to the invited guests - Mr James Scott, jun., in the chair. Lord Provost Sir James Taggart proposed "Success to the Cretetree" in happy terms. He said he had expected to find a little boat that went up and down canals and also that it would be an impossibility to float it (laughter) but she floated like a duck, and it was a great pleasure to see the vessel taking the water in such a graceful manner. (Applause.) They had expected the barge to be a great deal, in connection, with the war, but they wanted barges for much more industrial and pleasant duties, such as for food, because they were about tired of a ration of half a roast a week and a chicken once in a fortnight. (Laughter.) The first trip ought to be to Norway for a cargo of granite to Aberdeen, because they could not get tonnage to take over stones to keep the men going. They in Aberdeen were most grateful to the Concrete Shipbuilding Company for starting a new industry. They had been losing a lot of industries, and speaking about getting new ones, and this was one of the most important when they were employing about 300 hands. It was a jolly good start, and they would give Mr Scott all the hands they possibly could. There was a lot of women workers in Aberdeen, and they were "they boys." (Laughter.)
Future of Concrete Ships - Mr H. A. Flinn, assistant director of reinforced concrete construction at the Admiralty, replied. He said the barge was the fifteenth which had been launched of the same design, and it made the twenty-seventh concrete vessel now floating in these waters. It was barley a year ago since it was first decided to built concrete vessels in this country. One of the conditions was that they had to built these vessels within a certain time, and that they had not been able to do mainly because of the shortage of material and the non-support from labour. From time to time he had been asked as to the future of concrete ships, and his reply had always been, and was today, that it depended on labour. Many thought that concrete ships had been started to compete with steel vessels. That was not the case. Concrete ships were simply to supplement the output owing to the scarcity of material. So far as the Aberdeen yard was concerned, he thought the department which he represented was absolutely satisfied so far as the workmanship was concerned and the cost of the vessel. (Applause) It compared very favourably with some of the deadweight carrying vessels - in fact, it was about 15 per cent, cheaper. (Applause.) Although Aberdeen had not launched the first concrete barge, they really had built this barge, as compared with other concrete shipbuilders, in record time. (Applause.) He found some difficulty at first, in getting contractors to build them, but after he got begun he found they had every confidence in him. They carried on and spent money, laying out yards and building these ships, and had been spending money to that day without a contract. Many of them had not a contract, and he thought the concrete shipbuilders should receive some considerable credit for doing that. (Applause.)
Memento to Lady Taggart. - Mr James Scott, sen., proposed the toast of "Lady Taggart", and as a memento of the occasion he presented her, in the name of the shipbuilders, with a gold brooch, for which Lady Taggart returned thanks, and wished the CRETETREE all success. Mr J. B. Nicol, manager of the company, proposed "The Designers” - Messrs Mouch and Partners, Westminster, and Vickers, Ltd. The lines of the barge were designed without curving the timber in any way, and the vessel from top to bottom was a straight line. Great credit was due to both designers in having constructed the barge in such a manner that both shipbuilders and concrete workers were thoroughly in touch with once another, and so close that they had produced certainly a masterful work in reinforced concrete. (Applause.) Mr A. Hull, of Vickers, Ltd., responded. Mr James Gray, Scottish Concrete Ship Construction Co., Greenock, proposed "The Builders", and complimented them on the fine workmanship and successful launch. Mr J. Scott, jun, replied. At any time, he said, it was always difficult to start a new business, but to start it at such a time as they had passed through had certainly been very trying. They were gratified, however, to see that their labours had come to a successful issue, and he hoped they would be able to continue their efforts and push this new industry to good suits. (Applause.) The Lord Provost proposed the health of the chairman, and "Bon-Accord" concluded the pleasant proceedings.
Builder
ABERDEEN CONCRETE SHIP
Dimensions
Length: 181.1'
Breadth: 31.6'
Depth: 16.4'
Gross Tonnage: 711 tons
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