11 thoughts on “The TCC Paddle Tug Sir Hugh Bell

  1. The Riley Boiler story seems to have been kick-started by the enquiry from the San Diego Maritime Museum for data on a Riley boiler installed in an early 20th C ship built on the Clyde and being restored. The mention of the ‘Sir Hugh Bell’ tug having a Riley boiler sparked a thought. Tony Myers, a Teesside chap now in Dorset, loaned me the book by Lady Bell telling of working and living conditions for people employed in iron works locally – ‘At the works’. Not a great read but full of fascinating detail. Can anybody firmly confirm that the tug did have a Riley boiler.


  2. I am shortly going to be constructing a 3d model of one of these iron paddle tugs (one of the versions in use on the Tyne around the 1870s) so if anyone has a pdf drawing or dimensions of a typical iron paddle tug for me to work from it would be very much appreciated, and for anyone who helps out in anyway and/or expresses an interest I will send you a copy of the model once it is finished.

    I am contactable on via the Picture Stockton team.


    • Search Wikimedia for “Eppleton Hall plans” and download the largest sizes, they’re huge – everything you need there. Loads of reference images on the web for Eppleton Hall too, in various stages of her life.


  3. He was my grandfather too, my mother”s maiden name was Rhoda Duncan. I would like any info or photos. I have some info but i like would some more. thanks


  4. I was very interested to see this paddle steamer I”ve been told that my gr grandfather Charles Duncan owned a paddle steamer called the Camperdown but have never come across any phots of it, also the family owned the Ida Duncan another paddle steamer which was blown up at south gare by a mine – wondered if anyone has any photos or info on these.


  5. I was a tugboy on the Sir Hugh Bell in 1954, it was moored on the Port Clarence side of the transporter. We used to drop off workers along the Tees and my wage was £1.18.6 at fifteen years old. I also did a brief spell on the Amos, its sister ship.


  6. I passed a copy of this to a friend who works in the shipping industry. He was able to add these details of the “Sir Hugh Bell”: Built 1913, 175grt J. P. Rennoldson, South Shields (283) for the Tees Conservancy Commissioners Broken up in Belgium 2/1958


  7. Roger – Riley”s did indeed manufacture Scotch Marine Boilers throughout the late nineteenth century and up to the early 1960s. This was in fact the mainstay of their business. Boilers up to 14ft in diameter and up to 40 tons finished weight were manufactured with two or three furnaces either solid fuel or oil fired and with natural or forced draught. These boilers were not made in any standard sizes since the condition in regard to the placement of the boilers could vary considerably. If you wish to see a picture of two Scotch Marine Boilers leaving Riley”s works go to reference t6835 – t6836 on this website. These photographs were taken in 1961. For more information feel free to contact me via the picture.stockton team for my email address.


  8. Good afternoon. Just came across your site when looking for information on Scotch boilers. Did the company Riley ever make such boilers as Im looking for a person with knowledge of them to help with a project Im researching. thanks for reading this. Regards. Roger Styles


  9. There are photos on the site of the old TCC paddle tug “John H Amos” which still exists – just – on the Medway, but there isn”t one of its sister, “Sir Hugh Bell”. My late father took this photo of “Sir Hugh Bell” from the gondola of the Transporter Bridge in the late 1950″s. I was with him and it was the first time I”d seen a paddle steamer in action. In the background, on the Port Clarence side are a couple of other steamers – one is a screw tug, and just behind the superstructure of “Sir Hugh Bell” there is a buoy lifter vessel moored on the Port Clarence bank. There are also the remnants of Port Clarence iron works. Note the ex-lifeboat moored in the foreground too.


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