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Gloucester Docks &
Museum Tug Severn Progress
Tug Severn Progress
The tug originally named Progress
(on the right) was built in 1931 by Charles Hill & Sons of Bristol,
the prefix Severn being added later to conform to the general naming
policy adopted by her owners, the Severn & Canal Carrying Company
based in Gloucester. Progress originally had a 100 bhp Kromhout
semi-diesel engine which required heating with a blow-lamp to get
it hot before starting. In later years this was replaced by a Lister
air-cooled diesel that starts with the push of a button. Also in
the early days, the steering position was an open well, and it was
many years later before a proper wheel-house was fitted.
Severn Progress was mainly
used for towing barges and canal boats on the River Severn between
Gloucester and Worcester with some trips extending to Stourport.
A typical trip was to leave Gloucester early one morning, towing
whatever loaded barges and canal boats needed to go up river,
stay overnight at Worcester and then return with empty boats the
following day. When it was necessary to go all the way up to Stourport,
it was still expected that the tug would return on the second day.
The usual cargoes for the barges were grain, timber and petroleum,
and the canal boats carried grain, metals, chocolate crumb and a
wide range of general cargoes that had come on the steamers arriving
at Bristol and Avonmouth.
Following nationalisation of the canals in 1948, Severn Progress became part of the British Waterways fleet and continued towing on the Severn until commercial traffic died out in the late 1960s. Later she moved to the Kennet & Avon Canal to help with restoration and maintenance work between Hanham Lock and Bath. After this role ended in 1991, Severn Progress came to the Museum, where she is looked after by the Friends of the Museum who use her for tug handling courses and occasional towing jobs. Top
The colourful tug Kennet was for many years loaned to the Museum by the producer of the children's television series "Tugs" and was painted to look like a character from the series. She was sold in September 2008.
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