Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
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Volume Six - Pre-Victorian to the Present Day - Select Aspects - Working the Ely Tidal Harbour . . .

In sharp contrast to the decay and sad dereliction of the previous images, the following photographs beautifully illustrate the life of a working boat in the 1950's. The work was hard but I feel quite sure the coal dust would have been infinitely more palatable than sitting in a modern office pushing a mouse around, being pushed around by the boss and then, that commute home through city traffic chaos breathing its oxides of carbon!

The 'Eilian' was built in Anglesey at the yard of William Thomas of Amlwch, launched in late 1908 as a schooner, she was fitted with a 50 horsepower single cylinder paraffin engine. She visited the Ely Tidal Harbour 508 times with coal for Ilfracombe shipping a total of 206,000 tons of coal in her lifetime, skippered by Jack Newcombe during the period December 1914 to August 1957.

The account of the life of the 'Eilian' is extremely interesting and may be found on the website Peter Newcombe, the grandson of the skipper of the 'Eilian', has developed the site and I thank him for the contribution to our story. Another crew member was one Monty Carder although, I am not sure if there is a family connection here. [166]

The last voyage of the 'Eilian' was in August 1957 and it brought to an end the era when hundreds of these wonderful working boats plyed the murky waters of the Severn Sea and Bristol Channel taking the lesser loads of coal to the ports, harbours and works to fuel local industry, provide light, to make toast and warm the toes of young and old alike on both sides of the Channel and beyond!


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