Bertha

Dragboat built 1844 by Lunnel, G & Co, Bristol

Ensign House flag

17

National Historic Fleet


Service Vessel


Dragboat

Bristol


Museum based

Museum: floating


No

No


20/01/1996

18/01/2016



Gallery


Propulsion

Steam

Steam


1844

Unknown


Abbot & Co, Newark


Dimensions

To be confirmed

13.48 feet (4.11 metres)


49.97 feet (15.24 metres)

4.00 feet (1.22 metres)


60.00


History

BERTHA is believed to have been designed by John McLean, who also designed the drag boat DRAGON, the first vessel of this kind built for service in Bristol. BERTHA was supplied to the Port of Bridgwater, which was subject to siltation from mud carried by the River Parrett on the incoming tide. The function of this vessel, like close counterparts in the Port of Bristol, was to move mud across the floor of the dock to a position where it could be flushed away when the tide had receded. A rectangular blade suspended vertically beneath the drag-boat transported the mud as the drag-boat employed its onboard steam engine to warp itself across the dock, using wires or chains attached to fixtures on the quay. BERTHA is a nickname believed to have been coined about 1970, before which this vessel had no recorded name. Source; John Robinson, Advisory Committee, March 2009.

Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles (May Edition 6, 1994) pub: Steam Boat Association of Great Britain
K Hudson, A Pocket Book for Industrial Archaeologists (1976) pub: John Baker
Norman J Brouwer, International Register of Historic Ships (Edition 2, 1993, pp139) pub: Anthony Nelson
Edward J Burrow, The Official Bridgewater Guide, No. 147 The Borough Guides (1910)

Subsequent developments

March 2009 BERTHA is currently displayed ashore at the ISCA museum site in Eyemouth. A hole has been drilled in her bottom to release rainwater. Source: John Robinson, Advisory Committee, March 2009.

Key dates

  1. 1844 Built in Bristol as a drag boat
  2. 1844-1968 Worked the Bridgewater Docks
  3. 1972 Removed to Exeter for display afloat at Exeter Maritime Museum
  4. 1997 Removed to Bristol and then transferred with other vessels from the EISCA collection to Lowestoft and thence to Eyemouth

Bibliography

  1. 1910 The Official Bridgewater Guide, No. 147 The Borough Guides - Burrow, Edward J
  2. 1976 A Pocket Book for Industrial Archaeologists - Hudson, K
  3. 1993 International Register of Historic Ships - Brouwer, Norman J
  4. 1994 Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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