Swansea's first tugs

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Martin Willis asked us a rather pertinent question about the working of the nineteenth century port. Basically he and his friends wanted to know how ships got in and out of the harbour in the days of sail. This was always a very awkward problem for Swansea ships, because for most of the nineteenth century the harbour had a rather narrow entrance. In the 1840s the Swansea Harbour Trustees purchased two paddle steamer tugs to pull ships in and out of the harbour. From the 1840s onwards the port used steam tugs to move ships around the docks.

However in the days before the steam tugs we are told that men would have to row the boats in to the harbour, even if they were big ships!

Below: Some of the first pictures ever taken in the history of photography were taken of ships in Swansea Harbour. You can see the two paddle steamer tugs at low tide in the River Tawe.



The View for Sunday 4 December 2000

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