SS Ewell

SS Ewell on 22 September 1926 approaching London Bridge with her mast, funnel and wheelhouse folded down.
SS Ewell on 22 September 1926 approaching London Bridge with her mast, funnel and wheelhouse folded down.
Image source: Flickr & Royal Museums Greenwich

The SS Ewell was a flatiron which is a type of coastal trading vessel designed to pass under bridges with limited clearance. Her mast and funnel were hinged and her wheelhouse also folded flat. Flatirons were developed in the UK in the latter part of the 19th century. Most were colliers built to bring coal from North East England and South Wales to gasworks and power stations on the River Thames that were upriver from the Pool of London.

Travelling upstream during the ebb tide the collier had to pass under 17 Thames bridges to reach the gas works. The cargo would be unloaded in just 4 or 5 hours allowing the vessel to catch the next tide.

The SS Ewell was built in steel by the Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., and had yard number 138. It was launched 29 May 1926 and had a gross tonnage of 1,350 and was 226ft long x 36.4ft wide x 16.5ft high, it was powered by a 3cyl North Eastern Marine engine. It was completed in July 1926 and was given the official number 148788. It was built for the Wandsworth Wimbledon and Epsom District Gas Co., and it carried on working for the gas company and its successors till 1958 when it was sold to Ditta Ferruzzi Serafina, Ravenna, Italy, renamed the "Candiano" and converted to work as a grain lighter.

The Wandsworth gasworks was built in 1834 on the Surrey bank of the River Thames near Wandsworth Bridge, it supplied Wandsworth, Putney and part of Battersea. The undertaking became the Wandsworth and Putney Gaslight and Coke Company in 1854 and was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1856.

In 1912 the company merged with the Mitcham and Wimbledon District Gaslight Company and the Epsom and Ewell Gas Company to form the Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Epsom District Gas Company. In 1924 it bought land at Worcester Park to build more gas holders.

In 1931 the company took over the Kingston upon Thames Gas Company and the Sutton Gas Company and retitled itself the Wandsworth and District Gas Company. In 1936 it took over the Leatherhead Gas and Lighting Company and the Walton upon Thames and Weybridge Gas Company.

In 1949 the Wandsworth and District Gas Company was nationalised under the Gas Act 1948 and became part of the West Surrey Division of the South Eastern Gas Board.

The SS Ewell approaching Tower Bridge 22 September 1926
The SS Ewell approaching Tower Bridge 22 September 1926
Image source: Flickr & Royal Museums Greenwich

The SS 'Ewell' approaching Cannon Street railway bridge 22 September 1926
The SS 'Ewell' approaching Cannon Street railway bridge 22 September 1926
Image source: Flickr & Royal Museums Greenwich

The SS 'Ewell' approaching Southwark Bridge 22 September 1926
The SS 'Ewell' approaching Southwark Bridge 22 September 1926
Image source: Flickr & Royal Museums Greenwich

Sources:
1. museumoflondon.org.uk
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatiron_(ship)
3. www.burntisland.net
4. Coasters: An Illustrated History By Roy Fenton
Another image of The Wandsworth Gas Company collier 'Ewell' can be seen on the wwww.museumoflondon.org.uk website.

Peter Reed 2014.



 Art
 Family History
 Health
 Map
 Nature
 People
 Places
 Society
 Sources
 Technology
 Trade
 Transport
 War Memorials

 Contact
 Sitemap
 What's New
 Home

Email:


Donate to The History Centre