Tilbury Dock

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tilbury Dock' page

late 60's

By Mark Nunnery

I am guessing at the date around 1968/69 as the Dwellings have all gone, the hospital still there, just. The Swedish Lloyd vessel 'Saga' on the RoRo berth, with ( heres one for all you budding detectives, ) a large P&O liner in the dry dock. Checking the P&O ships website I can safely rule out Oronsay and Orcades.. in fact it narrows down to either Chusan, Arcadia or Iberia. With an outside chance of it being Himalaya. I had trouble counting the lifeboats!

(This is a second attempt at submitting the photo of Tilbury Dock form around 68/69..I have scanned it horizontally instead of having it come out at an angle.)

This page was added by Mark Nunnery on 01/02/2014.
Comments about this page

Looking at photo of ship in dry dock looks like Iberia from the funnel bot arcadia and certainly not Himalaya. They all had slight differences to the funnel tops. Can be see on other websites but difficult to identify but feel Iberia but I am sure there will be experts out there. The trouble is these great liners were always part of the Tilbury background and our memories fade a little with time. To me these great liners meant an opportunity to earn some real wages at Green& Silley Weir during the 60's

By william(billy)gill
On 05/02/2014

You are quite right Billy, the P&O liner in dry dock is definitely IBERIA (there are differences between IBERIA and ARCADIA, notably funnels, and many major differences between those two and CHUSAN and HIMALAYA). The Swedish Lloyd “ferry” is SAGA, which entered service in May 1966, and IBERIA’s last departure from Tilbury was on 13 November 1968, after which Southampton was her base port.

That narrows down the date, and there are a few good clues in the photo.

However, the old dry dock, which has in it what I am sure is the Elder Dempster cargo ship OWERRI, reportedly took its last vessel in 1967. In 1967, Elder Dempster’s OWERRI was in service out of Tilbury (its sistership OBUASI was based at Liverpool) … the only other similar ship was ONITSHA, which had a heavy-lift derrick at No 1 hatch, which this has not. So this must have been OWERRI.

I do not have the full voyage details for IBERIA for 1967, but it apparently was only in Tilbury on two occasions that year, the first in January (left Tilbury 17 January for Sydney) and next in late summer.

The second ship down on the right is the Henderson cargo vessel BHAMO, seen here when it was running for Guinea Gulf Line, which was from June 1967 to May 1968 ... and there are leaves on the trees in the vicinity of the hospital and Orient and Peninsular roads.

From that inconclusive detective work, I would guess that the photo was taken in late summer 1967.

As for the good ship IBERIA, it was well known as the worst ship commissioned into the P&O passenger fleet postwar. It suffered numerous breakdowns, collisions and other mishaps, and as a result was taken out of service and scrapped in 1972 – a full seven years before its older near-sistership ARCADIA.

By Roger Jordan
On 20/06/2014

The photo of Tilbury dock, shows the SS Iberia in dry dock. I am not sure when she arrived at Tilbury but I joined her in the dry dock on Monday 17th April 1967. She then left Tilbury dock on Saturday 22nd April 1967 and moored up at Tilbury landing stage (now London Cruise Terminal). She departed Tilbury landing stage at 12:40 on the first of a series of cruises, calling at Casablanca, Tenerife, Santa Cruz, Gibralter, Madeira before returning to the UK and Southampton. She then did four more cruises from Southampton before departing on 27th July 1967 for Australia, she did one cruise from Sydney calling at Savu Savu, Suva, Nuku'alofa, Sydney. She departed Sydney for her homeward journey to the UK on 15th September 1967, arriving back in Tilbury on 29th October 1967. I left her at Tilbury for a short break, then I joined her sister ship SS Arcadia which sailed from Tilbury on 14th December 1967 on her outward journey to Sydney and after three cruises from Sydney, she started her homeward journey on 6th March 1968, arriving back at Tilbury on the 9th April 1968. SS Arcadia departed Tilbury on the 27th April 1968 and did not return to Tilbury until the 3rd April 1969, that being the last time I arrived at or departed from Tilbury, I left her on the 6th April 1970 at Southampton. 

By Tony Avenell
On 03/06/2017

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