19 November 1960 - 19 November 2010
Celebrating 50 years of merchant ship observing, photography and research
Have a look at:
How it began!
(revised 10.12.05) [since this page was originally written the 1948-built STOCKHOLM re-entered service as the CARIBE from 2003, becoming the ATHENA in 2005.];
MY FIRST WEEK OF SHIPS (last revised 19.11.05);
(with photos!)
(first featured on 25.12.02);
[for more on the CITY OF YORK see http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/070609beginningx3.htm Per Miramar: arrested at Patras 8.96, beached at Patras 26.11.02 & capsized at Eleusis by 1.03]
MY FIRST SHIP (revised and reintroduced 19.11.05);

New 19 November 2010
(slightly revised 22.11.10)


Some personal details are given at: For the nosey among you!!! (revised 14.07.08). This needs a little updating!
As you will see I hit the 65 years of age mark two weeks ago and fully retired having completed six years with Middlesbrough Live at Home Scheme. Anne also fully retired at the end of August having left Linthorpe Junior School two years previously, followed by two years of part-time working at King's Manor School. The three lads are now a bit older - 34-31 and 28! Phil left Lidl earlier this year, Neil has recently moved house elsewhere in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, and Elliott has been back at the local Teesside university, now into his third year of study.

However, the main purpose of this new page is to review my 50 years of ship observing!

19 November 1960 - first ship observing visit to Middlesbrough Dock;
10 December 1960 - first visit to Tyne-Tees/Dent's Wharves;
14 February 1961 - first visit to the Tyne;
6 April 1961 - first visit to Hartlepools;
15 April 1961 - my first ship photos [KAMBODIA and ANDALUSIAN];
[for some of my earliest photos see: http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/060519oldies.htm
and: http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/070609beginning.htm]
26 May 1961 - first Tyne river trip;
10 July 1961 - school careers visit to Smith's Docks [see: http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/070609beginningx5.htm]
[not surprisingly, with just about every sighting being a new one, 1961 brought me my second highest number of new sightings - 561, surpassed only by 575 in 1981]

6 August 1962 - first photos with new Box Brownie camera
[CITY OF CHESTER - see: http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/051227cofchester.htm
see also WHAT HAPPENED NEXT on: http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/070609beginningx4.htm]

18 June - 2 July 1964 - first visit to River Clyde, staying with relatives in Paisley
[I was delighted that my very first sighting during that holiday was of the TALISMAN - see:
How it began!]
13 August 1964 - first Tees river trip
[two days after joining Tees Conservancy Commissioners part of my induction was this trip on the TEES CONSERVATOR while wage packets were handed out to dredger/hopper crews - this was also the first time I recorded vessels in the then fairly new Tees Dock].

5 - 16 September 1965 - first "independent" holiday, staying at New Brighton, visiting docks in Liverpool, Birkenhead, Garston and Manchester.

1 September 1966 - first visit to Hull;
5 November 1966 - became an "adult" (as defined back in those days!) on my 21st birthday - prize present a new 35mm Voigtlander camera which saw sterling service for the next 14 years and is still in my possession today;
8 November 1966 - my first 35 mm photo:

Tees regular BRITTENBURGH berthing at Tyne-Tees Wharf (YORKSHIRE COAST in background)

8 - 14 July 1967 - second holiday in New Brighton

1 - 13 August 1970 - first (and only) round Britain tour having passed my driving test the previous year.
Visits to Hull (including sighting the EFORIE - see: http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/1eforie.htm and: http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/1berezina.htm), Dover, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Birkenhead, Liverpool, Manchester, Leith, Granton, Glasgow, Dunoon, Oban, Peterhead and Aberdeen. Culminating in my first car accident, an argument with a United bus in Alnwick!

1971 turned out to be the year producing my second lowest number of sightings (only 34) - must have had other things on my mind back then!

July 1972 - holiday in Scotland with my wife to be - first sighting of WAVERLEY see: How it began!

Anne's training continued, certainly with a visit to Hull in 1973 and the indoctrination has proved most successful as, following our marriage in 1974, nearly all our holidays have been close to, or have included visits to, various ports! (Thanks, Anne)

4 May 1975 - first visit to Goole (on board LINCOLN CASTLE sailing from Hull)
It was in 1975 I "discovered" the riverside road through the steelworks from Smith's Docks to Tees Dock enabling me to record vessels berthed at North Tees Oil Jetties. From around the middle of this same year I recorded only ships that I was able to photograph, whereas previously I had included all that were visible!

16 - 19 September 1977 - first mini cruise to Hamburg (with Mick Green)

25 - 29 March 1980 - mini cruise to Esbjerg (Denmark) ... extended by two free days because the WINSTON CHURCHILL had engine trouble!
Later in 1980 I purchased a new Olympus 35mm camera and in the following year started to use zoom lenses. This may be why 1981 became my record year for new sightings!

23 June 1984 - first visit to River Trent

26 - 28 May 1985 - first mini cruise to Europoort (and Rotterdam)

In 1997 I finally began to switch from mainly black and white photography to slides, my first slide photo on 27 March 1997 being of the MAERSK CURLEW on the Tyne.
June that year found me enjoying the first of seven annual holidays (1997-2003) to Vlissingen with Mick Green, Harry Appleyard and John Slavin.

By contrast, 2004 was my worst ever year for observing ships - I amassed only 14 that year and visits remained fairly slack for the next few years until in 2009 I was again able to enjoy a holiday in Vlissingen with Anne. This year (2010) we have, of course, enjoyed our first major cruise around Baltic ports (see link on index page to Powerpoint presentation).

By now the digital age has arrived, my first experimentation being at the end of 2007 with one of Anne's Christmas presents. One of my efforts at Goole on 28 December 2007:

Towards the end of 2008 another birthday brought my own SLR type digital camera and on my 48th shipping anniversary the first sighting I recorded was the KRONVIKEN heading well out into Tees Bay:

I have, of course, been down to the South Gare to commemorate my 50th anniversary and the results are shown separately.

So, in 50 years I have recorded 12,940 individual merchant ship sightings which in round terms is an average of 260 per year, or 5 new sightings a week. I hope to keep building on this for many years to come!!

LOOKING FOR SHIPS? – You’ll find them here!