TYNE TUGS AND TUG BUILDERS
A history of Tyne Tugs, their builders and owners

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Above: Select the required Tug Owner by using the initial letter of the Owner's Name eg: Batey, Lawson or Tyne.
KEY BELOW: D / H / P (D = basic dimensions are shown; H = a history is given; P = one or more photographs are available)

Tug Owner: Cory Ship Towage Ltd

The Cory towage business, as opposed to their interests in River Thames lighterage, can trace its origins back to the Rea family of coal merchants established in Liverpool in 1872. However their first step in tug owning was at Southampton where they established a coal bunkering service with a tug called CUMBRIA, built in 1895 to tow their various coal bunker barges. At this stage they used the name R & JH Rea.

In 1899 they started similar towage operations in Liverpool and changed the name of the company to Rea Steam Tug Company. Expansion into Bristol followed in 1903. Rea Ltd was formed in 1918 and immediately Wm Cory & Son Ltd took a 50% stake in the overall business and full ownership of the interests outside of Liverpool and the Mersey. This part of the company was then restyled R & JH Rea Ltd. Rea Towing Co Ltd was formed in 1922 to handle the Mersey operations.

Operations commenced at Milford Haven in 1958, Cardiff and Barry in 1961, Bantry Bay in 1968, also Belfast, Cobh and Clyde were to follow in 1969. These expansions were often achieved by the purchase of the incumbent towage company.

After various changes in shareholding the Cory name came to the fore with the amalgamation of all the fleets under the name of Cory Ship Towage Ltd in 1970.

Expansion into Newport & international expansion to Canada followed in 1971 and then Plymouth in 1972. A joint venture with the Clyde Shipping Company took them into the Hound Point installation on the Forth and Sullom Voe in the Shetlands.

In 1990 Cory purchased the Tees Towing Company operations on the Tees and then the Tyne operations of the Clyde Shipping Company in 1995. This brought the Tyne & Wear Tugs Ltd fleet into Cory ownership.

The Cory Towage Group was then acquired by the Dutch Wijsmuller Group for approx 82 million in 2000.

For a fully history and fleet list of Cory Towage please read Bill Harvey's excellent book. (See section SOURCES in ABOUT above)

The following tugs were owned or operated on the Tyne:

Tug Name Year D / H / P
Cragsider 1976 D / H / P
Flying Spindrift 1986 D / H / P
Hillsider 1988 D / H / P
Holmsider 1984 D / H / P
Rowangarth 1981 D / H / P
Seasider 1985 D / H / P
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