Tyneside Tug Builders in alphabetical order of Surname

























John Rogerson & Co, St Peter's, Newcastle

John Rogerson had a shipbuilding yard at St Peter's in Newcastle.

He was also a ship owner and started the Tyne General Ferry Co in Newcastle in 1859.

In 1862/3 he agreed to sell 3 of his vessels to the Anglo-Danubian Steam Navigation & Colliery Company of which he was also a shareholder. Rogerson apparently used this transaction to also supply munitions to Circassia which was at the time being blockaded by the Russians. In the event, the whole transaction became a legal case in the British Court of Chancery and the following summary of the key facts has been kindly provided by David Asprey.

The Anglo-Danubian Steam Navigation & Colliery Company (ADSNCC) was formed in July 1862 to purchase concessions awarded in 1859 by the Serbian Government to Société Générale Franco-Serbe/General Finance Servian Navigation Co/Claude Bouillon & Cie, Marseille. The concessions were to develop a coal field at Dobra, near the Danube and to provide steam navigation on the river. The French company had built three vessels: PAPIN and BELLOT were on the Danube and CREUZOT had not yet been delivered and was at Lyon. It seems that the SGFS could not raise sufficient capital, hence their sale (including the three vessels) to British interests for GB£30,000. ADSNCC's authorised capital was GB£220,000. ADSNCC had primarily British shareholders, led by merchants Edmund Burke and John Kearns, though there were directors from Vienna and Pest. They clearly intended to acquire further vessels.

One of ADSNCC's shareholders was John Rogerson, a merchant based in London and Newcastle, where he also had a shipyard. He had owned the tug/passenger steamers CHESAPEAKE, LOUISE CRAWSHAY and HARRY CLASPER but sold them in 1862 to the Tyne General Ferry Co, of which he was the managing director.

He repurchased them and agreed to sell them to ADSNCC for £2,000, £5,500 and £7,500 respectively. The company were difficult about providing the necessary mortgages, so he transferred ownership of the CHESAPEAKE & LOUISE CRAWSHAY to a George Wraith, acting as trustee with formal title to the ships to be transferred only when the financial documentation was all in place - it never was.

In arranging for the delivery of the first two ships to the Danube it was agreed that Rogerson would send out some unspecified cargo for the Black Sea on the CHESAPEAKE, and the LOUISE CRAWSHAY would carry some stores for the ADSNCC company that were needed on the Danube. the latter left the Tyne on 30/7/1863, arriving Constantinople 24/9 after coaling stops in Southampton, Falmouth, Corunna, Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Algiers, Tunis, Malta and Piraeaus (it seems that in both cases the cargo being carried meant that there was limited space available for bunkers).

The CHESAPEAKE had left earlier on about 17/6, and made similar calls for bunkers (though also apparently calling into London around 19/6, which might have been to do with the cargo), arriving in Constantinople 22/8. It is clear from the court statements, though Rogerson's testimony was guarded, that his cargo consisted of eight cases of munitions intended to be shipped to the port of Gelendjek/Gelendzhik in Circassia, which was then under blockade by the Russians. In court it was alleged that during her coaling stop in Malta she was repainted light blue, which would aid her blockade running. She sailed Constantinople on 31/8, mis-declaring her destination as Galatz. In the event, she did not run the blockade but delivered her cargo to Trebizond/Trabzon in Turkey and returned to Constantinople on 17/9 to await LOUISE CRAWSHAY before going up to the Danube.

In fact, ADSNCC never completed the purchase and they remained laid up in Constantinople and the HARRY CLASPER did not leave the UK. A year later CHESAPEAKE & LOUISE CRAWSHAY were auctioned in London on 29/9/1864 but found no buyer. They were subsequently sold at Constantinople via agent Heald Mathurin & Co for about GB£1,538, apparently to Italian buyers. It seems that ADSNCC was not a success, having difficulty with the Dobra mine as well as navigation problems on the Danube; they never took delivery of CREUZOT, which lingered on in Lyon and was eventually abandoned with unpaid taxes, but they did own another vessel KENILWORTH in 1865 (perhaps the American Civil War blockade runner?). ADSNCC was wound up in 1867.

The above details kindly provided by David Asprey

I have no other information about John Rogerson & Co as a shipbuilder.

The following is a list of tugs built by John Rogerson & Co:

      KEY BELOW: D - Dimensions; H - History; P - Photographs
Yd No Year Tug Name D / H / P
1859 Louise Crawshay D / H
1860 Charlotte Anne Williamson D / H
1860 Sam Turner D / H
1861 Harry Clasper D / H
1864 Sea King D / H
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