Shamrock Timeline


1899
Shamrock built by Frederick Hawke, Stonehouse, Plymouth. Designed with shallow draught for easy beaching, a keel consisting of an extra thickness of timber taking most of the wear from grounding, two drop keels providing lateral resistance when under sail. Rigged as a ketch, with a fore staysail, mainsail and mizzen.

7 Sept: First registration as Sailing Vessel 111344 of Plymouth.

4 Sept: Tom Williams, lighterman, of Torpoint, owner. Worked Shamrock with Fred Willams, his younger brother, also a lighterman, of Torpoint.

Sailed between the Western Counties & General Manure Co. of Torpoint, and the L&SWR's Ocean Quay depot in Plymouth, carrying manure manufactured from crushed animal bones treated with chemicals. Bones were acquired from butchers, and could occasionally include those from stranded whales. Shamrock would return to Torpoint light, carrying neither commercial loads or ballast. The Williamses also traded along the Tamar, dredging sand between Pentillie and Halton Quay for Torpoint builders; also carrying coal, bricks from the Southdown Brickworks, and limestone from Pomphlett Lake to the lime kilns along the river.

1907
27 May: Frederick becomes half-owner and officially master.

1914
During WWI Shamrock worked in Plymouth Sound, carrying charged, but not fused, 18lb shells from Canadian ammunition ships for completion at Ocean Quay.

1918
Put into stone trade by the Williamses, mostly working from Lynher River quarries.

1919
Bought for £600 by Charles Oakley Steed of the Notter River Stone Co. Structural alterations made to hull to enable registration as seagoing vessel. Two metal drop keels removed, replaced by a conventional style false keel. Bowsprit and jib added added to original sail plan of staysail, mainsail and mizzen. An auxiliary 30 ihp four-stroke paraffin engine was installed.

14 July: Registry closed and Shamrock re-registered in consequence of these alterations. 

1920
Ownership transferred to the Notter River Stone Co. Various configurations of individuals, including members of the Steed family, continued to be the registered owners until 1962. Shamrock now carried road stone from Lynher, Plymouth and Porthoustock (east side of the Lizard) quarries. A usual load would be 40 — 50 tonnes of 2 1/2 inch or 1 1/2 inch blue elvan, a very hard stone.

1926
Death of Charles Oakley Steed, January. William Parsons Betty and Robert John Jefford become joint owners.

Subsequently Harriett Ethel Steed became the sole owner.

1928
Steed Brothers Ltd. (C. Steed, W. Betty) of Notter River Quaries registered owners.

Mr. Hoskins appointed Master late 1920s. He was later to provide information to restoration team.

1930s
Operating from Truro, Shamrock carried road stone from Porthoustock quarry to the County Highways Depot at Tresillian near Truro, and creeks and quays around Falmouth.

William Trebillcock became Shamrock's master. His brother Charles was severely injured one day when the engine backfired. 

1932
27 July: Charles Dunn, A. Russell and H.E. Steed of Steed Brothers owners.

1934
Shamrock now technically smack rigged, and without a mizzen mast.

1936
Nov: Charles Dunn, A. Russell and H.E. Steed, now of the West of England Road Metal Co., still owners.

1950s
Only two Tamar sailing barges still working the costal trade, Shamrock and Mayblossom. Bowsprit and jib removed.

1951
Mayblossom laid up and left to rot. Shamrock is now the last Tamar sailing barge still trading under sail.

1962
July: West of England Road Metal Co. Ltd. sold Shamrock to Eric Norman Richardson of Falmouth representing Coastal Prospecting Ltd., London. By now no longer equipped for sailing, Shamrock was fitted with two 65 ihp diesel engines and converted to a prospecting dredger for tin ore off the Red River in St Ives Bay. Manager: Robert James Maxwell, London.

1963
6 Aug: Registered status discontinued in consequence of installation of motors, and Shamrock re-registered.

1966
14 April: Shamrock sold for £750 to Richard Curnow of Helston, engineer, and used for salvage work on wrecks in Mount's Bay and adjoining coasts. Guns, propellers, coins, and bronze and other metal objects were recovered by the crew operating with minimal involvement by the owner. By1966 in near derelict state.

Detained in Falmouth as unseaworthy. Reported to have been bought by Fred Easton, a former crew member who, it is also claimed, brought her back to Plymouth. There is no official record of this sale: Shamrock may have been regarded at this time mainly as a wreck, Richard Curnow remaining the registered owner. The old barge did however prove useful for a few years as a diving tender in Plymouth Harbour. 

1970
Shamrock beached and used as a scrap iron store in Hooe Lake, Plymouth.

1973
30 April: Bought for £100 from Richard Curnow by John Fildew, a local grocer. A new certificate was issued and J. Fildew was registered as the new owner. Wishing to restore Shamrock but lacking the means, J. Fildew halted further deterioration of the hull, then seeking advice from the National Maritime Museum, the National Maritime Trust and the National Trust.

1974
11 Feb: NT becomes the new owner after a transfer fee of £l. A survey to establish the viability of
restoration is carried out by Commander Eric McKee and Basil Greenhill of the National Maritime Museum. After temporary repairs to enable Shamrock to be towed to Cotehele, she was brought back by Commander McKee and John Fildew, and arrived at the Quay on 25 March.

2 July: George Eley appointed Ship's Husband.

A slipway and cradle, and a storage shed, were constructed and Shamrock moved into a secure position for restoration, above the tide.

Restoration, using traditional materials and techniques following extensive research, to 1926 specification. For details, see Alan Viner, The restoration of the ketch-rigged Tamar sailing barge Shamrock 1974-79. National Maritime Museum, 1983.

1979
May: Shamrock refloated, to be fitted out moored in her dock.
15 Aug: Restoration commemorated with a plaque on Shamrock's mizzen mast.

1980
Spring: Shamrock re-rigged. New sails hoisted on 14 May.

April: For £7,500, 30 shares (out of 64) sold to the National Maritime Museum, with new registration of joint ownership in 1981.

1981
May & October: Successful first sea trials in Plymouth Sound.

1982
Shamrock sailed again for the first time since her restoration, becoming a permanent feature at Cotehele Quay.

1983
On her maiden post restoration passage Shamrock sailed from Cotehele to Fowey in Cornwall.

1985
July: Voyage to Dartmouth, for Town Week.

1987
Shamrock returns to work as a day charter vessel, sailing the Tamar and local coast, and being looked after at Cotehele Quay for the next 30 years.

1999
Shamrock marked her 100th birthday with a voyage down the river Tamar.

2009
Shamrock visited Morwellham quay to take part in the filming of the Antiques Roadshow.

2010
Shamrock used in the filming of The Edwardian Farm series at Morwellham and Cotehele Quay.

2012
Shamrock attended the Plymouth Classic Boat Rally.

2016
The National Trust acquired all of Shamrock's shares and became her sole owner.

2017
Shamrock again fully under National Trust care. A new major
conservation project gets under way.

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