April Folly – Part Three – Where the early Robb ships served.

April Folly goes on to talk about members of the board, and that will form part 4 of this series. However, I was most taken by the final section which describes where the ships of the first 30 years of Henry Robb’s went to serve. So here we go …

Aside from the outstanding building and repair work during the war, which is chronicled in another post, Robb’s built a huge range of bespoke ships for owners who wanted quality workmanship and ships which were built to be long serving and so ultimately good value.

By 1948 Robb’s was one of Leith’s leading industries and was directly and indirectly responsible for many people’s daily living. Nearly 400 ships had been completed. Through thick and thin the workers and management of Robb’s continued their loyal teamwork to produce ships for locations all over the world…

The South Steyne in Darling Harbour, Sydney last year

This picture can be found at: http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=1020349 

The South Steyne is one of the few ships of which there are modern day pictures, of course, if you know differently I would be delighted to hear from you!

Amongst the places where they were working at the time of “April Folly” being written they were to be found 2000 miles up river in the heart of South America, on the Pacific Ocean around the coast of New Zealand and, in the case of the South Steyne, which will form the subject of another post, carrying holiday makers across Sydney Harbour to the surf beaches.

Picture from: http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/salnd.htm

In India, the Janardan (160’ x 27’ x 9’, GT 299.24, launched 6.9.33 sailed 4.10.33) was conveying Hindus on the sacred waters of the River Ganges and the St Anthony was carrying pilgrims from Bombay (Mumbai) to Goa, whilst the workhorse dredgers were keeping the north-west Indian gulfs clear. In the Persian Gulf Robb’s ships were busy with oil works and Robb’s lighters were carrying dates up the Euphrates.

Meantime, to the west, in Egypt the tug Pharos was working hard for her living. Throughout East and West African rivers and ports one could find tugs, coasters and lighters busily taking produce to cargo liners.

Off the Florida Coast was the Cubahama with her loads of bananas proving an altogether more successful cargo than the concrete had done in her sea trials, and utilitarian craft dealt in sugar in the West Indies whilst the Monteria carried passengers and crew up the sweltering heat of the tropical Barranquilla River.

By contrast, the Chun Ping, working amongst the ice floes on Northern China and the more recent Robb’s ships transporting much needed food supplies from Scandinavian countries to Britain.

No wonder the author was proud of the achievements of the yard and keen to record them, I wasn’t there, but I am proud too!

Parts one and two can be found using the links below:

Copyright Ruth Patterson 2010

April Folly  – Part One – WWI

April Folly – Part Two – Bigger and Better



About Ruth Macadam

Great Granddaughter of Henry Robb. School teacher.
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