Harry Brown in the Basin

The sand dredger Harry Brown was possibly the last working boat to use the Harbour. Built in 1962, the dredger was often seen in the Floating Harbour next to Hotwells Road where she discharged her cargo of sand at Poole’s Wharf after dredging the Bristol Channel.

She also discharged in Bathurst Basin in the 1960s and 1970s. She was often offloaded with a crane grab bucket as shown in the colour photograph. The black and white photograph of her leaving the Basin past the bascule bridge shows it was a tight squeeze.

Named after Harry Brown who had died the year before aged 84, mv Harry Brown was delivered from the Charles Hill yard in February 1961 and was to be Holm Sand’s last addition to their Bristol Channel fleet. The Harry Brown could load 850 tons of aggregate by way of her thirty metre dredge pipe and 510mm cargo pump driven by a 500hp electric motor. The Harry Brown was the first aggregate dredger ‘built specifically for the Bristol Channel trade’ and could self-discharge hydraulically via her 150hp discharge pump or, more usually, by shore grab (as shown in our image). She was sold to Middle Eastern owners Alwardi Marine Dredging in 1990 who re-named her Alwardi 4 but she is no longer working.

In our final image she waits in the Cumberland Basin to head down the Avon to work in the Bristol Channel as crowds line the quays to welcome home the Great Britain, seen behind, from the Falkland Islands on 5 July 1970.

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