Part of the Acorn Archive

Hearts of Oak





The Concrete Barges at each end of Cornwall.


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Concrete built barges were built as part of the Shipping Controllerís programme from 1918. As designed, each barge had three holds for cargo, while forward were store rooms, chain locker and the foc'sle deck above carried the steam winch, bollards, etc. Aft of the holds were the steam boiler, pumps, tanks and coal bunkers. Deck houses aft included quarters for the Captain, Mate and crew as well as lamp and paint rooms and the boiler room housing. An open bridge straddled the deck housing and one lifeboat was carried. Many of these vessels were taken in the 1920s as hulks, depot ships, breakwaters, etc and some were sold to foreign owners. Following Britains first commercial venture in 1910, by Cubbitts, the first of the Shipping Controllerís barges was launched August 1918 by Hill, Richards & Co., of Poole, named CRETEACRE. By October 1918, towards the end of the First World War, there were some 220 ferro-concrete vessels totalling 200,000 tons under construction in 21 shipyards around Britain. Most were steam tugs 750 hp and dumb barges of 1000 dwt;A cargo steamer of 1,500 tons was launched by Ferro-Concrete Ship Construction Co., at Barrow-in-Furness in 1919, the aptly named ARMISTICE.


By way of illustration

Two pictures taken at Brentford Dock, 1918.

Both barges built 1918J&W Stewart, Brentford, U.K.


ACW.10 : ON 143650

357 grt; 150ft x 24ft 6ins x 13ft 6ins; Draft 11ft 6ins


ACW.11 : ON 143651

378 grt; 151ft x 24ft 6ins x 13ft 6ins; Draft 12ft


Construction details and method

on Paul Benyonís website at



Raymond Forward