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Kyles    

 

Builder John Fullarton, Paisley
Official Nr 67971
Yard Nr 11
Launched 12/3/1872
Delivered
Length 82.9 ft
Beam 18.1 ft
Gross 80 tons
Nett 44 tons
Engine 2 Cyl Steam Compound 20 nhp

Originally built for Stuart Manford of Glasgow as a tender for the Clyde fishing fleet, Kyles is a classic example of a west of Scotland iron-built coaster. In 1881 she was transferred into a general trading role with William Hutchinson of Glasgow, later passing through a number of owners including:

1899 George Saunders, Newcastle 
1899 Charles Kent, Hull 
1900 Joseph Burnett, Goole 
1901 John Leysham, Pontypridd 
1904 Richard Reavly, Cardiff 
1905 Reavly Ltd, Cardiff 
1911 R Burton & Son Ltd, Newport Mon 
1916 George Binding, Cardiff 
1919 Francis Connor, Herne Bay 
1919 James Tester, Greenhithe 
1920 Horace Cole & others, London, and in the same year Alexander Gray & Thomas Smith, Treforest Glam

In 1921 after conversion to a sand dredger she moved to the Bristol Channel in the ownership of George Hamlin of Cardiff. In 1942 she was sold to William Metcalfe of Ilfracombe, and in 1944 Ivor Langford at Sharpness. Her ownership over the next few years isn't completely clear (she may still have been owned by Langford) and she appears to have fallen into disuse until 1953 when she was extensively re-built including being fitted with a diesel engine before subsequently sailing as a sludge tanker registered at 121 gross and 55 tons nett. After a period as a coaster in Cornwall she was bought in 1981 by Peter M Herbert. In 1984 she was acquired by the Scottish Maritime Museum (SMM) who restored her to her 1953 condition. For several years she was open to the public when moored at their pontoon at the Braehead Shopping Centre on the south bank of the Clyde just outside Glasgow. Following the SMM's closure of their Clydebuilt exhibition there in late 2010 Kyles has been moved to their main exhibition site at Irvine. Some, including myself, hoped that a berth could be found for her at the new Riverside Museum due to open on the banks of the Clyde at Yorkhill in Glasgow which opened in 2011 but so far there is no sign that this might come about..

The picture below, taken from the passing PS Waverley, shows her at Braehead in August 2010. It's difficult to believe looking at her there that she will be 140 years old in 2012.