SO6804 : John Harker tanker barges at Purton

taken 4 years ago, near to Purton, Gloucestershire, Great Britain

John Harker tanker barges at Purton
John Harker tanker barges at Purton
I'm descended from John Harker, who effectively ran the shipping side of Stainsby & Lyon's chemical business in Knottingley, West Yorkshire. This business expanded to become John Harker Shipyards Ltd, who became specialists in bulk liquid transport and who operated between Swansea and Gloucester via the Severn and the Gloucester - Sharpness canal.
On 25th October 1960, the two barges "Arkendale H" and "Wastdale H" (all John Harker's boats built after around 1930 were named after Yorkshire dales) were attempting to access Sharpness docks in thick fog. One thing led to another and the barges - "Wastdale H" loaded with petrol and "Arkendale H" loaded with heavy fuel oil - were swept upstream on the tide, colliding with a pier of the Severn railway bridge and bringing down two spans. The cargo of both barges ignited. Three crew members managed to swim to safety - one despite being struck by the still - rotating propeller - but five were drowned. The barges continued upstream before coming to rest on a sandbank, where they were scuttled by the army a few days later and where they remain to this day. Here, "Wastdale H" is nearest the camera and minus its bow section, while "Arkendale H" is behind and still substantially intact. Impact damage from the falling bridge girders is clearly visible nearly 55 years on from the accident.
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SO6804, 86 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 21 September, 2014   (more nearby)
Monday, 22 September, 2014
Geographical Context
Derelict, Disused  Estuary, Marine 
Place (from Tags)
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 6812 0418 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:44.1249N 2:27.7831W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 6825 0400
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Other Tags
Severn Railway Bridge Disaster  Arkendale H  Wastdale H  John Harker Barges 

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Image classification(about): Geograph
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