Saturday, 30 April 2016

LIGHTSHIP CORMORANT / LADY DIXON - Chapter 146



Well, progress on the historical front at last. Regular readers will remember that I have been trying to fill in some gaps in Lady Dixon’s history between the time she was retired by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners in 1960, to the time she ended up in the marina at Hoo in 1991. G.A. Lee Ltd of Belfast bought her from the Commissioners and the next thing we know is that a Peter Horlock owned her, moored at Mistley.  The Peter Horlock I found and wrote to has kindly phoned me to say he is not the chap I am looking for.
    Then a reader suggested I contact the owners of a mill at Mistley, which he referred to as the Horlocks Mill (did he mean Horlicks?). I got nowhere with this but it did prompt me to e-mail the Mistley Parish Council and they gave me a crucial link. They suggested contacting Bob Horlock of Mistley and they even gave me his e-mail address. Bob replied to my query and BINGO !!  I am not yet sure if they are related, but he confirmed that Peter Horlock did own the Lady Dixon and indeed lived aboard her at Mistley.  This probably explains why he did not break her, although he was in the ship-breaking business. Unfortunately Peter is in Australia and not at all well at the moment, so I must be patient. I would really like to ask him from whom he bought the ship – was it from G.A. Lee of Belfast;  was it the mystery dealer at Pitsea;  was it the mortgage company who repossessed her when the GBOK enterprise folded?  When did he sell her to Graham Reeves?
    I have still received only one reply to my letters to the seven Graham Reeves in the area. So I must assume that none of them are the right person. My letter to the next owner, Terry Middleton, has been returned (“Gone away”).  So dead-ends there for the moment.
   Simon has been very busy wallpapering recently, so there is not much progress on his preservation.  He has had time to try and cure the ingress of water on the port rear quarter (see Chapter 141).  The bulwark there has seen better times and needs replacing, but for the moment Simon is trying to block the rain from penetrating the fissures in the wood by pouring melted tar into every crack and cranny.
   Meanwhile, the views across the Medway Estuary continue to delight (Photo 1461).

David