Thalatta
1906
1906

Built by W.B. Mclearon, at the Naval Yard in Harwich

Built by W.B. Mclearon, at the Naval Yard in Harwich
Built by W. B. McLearon, who from 1905-1906 was Mayor of Harwich, at the naval yard in Harwich. The sailing barges that came from McLearon’s yard were considered to be the finest that could be found anywhere on the coast, as collectively they survived in better condition than those from any of the other builders of the time. Mclearon was also a builder of wooden lightships for Trinity House, and this is further proof of the exceptionally high quality of his work and materials. Thalatta was built as a speculation along with her sister barge Ena. As Thalatta took shape she aroused local interest – onlookers commented on her fine head belonging more to a fishing smack than a barge. Her cargo carrying capacity was less than other barges of a similar size being built elsewhere on the coast, the Hydrogen or the Cambria, nor was she designed primarily for speed like the Ethel May, also under construction at that time by Mr Cann on the other Harwich barge yard. But her hull looked likely to be particularly capable and comfortable at sea. She was built narrow on the bottom, with long runs after to a neat sternframe. A Mistley bargeman remarked admiringly as he looked down on her decks from aloft years later, ‘she sits on the water like a little old seagull, this one’. Thalatta was launched in a ceremony on 6 February 1906 by Coralie Clare Horlock, daughter of the new owner, Frederick W. Horlock of Mistley. She broke a bottle over the bows of the new barge which then slid gracefully into the water.    
1906

Extract from the Evening Star & Daily Herald for Ipswich, 1906

Extract from the Evening Star & Daily Herald for Ipswich, 1906

Barge Launched at Harwich
An interesting ceremony was witnessed in the shipbuilding yard of Mr W McLearon, at Harwich today (Tuesday 6 February 1906) when a new barge, which has been built in the yard, was launched in the presence of a large number of people. the barge, which was christened the Thalatta is owned by Mr Frederick William Horlock, the well known boat owner of Mistley. She is a fine business like looking craft, being 89 feet long, beam 20ft 6 inches, depth 7 feet 6 inches, and her tonnage is 150. She will be used for the coasting and continental trade.
The barge was decorated with flags and the christening ceremony was performed by Mr Horlock’s little daughter, Coralie Clare, who broke a bottle of champagne over the bows, after which the vessel glided beautifully into the water, amid three hearty cheers, the launch being a highly successful one. The Thalatta immediately proceeded to Mistley to load a cargo of wheat for London, and will afterwards proceed to the continent.

1906

First days of trade

First days of trade

Thalatta left Harwich for Mistley to load her first cargo, wheat for London. In 1906, as well as the east coast ports of Lowestoft, Harwich, Mistley, Hull and London, her passages took her to the near continent including Antwerp, Dunkirk, Nieuwpoort and Rotterdam. She also carried malt to Ireland. These destinations clearly indicated that she was considered to be a good sea-going vessel – a quality which not all of her kind could claim. Her first skipper was Jim Alliston, of Mistley.

1906

Converted to a Boomie

Converted to a Boomie

When Fred Horlock had made up his mind to buy Thalatta he insisted she be rigged as a ‘spritty’ (spritsail) and not as a ‘boomie’ (a boom and gaff mainsail), as she had originally been intended. It was a decision he apparently later regretted, and she was taken back to Harwich by her Skipper James Alliston to be re-rigged as a boomie at some early point. The spritsail rig was designed for the calmer waters of the River Thames and the estuary, and was not the ideal rig to have on a sea-going vessel.

1908
1908

Thalatta survives a storm

In November 1908 she was caught in a heavy storm when on passage from Sunderland to the Thames, and was towed into Lowestoft with a broken main gaff and a torn sail; seven other barges were either lost or driven ashore in this storm.

1909
1909

A Collision with a Steamer

In January 1909, when loaded with maize from the London Docks, she was in collision with the steamer Forth in Blackwall Reach, sustaining considerable damage to her starboard side, and had to be repaired by Shrubsall’s at Greenwich before continuing her voyage.

1914
1914

WWI – Thalatta is taken over by the Royal Navy

WWI – Thalatta is taken over by the Royal Navy

Thalatta carried some coal freights to the continent (and once returned home with a cargo of eau de Cologne!) before being taken over by the Royal Navy for use as a fleet supply vessel. The Navy gave her a small semi-diesel engine as an auxiliary, but according to all accounts this was never very much use to her, and it was removed a year or two after her return to civilian employment.

1916
1916

WWI – carrying pig iron to Dieppe

In 1916 Thalatta ran between Shoreham and Dieppe deep loaded with pig iron to feed the French war machine

1917
1917

Converted to a Motor Barge

Converted to a Motor Barge

On 25 May 1917 Thalatta was sold to Wynfield Shipping Co of Grimsby. A 70 hp two-cycle vertical oil engine was fitted in the former skipper’s cabin aft, built by Plenty & Sons of Newbury. She was used as a supply vessel to the Humber boom defences, with Percy Richmond as her skipper (who had previously been mate). Her fore-hold was converted to accommodate her crew which now included an engineer. Her rig was cut down and she worked from Grimsby as a motor barge.

1918
1918

After WWI

At the end of the war Herbert Body, of Southend, took over as skipper and she was employed taking materials to Flanders for post-war rebuilding. Between 1919 and 1921 her passages took her to Paris, Antwerp, Brussels and Rotterdam. After that she carried cement to Torquay, china clay from Fowey to Greenhithe, and granite chippings from the Channel Islands.