One of the three vessels abandoned on the North side of Hooe Lake is thought to be the steam tug Alice.
Langley and Small in their book Lost Ships of the West Country note that three vessels were abandoned on the north shore of Hooe Lake; the schooner Dolphin , the Tamar barge Bertie and an unidentified steamship.
Previous researchers have so far not come up with a name for the unidentified steamship, however we believe that it may be the steam tug Alice that was used to tow the lighter Arthur . Photographs suggest that the steamship in Hooe Lake was approximately 15m long with a beam of 3m, rounded bow and stern, with a small foredeck, no wheelhouse and fitted with a single funnel amidships. The steamship was still intact with her bow pointing to the northern shore in 1959. The steam tug Alice matches this description (Fig. 1) and as the Arthur was abandoned in Hooe Lake it is possible that her companion tug was abandoned there too.
The 11.6m / 38.6ft long steam tug Alice had a beam of 2.9m / 9.4ft and a depth in hold of 1.7m / 5.6ft, she was built by F.P. Koe in East Greenwich, Kent, in 1868 and registered in London in 1870 with official number 63661. Alice was fitted with two inverted direct-acting steam engines made by John Tickle of West Bromwich, with 9in cylinders and a 12in stroke, producing a combined 20hp.
In August 1881, Alice was registered in Plymouth at 8.8 tons having been bought by Robert Bayly the timber merchant for towing his timber lighters between larger anchored ships and the timber yard. Robert Bayly died on 18th July 1901 and the ownership of Alice was passed on to John Bayly who sold her to Richard Bayly in 1903. Richard died on 2nd March 1912 and title passed to John Bayly who was described as a 'gentleman'. In January 1915, Alice was sold to The Plymouth and Oreston Timber Company Ltd. with Henry Langford as manager. Registry was closed on this ship in November 1952 when it is reported that Alice was broken up, but she may have been abandoned in Hooe Lake instead. At only 11.6m long this vessel may be too small to be the one shown in the photograph.
When the Old Wharf housing estate was built in 1996 the north bank was further reinforced, moving the shoreline between 12 and 25m in to the lake, burying more of the foreshore and any evidence of hulks that were beached there. For more information please see the North Shore Hulks page.
Hooe Lake north shore, Oreston, Plymouth
Take Plymstock Road into Oreston, turn left into Bayly's Road then follow the road round to the left along The Old Wharf. The foreshore can be accessed through any of the footpaths heading towards the lake.
Last updated 23 May 2021
Position OS: SX 50253 52962
Position GPS: 50.357478, -4.106499
F.P. Koe in East Greenwich, Kent
11.6m / 38.6ft
2.9m / 9.4ft
1.7m / 5.6ft
Steam, twin screw
Bayly Bartlett Timber
The Plymouth and Oreston Timber Company yard covered ten acres of the eastern side of the entrance to Hooe Lake, around into the north side of the lake itself with six acres of foreshore, locally known as the 'pickle yard'. Timber would be offloaded in the Cattewater, formed into rafts and towed into the Lake. The Oreston yard was used for treating timber with preservatives or impregnating sleepers and telegraph poles with creosote. In 1957 a merger made the company Bayly Bartlett which operated on the site until 1992.
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