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A BUILDER'S MIRROR-BACK MODEL OF THE WOOLWICH FREE FERRIES P.S'S. GORDON & DUNCAN, BUILT BY R & H GREEN, BLACKWALL AND ENGINES BY JOHN PENN & SONS, GREENWICH, 1889
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A BUILDER'S MIRROR-BACK MODEL OF THE WOOLWICH FREE FERRIES P.S'S. GORDON & DUNCAN, BUILT BY R & H GREEN, BLACKWALL AND ENGINES BY JOHN PENN & SONS, GREENWICH, 1889

Details
A BUILDER'S MIRROR-BACK MODEL OF THE WOOLWICH FREE FERRIES P.S'S. GORDON & DUNCAN, BUILT BY R & H GREEN, BLACKWALL AND ENGINES BY JOHN PENN & SONS, GREENWICH, 1889
with twin stayed funnels with safety valve extension pipes, upper promenade deck with helm, binnacle, telegraphs, hand rails, gratings and companionways, the lower deck with davits, capstans, lockers, lights, engine housing, wood capped gantry rails, shelters, paddle boxes, benches and other details. The double ended hull with rudders, feathering paddle wheel, lacquered decks and deck housing with ink outlining and gold plated brass fittings, mounted on two turned wooden columns against a mirror with bow and stern mirrors and boxwood builder's plate, within mahogany bound glaze display case for wall hanging (case with lose pieces, mirrors replaced), overall measurements -- 15½ x 58in. (39.5 x 147.5cm.)
See illustration
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This lot is subject to Collection and Storage Charges.
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

The free Thames ferry between North and South Woolwich, financed and operated by the London County Council, was opened for public use by Lord Rosebery, the inaugural Chairman of the L.C.C. (and later Prime Minister), on 23rd March 1889. The first free local authority ferry in the country, it ran a high frequency service every nine minutes from 5.00am. until midnight each day and proved an instant success in attracting large numbers of passengers and vehicles. As the years went by, the sheer volume of traffic necessitated the building of more ferryboats but, initially, two vessels were deemed sufficient for the task. The orders for these went to the oldest firm of shipbuilders in the British Isles, R. & H. Green of Blackwall, and the ferries were christened Duncan and Gordon. Built in 1888-89 under yard numbers 579 and 580, this pair of identical side-loading paddlers were registered at 493 tons gross and measured 164½ feet in length, their disproportionate 42 foot beam being matched by their extremely shallow draught of only 6¼ feet. Far from handsome, they were nevertheless hugely practical for the variable river conditions they encountered on a daily basis and both were powered by 600ihp. coal-fired condensing engines by John Penn & Sons of Greenwich.

Eventually joined by the Hutton in 1893 so that a third boat was always in reserve or undergoing maintenance on a dry grid near the north pier, the three original ferries lasted until 1922 when, worn out and obsolescent, they were finally replaced by new boats of similar design ordered from White's of Cowes. Coincidentally, the builder's model of these replacements, Squires and Gordon (II), was sold in these rooms on 1st November 2001, lot 188.
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