PT John H Amos, Kent

The John H Amos is one of only two British paddle tugs to have survived the breaker's yard. Built by Bow McLachlan of Paisley, near Glasgow, in February 1931, she is 110ft (33.3m) long, with a 22.6ft (6.8m) beam, and weighs 202 gross tonnes. The John H Amos was powered by two compound diagonal steam engines, one for each paddle wheel, and was built for the Tees Conservancy Commissioners who were operating tug and tender services on the River Tees, between the major ports of Stockton, Middlesborough and Hartlepool.

Details of her working life are somewhat sketchy, but it is known that the newly formed Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority acquired her in January 1967. However, the John H Amos never even had the opportunity of being refurbished in the Authority's new livery as she was withdrawn from service almost immediately.

Donated to the Middlesborough Museum Service in 1968 the John H Amos was moved up river to Stockton Quay, where she was maintained for a time by a group of volunteers. Plans for the vessel's future faltered once again, and the John H Amos remained laid up at Stockton Quay for the next eight years. Her fortunes looked as though they were about to change when, on 4th March 1976 having been re-painted and re-named 'Hero', she was towed to the River Medway in Kent by the tug 'Cervia'.

A year later the 'Hero' was returned to her original Tees Conservancy Commissioners colour scheme, and could be found moored, but apparently unused, at Chatham. Re-registered for the second time as the John H Amos, she is now privately owned and awaiting restoration.

In March 2008 her moment finally arrived when she was lifted from her disused slipway onto a floating pontoon where restoration can commence. Intitially moored in mid river, she has now been moved to a tidal berth in Chatham Docks.


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