Spider T

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Spider T is an iron hull Humber sloop built in 1926 at Warrens Shipyard, New Holland, with a Gardner diesel engine, 200 HP. She was built for cargo carrying and worked as such until 1972. Later, she was sunk, refloated and used for the Rotherham Police Community Project.

Fredrick Warren was labelled a genius when it came to ship design and the Zenitha and Spider T were testaments to his skill, the last Sloops he designed
before his untimely death. These Sloops were to be known as Super Sloops.

Fredrick Warren designed the Zenitha and Spider T, yard numbers 213 and 216 respectively. They were very similar in construction except the Spider T was one foot deeper in the hull.

These Super Sloops were heavily built and designed to go seaward with a deep hull and large cargo capacity and a fine run aft to give them speed and handling qualities, the bluff bow cleverly picks her head up even when heeled over stopping her from diving, unlike a chisel bow form, a swansong to the end of the sail powered cargo era, encompassing over a thousand years of development and know how, with every new trick, in fact everything
Frederick Warren knew about hull design went into these two ships. The origins of these vessels go back to the Viking long ships which were used and repaired in the Humber region and were adopted and developed, they were square rigged, bluff bowed and seaworthy. As one historian said cut the prow off a Viking Long ship and look at a wooden Humber Keel’s bluff bows they are almost identical.

Frederick Warren

Frederick Warren

Frederick Warren

Born 28/8/1881 at Barnsley Street, Hull. Married to Olive Smith. Died 1/11/30.

Parents Mary Eliza Bacon and William Henry Warren, married 23/5/1881, believed to have lived at Great Yarmouth, Barnsley Street Hull, Beverley and New Holland.

Served his apprenticeship at Cochranes shipyard, Beverley in the ship drawing office, at some time later he taught at the Technical college teaching ship design and construction.

Fred joined the Territorial Army while living at New Holland. He was called up for military service in the Great War 1914-1919 where he served in France, India and Persia. After being released from military service he rejoined his father and his brother, Ernest, at the New Holland shipyard, taking over as chief draughtsman. He could now design coastal vessels, tugs and river craft to be built in their own shipyard.

Spider T Humber Super Sloop

Spider T at Keadby

Spider T at Keadby

The Super Sloop Spider T at 70.4 gross cargo tons was built to carry bricks seaward and was financed by Fosters Brickyard of Barrow Haven, who also had the Zenitha built for themselves to a similar specification.

Spider T was launched in February of 1926 and delivered in the March to Thorne, home of Captain Tomlinson of 26 South Parade, Thorne before fame and fortune took him to Hull.

The name Spider was his nephew’s nickname and the suffix ‘T’ stood for Tomlinson. Spider T was the pride of the Tomlinson fleet. When the Spider T was only weeks old and brand new she was entered into the Humber Regatta and came second in 1926 and subsequent years up until the final year of 1929 saw the Spider T and Zenitha as strong front runners often leading by considerable distances. Proof if any were needed of Frederick Warrens “Super Sloops” and their ability to take on the best of the rest through his genius and technical excellence.

When Captain Tomlinson died in 1970 his fleet was auctioned at Goole and his widow bought the Spider T back again, eventually becoming a sunken derelict at Castleford being raised by Rotherham Police as a community project earning Sgt. Keith Bown the British Empire Medal for his work with the Spider T and will feature in the second half of his autobiography.

Tales of a salty sailor

An audio CD of a 93 year old sailor who saw the Spider T as a young lad whilst sat on Admiral Steps at Kingston Upon Hull tells the story of what he saw.

His uncle Joe was skipper, his father and uncle Mitzpah were crew for the Spider T in The Humber Regatta they were leading by a country mile and what looked like an absolute certainty of an overall win she was really flying when disaster struck. His father asked Joe to reef the main and get some tops’le down, and Joe replied “what’s up are you yellow” "no he replied I will turn her over if you want” by this time she was heeled well over and the clew ripped out of the main and the race was lost. But nothing would ever make him forget the speed and the amount of heel, he said “she was laid in the water not on it laid on it”. He went on to become a skipper and to work the Spider T and many other vessels including Sobriety and Daybreak in his long career.

spider t peter warren

Peter Warren (son of Frederick), his wife Marjorie and Val Nicholson.

Every effort has been made to make the Spider T authentic to her original methods of construction ie. Hand forged steel crab roller frames with hot swaged mountings so as not to weaken the structure, just as in the originals. Also the huge red sails hand made to original specifications with clipper canvas. The new rudder to Warrens pattern must weigh ¾ ton, stern rail or “hoss rail” out of pitched pine a huge timber 20 foot long 10” thick and 20” wide to get the curve and so many more engineering challenges undertaken to make her not just look correct, strong and heavy duty but most important useable even in the most difficult conditions as her voyage back from Rotterdam direct over the North Sea was to prove recently 12 hours in storm force
nine conditions sails up and spilling the wind, from 10pm to 10 am between Smith’s Knoll and Lowestoft in huge seas, proving herself stable tough and very capable, just what Frederick Warren wanted, eventually putting her in to Yarmouth as a safe haven.

She is indeed a testament to the Warren family and their shipyard, Peter Warren last of the dynasty worked for Harland and Woolf, Vospers and other shipyards has an active interest in the Spider T and with his two sons and wife Marjorie are regular visitors to the vessel. In Peters own words “I would like to acquaint myself again with Spider T It will be over fifty years since I last saw her”.