One of the best-known visitors to the River Blackwater was the GOTHIC. She had been used as the Royal Yacht for the 1953-1954 Royal Tour.
In Jamaica The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh boarded the GOTHIC. After visits to Fiji and Tonga, GOTHIC reached New Zealand on 23 December for a stay of over a month. February and March were spent in Australia and the return journey included Ceylon, Aden, Uganda and Malta.
GOTHIC was laid up in the River Blackwater September 1954.
Essex County Standard 10 September 1954 says she arrived morning of 6 September. Sightseeing trips by being run by Ron Pullen to go out and see her.
ECS 24 September 1954 says she left morning of 22nd.
The pilot into the river was the father of Darby Stebbens from Heybridge - he sailed with the vessel from Liverpool to the Blackwater. See www.chelmercanaltrust.co.uk/nl25.htm - but this articles gives the year as 1955.
The log of the 1954 visit to the Blackwater is available at www.nmm.ac.uk/collections/archive/catalogue/record.cfm?ID=SSS%2F3%2F20. It is titled GOTHIC (Voyage 11) June-October 1954 Birkenhead-Blackwater-London.
10 October 1968 while on a voyage from Bluff New Zealand to Liverpool, fire broke out in the superstructure causing considerable damage and the loss of 7 lives. Bridge and Radio Room were all destroyed. She returned to Wellington and after repairs, continued her voyage.
13 August 1969 arrived Kaohsiung for demolition.
Dates are from Voyage Record Cards. 30 July 1957 to 14 September 1957 she was in Liverpool.
Oyster Company ledger first payment 2 wks 3 days compensation 22 September 1954 [which does not cover an arrival date of June 1954].
28 August 1957 4 weeks 4 days compensation.
19 October 1957 4 weeks 6 days compensation
Shaw Savill & Albion
Above: Shaw Savill's liner GOTHIC laid up in the River Blackwater in 1954. She had taken the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Tour of New Zealand and Australia. She was built 1948, 15,911 tons gross, Official Number 182351, scrapped Taiwan 1969. Date: cJuly 1954. Source: Ron Green Collection
Above: School trip from Heybridge to the liner GOTHIC while she was laid up in the River Blackwater. Walter Bibby, the donor's father, was a master at the school. Date: cJuly 1957. Source: Mersea Museum / Peter Bibby Collection
Above: Mell Creek. GOTHIC laid up in the river. A 1950s slide taken by Mary Sime. Date: cOctober 1957. Source: Mersea Museum / Peter Bibby Collection