puffers & vics



J.S. Watson (Gainsborough) Ltd

Gainsborough stands on the River Trent in Lincolnshire, some 60 miles from the open sea near Hull.  It must have been home to one of the farthest inland shipyards in the UK.  Unfortunately I have so far been unable to trace the history of Watson's yard except to come across a record of a vessel having been built there as far back as 1893. Undoubtedly their origin in building vessels capable of river navigation stems from Gainsborough's proximity to the Nottinghamshire coalfields and the efficiency of using the river and canal network to transport its coal to the major centres of population and industry.

Watson built four of the "Improved" 80.5 foot VICs, Nos 54, 55, 97 and 98 in the later war years 1944 and 1945. Their total build over the years is unknown but their ultimate VIC (98) had a Yard Number of 1555. Whether this reflects the actual number built has not been established.