Edwardian ship builder’s half-block model to be sold by auction


September 1, 2017

Interesting Edwardian ship builder’s half-block model in their next Classic Toy and Collectors auction on the 15th September.

It is of the steam trawler "Vera", built by Cook, Welton and Gemmell Ltd of Beverley in 1907 in the original fully glazed mahogany case with mirrored back panel and plaque.

The Vera H960 was a steam trawler of 333 tons built at the Beverley Shipyard of Cook, Welton and Gemmell Ltd for the Humber Steam Trading Co Ltd of Hull. She was requisitioned by the War Department between 1915 and 1919 for the Royal Navy and used as a mine sweeper, before being returned to the Humber Steam Trading Company who sold her to Fresh Fish Supplies Ltd of Hull in 1920 and later to the Lancashire Steam Fishing Co. Ltd of Fleetwood in 1923. She was lost on the 15th March 1925 when she ran aground at Myrdalssandur off the south coast of Iceland with no loss of life.

Cook, Welton and Gemmell Ltd of Beverley were set up on the Humber Bank at Hull by William James Cook, Charles Keen Welton and William Gemmell, three former employees of Earle's Shipbuilding and Engineering Co in 1882, initially to undertake repairs and then build vessels themselves. The first ship to be made by the yard was a steam fishing smack.

The company moved to a new yard in Grovehill, Beverley in 1901; they took over the Grovehill shipyard from Cochrane, Hamilton and Cooper which had previously been owned by Cochrane and Sons. The first production of the new yard were trawlers and whalers. They dredged the River Hull, allowing larger ships to be built. In the 1920s the yard consolidated its reputation for building high quality trawlers and continued to do this during the inter war years. During WWII the yard's output consisted of trawlers, Admiralty corvettes, landing craft, mine-layers and anti-submarine trawlers. After the war, the yard focussed on trawlers again along with a few tugs; in 1954 the company had a workforce of 650 and launched 15 vessels, by 1963 the yard struggled to find orders and was closed.

Prior to the twentieth century, half hull model ships were constructed by shipwrights as a means of planning a ship's design and sheer and ensuring that the ship would be symmetrical. The half hulls were mounted on a board and were exact scale replicas of the actual ship's hull. One model was normally kept by the yard to use for advertising for future orders whilst the new owners and/or the skipper would be given one on completion of the order.

The estimate is £700/1,000. The auction also includes other nautical and maritime items with almost one hundred lots from the collection of Ken Grayson from Hedon. The militaria section includes a fine WWI DCM and MSM groups with an extensive archive and a WWI Military Cross group. There is also two large private collections of die-cast models and a collection of teddy bear and dolls. The sale contains almost five hundred lots, all of which are illustrated on our website, www.dahauctions.com.