Photos - 'home and away'.

By Andy Gilbert

Photo:Lisieux swings in the harbour.

Lisieux swings in the harbour.

Photo courtesy of Les Harris

Photo:Apollon and Leto at Piraeus

Apollon and Leto at Piraeus

Andy Gilbert Collection

Photo:How they used to swing the ships. Click on image for a larger version.

How they used to swing the ships. Click on image for a larger version.

Diagram by Jim Still

Photo:Leto and Apollon

Leto and Apollon

Kind permission of Karolos Kollaros

The first photo is from the mid to late 1950's, taken from outside the harbour Watch House (just south of where The Cape now stands). It shows the French passenger steamer Lisieux swinging prior to her departure for Dieppe. In this bows-on shot, you can see her striking hull shape with its pronounced 'knuckle' (the sharp angle) that gave her an almost speedboat-like appearance.

In those days, our ships were not equipped with bow thrusters enabling them to turn themselves around. Instead, the men in the small motor boat seen to the right of Lisieux would take a wire hawser from the steamer and fasten it to a bollard near the Watch House. The steamer would use its winch to haul itself off the quay and start to swing itself around. When the turn was about half completed, the crew of the motor boat would release the hawser, and you can see it hanging down from the bow of Lisieux. The steamer would then use her engines to complete the turn and the little motor boat had to get out of the way - smartish! Of course, this could only be done in good weather, these turns would often be assisted by one of the tugs if the wind was too strong.

Seen next to Lisieux, alongside the East Quay, is the French steamer Arromanches. These two were the last two French passenger steamers on the Newhaven-Dieppe run, and were running mates with the British ships Londres and Brighton (VI).

The second photo moves us forward maybe ten years and was taken at Piraeus in Greece. The main ship in the photo is Apollon - clearly identifiable as the former Lisieux, but the vessel astern of her has been modernised somewhat and her identity isn't so easy to spot. She is, however, the very same Arromanches, now renamed Leto. Operated by the same owners, these two would probably have met up in Piraeus as often as they did when they were running from Newhaven.

Former Londres crewmember Jim Still has kindly given me some extra information.

The one of Lisieux swinging brings back great memories for me as a deck boy on the Londres. One of my jobs was passing the wires to the rowing boat to run across the river for swinging. This was in the late 1950's, I'm not sure when they got a motor boat. (See the diagram for how it was done). Once the ships docked, the engines were shut down. When all the passengers were all ashore and the crew returned from running baggage, preperations were the made to swing the ship. This was also done in the same manner in Dieppe.

Update, June 2011. Painter and ferry enthusiast Karolos Kollaros has produced a fine painting of the two ships and has allowed me to include it here as well as printing a copy for Newhaven Museum.

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 08/06/2011.
Comments about this page

When running as shown in these pictures Arromanches and Lisieux were owned by Nomikos Lines of Greece. The Londres also went to Greece where she was renamed Sofoclis Venezelos under the ownership of Typaldos Lines. Unfortunately she did not last long with them being burned out and declared a total loss just a short time after purchase.

By Derek Longly
On 10/06/2011

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.