Certificate no 4
Status Registered


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Tug
Location Swansea
Vessel type Tug
Current use Museum based
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No
Web address www.swansea.gov.uk


Builder Cochrane & Sons Ltd, Selby
Built in 1954
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 2
Number of masts
Propulsion Steam
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam triple expansion
Boiler type Scotch Return Tube
Boilermaker C D Holmes & Co Ltd, Hull
Boiler year 1954
Boiler fuel oil


Breadth: Beam
27.97 feet (8.53 m)
11.97 feet (3.65 m)
Length: Overall
103.61 feet (31.60 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


Built in 1954 by Cochrane & Sons of Selby for the Alexandra Towing Co. Ltd, CANNING is an oil burning steam tug with a triple expansion engine by C D Holmes & Co. Ltd., Hull. She was the first oil burning tug built for the company and, for the next 5 years, all other company tugs were of similar design and appearance. CANNING was based at Liverpool until being transferred to Swansea in 1966. Her main duties at both ports were towing and berthing large ships in the harbours and docks, but barge towage and coastal towage were also undertaken. She became the last steam tug to operate in the Bristol Channel, serving until 1974. In December 1974, she was acquired by Swansea City Council for preservation and has retained the fleet colours of the Alexandra Towing Co, Ltd; her original owners.

Source: Paul Brown, Historic Ships The Survivors (Amberley, 2010), updated Mar 2011.



P N Waine, British Steam Tugs (1983) pub: Waine Research
Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles (May Edition 6, 1994) pub: Steam Boat Association of Great Britain
W B Hallam, Blow Five: A History of the Alexandra Towing Co Ltd (1976)
C R Kaye, Fact Sheet: The Alexandra Towing Company Ltd pub: Swansea Maritime and Industrial Museum
C R Kaye, Exhibit Sheet: Steam Tug Canning pub: Swansea Maritime and Indistrial Museum

Key dates

  • 1954

    Built by Cochrane of Selby

  • 1974

    Bought by Swansea City Council for preservation

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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