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In the Treacle Mine by John Richardson

16 Jan 2022 18:11 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

In December 2021, SBA member John Richardson published a fascinating autobiography that will ring huge bells in the minds and memories of a number of SBA members who, themselves, spent demanding but always fascinating years in the engine rooms of large ships.

‘The treacle mine’ was what many marine engineers from North East England called the engine room, perhaps because of the thick gooey bunker oil steamships used to burn.

John is a steam man through and through; in the course of his life he has been deeply involved with steam in the context of sea, road and rail. An engineer on steam and motor ships he is also a fully qualified steam locomotive driver on the Watercress Line in Hampshire, has owned and run his own steamroller, and his workshop has produced, among much else, a 5” gauge ‘Britannia’ as well as the Taylor twin engine and John King Yarrow boiler plant for his launch ‘Lady Amanda’. 

But this book focuses on his years at sea, from apprentice to Chief Engineer on an extraordinary variety of vessels, starting with Esso and Mobil steam turbine tankers through to motor ships large and small, Channel Ferries and Seacats.

Read more about John's book on the Media/Books page (on this website).

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