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Port Talbot Pilotage Authority


Port Talbot pilots License 1892 sent to us by Jay Wagstaff. John Morcombe was her Great Great Grandfather.

Port Talbot Pilots cap badge (Thanks to Dave Williams)

Pilot cutters:-
Briton’ (dates not known)

The ‘Briton’ had a GRT of 65.94 tons and an NRT of 23.93 tons. No further information is available on this vessel to date, other than she was licensed as a Port Talbot pilot boat in 1923, and may well have remained in service until replaced by the ‘Lady Eveline’ in 1928. 

'Lady Eveline’, 1928 - 1934

The ‘Lady Eveline’ was built in 1906 as the tug ‘Liberator’ by Cox & Co.,  Falmouth for the Dundalk Harbour Commissioners. Her dimensions were:- length 90.4’, beam 18’, draft 8.2’, and GRT 93 tons. She was acquired by the Alexandra Towing Co. in 1920,  and  renamed ‘Salthouse’. In 1928 she was purchased by Port Talbot Pilot Cutter Co. and  renamed ‘Lady Eveline’.

       After six year’s service at Port Talbot, she was sold to Llanelly Pilots in 1934 and renamed ‘Lady Howard Stepney’. Bought by the Tees Towing Co. of Middlesbrough in 1942, she was finally sold for breaking in 1948 to the Stockton Shipping & Salvage Co. Ltd. In 1950, the tug’s machinery was removed and she was converted into a clubhouse on the River Tees, but her subsequent fate is unknown.

Marian Byass’, 1934 - 1959

      Built in 1934 by M. W. Blackmore & Sons of Bideford, Devon, the ‘Marion Byass’ had a length of 65.5’, a beam of 17.1’, a GRT of 56.67 tons and an NRT of 19.63 tons. She was the first purpose-built Port Talbot pilot cutter.

‘Margam Abbey’, 1959 - 1985

   Also purpose-built for the Port Talbot pilots, the ‘Margam Abbey’ was constructed by Richards Ironworks Ltd. of Lowestoft in  1959. Her dimensions were:- length 88’, beam 20’, draft 9.3’, and GRT 117.19 tons.

 In 1985 the Swansea and Port Talbot pilots merged to become the Swansea & Port Talbot Pilotage Authority, and the ‘Margam Abbey’ was decommissioned. From that point on, the Swansea pilot cutter ‘Seamark’ was used for both ports until superseded a few years later by the pilot launch ‘Benson’.

The tugboat Briton, used as a pilot boat in 1923,  probably in service until  being replaced by the Lady Eveline in 1928.

Photo of the tug Liberator taken in Dundalk, sometime between 1906 and 1916. See write up above on the Lady Eveline.
We thank Sean O Hagan for sending us this photo.

The tug 'Salthouse' (formerly 'Liberator') pictured in Swansea Bay in 1926. She was sold to the Port Talbot Pilots in 1928 and renamed 'Lady Eveline' (see further details in the write-up above).

Marian Byass. Port Talbot pilot boat 1934 to 1959

Page out of the logbook of the Marian Byass in 1937.

The Margam Abbey ready to be launched at the Lowestoft yard of

Richards Ironworks



Details of the pilot boat Margam Abbey

Margam Abbey

Margam Abbey in Swansea Dock.

Andrew Moulding's model of the Margam Abbey

Pictured above is Andrew Moulding’s scale model of the ‘Margam Abbey’. Built by Port Talbot steelworker John Scourfield of Sarn Farn, Baglan, the radio-controlled model is 4’0” (122 cm.) in length, and took nine months to build. It was awarded a Blue Riband prize for ‘best in show’ when exhibited by Mr. Scourfield at a national model exhibition in Kensington, London.

Margam Abbey in Port Talbot Dock

Margam Abbey leaving the locks.

Margam Abbey dressed for the opening of the new Ore Terminal.

Margam Abbey in Port Talbot Harbour.

The Margam Abbey laid up before being sold

The Margam Abbey in Milford


A sad sight the Margam Abbey rusts away at Borth North Wales.

End of the Margam Abbey.

The Margam Abbey was to have had a new lease of life after being rebuilt as a luxury motor yacht. Sadly this was not to be. She was cut up for scrap in September / October of 2007. A sad end to a famous pilot boat.

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