Home The ship History of the Glasgow Sludge Fleet

History of the Glasgow Sludge Fleet

Dumping of Glasgow’s sludge at sea goes back to the turn of the last century when, following much agitation concerning the state of the River Clyde due to indiscriminate discharge of untreated effluent, sewage treatment works were opened at Dalmarnock (1894), Dalmuir (1904) and Shieldhall (1910).

The first purpose-built vessel to be ordered by Glasgow Corporation was DALMUIR completed in 1904 to operate from Dalmuir sewage works followed by SHIELDHALL (1) in 1910, which was larger than the first vessel and could carry 1500 tons of sludge against DALMUIR’s 1200 tons.

Both vessels were twin screw to assist in manoeuvring in the narrow confines of the Clyde and the restricted approaches to wharves.  Twin-screw arrangements were applied to all sludge vessels until the final two vessels were completed in the 1970s when the availability of controllable pitch propellors and bow thrust units made a single screw acceptable.

In 1922 DALMUIR was sold and was converted to an oil bunkering tanker for Agwi Petroleum, British Mexican Petroleum Co and their successors who eventually became Esso – she was broken up in 1960. Thus it can be seen that the present Shieldhall (second of the name) is not the first Clyde sludge ship to operate in the Solent Area!

1925 saw DALMARNOCK (1) enter service, a ship similar to SHIELDHALL (1). From then until 1955 the service was maintained by these two vessels, except for a break during World War 2 when SHIELDHALL was loaned to Manchester Corporation from 1941-7 to replace their own sludge vessel, which had been sunk by a German mine off the Mersey Bar lightship. This loan was made possible due to the Glasgow vessels dumping off Loch Long because of the boom defence across the Firth of Clyde from Dunoon to the Cloch; this same restriction applied in World War 1.

SHIELDHALL (1) and DALMARNOCK (1) ran together until the old SHIELDHALL was replaced by a new vessel of the same name – the present ship. Her keel had been laid in 1954 at the Lobnitz yard at Renfrew and she took up service in October 1955, SHIELDHALL (1) going to the breakers at the same time.

Laid up in 1976 after 21 years of faithful service SHIELDHALL (2) was replaced initially by the chartered GARDYLOO (1952 gross tons), which had just been completed the previous month for the Lothian Regional Council by Ferguson Bros of Port Glasgow. In October 1977 a further new building for Strathclyde was delivered in the shape of GARROCH HEAD of 2808 gross tons and like the DALMARNOCK (2) from the yard of James Lamont. This vessel continued the tradition of carrying organised parties of passengers in the summer months as many of her predecessors, including our SHIELDHALL, once did; this tradition has origins late in World War 1 when convalescing soldiers were carried, later extended to other groups. It has been reported that Shieldhall (1) carried passengers prior to the outbreak of the Great War and that they were elderly people who were very poor and who would not normally have been able to afford a day on the river.

SHIELDHALL (2) was purchased by Southern Water Authority (SWA) and underwent a refit at Lamont’s yard. This included the enclosure of her bridge wings and the remodelling of accommodation. Leaving the Clyde on 4 November 1977 she arrived at Southampton on the 12th. After continuing a very leisurely existence while the previous contract expired and shore facilities were made ready for her, she opened for SWA service on 9 June 1980 running regularly for 5 years until 5 July 1985 when she was suddenly withdrawn from service and her active preservation began.



Built8.1904 by Wm Beardmore & Co, Glasgow
Gross Tons928 tons
Deadweight1220 tons
Dimensions 240’ x 38’ x  11’9”
Propulsion Steam, reciprocating, twin screw
In service 1904-22
Subsequent history1922 to H Davies;
1925 to AGWI Petroleum Corp Ltd, converted to oil tanker;
1926 to British Mexican Petroleum;
1938 to Anglo American Oil Co Ltd;
12.3.60 arrived Grays, Essex for breaking up


NameShieldhall (1)
Built4.1910 by Wm Beardmore & Co, Glasgow
Gross Tons1375 tons
Dimensions 270’ x  40’ x  12’11”
Propulsion Steam, reciprocating, twin screw
In service 1910-55
Subsequent history10.1955 broken up at Port Glasgow
Shieldhall (1) by permission of Tom Carreyette


NameDalmarnock (1)
Built6.1925 by Wm Simmons & Co, Renfrew
Gross Tons1377 tons
Deadweight1600 tons
Dimensions 268’ x 42’ x 13’
Propulsion Steam, reciprocating, twin screw
In service 1925-71
Subsequent history1970 renamed DALMARNOCK II;
1.1971 broken up at Cairnryan


NameShieldhall (2 and Current)
Built10.1955 by Lobnitz & Co, Renfrew
Gross Tons1792 tons
Deadweight1840 tons
Dimensions 268’ x 45’ x  13’4”
Propulsion Steam, reciprocating, twin screw
In service 1956 – Current
Subsequent history1977 to Southern Water Authority;
1985 laid up at Southampton;
1988 to The Solent Steam Packet Ltd for preservation
Shieldhall on the way down river near the Erskine Ferry, probably taken in the late 1950s


NameDalmarnock (2)
Built12.1970 by James Lamont & Co, Port Glasgow
Gross Tons2266 tons
Deadweight3422 tons
Dimensions 313’ x 51’ x  14’6”
Propulsion Motor, single screw, cp prop, bow thrust
In service 1970-98
Subsequent history1996 West of Scotland Water;
1998 to Northumbrian Water, renamed “Bran Sands”
2007 Converted to bunkering tanker, renamed “Efeomo”, Mettle Energy and Gas Ltd, Lagos. Still in service November 2014
M.V. Dalmarnock by permission of John Law


NameGarroch Head
Built10.1977 by James Lamont & Co, Port Glasgow
Gross Tons2808 tons
Deadweight3645 tons
Dimensions 324’ x 53’ x 14’7
Propulsion Motor, single screw, cp prop, bow thrust
In service 1977-98
Subsequent history1999 sold to Unibros Shipping Corporation. Renamed “Garroch” XX to Chorrog Holdings, used as mother vessel for fender boats off Cotonou, Benin
2007 Converted to bunkering tanker;  Mettle Energy and Gas Ltd, Lagos.  Photographs on the web showing her off Benin in 2011. Still in service November 2014 off Lagos.
M.V. Garroch Head by permission of David May


Gross Tons1952 tons
Deadweight2695 tons
Propulsion Motor, single screw
In service 1970-98
Subsequent historyOn charter, 10.1976 to 10.1977 from Lothian Regional Council.
1999 sold to Unilink Group, London
1999 sold to Sea Gem International (John H Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd Hull)
2001 sold to Delta Tank Shipping Ltd (John H Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd), Hull and renamed “Delta Tank”
2002 Panmar Shipping, London 
2004 Azerbaijan State Caspian Shipping Co (ASCSS), Baku 
2006 mngd Meridian Shipping & Management LLC, Baku, Azerbaijan and renamed “Shollar”, still in service off Baku November 2014 carrying fresh water.
M.V. Gardyloo by permission of Kevin Lane