The Talpore – where the pub got its name
THE ‘TALPORE’ was a Troop Steamer built in 1860 for deployment on the Lower Indus River.
(This is a report from the Illustrated London News in 1861)
Last week a very satisfactory trial took place on the Thames of a peculiarly constructed steamer intended for the conveyance of troops upon the Lower Indus; and her novel appearance, extreme lightness, peculiar shape, and exceedingly light draught of water, drew expressions of surprise and delight from the select party of gentlemen interested in steam navigation who were present at her trial trip.
This steamer is one of a series of various dimensions recommended by a commission appointed by Government in 1857 to investigate the subject of river navigation with reference to ascertaining the kind of vessel best adapted for navigating the rivers of India, which, although unusually broad, are tortuous, shallow, very rapid in flood seasons, and abound in shifting sandbanks.
For ordinary purposes the commission recommended the employment of tug-steamers drawing barges attached thereto; but for the all-important service of the speedy conveyance of troops (the necessity of which was so apparent during the late Indian rebellion) the present troop steamer has been designed by Mr T B Winter MICE, the engineer member of the commission.
The dimensions of the vessel, built by Messrs. M.Pearce (sic) and Co. of Stockton on Tees, are as follows; Length overall. 377 feet; beam, 46; breadth over paddle-boxes, 74; depth, 5; ditto at paddle-shafts, 12; ditto at top of arched girders, 18; working draught of water, 2; displacement at 2-feet draught, 739 tons; tonnage, 3911 old measurement. The engines, built by Messrs. James Watt and Co. of London and Birmingham, are 220 nominal horsepower, having horizontal cylinders of 55 inches diameter, and 6-feet stroke, and the diameter of the paddle wheels is 26 feet.
The hull of the vessel is constructed of puddled steel, and is strengthened longitudinally by four arched girders, two of which carry the paddle wheels, while the other two run fore and aft, extending nearly the whole length of the ship. Similar means are used for strengthening the vessel athwartships.
She is steered at each end by means of “blades” which, instead of being worked from side to side, in the ordinary manner of rudders, are caused to rise out of, or lower into, the water at the proper angle. Both sets of these “steering blades” are worked simultaneously, and the provision is made to work one set only, should an accident occur to the other.
The steamer has accommodation for eight hundred troops and their officers, in two tiers of cabins, and entirely surrounded with venetian panels. The berths are composed of frames of galvanised iron, covered with perforated sheet zinc for the free circulation of air, and are divided into five compartments, so as to permit of the troops being separated in case of sickness.
Fresh air drawn from the paddle boxes, in order that it may absorb moisture, is supplied to all cabins by means of fans, worked with the steam power in sufficient quantity to change the whole amount in each troop-room every half-hour.
As a protection from the powerful rays of the sun the whole vessel is covered with an awning, the area of which may be estimated by the fact of it weighing three tons.
The handrails all round the main and promenade decks are tubular, and made to serve as speaking tubes from the pilot to the engine-room.
In the Indus troop-steamer Mr Winter has most successfully solved the engineering difficulty of constructing a vessel, which, while possessing great strength, should not exceed the excessively limited draught of two feet.
The vessel was tried on the measured miles in Long Reach and Gravesend Reach, the average speed attained being nearly twelve statute miles per hour, and the prevalent opinion of the many competent authorities was that this novel steamer would amply fulfil her intended objective.
The name ‘Talpore’ lives on in Stockton. A public house near the Tees Barrage is named after the ship and has a nautical theme although it is probably closer to one of the Portrack shipyards than the Pearse, Lockwood yard where the ship was built.
Stockton Museums Service has a model of the ‘Talpore’
Further information on local shipbuilding can be found in “Shipbuilding in Stockton and Thornaby” by Alan Betteney available to buy at Stockton Reference Library