Product images of House flag, United Towing Ltd
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House flag, United Towing Ltd
The house flag of United Towing Ltd, Hull. A blue pennant with a five-pointed white star bearing a blue letter 'U'. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and Inglefield clips is attached.
In 1920, seven Humber tug companies joined forces to form United Towing, with a fleet of 36 vessels. The managing director, Thomas Clarkson Spink, was appointed to a post he was to keep for the next 40 years. Initially the company concentrated on port, river, and coastal towage, towing coal barges, meeting the sail grain ships from Australia, and taking barges across the North Sea. Tasks also included fire fighting, restoring anchors and cable to the local trawlers and hauling off stranded vessels.
From 1925 company operations spread worldwide towing ships, barges, dredgers and dry-docks. Modernisation of the company began in 1959, but was speeded up by the purchase of United Towing by the Boston Deep Sea Fishing Group in 1962. The size of the tugs increased due to the demands of modern shipping, specifically the super tanker and the off shore rigs. New vessels such as the replacement 'Seaman', a multipurpose tug and 'Salvageman', the most powerful tug in the fleet were put into service. However by the early 1980s the increased competition from offshore support vessels and the decline in the general towage and salvage business led to the downsizing of the fleet to just three vessels.
- Image reference: F2612
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Pope Collection. We regret that Museum enquiries have not been able to identify the owner of the flag's emblem and would welcome any information that would help us update our records.