Mossdale and Oakdale, surviving Mersey Flats

Mossdale
This vessel was built in circa 1863 and her hull is of carvel construction (planks flush, not overlapping) of oak, elm and pitch pine. She was mainly used to carry grain between Liverpool, Runcorn, Birkenhead and Manchester, as well as carrying grain to flour mills at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Other cargoes believed to have been carried were sugar for the Tate & Lyle refinery in Liverpool and iron.

Originally named Ruby, she was renamed Mossdale when Abel & Sons of Runcorn, Cheshire, bought her in the 1930s. They extensively rebuilt and deepened her to obtain the maximum load for a minimum displacement. She was found abandoned at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in 1970 and was donated to the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port by Peter Froud.

In June 2012 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant to the museum towards the full restoration of Mossdale and in December 2013 she was lifted from her resting place at the museum so that restoration work could commence.

Oakdale
This vessel was built in 1951 by Richard Abel & Sons of Runcorn, and her hull is of composite construction (wood and steel), with a Lister HA3 diesel engine. She spent her working life on the rivers Mersey and Weaver and was mainly used to carry grain. She was built to a design similar to those built by Abels in the 1850s. The last known use of Oakdale was as a bed-and-breakfast houseboat but her current situation is unknown.

Specification
Mersey FlatMossdaleOakdale
Length (feet inches):71 11½72 6
Draught (feet inches):5 6 3 0
Beam (feet inches):14 315 9
Location:The Boat Museum,
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Duddon Estuary,
Millom, Cumbria†
Builder:UnknownRichard Abel & Sons,
Runcorn
When built:c.1863c.1957

†Duddon Estuary is a sandy estuary lying between Morecambe Bay and the West Cumbrian coast.

Bridgewater Canal, Runcorn, Cheshire, early 20th century.

This view is looking eastwards from Waterloo Bridge towards Doctor's (or Runcorn) Bridge. The canal between the two bridges is known as 'Top of Locks', the two flights of locks that take the canal down to Runcorn Docks being behind the viewpoint.

The Mersey Flat in the centre is being towed towards Doctor's Bridge.
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, c.1930.

Two Mersey Flats are moored at the wharf on the left by the two travelling steam cranes.

The tall building in the background is a flour mill.
National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port