James W. Cook & Co. (Wivenhoe) Ltd

The last ship to be launched: The Kilmourne

John Collins

The 133grt self-propelled hopper dredger Kilmourne ready for launching, note the bunting. She was launched without a ceremony on 24th July 1986 and completed a short time later by the liquidators for the Northern Ireland Harbour Authority, Belfast. This was the last ship to be launched at Cook's.
Nottage Maritime Institute, The Quay, Wivenhoe
The Kilmourne set off on her delivery voyage
Nottage Maritime Institute 04381.63
Bon voyage! Kilmourne, the last steel vessel to be built at Wivenhoe sails down the Colne
Nottage Maritime Institute 04381.64

In May 1986 the yard went into receivership.

The last ship to be launched at Cook’s was the Kilmourne ,  yard number 1512.  She was a 133grt (39net, 181dwt) self-propelled hopper dredger. 26.27m(oa), 24.52m x8.22m x2.47m, 1.85m draft.  Her engine was an A.B. Volvo Penta 4sc sa 6cylinder of 292bhp.  She was launched on 24/7/1986 by the liquidators, and completed in 1986 for Northern Ireland Harbour Authority, Belfast. (ON 701431).

N.B. 1512 was not the highest yard number, but the next, and last, three vessels were two simple barges an a very small tug which were completed before the Kilmourne.  Cook’s yard numbers actually started at 1001.

The shipyard  closed for ever on 19th September 1986; thus ending the long history of shipbuilding in Wivenhoe.  The site was cleared and used for some years as a port, but  In 1999 work began to clear the site for residential use.

This page was added on 13/03/2015.

Comments about this page

  • I was an apprentice marine fitter at cooks from 1974 to 1978. Anyone remember Dick Cook?

    I remember you Pete…


    Derek Hall

    By Derek Hall (08/01/2019)
  • Just reading peters comments I only worked there for 18 months but great times and still remember Peter and Paul brewer +Clive butt and many more yes it is very sad that all is gone .

    By Steve skeet (16/02/2017)
  • I worked there for 14years , great ships, great people,so very sad

    By Peter Browning (17/11/2016)
  • Dear Peter – Thanks for this comment. If there are any stories or memories you want to add, please do get in touch again.
    Peter Hill, Chairman, Wivenhoe History Group

    By Peter Hill (03/12/2016)

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