Workhorse of the seas

The Kathleen May anchored in Tipner Lake, 1963.
The Kathleen May anchored in Tipner Lake, 1963.
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In this 1963 photo supplied by Michael Cooper we see the former workhorse of the seas, the Kathleen May.

Mike took the picture and he is sure of that date because it was the same day he photographed the last operational trolley buses in Portsmouth. What she was doing here is not known.

She was built as a topsail schooner, although in the picture the topsail yardarms have been displaced and she is schooner rigged.

Built at Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, in 1900 and launched as Lizzie May, she worked the Irish Sea covering 40,000 miles by 1908.

She was sold to Martin Fleming of Ireland and renamed Kathleen May working from Bristol Channel ports to Youghai, Ireland, as a coal lugger.

In 1931 she was fitted with an 80bhp diesel engine. Her topsails were removed turning her into a schooner proper.

She was acquired by a film company and used in several films in the 1960s and then laid up in Southampton Water in 1966.

So what was she doing in Tipner Lake in 1963?