Vessels owned by Walter Butt of Saul

Wasp, Piscah, Ripple and Severn Side

By Gill Redford

The following four vessels were all at one point owned by Walter Butt of Saul.  More information on the Butt family is available here.

The original source material is that of Graham Farr, however the interpretation is that of Paul Barnett of Friends of Purton.  Additional information was supplied by Paul Barnett of 'Friends of Purton', a group campaigning for the preservation of the Purton Hulks - their web address is 

The negatives that are mentioned are part of the Graham Farr Collection, and can be accessed by arrangement with Paul Barnett who can be contacted on 07833 143 231 or


Walter Butt was the final owner of this wooden towing barge.  It was seen at Saul Boatyard as late as 1951.
In May 1954 it was towed to Lydney and used as a breakwater (to lessen the erosion of the banks of the Severn).  It was last recorded as being at Lydney on 23.09.56.

Negatives in the Graham Farr Collection:

1.  Stern, at Gloucester end of G and B canal

2.  Bow quarter view, Gloucester Basin

3.  Part of Stern, Saul Junction Lock

Photo:Wasp - stern at Gloucester end of Glos and Berkeley Canal, 14.09.1949

Wasp - stern at Gloucester end of Glos and Berkeley Canal, 14.09.1949

L. P. Barnett Collection


Walter Butt was the manager of Roller Flour Mills, the owners of this steel screw propeller barge.  It was beached at Berkeley Pill following a collision with Steam Tug Nethergarth.  An Admiralty Court case determined that Piscah was 30% responsible, while Nethergarth was 70% responsible.  Source: Bristol Evening Standard (their ref: BS2.82 and BS2.94)

Two negatives are available in the Graham Farr Collection.

Photo:Piscah and Tuffley

Piscah and Tuffley

L. P. Barnett Collection


The Ripple started life in 1895 as a sailing trow.  Sometime between 1919 and 1936 its sails were removed and it became registered as a dumb barge.

In 1936 it was fitted with 2 engines and a screw propeller.

In 1946 it was converted to a dock lighter, which took cargo from larger ships to transport it to the dockside.  Walter Butt took ownership in 1950.

At a later point the vessel was reclassified as having an open hold - it was registered as such in 1951.

It was registered as a 'Lloyd's Class A1' vessel, which is a registry class for insurance purposes, based on the type of cargo it could carry.

Negatives in the Graham Farr Collection:

1.  In Gloucester Basin, bow view

2.  On bank at Lydney for conservation (ahead is Wasp, ON41402 Llanthony and Onyx, 23.6.56)



L. P. Barnett Collection

Severn Side

The Severn Side was a steel motor barge.  Walter Butt was a skipper on this vessel.  Like the Ripple, it was a Lloyd's Class A1 vessel.

It was named in 1952 by Mrs A. C. Hide, the wife of the director at the Inland Waterways Executive.  It was an oil carrier first, with 1 deck and a total dead weight of 360 tonnes and could travel at 8 knots.

In 1973 it was converted to dry cargo, with 2 holds and 2 hatches.  It had a 100 BHP Ruston and Hornsby engine and could travel at 7 knots.

In 1974 it is recorded by Lloyd's the insurers as being for sale from liquidator, with a total weight tonnage of 200 tonnes and a total dead weight of 183 tonnes.

Six negatives are available in the Graham Farr Collection.

Photo:Severn Side

Severn Side

L. P. Barnett Collection

Other articles relating to Walter Butt are:

'Recollections of vessels owned by the Butt family'

'Vessels owned by Walter Butt - facts and figures'

Click on the links to view them.

This page was added by Gill Redford on 27/06/2010.
Comments about this page

My grandfather George Stokes was skipper on the Tuffley for many years

By Tony Ravenhill
On 11/06/2012

Severn Side was built at Sharpness by John Harker's shipyard, she was built as a dry cargo vessel and was regularly trading around the Bristol Channel and as far up as Worcester on the Severn, she left the Bristol channel in the mid 70's to trade on the East coast.

On 04/08/2017

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.