Location: Barry, Glamorganshire
Some background history to the creation of Barry Docks can be found on Wikipedia, although there is no mention there of the part played by Thomas Roe Thompson in the taking of the proposal for the docks through Parliamentary Procedure.
Extracts from House of Commons Minutes of Evidence Wed 11th April 1883 to Thu 12th April 1883
BARRY DOCK & RAILWAYS
HOUSE OF COMMONS
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE VOL. 1
BARRY DOCK AND RAILWAYS BILL
Wednesday, 11th April, 1883.
THE HON. ROBERT BOURKE IN THE CHAIR
Mr. THOMAS ROE THOMPSON, sworn.
Examined by Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS.
613. Are you a Steamship Owner, Shipbroker, and Agent? — Yes.
614. Carrying on business in Cardiff? — I am.
615. Are you also agent for the Bristol Channel for the owners of many other steamers frequenting Cardiff? — That is so; and I am also a pit wood merchant, and I contract for the carrying of coal.
616. Are you also director of several large steamship companies conducted upon the mutual principle? — I am.
617. You have been, I think, engaged in the shipping business for a great many years past? — Yes, about 20 years.
618. Are you also one of the promoters and directors named in the Bill? — I am.
619. Now, some questions have been asked in this case as in others, with regard to the Bill itself. Was there a meeting of ship-owners in the port of Cardiff held to consider the subject of this Bill and the question generally? — Yes, we have had several meetings.
620. Was that a meeting attended either in person or by representatives, by all the principal steamship owners of the port? — Yes.
621. Did that meeting come to any resolution, and if so what with respect to this scheme? — The meeting primarily elected a committee to study the interests of the shipowners with regard to the Bill, and this committee having reported favourably to the shipowners, it was decided that the shipowners would support this Bill, thinking it to be highly desirable in the interest of the port.
622. Were you yourself one of the committee so appointed? — I was.
623. Then you have been thoroughly conversant with what has taken place? — I have.
624. Now first with regard to the steamers of the present day, are they increasing in size? — O yes, increasing continually in size.
625. Has the increase of the steamers in size very large bearing upon the question of dock accommodation? — Yes, we are entirely revolutionised with regard to this increase in size of steamers. It is found, and we all find by experience that if we wish to compete, and hold our own, we must increase in the size of our steamers.
626. And I suppose an increase in the size of steamers necessarily means a corresponding increase in the size of the docks? — Yes, and without that our large steamers are comparatively useless.
627. Are there docks which in a former day were very useful, but now are almost out of date? — Yes. 628. Is that so, even at Cardiff? — Yes.
629. Is a portion of the dock accommodation constructed by the Marquis of Bute? — Yes.
630. Is it of great importance to ships that they should be able to get in and out of the dock rapidly and without any unnecessary detention?
The CHAIRMAN: We will take that for granted.
631. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Is there anything in the circumstances of the present approaches to the Cardiff Docks which does not facilitate the getting in and out of ships? — Yes, the approaches to Cardiff are undoubtedly bad.
632. Will you explain what the difficulties are in the approaches to Cardiff? — Yes; we get them better shown on that map in the corner. In the first place, the ships bound into Cardiff have to pass through what is called the Cefn-y-wrach shoal, and then continue their route through an artificial cut which was cut by the trustees of Lord Bute, and then proceed on from there to the docks they are bound to.
633. How is that for width? — The width, of course, near the dock gates is considerable, but in the channels below the average width is about 270 feet or 90 yards.
634. Is that a natural channel, or a channel that has been artificially cut? — It is an artificial cut.
635. And, I suppose, is obliged, in consequence, to be half-dredged? — That is so.
636. If not done so, of course it would silt up? — Yes.
637. At low water, what is the state of things there? — At low water, when the outer dock gates are closed, there is no water in this artificial cut, nor, indeed, to a great extent in the Cefn-y-wrach; the top of that is visible.
638. Is the effect of that to limit the time when vessels can get into the dock? — The effect is more to limit them, when they are loaded, in coming out. The obstacles are not so much felt when the ships are light, excepting in the great difficulties of navigation, and in collisions.
639. Then first the approach to the dock is through this narrow artificial channel, and that is not available at all times of the tide? — No, it is only available at high water.
640. How many hours would it be open for ships? A fair average of two hours, in which the whole of the work of the port must be done.
641. Do you mean both in and out? — Yes, both in and out.
642. Do you mean that the whole pressure of the docks, the whole traffic in and out, has to be crowded into two hours through this narrow cut? — The whole of the supplies, of the tonnage, has to be got in and out, through those artificial channels and cuts within an average of two hours.
643. The CHAIRMAN: Each tide? — Each tide.
644. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: In a navigation of that kind is it of importance to a vessel that it should have deep water under its keel? — Yes. Through these channels we lose the benefit of the extra draught of water provided by the present Roath Basin, because it is evident that these narrow channels are covered with a large surface of water at high-water. Consequently in the case of large ships leaving the Roath Basin, every individual ship cannot depend upon having the centre of the channel; vessels come in according to the force of the wind and may be bearing across the channel in one direction or another; consequently those ships have to move to one side or the other to allow others to pass; and that being so, it would not be prudent for any large ship, one drawing 25 or 26 feet of water to pass out of Cardiff, unless it had four or five or even six feet of water to play upon.
645. That necessity of moving partly out of the excavated channel still further limits the time? — No, it does not limit the time, but it detracts from the benefit that we get of the good draught of water at that Roath Basin.
646. The CHAIRMAN: Is there the same depth of water all across the channel? — Do I understand you to refer to the artificial channel?
647. Yes, to the artificial channel? — Yes, the channel is kept pretty well dredged, but it is so exceedingly narrow, and these vast movements of ships have all to be done in this narrow channel.
648. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Does that result in collisions at all? — It does constantly.
649. And constant risks? — And constant risks, and unfortunately I have to pay my proportion of that, and feel it seriously.
650. Before I go to that, is that narrow artificial channel the approach as well to the new dock as to the existing dock at Cardiff? — Yes, that is so, and consequently this new dock must further crowd this narrow channel; it can have no other effect.
651. There was no distinct sea approach or gate provided in connection with that new dock, but it was another dock thrown upon this approach? — Yes.
652. The CHAIRMAN: You mean the Roath Basins? — Yes.
653. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Further than that, as matters stand at present, and until that dock is constructed, the Roath Basin has been itself available for ships hitherto? — Yes.
654. But will the Roath Basin now become the antechamber, as it were, to the new Roath Dock, and become itself part of the approach? — It becomes the highway for the new dock undoubtedly.
655. Will that change the character of what has been the Roath Basin hitherto, and make it impossible for ships to lie there in the same way as previously? — It will not prevent them lying there, but no person can say that it will not impede the traffic to a certain extent in that Roath Basin.
656. There will be, so to speak, an inner room through which you will have to go to the Roath Dock? — That is so.
657. Explain how practically that would work in the case of ships getting in and out? — In the case of ships going in there they would interfere with the ships moving in the Roath Basin. For instance, a certain number of ships are admitted at each tide the movements in the dock are suspended; and therefore, as the Roath Basin will be supplying ships at the same time for the second dock, the time for which the suspension must take effect would necessarily follow.
658. The CHAIRMAN: Are the Roath Basin and the Roath Dock the same level? — They are, I think, the same level.
659. No gates between them? — There is a lock and a gate between them. It is shown there on the plan.
660. What is the object of that, at they are the same level? — I really cannot tell. I suppose it mean, if it was necessary at any time to take the water out of that Roath Basin, the other dock would retain its water.
661. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Is the result of these inconveniences of which you have been speaking, that vessels are detained at Cardiff? — Oh, yes.
662. Have they been detained for a tide? — Detained for water; what we call beneaped. They are beneaped very frequently; and if that continues, of course that will be very much more serious, as these ships increase in size.
663. Have you got any table or any figures which would show what these detentions have been, or do you know that from your own knowledge? — I have some cases. I know several cases, even lately, of ships being detained; but there is a witness who will follow who will give you details of ships detained.
664. Then you speak generally to the fact of delays, and, of course, in the case of ships of large size, costly delays? — There was a vessel only lately drawing 25 feet 9, and that vessel was detained four days in this Roath Basin waiting for water to get to sea. That, of course, in a port like Cardiff, is a very great disaster.
665. Is there anything in the tides themselves which tend to that delay, or aggravates that delay? — In the event of a strong north-easterly wind that seriously cuts the tide for vessels; and when we have, apparently, 25 feet of water given by the tide tables of Cardiff, I have known if frequently happen that, with a strong north-easterly wind, we have only had 23 feet 6, and 24 feet of water.
666. What is the difference practically there between neap and spring tides? — 25 feet and 35 feet, I think. We are supposed to have 25 feet on the sill of the Roath Basin at average neap tide, and at the average spring tides 35 feet.
667. Therefore, to vessels of a large size it is a considerable aggravation? — Taking 25 feet at neap tide, and allowing three or four feet for clearing these channels, it reduces the utility of the dock to a very considerable extent.
668. Now, I should like to know something about the existing docks. The Bute West Dock, is that the dock you are speaking of? — No, I am referring to that dock now. I think I have heard it stated that the dock area at Cardiff is 110 or 111 acres. It should be borne in mind that that includes 12 acres of the Glamorganshire Canal, which is virtually closed, and I do not know a single shipper from this district who ever ships one pound of coal from the Glamorgan-shire Canal.
669. Now, we will take the West Bute Dock; what depth of water have you there? — In the Bute West Dock you are allowed to load up to 16½ or 17 feet.
670. The whole dock through? — To allow you to get out at the centre sill, that is the whole depth. At the outer sill they have more water, but as you cannot pass the centre sill with more than that number of feet, that is of no use to you. The dock-master at Cardiff will not allow you to load a ship to a greater extent than 17 feet at the Bute West Dock.
671. Are there not parts where it shoals? — The water shoals off to 12 feet at the upper end.
672. Then that is not a dock of 17 feet available water all the way through? — It was of great utility at one time, but now it is not.
673. Having regard to the class of steamers of the present day, is it not obsolete? — At one time I did a large business at that dock, and now I very rarely do anything. It happens that I had one steamer there last week, and that is the first I have had, I think, for many months. That is the Bute West Dock.
674. That being the case with regard to the Bute West Dock, we will go to the Bute East Dock; what do you say with reference to that? — The Bute East Dock is available for steamers up to 22 feet 6 draught of water; and larger steamers loading in there must shift from that dock into the Roath Basin to complete their loading; and when that is done in a congested state of the trade it causes serious delays, and it is a great drawback to the port.
675. The loading arrangements of the steamers, I suppose, are governed by the tips at which they load? — Yes.
676. Take vessels of, we will say 24 feet; that would not be an unusual size for steamers of the present day? — No.
677. Going into the Bute East Dock they could only load, you say, up to 22 feet 6? — 22 feet 6 in the East Dock.
678. She would have to come out and finish her loading in the Roath Basin? — She would pass through the junction here (pointing) into the Roath Basin, and there complete her loading.
679. The CHAIRMAN; How deep could she load in the Roath Basin? — That would depend entirely upon the state of the tide. At the Roath Basin, at neap tides, it is supposed to be 25 feet, but if the tide happens to be neap and the man wants three or four feet under his keel, he would not be able to have more than 21 feet, or he would have to wait for higher tides.
680. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Supposing this to happen at the time when the tides are low, the vessel would have to wait till the higher tides came again? — Yes.
681. And is that a matter of common occurrence? — Yes, and it is a detention that will continue to increase as the sizes of steamers increase.
682. And will tend to obstruct the other traffic in the dock whilst the vessel is kept there? — Every ship lying waiting in the dock prevents another coming in; that is obvious. If that ship can clear out directly she is loaded, that is making room for another to come in.
683. As to this Roath Basin that the vessel has to come out into and finish her loading in, is that the same place you before spoke of as the ante-chamber to the new Roath Dock? — Yes, that is so.
684. Are these docks, the existing docks at the level of the sea, supplied in all cases with sea water, or have they partly to depend upon fresh water? — The East and West Docks depend entirely upon fresh water, or back water. They are at a higher level than the water outside. Consequently the ships when entering them have to be raised to the level of the dock, and when leaving them have to be lowered to the level of the sea.
685. Then the same vessel, I take it, would swim deeper in fresh water than she would in salt? — Yes.
686. What difference would that make? — It is according to the size of the ship; we generally allow from three to four inches. Of course that is carrying power that we would lose when we load in a fresh water dock.
687. Again, you have not the same facility in opening the gates or dealing with ships in and out as if you had a full supply of sea-water? — Oh, dear no.
688. The CHAIRMAN: On the other hand, it gives you more room under your keel going out, does it not? — It gives us less because the ship swims deeper when she comes outside.
689. When she comes out into the channel? — But we have the narrow channel and the Cefn-y-wrach before we get out into the deep water.
690. The artificial channel I mean? — That is all on mud; we do not calculate to get into the salt water till we get right out into the mid-channel of the Bristol Channel.
691. You do not calculate that the water in that narrow channel is more buoyant than the water in the dock? — It is slightly so, but we do not get out into proper salt water till we are out into the Bristol Channel.
692. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Are these delays and causes of delays at the docks well known and recognised, in the charter parties, for instance? — Yes.
693. How is that shown? — In this way. When I have a vessel to charter, a merchant asks me three times the number of hours for loading that ship that he ought to ask me, because he has to take the risk of these delays and detentions, and of the detention in getting a tip; and they compel me to allow 96 hours to load a ship, whereas that ship is frequently actually loaded in 30 or 36 hours. That is a very serious loss to us.
694. And that is not a delay which to the same extent is insisted upon in the case of other ports? — No, and that delay means a greater cost to the consumer, no doubt.
695. You, of course, have to cover that demand that is made upon you by a charge corresponding as a shipowner? — It rather comes in this way; That taking the present average rate of freight to London, which averages 5s. 6d. per ton, if instead of compelling me to allow 96 hours to load, they would undertake to load my ship in 36 hours, I will undertake to carry and deliver all the coals from Cardiff to London which they might require at 4s. 6. per ton. The difference in the time would allow me to do that, because I can make 10 more voyages in a year to London if they would load my ship in 36 hours instead of 96, which is the average time for a vessel of 1,800 to 2,000 tons. It results, therefore, that all these detentions cause the coal to arrive at an enhanced price to the consumer, and as a matter of fact, owing to these detentions at Cardiff we are shut out of the London market altogether; we cannot compete with the north, where the steamers get quicker despatch.
696. As to that impossibility of competition with the northern ports, and I suppose consequent loss of trade, do you attribute that in any way to these delays in Cardiff? — Undoubtedly. I say that London does not receive the benefit of the South Wales coal, owing to the want of proper dock accommodation in our district — the Cardiff coal I mean.
697. And would the provision of proper and sufficient dock accommodation lie at the root of an improvement in the London market in that respect? — It would enable us to send coal to London to compete with the north, which we cannot now. I am prepared to send it at a shilling a ton less if we get dock facilities.
698. The CHAIRMAN: Would a 1s. a ton less enable you to compete with the north? — Oh, yes.
699. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Going back for one moment to the roadstead, is there a difficulty also in the roadstead at Penarth? — The roadstead in Penarth serves as a roadstead to ships coming down from Newport, from Gloucester, and from Bristol; and all the wind-bound ships from Cardiff, Newport and the upper ports in the channel use Penarth Roads as an anchorage ground. The consequence is, with the strong tides that we have, in the case of any steamer coming up and bound into Cardiff, and arriving at night, no prudent man with a four or five knot tide would think of running up amongst that large crowd of ships; they would have to wait at Barry Road and go into Cardiff Roads by daylight.
700. I wanted to know whether the Penarth roadstead, in addition to being crowded, had also a number of shoals in it? — It is no unusual thing for steamers loaded to touch the ground in Penarth Roads while at anchor, it is quite a common occurrence.
701. Having that state of things at the entrance to the Penarth Dock of which you have spoken and at the entrance to the Cardiff Dock, is there a considerable liability to collision? — Yes. I have not spoken, by-the-by, anything about the Penarth Dock, only the Penarth Roadstead.
702. Will you describe the state of things at the entrance to the Penarth Dock? — At the entrance to Penarth Dock, as will be seen on that chart, there is a huge patch. It is true that there is a channel cut in that patch (pointing to it) but it is at so sharp an angle, that ships coming out from that dock cannot turn in that channel, and they invariably pass over that patch. The consequence is, that you must take off six feet from the water allowed on the dock sill at Penarth, to clear that path; that is the quantity the pilots deduct. When you have 25 feet on the dock sill at Penarth, you can only take a ship out of Penarth drawing 19 feet of water.
703. When you get inside the Penarth Dock, do you find it a convenient dock inside? — Penarth Dock is a very great coal dock, but, of course, it is not suitable for these very large steamers, owing to this impediment in getting out; and also when these very heavy draught steamers are in the dock they ground when loading.
704. And is that with reference to steamers of the present construction a very great objection? — It must be.
705. Can they turn in the dock? — No, the dock is too narrow. That is the great drawback to that dock as a coal dock. The Penarth Dock is very good, no doubt, for ships of ordinary size, but for the ships now coming on it is no longer suitable.
706. When you say “now coming on”, is that more and more becoming characteristic of the steamers? — Yes, I calculate that at the present time there is a million tons of shipping building, and that you may fairly take it 30 or 40 per cent. are these very large steamers.
707. Is there, speaking generally, a great activity in the building trade of steamers at present? — I compute that there is a million tons of shipping now building. I agree with Mr. Nixon in those figures, but you must bear in mind that all that large amount of tonnage will be in the water within six months from this time, and the shipbuilders are full of orders all over the kingdom to keep them going for the next twelve months. So that one million tons of shipping will be immediately followed by another million tons of shipping.
708. And I suppose if Cardiff or that vicinity is to hold its own, it must be prepared to receive the shipping of the present day? — Yes.
709. Have you had yourself in these crowded roads experience of collision? — Yes, I have.
710. To any of your own vessels? — Yes, I have, unfortunately. I can give them if you wish.
711. Have you had any case of losses? — Yes, I had one vessel lost off Lavernock Point and one man drowned — that is in the highway to Cardiff.
712. And did that involve considerable loss of property?
The CHAIRMAN: That will not have any effect upon the Committee. Your point is as to the entrance to the docks. Let us confine the evidence to that.
The WITNESS: If that ship had gone into Barry, she would not have been lost.
Mr. BIDDER: That is true; I admit that at once.
713. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Have you known any cases of collision in or near the cutway? — Yes, repeatedly.
714. Apart from your own experience, that is a matter of common knowledge? — Yes, of common knowledge. I have a return here, a list of casualties reported to the receiver of wreck.
715. Will you kindly mention the general result? — That is taking from Barry Island up to Cardiff, and the total amount is 107 casualties, of which the largest amount are in Cardiff drain or cutaway, the largest proportion of them are in that cut-way.
716. The CHAIRMAN: You were going to tell us about a ship of your own; have you had a ship of your own lost in the cut? — I have had a ship of my own ashore in the cut.
717. Will you give us the particulars of that? — In October, 1877, I was on board one of my own steamers leaving Cardiff, call the “Alliance”. In passing down the gut just abreast of the low water pier we found the steamer “Galilee”, a French ship, sunk through a collision in the drain. The wind was strong, and we had little or no room left in the cut. The consequence was that we were driven on shore with a strong north-east wind. The ship took a sudden list, but by aid of tugs we succeeded in getting her off.
718. What was her length about? — 220 feet. She was a comparatively small steamer. In November, 1878, I had another steamer which collided with, and was sunk by, the “Weardale”, close to this low water pier.
719. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: It was in the gut? — It was in the gut near the low water pier; and in Penarth Roads we have had very many collisions in leading out from this cut. In May, 1880, my steamer “Activity” collided with the brig “Washington” in the drain just outside of this low water pier. In September, 1881, the “Alert” outward bound collided with the schooner “Busy Bee”, inward bound, abreast of the low water pier; and in February, 1882, I had the “Lemnos” steamer, outward bound, which collided with the brigantine “Ina” causing the “Lemnos” to come into collision with the Bute Mud Hopper. All three vessels sustained serious damage. The “Lemnos” also took the ground and was assisted off by tugs. This accident happened also abreast of the low water pier. In September, 1882, I acted for the steamer “Ernest”, which collided with the French schooner “François”, outward bound, abreast of the low water pier. Those are a few within my own knowledge.
720. I want to know, supposing a vessel gets into collision or gets damaged in going out from the docks and has to put back again, what happens then? — Well, the docks are so crowded at Cardiff that there is no quay room or accommodation on which to put the cargo of the damaged steamer. The consequence is, that you have to employ wagons and locomotive power to take that coal on to the moors a mile distant from the dock. When your ship is repaired you have again to employ the same power to bring it back to your ship, owing to their being no accommodation on the side of the dock; and the whole of that coast falls on the shipowner and underwriters.
721. Are you speaking now of a thing that might happen, or of a thing that did happen? — I am speaking of a thing that does happen. I can show you an account. This causes an enormous charge to fall upon the ship, and I do not know any other docks in the kingdom, where, in case of an accident, room would not be provided on the quay side on which to put the ship’s cargo; and when this room is not there it is a great hardship on the owner that he should have to send it a mile away and bring it back. Here is an account which I paid the Marquis of Bute, for £752, for taking away the cargo of a ship which was damaged, and bringing it back to the vessel after her repairs were finished.
722. Did you remonstrate against that? — I did.
723. You did not want your coal sent away to the moors? — No.
724. Did you obtain any redress? — None whatever.
725. Does that sort of thing happen every time a ship is damaged in that way? — Yes. I had one this last week in the same position; it is a very serious hardship.
726. And I suppose if they had proper dock space, quays upon which this might be done in the dock itself, that head of charge might altogether be avoided? — Not altogether. You must land the cargo and put it on board again; but that the cost of taking that a mile away owing to the want of dock accommodation and bringing it back should fall upon the ship, I look upon as a monstrous hardship.
727. They themselves have to take it out of the town, you may say, in order to take it out of their own way, and they charge you for doing that? — They charge us for doing that.
728. Now another feature of the docks. When you have got the vessel alongside and are loading her, she, I presume, is loaded from tips? — Yes, from tips.
729. How are these tips arranged relatively to the vessel; can you load into different hatchways at the same time? — I believe that is so, in one or two cases, but, as a rule, these long steamers interfere with the loading of an adjoining ship.
730. You mean that they overlap? — Yes, and stop the work. It would be much better for these docks if this larger class of steamer never came into them, because they are really not adapted for it.
731. The CHAIRMAN: That has been proved by another witness. As I understand it, when these large steamers come in they overlap one another and prevent all the tips being used; is not that it? — Yes.
732. So that there are often ships that are idle? — Practically useless.
733. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: I suppose when a ship has partly filled one hatchway, it has to shift to fill the other hatchway? — That is the ordinary process; but you are frequently stopped owing to the vessel at the adjoining tip declining to move in order to give you room.
734. You not merely, then, have the difficulty at the entrance and the crowding at the gates, but when you get in, the internal dock arrangements are not suited to the vessels of the present day? — They are obsolete for the purposes of the present day. I quite admit that Lord Bute and the Trustees of Lord Bute have done their utmost to patch them up; but it is like patching up an old shoe. The sequel is that we want new docks, adapted to these vessels.
735. That is as regards the coal. Now what do you say with regard to the import trade; is there room for that? — I have been very much astonished to find that the line taken up by counsel representing Lord Bute is such that they seem to think that if the coal trade is provided for, all other interests are to be entirely disregarded. I say that the geographical position of Cardiff is such that it ought to do a very vast import trade. We have at the back of Cardiff all those mining districts; and all the staple commodities of life for those persons are imported into Bristol and Gloucester, and afterwards brought down by rail or by steamer to Cardiff. Now, if we could get proper facilities for the import trade, which was entirely out of the question when these docks were laid out and adapted for coals and iron alone, I say I could import grain and other staples commodities into Cardiff and supply those people at a much cheaper rate than they can get those commodities through Bristol and Gloucester.
736. Even for the workers of the coal at the spot, enlarged dock accommodation means cheaper supply? — It does. Then, again, we are 50 miles nearer to New York than Liverpool. Now take the timber trade, for instance; there is no accommodation for the timber trade at Cardiff, and we have lower rates from Cardiff to Birmingham than they have from Liverpool, and if we had accommodation at Cardiff all that trade for the Birmingham and Wolverhampton district ought to come in through Cardiff, because the ships coming to Cardiff, where they can get heavy outward cargoes, can afford to carry that timber to Cardiff much cheaper that they can carry it to Liverpool, seeing that they would have to shift from Liverpool to Cardiff afterwards to load.
737. The CHAIRMAN: Do you say there are lower rates from Cardiff to Birmingham for timber than from Liverpool to Birmingham? — Yes, that is so.
738. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: That being so, if you had at Cardiff accommodation for timber, do you see your way to do a trade? — I am not a timber merchant. I could do the carrying of it; and the timber merchants will be here, and they will give you their figures. I think I could show the different rates. Before I finish with the timber, I wish to observe that I import a considerable quantity of pit wood into Cardiff — that is, pit props for the use of collieries; but the difficulties of carrying on that trade, the difficulty of obtaining berths, and the disturbing circumstances under which we conduct that trade — are such that I am seriously thinking that I shall have to abandon the trade — that it is much better that I should.
739. That is a strong measure to take. Why are you thinking of doing that? — Because what we gain in one way we lose in another. I had a vessel only the other day — the “Galatea” — which arrived in the East Dock on March the 8th, and we did not succeed in getting a berth for that ship till March the 12th; we were hunting about the whole of that time trying to get accommodation; and with the misery we have to submit to in carrying on that trade, it is better that I should be rid of it.
740. If you had proper dock accommodation, that would be different? — Yes. I have carried on that trade for 19 years, and as things are now, the best thing I can do is to give it up.
741. You will be asked, do you not know that an additional dock has been authorised at Cardiff, and will not that do for you? What is your opinion as to that? — I know that additional accommodation has been authorised, because I gave evidence in favour of Lord Bute’s dock last year.
742. But what do you say as to the sufficiency of that dock accommodation as removing all these complaints, if it were made? — There is no doubt that the dock will, to a certain extent, relieve us; but, at the same time, when I supported that dock, I pointed out that I should have been very much better pleased if Lord Bute had gone in for a larger scheme.
743. The dock which was authorised last year took the place, did it not, of a previous dock which had been authorised in 1874? — Yes; and that is just where we have dropped into all this unfortunate position. In 1874, when the exports were something like three millions, Lord Bute too powers to make another dock; and as a matter of fact, we have had no docks. Now, in 1883, we are going to start to make this dock with the exports, eight millions, which was acknowledged to have been wanted when the exports were three millions in 1874. That is the secret of the position that we are in now.
744. From what point of view do you look upon the dock authorised in 1882 as an additional dock? — I do not know. It was a substitution, and it was so put last year, for the dock of 1874.
745. You were a dock behind the times in 1874? — Yes, undoubtedly. If that dock had been made forthwith and we had had Lord Bute’s docks started now, we might possibly keep pace with the trade; but now what we are going to do during the next four or five years I cannot for the life of me conceive. I quite apprehend that within the next twelve months from this date we shall see steamers waiting in Penarth Road, waiting five or six days for turns to get into Cardiff Docks, and that must continue till we get extra accommodation.
746. Now is it the knowledge of these various circumstances amongst others that has turned your attention to the proposed docks at Barry? — Yes, I was delighted to hear of this scheme.
747. Do you anticipate that at Barry there will be similar objections to the entrances and approaches to those which you have been describing? — No. At Barry you are out in deep water at once, right into the channel, clear of all these bad approaches. I do not mean you to understand that Barry is going to suffice in dock accommodation. It may do so for seven years or so, but there will come a time when even Barry added to the accommodation of Lord Bute’s docks will not suffice.
748. Do you believe that if Barry Dock be authorised there will be work for it in addition to the authorised dock of Lord Bute? — If I had not thought that I should have seriously considered whether I would have taken any part in promoting that dock, because I am ready to admit that Lord Bute has done us very good service at Cardiff, and I should be sorry to take part in any scheme which should do him an irreparable injury, and I seriously weighed that over in my mind, and I was satisfied, so far as my mind was concerned, that this dock would not injure Lord Bute before I would have anything to do with the promotion of it.
749. And with that knowledge, and having considered the matter, you went in with your fellowship owners as a promoter of this Bill? — I did.
750. Now in what light would the shipping trade generally regard the Barry Dock do you think — do they regard it as a suitable place for going to? — They greatly favour it. I have never spoken to a single shipowner who has objected to this dock as a scheme. I do not know any place in the kingdom which has greater natural advantages for making a dock than Barry. It is comparatively landlocked, and is only open to a southerly or south-easterly wind, which is a wind that does not prevail very greatly in our channel.
751. Is there good anchorage ground? — The anchorage ground from Nell’s point to the eastward extends two miles, the best anchorage ground in the Bristol Channel. Ships which have driven their anchors in a north-easterly gale have been known to drive from Cardiff Roads, and immediately they have got to this anchorage ground they have been known to immediately hold.
752. What do you say as to the willingness of the shipowners in the matter of freights — do you think they would take the same freights or more favourable freights that they now ask to Cardiff? — With the smaller class of steamers suitable for the Bute Docks, I would not, of course, take any less freight to load at Barry than at the Bute Docks; but for the larger steamers which have to encounter this narrow navigation, and suffer these delays for want of water at Cardiff, I would, of course, accept a reduced freight load at Barry.
753. Then do I understand from you that you think that the large steamers would be likely to seek the Barry Dock in preference? — Yes, unquestionably so.
754. Would the shifting of the larger steamers from Bute Docks to Barry be a distinct relief to the Bute Docks from those difficulties as to tips, and otherwise of which you have spoken? — I quite ulties [sic] that when the steamers exceed the size for which the Roath basin is adapted, it would be to the advantage of Lord Bute’s trustees that that class of steamers should be accommodated at Barry.
755. Would that still leave the Bute Docks the natural home, as at present, of steamers of smaller size and sailing vessels? — That is so, I assume that a fair average percentage of the steamers now building, that is the million tons I have referred to, probably 30 or 40 per cent. would be composed of this larger class of steamers, and there would yet remain 60 or 70 per cent. which would be available for Lord Bute’s Docks.
756. That would be 60 per cent. for the Bute Docks, and 40 per cent. for the other. Would it follow, in your opinion, that the trade would advantageously to both docks parcel itself out between them according as one dock or the other was best fitted for it? — Yes; and I must say I am anxious to see the import trade considered a little more.
757. Is there any proportion which is accepted as a fair proportion of tonnage of shipping to the water space of a dock? — Yes, that is so.
758. How much per acre would you put it at? — Shall I take it by the registered tonnage, or by tons burthen? I think that a coal and mineral dock, a heavy traffic dock, should not exceed 50,000 tons of shipping per acre. Anything beyond that produced congestion, and is carried out at an expense to the consumer.
759. It might be possible to crowd in traffic into a dock, and to do work in it, but it would be done. Under such circumstances and such pressures as to make it unnecessarily expensive to the parties all round? — Yes, it is through the overcrowding of the traffic that this scheme was brought forward, I take it.
760. Is it the fact that at the Bute Dock they work by night as well as by day? —Oh yes.
761. The twenty-four hours? — The twenty-four hours.
762, And at Penarth? — And at Penarth. I do not see anything very objectionable in that myself, although the freighters know more about that than I do. They complain that their coal is considerably broken by this night work; but that is a matter that does not affect me.
763. Is it more expensive to work at night than in the day? — Undoubtedly; but as far as I am myself concerned, I like it shipped at night because I get my ships away to sea all the quicker.
764. You mentioned to the Committee that the shipowners had met and a Committee had been appointed, of which you were one. Apart from their action in the matter, has there been a petition also numerously signed by shipowners outside your Companies? — Yes, some of the leading shipowners in the United Kingdom have petitioned concerning this measure, and I have had letters from some of them.
Mr. BIDDER: That really will not do.
Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: It is presented to the House, you know.
The WITNESS: The petition is.
Mr. BIDDER: Then it speaks for itself.
765. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS (To the Witness): Has a petition been presented to the House? — Yes.
766. Very numerously signed? — Yes.
767. What feeling does that petition express?
Mr. BIDDER: I object to that question. The petition speaks for itself.
The CHAIRMAN: Is it referred to us?
Mr. BIDDER: Petitions in favour are never referred.
Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: It is presented to the House, and you can call for it if you like.
The CHAIRMAN: Then we will have the petition itself here to-morrow; that will be the best course.
(Adjourned till to-morrow, at 12 o’clock.)
BARRY DOCK AND RAILWAYS BILL
Thursday, 12th April, 1883.
THE HON. ROBERT BOURKE IN THE CHAIR
Mr. THOMAS ROE THOMPSON, recalled.
Mr. MATTHEWS: There was a petition, sir, to be produced, you will remember.
The CHAIRMAN: I find that the practice with respect to petitions is that petitions in favour of the Bill are never referred to the Committee, and I have been asked whether, as a private Member of this House, I am disposed to ask for it. Now, I am not in the least disposed to ask for it, because one never knows how partial and ex parte a case the petition may represent, so that we must not have any questions about these petitions at all.
Mr. BIDDER: That is entirely in accord, sir, with what has always been my experience in these rooms. The fact that there is a petition may be brought forward.
The CHAIRMAN: We must have the whole petition and the answer to it, or nothing at all.
768. Mr. MATTHEWS (to the Witness): To your knowledge, do the bulk of the shipowners in Cardiff approve of the Barry Dock scheme? — Yes.
769. There is an error, I believe, in the printed evidence, that you desire to correct as to the width of the gutway, will you give it accurately now? — The width of the gutway as it appears in the printed evidence this morning, is not as I intended to give it yesterday, and I wish to have an opportunity of correcting it. The question and answer are at No. 633. What I wished to state was “220 feet and about 70 yards”; not “270 feet and 90 yards”; and indeed that is the widest part of the drain or cut.
770. The widest part of the gut is how wide? — 220 feet. In some parts it is only 174 feet.
771. By the COMMITTEE: Then you strike out the word “average” in that answer? — Yes.
Cross-examined by Mr. BIDDER.
772. Since when did you become so penetrated with a sense of the danger and disadvantages of the entrance to the Bute Docks? — For some considerable time.
773. What do you mean by a “considerable time” — two or three months? — These dangers of course have become ——
774. Never mind that. Attend to my question first, please. Since when did you become penetrated with a sense of the dangers of the entrance to the Bute Docks? — I should say within the last three or four years.
775. Could you not condescend a little more, and say within a much narrower time, within three or four months? — For large ships they have always been apparent to me.
776. That may be; they have always been what they are now. My question is, since when did you become penetrated with a sense of their dangerous character? — I cannot fix any date.
777. Cannot you — let me see if I can help you. Until very recently, you have always expressed your opinion as greatly in favour of the advantages offered by the Bute Docks, have you not? — I am so still, for ships up to a certain size. I am certainly so.
778. But without limitation of size? — Oh no, I do not think so.
779. Do you remember that some years ago there was a great deal of dispute and discussion in the papers as to the demerits of Cardiff in reference to that very shoal you were talking about, Cefn-y-Wrach? — Yes.
780. Do you recollect that you took up the championship of Cardiff as against gentlemen who represented that it was at a disadvantage? — Yes.
781. And pointed out that it was all rubbish? — I recollect that perfectly well.
782. And you demonstrated that the suggestions of the Newport gentlemen were all rubbish? — What suggestions?
783. That the entrance to Cardiff was bad, because of the Cefn-y-Wrach shoal? — I know what you allude to, but I do not admit it.
784. Did you not write to the papers to combat their views? — Yes.
785. And point out that Cardiff was a very good port? — Will you give me the date of that letter?
786. I am asking you a question, you say you know what I am alluding to; did you not do that? — I wrote a letter.
787. Did you not write to represent that Cefn-y-Wrach was not the objection that the Newport people tried to make out? — Generally I did, but that was five years ago, and the tonnage has increased in size and depth since then.
788. Now I will come to a good deal later time. Did you not come last year to support the Marquis of Bute in his application for his Bill last year? — I did, and I said so yesterday.
789. And supported him in opposition to freighters and shipowners who wanted some other dock accommodation instead of that which the Marquis was proposing to provide for them? — No.
790. You say no; let me see if you will adhere to that. Were there not shipowners and freighters who were opposing the Marquis’s proposals last year? — The Cardiff shipowners as a body supported it.
791. I did not say “all”; I said were there not shipowners and freighters who opposed the proposals of last year? — I am not aware of any shipowners of importance who did so.
792. Are you aware that we had a contest last year? — Quite so.
793. And that we spent about three weeks in this very room? — No, I am not aware of that.
794. More than a fortnight — you were one of the principal witnesses on our side? — I believe so.
795. You knew what was going on? — Perfectly well.
796. Are you not conscious that there were a number of freighters and shipowners, some of them, I think, promoters in this present Bill, who opposed the proposals of the Marquis of Bute, and said that that was not the proper way to provide the additional dock accommodation? — The freighters did oppose, I am quite aware of that.
797. And shipowners too? — No, I do not think so.
798. Did you ever see that petition (handing a petition to Witness)? — Yes; I have signed that petition.
799. Now do you know that the shipowners, as well as the freighters, were opposing Lord Bute? —A very infinitesimal proportion of the shipowners.
800. I do not know what “infinitesimal” means. They call themselves a million, but perhaps, in your view, that is infinitesimal? — You yourself urged last year that you had all the shipowners with you.
801. I think you are wrong in that, but I really will not stop to discuss what I urged, because it is not material. Now, a step further. Were there not opponents of that Bill last year who contended before Parliament that Roath Dock was not a proper way to provide the dock accommodation, because they ought to have provided a dock with a separate sea entrance independently of the Cardiff Gut that we have been talking about? — Not to my knowledge.
802. You never heard that? — I do not think so.
803. Never heard that mentioned in Cardiff or advanced in Parliament? — That there ought to be a separate entrance.? Yes; the freighters urged that.
804. And you, in opposition to them, supported the scheme of last year? — I was never consulted last year on the question of the entrance to that dock.
805. But you supported the dock itself? — It was not my place to criticise the dock that I was supporting.
806. You gave evidence in favour of it? — I gave evidence in favour of dock accommodation to Cardiff.
807. You gave evidence in favour of a particular proposal for dock accommodation that was then before the Committee, did you not? — Yes, and you would have been very much surprised if I had pointed out to you the defect in your dock.
808. Very much surprised indeed, knowing what you said in your proof. So that last year, in opposition to gentlemen who did raise the question, and who said, “We ought to have a separate sea entrance”, you supported the scheme then before the Committee, which depended upon the Cardiff Gut, and did not afford a separate sea entrance? — I never raised any objection last year to your scheme.
809. You supported it as a good scheme? — I supported your scheme because we wanted dock accommodation and there was no better scheme before the House.
810. But pardon me; you say there was no better scheme, but there were those freighters before the House petitioning who said this, did they not — Let Lord Bute carry out this scheme, but let us make a dock of our own? — They did.
811. The very gentlemen who are now coming forward with this Barry Dock? — Yes.
812. And you supported Lord Bute’s scheme as against them I supported Lord Bute’s scheme for dock accommodation.
813. As against them? — No, nor as against them.
814. But they were opposing it? — They were opposing on grounds which did not affect my interest all.
815. You know what Lord Bute was proposing to Parliament last year — the Roath Dock? — Yes.
816. You knew that there were freighters who opposed him and said, do not give the powers to Lord Bute, but we will come and make a dock of our own somewhere else; did you not know that? — Hardly in that way.
817. You have just said that you knew they were proposing that they should make a dock of their own, and saying that Lord Bute’s scheme was a bad one? — They acknowledged, as I did last year, that dock accommodation was necessary, but they opposed owing to increased charges which did not affect me.
818. At present I am on works and I will not be led away on the question of charges; do you not know that those freighters objected to Lord Bute’s scheme, and said it was not a good one, and said, let us make one of our won? — Their serious objection to Lord Bute’s scheme was owing to the charges.
819. I know that was one thing; but I am now upon works; do you not know perfectly well that they raised an objection to the dock scheme as a scheme? — No, I do not.
820. Never heard of it? — If you had not drawn my attention to that now it would never have been apparent to me.
821. But you have never heard of that ? — I will not say that; but it never produced the slightest impression on my mind.
822. You had not heard of it then? — I have no recollection of it.
823. You did not know the freighters wanted to make a dock of their own? — They said then that they wanted to make a dock of their own.
824. Do you not know that they wanted to be allowed to make their own dock, instead of Lord Bute making the additional dock accommodation? — They said, that rather than Lord Bute should make a dock with these increased charges, they would prefer to make a dock of their own; I certainly heard them say that; but those charges did not affect me; they are charges on coals.
825. Now you have told the Committee a great deal about this narrow gut, only 220 feet at its widest part, which is such an objection to Cardiff; was it not one of the provisions of the Bill of last year to take powers to double the width of that gut? — Not to my knowledge.
826. Please be careful; are you aware of this which I will read from the Preamble of the Act: “Whereas it is expedient that the Undertakers should be empowered to dredge scour widen and improve the channel and waters forming a means of access to the docks as by this Act provided?” — I see nothing there about doubling the width of the cut.
827. “Widening and improving” — You have been dredging that cut for years and have never made it a proper cut yet.
828. You have been basing your objection upon this width of 220 feet. You know, do you not, that that was one of the objects of the Act of last year to take power to widen that? — No.
829. You never hear of that till this moment? — No.
830. Perfect news to you? — Perfect news to me.
831. You never heard it stated in the evidence last year that we intended to do that, and increase it up to 400 feet? — To the best of my recollection that is perfect news to me.
The CHAIRMAN: Is there a clause in the Act relating to that?
832. Mr. BIDDER: Yes. (To the Witness): You never heard it was intended under the powers of that Act to make that gut 400 feet wide? — No.
Mr. BIDDER: It is the 25th Section of the Act of 1882: “The Undertakers shall have full power and authority from time to time to dredge scour widen and improve the entrance channel to the docks from the southernmost part of the Cefn-y-Wrach and all channels and waters forming a means of access to the docks”.
833. (To the Witness): Now, as you have never head of it before, it is news to you to hear now that it is going to be made 400 feet wide? — It is entirely new.
834. Does that modify your opinion? — Not a bit.
835. If it were 4 miles wide, it would not modify your opinion perhaps? — I do not think you intend to do it.
836. Do you mean that we are not bona fide? — I mean this, that I was consulted last year about that dock repeatedly, and I never heard any suggestion that you intended to widen that cut to 400 feet, and this is complete news to me.
837. Do you mean that you do not think that we intend to widen it at all? — I take that to be an ordinary power for dredging an artificial cut.
838. Do you mean to state to the Committee that you do not believe that we intend to widen it at all? — No; I do not think you do.
839. You think that this is put into the Act as a pure blind, to deceive Parliament? — There is nothing there about 400 feet.
840. Leave that 400 feet for the moment; do you mean that you believe that having gone specifically to Parliament for powers to widen that gut we have no intention of widening it? — Those are mere general powers to enable you to widen it if you think fit.
841. And you believe that we have no intention of doing it? — I would rather you gave your own intentions to the Committee.
842. You say in your evidence that you believe that we do not intend doing it? — I say that if you do intend doing it, it is strange that you did not point that out to me when I was in consultation about that dock.
The CHAIRMAN: What this gentleman thinks about the intentions of the Bute Trustees is not material.
843. Mr. BIDDER: Now assume that that cut is going to be widened, as a fact, to 400 feet wide, and that that is done, does that modify your views as regards Cardiff at all? — I say you will never make the approaches to Cardiff Docks good.
844. I ask, does that modify you views as regards the inconvenience at Cardiff? — No.
845. Make no difference? — Only to the extent of 200 feet in a drain.
846. My notion of a drain is something much smaller than 400 feet. “Only to the extent” of nearly double? — Considering that it is only 174 feet in some places, of course it would be improved.
847. What is the width of the entrance it is proposed to have to these new Barry Docks? — The width of the entrance is about 350 feet, but then we are not approached by cuts or shoals.
848. I see a thing like horns, a breakwater or something, and a vessel, I suppose, has got to go between them. Will you be offended if I call that a drain up to the mouth of the dock? — No, I shall not be offended.
849. Whatever you call it (in your case you call it a channel), you say that is 350 feet at the widest mouth, and narrows down to what at the other end? — When you get inside of it you do not want any width at all.
850. Will you answer my question? — I do not know.
851. Then, in point of fact, it will be actually a narrow entrance after our gut is widened than the entrance to the Bute Docks will be, if we make it 400 feet wide? — The cases are not parallel at all.
852. I did not say they were; I asked you whether it would not be a narrower entrance? — The piers will be narrower that your gut way.
853. What would happen to a vessel in Barry Dock in baddish weather with a south-westerly wind if she happened to miss that entrance? — With a south-west wind it is calm at Barry Dock entrance.
854. Then say south-east? — A man who cannot hit a 350-feet entrance to a dock —
855. What is to happen? — There is plenty of room for him to turn his ship round and go out to sea again.
856. What, up in that corner? — There is a sort of pocket behind the breakwater; there is a thing called the Mark Rock? — There is 600 feet between the entrance and the Mark Rock.
857. That is abundant room in bad weather, is it? — Yes.
858. I see a breakwater right across it. I suppose if he comes against the Mark Rock or the breakwater the result will be very much the same as regards the ultimate destination of the vessel, will it not? — No; the breakwater is of wood and the Mark Rock is of rock. If a man cannot hit a 350 feet entrance, how is he going to hit your 55 entrance to that dock?
859. Our 55 feet entrance is not exposed to the sea, is it? — With a south-west wind it is greatly exposed.
860. Inside?— Yes.
861. Certainly not exposed in the sense that the mouth to Barry Dock is? — It will be comparatively calm at the entrance to Barry Dock with a south-west wind.
862. What about a south-east wind? — You cannot make a dock anywhere that is not exposed to some wind. I will defy you to do it, and that is not a prevailing wind in this channel.
863. By-the-bye, you said, you know, when I put to you that the freighters were anxious to have a different dock accommodation, that in point of fact the dispute was really one of charges? — From their point of view.
864. But you understand that they were perfectly satisfied with the dock as a dock, and the accommodation it provided? — No, I did not understand that at all.
865. When I put you that you would not have it; which way is it — were they satisfied or not with the dock accommodation proposed by the Roath Dock? — I do not know their views as to being satisfied with dock accommodation, but everybody admitted that further dock accommodation was necessary.
866. But speaking of the new dock, were they satisfied with the accommodation it was likely to afford? — No, I think not.
867. Then it was a question of dock as well as of charge? — Do you mean as to area?
868. No, as to their opposition? — Their real opposition was as to the charges.
869. Then I will come to that point. You understand that it was upon the extra charges that were to be put upon them under the Bill of last year that they opposed? — They said last year, that rather than have that dock with those charges they would make their own dock.
870. Will you be good enough to tell the Committee whether in point of fact, under the arrangements that have been made, they will not have that dock without the charges? — Which arrangements?
871. Are you aware of the arrangements made with the Taff Vale Railway Company in the last Bill? — How can I be, when you excluded us from your settlement?
872. The terms of the arrangement were publicly announced in the room and have been published, I presume, in all the Cardiff papers. Do you mean to say that you are ignorant of what has been done here a few days ago? — I heard you announce what had been done.
873. I hope I announced it in terms that were intelligible to you? — I do not know what you allude to.
874. You have told me that you heard me announce it. Now, I allude to the announcement which you say you heard; did you understand it? — I really do not know what you mean.
875. I am alluding to the announcement of the terms of the arrangement between the Bute Trustees and the Taff Vale Railway Company, which I made publicly in this room three or four days ago, and which you have just told me you heard me make; that is what I allude to? — I heard you announce that it had been arranged between the Taff Vale Company and Lord Bute that your Bill was to be withdrawn, and that the Taff Vale Railway people were to make these sidings; but as to any matters of detail they are not in my mind, I assure you.
876. Are you not aware that it was part of the arrangement that no charge was to be made to the freighters for the use of the sidings? — Yes, I heard that.
877. Why did you tell me you did not know what I alluded to? — I did not know what part of the arrangement you were referring to.
878. As I was examining you about charges, did it occur to you that it might be the part of the arrangement that affected the charges? — It did not.
879. Now that you do know, you are aware that under that arrangement freighters will get that which they wanted last year — the accommodation without the charges? — Yes, that is so; they will get that accommodation that you provided last year.
880. And without the charges that you say was their grievance? — Yes; but I have never heard them say that that was ample.
881. That leads to me on to another question. I think one of the things you explained to the Committee last year was this: that under the then existing system of tipping and trimming and the arrangements at that time existing in the Bute Dock, there was a great amount of unnecessary delay and obstruction, was it not? — Yes.
882. And that the docks were not really accommodating the trade that they were capable of with better arrangements? — I complained of the trimming very much.
883. That the docks were not doing the trade that they were capable of, with better arrangements; that was part of your case? — I will say that now.
884. And you have no doubt have you, that when those arrangements were completed the Bute Docks will be capable of doing a much larger trade? — Which dock?
885. Every one of them? — I believe you have done your utmost to make the Bute Docks capable of doing a better trade, but I say that they are obsolete, and you know it yourself.
886. We will come to that presently. You say that the one that is not yet made is obsolete too, by-the-bye, do you? — I do not say so.
887. Unhappy fate, you know, to be obsolete before it comes into being.
The CHAIRMAN: There can be no doubt about it that the new sidings will make the docks capable of doing a great deal more. That is admitted on both sides. Mr. Matthews you must admit that I am sure.
Mr. MATTHEWS: They may no doubt be a great convenience in the management of the traffic that comes to the docks, but they will not increase the width between the tips or make the tips suitable for big steamers.
Mr. BIDDER: But they will increase the capacity of the docks.
Mr. MATTHEWS: To some extent they will. They ought to have been made years ago.
888. Mr. BIDDER (to the Witness): It was part of your evidence last year, that better arrangements would have the effect of developing the docks very much? — I do not recollect that, but if you say so I will take it from you.
889. Now you told the Committee I think yesterday that 50,000 tons per acre was the maximum trade that a dock could accommodate? — No, I said that it was a reasonable amount to do, and I believe beyond that we arrive at congestion.
890. Do you happen to know how much the Bute Docks do; these obsolete docks, you know, that are so much behind the age? — You have done much more than you ought to have done.
891. That is the result of being obsolete, is it, that we do more than a modern dock would do — one of the evidences of being obsolete? — I pointed to the west dock as obsolete, and the east dock as partially so.
892. Then it is only the west dock that is obsolete? — And the east dock partially so.
893. Though it is so obsolete, the east dock happens to do a good deal more than the 50,000 tons per acre that a modern dock ought to do? — Yes; and it produces that congestion through doing it, which has been pointed out here.
894. Is it not rather a singular thing that an obsolete dock should be able to do more than a modern dock? — I do not admit that it does. The obsolete dock does not.
895. Do you know what the Roath Basin does per acre? — No.
896. Have you formed any opinion as to the cause of that congestion that you talk of, by-the-bye? — Yes.
897. Do you think it had anything to do with the sidings round the dock being used as storage sidings? — I have no doubt they are used as storage sidings.
898. Do you agree that it will be removed to a great extent by providing depot sidings elsewhere? — Not to the extent that you expect.
899. You do not know to what extent, I expect; do you agree that it will be removed to a considerable extent by providing depot sidings elsewhere, yes or no? — Then I will say no.
900. You do not believe that it will be removed substantially? — No, I do not.
901. Whether you store the coal at the docks or store it at another place and bring it down as it is wanted makes very little difference in your views? — Very little.
902. Perhaps you would rather have it stored in the docks? — For my purposes, I would.
903. You think it would be more conducive to business? — To my business it would.
904. Better for the general trade? — I will not say that.
905. Then it is a mistake providing these depot sidings? — I do not say that.
906. Useless? — I do not say that.
907. Will not improve the state of affairs, according to you? — You lose sight of the fact that these storage sidings will be used more when the trade is slack than when we are busy. When we are busy and the ships are there ready to receive coal it will come directly as it is ordered from the collieries down to the docks and to the tips; but when the trade is slack and coal is coming down and no ships there, then the sidings would be of great avail. They are of greatest avail when the trade is slack.
908. It sometimes happens, does it not, that the coal comes in considerable quantities when you are busy and the ships are not ready? — It very often happens that they cannot get to the berths allotted to them.
909. And I suppose t here are more ships than tips? — That is always the case, and will be more so.
910. A ship, therefore, has to wait her turn? — Yes, and that turn will get longer without more dock accommodation.
911. You told the Committee it was a great disadvantage to you in your trade that, whereas you could load a vessel in 36 hours, you had to grant 96 hours “lay hours”, and that that was a loss to you? — So it is.
912. In point of fact, is not that a matter of bargain between you and the freighter? — Undoubtedly.
913. And is it not the case — I do not think you mentioned this yesterday — that the freighter, when he bargains for his 96 hours, also bargains for another thing called dispatch money? — Yes.
914. Which means this: that if he loads the ship in less than 96 hours, you allow him so much an hour off the charter rate for the reduced time? — Yes, and very glad I am to do it.
915. And under those arrangements you do have to allow very considerable sums for dispatch money, do you not? — No, not very often. I pay very little dispatch; rather the contrary. I get demurrage, which does not pay me at all.
916. Do you mean that you do not pay dispatch money? — I pay very little dispatch money. In the state of the docks it is impossible for them to earn one tithe of the dispatch money they ought to get out of us. And dispatch money is the best money we can pay.
917. I think last year you said with regard to Cardiff that you could load a vessel in shorter time? — I have done so, but many years ago.
918. By-the-bye, you said, as I understood you, that what you wanted was accommodation also for an import trade; you dwelt upon that? — Yes.
919. And you also said that you excluded the Glamorganshire Canal area from the dock accommodation at Cardiff? — Yes.
920. Is it not a fact that a very considerable import trade is accommodated in that Glamorganshire Canal? — No, nothing of the sort.
921. What is the meaning of the large timber yards by the side of the Glamorgan Canal? — Timber yards? — There are baulks of timber floating in this Glamorgan Canal, near to the wharves of the timber merchants in the centre of the town.
922. Am I wrong in saying that there are timber yards by the side of the canal? — Timber yards? — I beg your pardon. Yes.
923. Am I wrong in saying that there are timber yards by the side of the canal? — There are some timber yards.
924. Is there a large timber trade carried on in those yards, the timber being imported and unshipped at the Glamorgan Canal? — I think I said yesterday that we stand fourth port in the kingdom for imports of timber where we ought to be second.
925. Then you do carry on a considerable import trade? — Of timber, yes.
926. And a great part of that is done in the Glamorgan Canal, is it not? — No.
927. Where is it done? — Is it done through the Bute Docks, but the timber people will be here and you will get all that information from them.
928. I suppose you do not pretend to be able to give an opinion as to what difference the additional accommodation at the new Roath Dock now building will make? — It will add to the accommodation undoubtedly.
929. I mean the extent, the number of tons of coal? — No, I think not.
930. You talked yesterday about another matter, the tips and the occasionally overlapping with long vessels? — Yes.
931. Do you know that the Bute Trustees are considering the question of moveable tips? — How am I to know what the Bute Trustees are considering?
932. By being told? — No, I have not been told.
933. You gave some evidence yesterday about the great disadvantage to Cardiff in the case of a vessel that breaks down and has to go into dock and discharge her cargo: and you produced a bill of £750, which you said you had paid to the Bute Trustees in a case of that kind? — Yes, I wish you would give it me back, I handed it to you.
934. At any rate it was at the rate of 4s. 6d. a ton? — It was.
935. Did that include not only the carrying the coal to the place where it was stacked and back, but also all the labour of discharging the coal out of the vessel? — I have said so.
936. Which would have to be done anywhere? — Undoubtedly it includes the labour.
937. Has that to be done by hand? — Yes.
938. I mean to say obviously the coal has to be got out by hand labour out of the hold and put on the trucks on the quay? — All discharging is done by hand labour.
939. Did it also include the re-shipping and trimming? — Yes.
940. All those things? — All those things, for which a fair charge would be 2s. a ton in all.
941. Did you satisfy yourself that these charges represented no more than the actual cost of doing all that? — No, decidedly not; I could get no information.
942. Did you not see somebody on behalf of the Bute Trustees on the subject? — Yes.
943. Was it not explained to you that this was simply the prime cost of all this work? — It was explained to me in a most unsatisfactory manner. I asked to see the accounts, and it was alleged that this was what it cost Lord Bute to do the work. I denied that, and no accounts were produced, and the replies were most unsatisfactory, and I said it was a most disgraceful charge, and I say so now.
944. You were told by Lord Bute’s officer that it was actually the bare cost price? — He told me so. Of course, if you take my coal seven miles away, and bring it back seven miles, you may say it cost so much, but I do not want that done.
945. Does it not occur to you that the carrying of the coal a mile to the moors was a very small part of the labour charged for here in this Bill? — I beg your pardon, carrying coal to the moors includes filling wagons, carrying it to the moors, discharging the wagons, picking up the coal again, loading wagons, taking them to the tips and tipping them again into the ship; whereas if you had room on your docks to receive this on the dockside we could take it with baskets or whip it out into barrows, and put it in the ship again, two operations instead of six.
946. Then your grievance now is that there is not a space allocated on the quay side of the Bute Docks left unoccupied ready to receive cargoes of lame ducks? — My grievance is that you have no space at all round your docks. The docks are laid out with tips all round and you have no space for an import trade.
947. But this is not an import trade? — It is a similar performance.
948. How many time have you had to pay this charge since you have been in business at Cardiff? — I have another one now doing the same thing.
949. You were very well satisfied with us last year and the rapidity with which you have developed grievances in the last two or three months is remarkable. How many times have you paid the Marquis of Bute for services of this kind, that is to say, a cargo of a wrecked or disabled ship taken out and carried to the town moors and brought back again? — I cannot tell you.
950. Have you ever paid it before? — A charge like that? no, and I hope I shall not have to pay it again.
951. Am I right in understanding that in all the years you have been at Cardiff this is the only occasion on which you have had to pay a charge of this description? — On former occasions we were allowed to do our own labour and discharge these things ourselves; but now the things have got to such a pitch that you have no room to take it on the dock side.
952. How often do things of this kind happen? — There is another one that has just happened now. I have a ship in port now in the same way.
953. Before this, how many times has the thing happened to you? — Those are the only two I have kept any record of.
954. Those are the only two in all your experience? — I do not say so.
955. Are they the only two? — I cannot recollect.
956. Can you recollect any others? — I have often had cargoes discharged there from vessels damaged.
957. You are making a complaint that now Lord Bute does the work, and before you did the work; was not that one of the very things you came to give evidence about in Parliament last year, to support the proposal that Lord Bute should do the work?— No, it was not.
958. Was not one of the propositions discussed before the Committee last year whether Lord Bute should take into his own hand the provision of labour in the dock instead of everybody finding his own? — Certainly no the labour of carrying to the moors.
959. But generally, was not that generally the question? — Yes, certainly.
960. Were you not here as a witness in support of the views of Lord Bute that it was better that the labour should be in his own hands on his own dock? — I do not object to your doing that part of the labour — the landing it on the quay in your hands.
961. Do you object to not carrying it yourself to the moors? — No, I object to its being carried there at all. I object to pay for its being carried to the moors.
962. You have made a complaint just now of the Marquis providing labour instead of you providing it as heretofore? — That is not what I meant to convey. What I said I adhere to. I do not object to the Marquis landing it on the quay and re-shipping it, but I do object to his taking it away and making me pay for it.
963. What space on the dock would that 3,346 tons of coal occupy, for I see that is the quantity? — That depends on how you pile it — that would be left in your hands.
964. Reasonably, what space would it occupy? — I cannot fix myself to that.
965. How long had it to remain before the vessel was ready to proceed seaward again? — Probably three weeks.
966. What would you have expected to pay in the way of wharfage rent for quay space for three weeks, would it have come to much less? — But you charged the wharfage rent where you did take it to, and I had no wharfage on the quay.
967. There is not wharfage charge that I see here? — In giving me the explanation of your charges your own wharfinger told me it included wharfage.
968. On the docks? — It never was on the docks.
969. Does it occur to you that three weeks’ rent of the quay space in a crowded dock would probably be a great deal more in cost than three weeks’ rent out on the town moors? — You charged me the same.
970. But reasonably speaking, does not that which I say occur to you? — You can only charge the wharfage under your Act; I was quite ready to pay for that.
971. What is that? — So much per foot.
972. Do you mean that under our Act you can occupy our wharf for any length of time at the ordinary charge? — I say that in all docks there is wharfage space provided where you can do this work.
973. Here are our Acts (handing them to the Witness). Be good enough to show me where, under our Acts, you can occupy ——
Mr. MATTHEWS: That is not a legitimate question to a shipowner in cross-examination.
The WITNESS: Whatever your wharfage was I was prepared to pay it.
974. Mr. BIDDER: Do you mean to say we have any charge stated in our Act on payment of which a shipowner is entitled to occupy, for an indefinite time, that area of wharfage necessary for the accommodation of his goods? — I did not seek to occupy it for an indefinite time.
975. In that case it was three weeks you say; it might have been five or six weeks, I suppose? — You might have informed yourselves about that before.
976. Do you suggest that the shipowner under our Act has a right, on the payment of the ordinary wharfage dues, to occupy the wharf for three or four or more weeks? — I do.
977. Do you thing that is reasonable? — I do.
978. Will you point to any dock in the kingdom where, upon payment of the ordinary wharfage charge, a shipowner or freighter is entitled to occupy a wharf for an indefinite time? — I have never sought myself to occupy it for an indefinite time. My evidence does not touch upon an indefinite time at all. I say for a reasonable time.
979. Will you show me any dock where you have a right to occupy it for a reasonable time? — Yes, any dock.
980. Newport, Alexandra Dock, for instance? — I have no hesitation in saying that at the Alexandra Dock a steamer having an accident and going in there will find accommodation on the quay side, and not be called upon to take here cargo to the moors.
981. And you will be allowed, will you, to occupy that quay for five or six weeks for nothing but the ordinary wharfage dues? — Yes, nothing but the ordinary wharfage dues. I say it is very reasonable.
982. By “reasonable time” you mean whatever time is necessary to repair the vessel? — That is so.
983. It may be three months? — Yes, it might be three months.
984. Now you explained to the Committee yourself your views about Barry being a proper place for the big vessels, and you would be good enough to leave to us the smaller vessels; that is your view, I think? — I said that I thought it was advisable to have a dock adapted for these vessels, and that then there would be ample scope left for you for vessels suitable for your dock.
985. What is proposed to be the length of the Barry Lock, by-the-bye? — 500 feet long.
986. What is the length of the lock in the Roath Basin, the entrance lock. Perhaps this you can recollect — what is the length of the lock into the new dock of last year? — After passing through the Roath Basin?
987. Yes. Do you recollect what that is? — No.
988. Will you take it from me that it is 600 feet? — Yes, but that is after you have passed through another dock.
989. Last year you gave evidence in favour of that Rhondda Valley and Swansea Bay Line, the line that is shown dotted up at the head of the map starting from Treherbert and going in a westerly direction? — Yes.
990. And I think, if I recollect right, what you submitted to that Committee was, that whilst the large vessels would go to Cardiff there were very good ports there — Port Talbot and other ports — for the more moderate sized vessels? — Swansea. I do not think I said Port Talbot.
991. Yes, you did indeed, at Question 841, on 13th of July, 1882: (Q.) “Do Port Talbot and Briton Ferry accommodate an intermediate class of vessel? — Yes a handy sized vessel, we call it. (Q.) Is there a considerable trade done by these handy sized steamers? — Yes and if we could have those handy sized vessels sent to Briton Ferry and Port Talbot that would relieve us at Cardiff of much of our pressure because the space in our port is taken up very much by that class of tonnage.” That was your evidence last year? — Yes.
992. So that, combining the two together, you want those ports to relive us of the moderate sized vessels, and Barry of the large vessels; what remains then for us? — The quantity they could accommodate at Briton Ferry and Port Talbot is very small indeed as compared with the Bute Docks, certainly.
993. You said that Port Talbot and Briton Ferry would relieve Cardiff of the pressure by taking away that sized vessel, leaving you the big ones? — I say so again.
994. That having been done in that way, if Barry comes and relieves us of the large vessels, what will remain for us? — But I am not aware that you are going to be injured at all by Port Talbot and Briton Ferry.
995. I did not say “injured”; “relieved”, you said we should relieved of the pressure by moving those vessels to Port Talbot and Briton Ferry? — You will be relieved to the extent that they can accommodate that class of vessels.
996. And now we shall be relieved of the large vessels by Barry? — To the extent that Barry can accommodate them.
997. I take it that you are prepared to give evidence in favour of any number of additional docks? — I am not prepared to put my money into them, though.
998. You do not mean to put a penny into this perhaps? — Yes, I will.
999. How much will you? — I will put in £5,000 or £10,000.
1000. You have undertaken to, have you? — I have undertaken to put £5,000 in, and I will be glad to put £10,000 or £15,000, if necessary.
1001. Since when have you undertaken to put £5,000 in? — Some time ago.
1002. Pledged yourself absolutely? — Yes.
1003. Unconditionally, without any conditions? — What do you mean by “without any conditions”?
1004. You do not know the meaning of the word “conditions”? — I am one of the first directors of this undertaking.
1005. Have you undertaken unconditionally to put £5,000 in this scheme? — I have undertaken to put £5,000 in this scheme as it is now presented, and if necessary I will put £15,000 in.
1006. Unconditionally? — I really don’t know what you mean.
1007. You have not the least notion? — No.
1008. Not the remotest idea what I mean by saying “unconditionally”? — No.
1009. You cannot conceive what I am suggesting? — No, indeed, I cannot.
1010. You do not know the meaning of putting in money unconditionally. You do not know what a condition is. Have you ever made a bargain in business? — Yes; a good many.
1011. Have you ever known such a thing as a condition in a bargain — something on the other side? — Yes.
1012. Are there any conditions attaching to your obligation to put in this £5,000? — The condition that we obtain the Bill.
1013. That is obvious; but beyond that (I will put the question once to you clearly, and if you tell me you do not understand me, I will not insult the Committee by wasting time), is your undertaking to put £5,000 into this concern a simple and absolute undertaking, dependent only upon the Bill passing, or are there other conditions annexed to it? — Will you tell me the conditions you refer to.
1014. Are there other conditions annexed to it or not? — I really do not know what you are alluding to.
1015. You have no idea what I mean? — No, I have not. If you will point me to any condition that you want me to answer ——
1016. Do you suppose I am in the secrets of the bargain between you and the promoters? — I have no condition beyond the condition that if the Bill passes I am to provide my portion of the money.
1017. Upon what conditions? — The same conditions as other people.
1018. Unconditionally? — Unconditionally. Yes, most decidedly. But as to “unconditionally”, I really do not know what that word means in the way you put it.
1019. Mr. MATTHEWS: Is there any condition? — Not that I am aware of.
1020. Mr. BIDDER: Then what do you mean by saying you do not know what the word means? — You may raise some small thing, and say, “Is not this a condition?”
1021. Is the bargain between you in writing — is your undertaking in writing? — I signed a petition for the Bill.
1022. That does not bind you to put any money into it; is your undertaking to subscribe the £5,000 in writing? — Yes, I think I sent a note in saying I would be prepared to subscribe £5,000.
1023. You must know one way or the other? — Yes, I did.
1024. And, have you got a copy of that note? — No, I have not.
1025. The promoters have got it, have they? — I suppose they have.
(To Mr. Matthews): Have you any objection to produce it?
Mr. MATTHEWS: I have just asked for it, and whenever we get it I will ask the Committee’s leave to put it in.
1026. Mr. BIDDER: (to the Witness): Are you also going to give evidence in favour of docks at Newport this year? — I have not considered that question yet.
1027. Have you discussed it with the promoters of the Newport Dock Bill? — No.
1028. Or anybody representing them? — No.
1029. Last year, by-the-by, they came for powers for a new dock; did you offer to give evidence for them then? — No.
1030. Had no communication with them with a view to that? — With any promoters of the Newport Dock? To the best of my knowledge, no.
1031. Or with anybody on their behalf? — To the best of my knowledge, no.
1032. Never heard of a suggestion that you should give evidence? — To the best of my knowledge, no.
1033. Now, about the large vessels. You spoke yesterday about a vessel drawing 25 feet 9 inches of water which was neaped in the Roath Basin? — Yes.
1034. Will you tell the Committee how many ships in a year you have at Cardiff that draw 25 feet 9 inches of water? — Not near so many as we shall have.
1035. How many ships will you undertake to say there are in a year that draw 25 feet 9 inches of water? — Some time ago there were very few. They are increasing year by year in that class of ship.
1036. Having increased year by year, how many are there in the course of a year? — I cannot tell.
1037. Are there a dozen? — Yes, I should certainly say so. I have had ships beneaped drawing 22 feet. I have had one beneaped drawing 17 feet 11.
1038. I am now talking about 25 feet 9; how many ships will you undertake to say you have in a year at the Bute Docks drawing 25 feet 9? — I have never counted them.
1039. The CHAIRMAN: Very few, I suppose? — We shall have a much larger number than we are getting now.
1040. That is not the question; you have very few, at present? — Very few up to the present time of 25 feet 9. It is an extreme depth at the present time, 25 feet 9.
1041. Mr. BIDDER: It is a very unusual depth for a vessel of any tonnage? — It is a very good depth.
The CHAIRMAN: You remember that the depth of the Suez Canal, which is historical, is 22 feet.
Mr. MATTHEWS: I am told 26 feet, sir.
1042. Mr. BIDDER: Take vessels of 1,500 tons; have you any idea what proportion of the vessels that frequent Cardiff are over 1,500 tons? — I should take the average size of the Cardiff vessels to be about 1,500 tons.
1043. I have not asked the average size of the Cardiff vessels; what proportion of the vessels that frequent Cardiff are over 1,500 tons? — At the present moment?
1044. By the latest returns of information you have? — I really do not know.
1045. Will you be surprised to hear that it is not 1 per cent. in number? — I should be very much surprised to hear that.
1046. If I tell you that in the year 1882, out of 9,489 vessels there were only 84 over 1,500 tons, will that surprise you? — It will surprise me the more to find that they are beneaped at your docks.
1047. Your are clever at saying something else than answering the question? — Yes, it would surprise me.
1048. Taking the ordinary depth of a vessel of 1,500 tons, what is the usual draught? Of course I mean when loaded; a steamer of 1,500 tons? — It varies very much. Some vessels draw very much more water than others.
1050. And some less than others? — Yes.
1051. Now, having said that, which leaves us where we were, will you address yourself to the question? — I should say possibly 18 feet.
1052. You are aware, are you not, by-the-by, that of late years the staiths and tipping accommodation by modern inventions and the introduction of hydraulic power and other matters have been very greatly improved and arranged? — I said so yesterday. You have done your utmost to improve those docks, no doubt.
1053. But, as a matter of fact, the amount of work that can be done at one tip is a great deal more that it was 20 years ago? — Yes, I should think so — at those tips which have been altered.
1054. At those tips which have the modern appliances? — Yes.
1055. If I recollect, last year we proved that the “Great Eastern” was the only ship afloat that could not go into our Roath Basin. I do not know whether you agree with that; do you know any other ship afloat that has ever been built that could not go into the Roath Basin, with the exception of the “Great Eastern”? — There are many ships that could not go in.
1056. Would you name one? — There was one built at Barrow last year.
1057. The “City of Rome”, do you mean? — Yes.
1058. Do you know that she can go in comfortably? — If she arrives at a neap tide, as a very large vessel drawing to the full extent of the water you have at your dock at spring tides, she must lie till the top of the spring tide before she can go out.
1059. I do not know whether you are in a position to give the Committee the actual depth over the sill at the Roath Basin at neap and spring tides? — At neap tides, 25 feet, I think.
1060. And what at springs? — Thirty-five feet, which is taken off from by these channels. You have to allow so many feet under the ship for getting out.
1061. Then, in point of fact, it is a question of dredging the channel? — And the Cefn-y-wrack shoal.
1062. As a matter of fact, do the vessels usually, in going to the Cardiff Cock, go right across the Cefn-y-wrack shoal, do they go right over it? — No, I should think not; small vessels will go over it.
1063. Vessels of a considerable size, I mean. What water is over it at high water? — According to the state of tide.
1064. “High water” is a particular state of the tide? — High water, neap tide, is different from high water spring tide.
1065. Do you know what the water is that is over the Cefn-y-wrack at high water? — No, I really do not, because it varies with the state of the tides, as I said before.
1066. Do you know it at any state of any tide? — No.
1067. The CHAIRMAN: Do you know what mean high tide means? — The mean between the neaps and the springs.
1068. At mean high water, can vessels go over that shoal? — Small vessels could.
1069. What is the biggest vessel that could go over that shoal at mean high water? — Pilots are coming who will give that evidence. I really do not know.
1070. Do your vessels go over? — Not over the shoal; they go through the cut.
Cross-examined by Mr. BOMPAS.
1071. Almost your last answer was, was it not, that if it were not for the gut, the Roath Basin would be sufficient for the large steamers? — No. I said it would accommodate large steamers, but in point of numbers it will be a very serious inconvenience to us.
1072. There will be no deficiency in ability with regard to their size; it would be merely that Roath is not large enough to accommodate the whole number? — That is not so. If you take the neap side when there is 25 feet over the Roath sill, that only gives us equal to 19 feet draught. We want room under the ship’s keel to play upon.
1073. The Marquis of Bute has always had power to dredge, and always has been dredging these channels, I suppose, ever since they were made? — The artificial cut is dredged. It is bound to be, to keep it clear.
1074. When he took additional power last year to widen and dredge, he intended, I suppose, to do something more than he had done? — I take it to be merely the ordinary powers taken by every dock company.
1075. You say he had the ordinary powers before? — Not for the new dock, I take it.
1076. The new dock opens into the same cut. It is approached from the very place where you say he has always had dredging power; this new power must have had some meaning, I suppose? — In promoting a Bill you would always take powers to dredge, I suppose.
1077. Do you think that the Marquis of Bute can, if he chooses, widen and deepen that gut? — He can, if he chooses.
1078. And if he does deepen and widen that gut then I understand you to say the Roath Basin will be sufficient except that the Roath basin alone is not large enough? — I cannot really take it that the Marquis of Bute intends to deepen that gut six feet.
1079. You say he can if he chooses; and if he does, will not the Roath basin and the New Roath Dock together, afford ample accommodation for these steamers? — No, certainly not ample.
1080. You told us that the large steamers would not come to more than 30 or 40 per cent. of the whole tonnage? — Of the tonnage building, I said 30 to 40 per cent.; and Mr. Nixon clearly said that the majority of those steamers were ocean-going.
1081. Will not the Roath basin and the new dock between them amount to 30 or 40 per cent. on the accommodation at Cardiff? — Yes, but if you take the aggregate accommodation, you have not enough for the vessels.
1082. But at any rate the new dock will be so built as to accommodate the right proportion of this large tonnage; — The new dock is a much better dock than the existing ones.
1083. That is not my question. When the new dock is built the existing docks, at Cardiff, will be able to contain quite the right proportion of these large steamers, and, if the gut is dredged to accommodate them, without difficulty? — Yes; in proportion to your aggregate area.
1084. It will be no doubt your dock, you think, that will take the large steamers, and leave the small to us? — Yes; large steamers will always prefer to go in there. The difficulties of this roadstead will never be removed.
1085. You told me a minute ago that if Lord Bute chooses, he can so deepen and widen this gut as to prevent its being a difficulty? — Yes; but Lord Bute can never improve the dangerous navigation of that roadstead.
1086. What causes the danger of that roadstead? — The large number of ships to be found there lying at anchor, and the strong set of the tides.
1087. Do a large number of ships usually lie at anchor in a place that is particularly dangerous? — I have seen 300 ships at anchor there.
1088. Do those 300 ships lie there because it is a dangerous roadstead? — They lie there windbound in the bad weather.
1089. Do they choose the most dangerous part of the roadstead in which to anchor? — They have to take what they can get in bad weather.
1090. And you say that they congregate in this particular part? — Yes.
1091. You say that it is the strong tide that makes the roadstead also dangerous? — Taken in connection with the large number of ships.
1092. The tide is quite as strong at Barry as at Cardiff, is it not? — Yes, but you do not find 300 ships anchored at Barry.
1093. Isn’t that because the roadstead at Cardiff is a safer place to anchor at than the roadstead at Barry? — No, Barry roadstead is the best roadstead in the Channel.
1094. You say that you fix upon 50,000 tons per acre as the right tonnage for an area of dock? — Yes. 1095. Have you any reason for fixing upon that particular amount except that it has been mentioned by Mr. Brown? — No, I have heard it stated in connection with other docks.
1096. It is not anything that you know of your own knowledge? — I say that if you exceed that, the trade becomes congested and is only conducted at a very great expense.
1097. I want to know why you say that the trade becomes congested after that particular figure of 50,000 tons is reached? — By taking the results at Cardiff.
1098. In what year did they become congested? — They have been congested for several years.
1099. You know that at the Roath Basin they are now doing 130,000 instead of 50,000 tons per acre? — Yes, and causing this congestion brings us here.
1100. Will you undertake to say that the congestion arose when there were 50,000 tons, and not when there were 100,000 tons? — I say that the charges of doing the trade have increased since you have been doing 50,000 tons.
1101. When did they become 50,000 tons? — I do not know.
1102. Is not 50,000 tons merely a figure that you have heard given? — No, I say that since you exceeded that quantity we have had to give longer hours; year by year our hours of loading have increased.
1103. In what year did you begin giving longer hours? — I should say seven or eight years ago our long hours began to increase. That increases the cost of the coal to the consumer; it is bound to do so.
1104. Will you undertake to say that seven or eight years ago was the time when 50,000 tons per acre was exceeded? — I do not say that.
1105. You say it was when the congestion began? — That is when I felt the congestion.
1106. And that is when we shall find there were 50,000 tons per acre? — No, I cannot commit myself to any figures like that.
1107. Why do you fix upon the 50,000 as the tonnage on which you began to be congested? — I did not say so.
1108. You said, as I understood you, that where there were more than 50,000 tons in a dock, congestion began; did you not say that? — I say that when you exceed 50,000 tons the congestion begins.
1109. But congestion began, you say, seven or eight years ago; I suppose that is the time we exceeded 50,000 tons according to you? — That is the time that I felt the congestion.
1110. With regard to this import trade, will there be no accommodation for import trade in the new dock when made? — No, not adequate certainly.
1111. Do you know what accommodation for the import trade will be made there? — All the arguments have tended to show that this new dock will accommodate the quantity of coal likely to be shipped, and I have not heard any suggestions that it is intended for the import trade.
1112. Do you know whether it is intended to leave any dock accommodation for the import trade? — I think it is highly improbably.
1113. Do you know at all? — No.
1114. Do you not know that last year, when you came up to support the Bill, there was specially in the plans an arrangement for a timber pond? — Yes; and I am not aware that that is in the contract now for doing the dock.
1115. Do you know that it is going to be done, anyhow? — No, I do not, I believe it is not going to be done.
1116. You have a belief that Lord Bute will have undone all the things that ought to be done? — I say that if the timber pond is not in the contract, it is very good evidence that it is not going to be done.
1117. Never heard of a contract being filled up in sections? — Not a contract of that sort.
1118. Now a word or two about the Newport Docks. Are the Newport Docks able to accommodate these large steamers? —Yes.
1119. Is there abundance of room at the Newport Docks for any additional tonnage that is likely to come there? — At times Newport Dock is pretty full.
1120. Not very often then; and they are enlarging it, are they not? — They have got powers, but with the large tonnage that is building there is plenty for Newport Dock and for us. I think that the dock accommodation should wait upon the trade, and not the trade upon the dock accommodation, especially when you consider that we have so many million tons of shipping.
1121. At present, at any rate, it is the rarest thing for Newport to be full, and there are large extensions which have been sanctioned by Parliament? — Newport is not so often full as Cardiff, I quite admit.
1122. Why should not Newport do just as well as Barry for any tonnage that cannot come to Cardiff? — First of all, in order to go to Newport, the ships must pass Barry and go 12 miles up channel and come 12 miles down again. That is obvious.
1123. That is one objection? — Yes.
1124. Is there any other objection? — I object personally to the river at Newport. It is a tortuous river, and for large steamers I object to it; other people may not.
1125. Swansea is very much lower down than Barry? — Yes, but Swansea is not a good place for a large class of steamer.
1126. A large dock has just been opened here? — Yes, but the approaches there are bad.
1127. They may be improved? — No doubt; but at present they are not what we want.
1128. All these docks are capable of being improved, and if so, they would render Barry unnecessary, would they not? — No, I do not think so.
1129. You think if any number of docks were made there would be abundant tonnage for all? — I should be very glad to see you coming, or Lord Bute coming, next year to make another dock. Even though my money was all put in the Barry Dock I should be very glad.
1130. As a shipowner, the more docks the better, because the competition is likely to lower the rates? — The more accommodation we get as shipowners the cheaper rate we can carry the coal at. 1131. And the cheaper the charges if there is very much heavy competition? — The charges are all fixed by Act of Parliament. I cannot conceive any injustice being done.
1132. Did you ever hear of an Act of Parliament that fixed anything but the maximum — that fixed a charged absolutely, so that it could not be lowered? — I rarely find dock owners charging dock dues less than they are entitled to charge by their Act; I never found one yet.
1133. Do you know that up to 1865, in Bute Docks, they charged 2d. instead of 5d.? — I know many cases where they charged 5d. instead of 2d.
Mr. MATTHEWS submitted that this was hardly a proper line of cross-examination on behalf of the Rhymney Railway Company.
Mr. BOMPAS explained that it was allowed by the locus standi.
The CHAIRMAN: I apprehend that you are only allowed your locus standi here upon the ground that you are looked upon as a dock company as well as a railway company.
Mr. BOMPAS: We are looked upon as a company, which if this dock is built with any railway connection, must be deprived of a large amount of its traffic.
1134. (To the Witness): Where do you expect the workmen employed at this dock to live? — Employed at Barry. In the neighbourhood of Barry; numbers of workmen’s cottages must necessarily be put up there.
1135. Is it not convenient that the ship brokers and the people who have to do with business at a dock shall have their places near it? — I am a ship broker, and I promise you I shall not go there.
1136. Will you not have any office there? — No.
1137. Nor any provisions of that kind? — No.
1138. Is it not convenient to be near a dock? — How about London?
1139. But is it not convenient to be near a dock? — With your offices? No, no convenience whatever. In London the offices are in the City, and some of the docks are miles away.
1140. With regard to your railway, you have, by your filled-up Bill, given no communication with the Rhymney Railway at all? — I must say, I do not know much about the railway part of the scheme. We have some of our promoters coming here who are acquainted with that part of it, and I am acquainted with the dock part of it. Mr. David Davis, I dare say, will give you all that information when he is well enough.
Cross-examined by Mr. POPE.
1141. Just a few questions, if you please, for the Taff Vale Railway Company. I have been interesting myself by reading what you said yesterday. I gather from what you say that you complain that in consequence of delays in loading, there is no London trade from Cardiff? — Hardly in that way. There is a little London trade, but nothing like what there might be.
1142. What is the London trade now; from Penarth, is it not? — Yes, from Penarth.
1143. There are two lines of steamers, or at all events there is one line of steamers consisting of three steamers regularly in the trade? — That has just started lately; it is colliers carrying coals to London which are endeavouring to bring goods round to this district in opposition to the Great Western Railway Company; endeavouring to get a return traffic in goods from London.
1144. I suppose that would be the course of trade in any event; if you sent your coal round to London, as you suggest, you would endeavour to get a return freight if you could? — No, I should not; I should come back light.
1145. Come back in ballast, would you? — Yes.
1146. That would make a costly voyage of it? — No, I prefer with coal ships to run them in ballast.
1147. And running in ballast home, you would expect to compete with the voyage from the Tyne to London? — If you will give me the conditions which I have stated, I will compete with the Tyne in rate of freight.
1148. Times does not matter much on cargo of coal, but it matters a good deal to the earning of a ship? — That is so; that must come out on the ton of coal.
1149. I observe you say that if you could always depend upon loading and getting out in 36 hours, you could do a trade? — I take that as the average.
1150. Going in one tide and out another, or the tide after? — I have done that at your dock some years ago, but I cannot do it now.
1151. It is very odd; I have the returns of the docks for five months, and I find all the other vessels can? — I know in one case you have specially favoured one man, the owner of these steamers.
1152. You are referring to Mr. Radford; that is the only one engaged in the trade at present, is it not? — Virtually there is no London trade at all; it is for the freighters to give me the trade.
1153. Do you not see the unfairness of that observation. You say that we, the Taff Vale Railway Company, at Penarth, give advantage to Mr. Radford, there being nobody else to give advantage over? — Mr. Radford has his own coals to carry; I have none; I am a carrier, and no carrying employment is offered to me.
1154. You say, “If I could get a 36 hours’ loading”, as you think Mr. Radford does, “I could do a London trade?” — I could.
1155. Why do you not put a steamer on and try, because you shall have the 36 hours’ loading? — The freighters alone can employ me, and they say they cannot give me the 36 hours.
1156. It is not the fault of the dock then? — I beg pardon, it is. Am I to take it from you that you will guarantee to give a tip ——
1157. Just as much as to Mr. Radford. You shall have every privilege that he has. I have got here the Harbour Master’s list and I find that instead of 36 hours at Penarth, 12 hours is the common loading time. I do not say that there are not cases of delay and in some cases even of demurrage as instances; but as a run of traffic I find 12 hours at Penarth? — I say that that is a special case of Mr. Radford, who is favoured.
1158. The CHAIRMAN: The learned Counsel suggests that it is a common case? — I beg pardon, it is not. I had a vessel which left Penarth yesterday morning.
1159. Mr. POPE: How long was she loading? — She was detained from Monday, the 2nd of April, until 4 p.m. of the 4th, unable to procure a tip at your dock: and if you give these privileges to Mr. Radford, why do you keep my ship waiting?
1160. She could not get to the tip; is that what you say? — She was ready to load at 1 p.m. on the 2nd of April, and the merchants were unable to procure a tip for her until 4 p.m. of Wednesday, the 4th instant.
1161. That is two days? — Two days waiting for a tip before I got any coals at Penarth.
1162. Then how much time loading when you go the tip? — That vessel sailed yesterday morning.
1163. When was she loaded? — I will give you the details.
1164. I should have liked to see her charter party? — She completed loading at 9 p.m. on the 10th.
1165. That is not the fault of the dock. She was at the tip on the 4th and was not loaded till the 10th; that was the fault of the coal owner? — She was detained in shifting from hatch to hatch, because some other ship was aground in your dock.
1166. There was an accident, in fact? — No accident. A ship was aground, and we could not shift our vessel.
1167. That is obviously an accident that might occur in any dock. Give me another instance? — I have taken out no others, but other gentlemen will give you a long list of detentions.
1168. I suppose that same ship comes to Penarth pretty often? — No, that ship does not. 1169. Well, any of your other ships; the “Vectis” is yours? — No, I beg your pardon.
1170. Give me the name of any of your own? — I have not taken any names beyond this.
1171. I have told you at once that there is not a dock in the world where a delay might not occur once in a twelvemonth, and a delay very vexatious, both to the shipper and shipowner; but throughout the 12 months, in your own experience give me any other delay which has occurred than that one? — If you give me time, I will provide that information from my office.
1172. Is it not very much to the purpose? — If you say so.
1173. When you come to say that the dock is so crowded that it cannot work the traffic, surely it is very much to the purpose to show how much your traffic has been delayed? — Yes.
1174. What is the distance between Penarth and London round the Lands End? — It is what we call about a fifty hours’ passage.
1175. And what is it from the Tyne to London? — The Tyne to London is a shorter passage.
1176. How much; half the distance; half the time? — I should say it is 35 to 40 hours, three tides. 1177. 25 to 30 hours I should have thought? — No man can sail to London from the Tyne under three tides, I am certain.
1178. That would be about 25 hours? — No, 36 hours to 40 hours I take it, is the Tyne passage.
1179. As regards the Penarth Dock that has taken, and does constantly take, very large steamers, does it not? — at spring tides, yes.
1180. I suppose it does require tide with water enough to bring in a vessel that draws a great depth of water? — Yes, the taking out is where the draught of water affects them.
1181. Because they go out loaded? — Yes.
1182. Now the “Hankow” — she is 4,000 tons, is she not? — I do not know her.
1183. Now I understand that you have given the West Dock, in which we have a location (on the east side of the West Dock) a very bad character — you call it an obsolete dock, the West Bute Dock? — Yes, for the purposes of modern shipping.
1184. What amount of shipping was shipped at the West Dock last year? — These small craft, you can always accommodate them at the Bute West Dock.
1185. Take your own calculation, which is not a bad one, namely, that 50,000 tons an acre may reasonably be expected from a dock? — There is plenty of small tonnage to go into that dock.
1186. In point of fact there was actually shipped there — 42,000 tons an acre, was there not, last year? — I will not dispute that.
1187. Not bad for an obsolete dock? — When the other docks are full there is always small tonnage that that dock will do for, but I think that dock will be much better turned into a timber pound and import dock.
1188. That would take it entirely out of the coal trade, and then we should have grievous complaints from the freighters above? — I do not think so. There are not many freighters appearing here who ship in these small vessels.
1189. It is principally large vessels, is it? — Yes.
Re-examined by Mr. MATTHEWS.
1190. You have been asked about some letters you wrote to the newspapers about Newport? — Yes.
1191. A very few words about that. Did the pilots some years ago, refuse to take vessels over this Cefn-y-wrach shoal? — They did.
1192. And were they suspended in consequence? — Two pilots were suspended in consequence.
1193. And did they appeal to Mr. Plimsoll? — They did.
1194. And upon that did Newport in the press and otherwise bring before the public that their docks were far better than Cardiff Docks; that there was no Cefn-y-wrach there? — That is so.
1195. Is it a fact that at Newport there is 25 feet of water at neap times and 35 feet of water at spring tides, the same as at Cardiff? — Yes.
1196. On the other hand has Newport the disadvantage of being much further up the river and with several bends in the river? — Yes, it is a tortuous river.
1197. As I understand, you, in a letter to the newspapers, stated that Cardiff was fully equal to Newport as a port? — Yes, and I pointed out that this distance, going up 11 or 12 miles to Newport and back again, meant very often losing a tide in getting to Newport; that a vessel might save a tide into Cardiff that she would lose in going to Newport.
1198. Did you say at all that Cefn-y-wrach shoal was a matter of no consequence? — No, certainly not.
1199. It is suggested that last year you did something inconsistent with what you are doing now. You came as a witness in support of Lord Bute’s dock last year? — As a general witness in support of it.
1200. Do you still wish to see Lord Bute’s new dock made? — Most undoubtedly.
1201. Though a subscriber to the Barry Dock? — Yes, and if Lord Bute will go on for another dock two years hence, I will support him in that again, because I am sure we have plenty to provide for it.
1202. Last year, was Lord Bute not only asking for a new dock, but asking for additional charges? — Yes, he was; and I took no exception to those charges because they did not hit me.
1203. On the other hand, did Lord Bute last year concede to you and the other shipowners all the objections they made to this Bill? — Yes.
1204. He had taken power to handle the vessels himself in dock, and he altered his Bill so as to allow the shipowners to do what they thought fit? — Yes; the Bute Trustees altered the clauses. We had a conference with them and they agreed to alter the clauses at our suggestion. I do not want to say anything unpleasant, but the conditions on which our support was obtained were never carried out.
1205. This new dock of Lord Bute? — Yes.
1206. My learned friend, Mr. Bidder, put to you that the lock between the Roath Basin and the Roath Dock will be 600 feet long, which I believe is correct? — Yes.
1207. On the other hand, is the lock into the Road Basin only 350 feet long? — I do not know the measurement, but judging it from seeing it, I take it to be so.
1208. Whether I am right or not in that particular figure, that is the lock that governs the capacity of the dock? — It is.
Dr. PHILLIMORE: They can level through.
1209. Mr. MATTHEWS: Just at the top of the tide, when you can level through from the first lock into the Roath Basin itself, you may get in ships that are too long for that lock. On the other hand, you cannot lock in any ship into the new dock except a ship that will go into the entrance lock of the Roath Basin? — That is so.
1210. Now, my learned friend Mr. Bidder has taunted you with the use of the word “obsolete” dock and has said, “Why this obsolete dock is shipping more than 50,000 tons to the acre. Is it because these docks are doing that excessive amount of work that you are obliged to allow these number of lay hours? — That is the result of it, and that is what is producing congestion.
1211. Is the state of things now that your ships are kept always waiting ready to be put under a tip the moment it is vacant? — Yes.
1212. And we have heard that the tips are worked day and night? — Yes.
1213. Does all that extraordinary pressure upon the tip involve extra expense to the freighter, as well as yourself? — Yes; and I believe myself that even Lord Bute, if the accounts were gone into, would find that he loses money on his labour and his locomotives through this congested state of traffic.
1214. And therefore, that although the Bute trustees are able to point to large figures of work done in the dock, that is done at extravagant cost to everybody? — And I believe that on his labour he loses money.
1215. He said so last year? — Yes; and he ought to make money on his labour if the docks were doing more than they were intended to do.
1216. Now, as to dispatch money, you said that you were always delighted to pay dispatch money? — Yes.
1217. What is the scale you allow to steamers if they load within the lay hours? What amount per ton do you pay of dispatch money? — The average rate is 8s. 4d. per hour; that is the usual rate.
1218. And that, you say, is half the demurrage money? — Yes.
1219. That is, if you are detained beyond the 96 hours, you get 16s. 8d.? — Yes, and the colliery proprietor or freighter is bound to take this dispatch money; otherwise he would have no fund from which to take his demurrage when he exceeds the hours.
1220. And you say you would make money yourself, it would be a profit to you, if you could pay dispatch money in every case? — The more dispatch money I pay the more money I earn, because it is evident that 8s. 4d. per hour represents a small daily sum; whereas if paying dispatch money enables me to make eight or six or even only four voyages more in the year, that is four gross freights, having the same wages to pay to my crew, and the same insurance and so on.
1221. You said to one of my learned friends that about seven or eight years ago these lay hours began to be lengthened, to be increased? — Yes, they have continually gone on, and we shall see them increase; with the quantity of tonnage now on building, we shall see first of all, at Cardiff, vessels lying there waiting in the roads for a turn to get into Cardiff, vessels lying there waiting in the roads for a turn to get into the Cardiff Docks, and we shall afterwards see hours for loading increase from 96 to 120; and with all this competition, and these large number of steamers, when that arrives, we cannot live.
1222. My learned friend, Mr. Pope, suggested to you that 24, or even 12 hours was the average time of loading at Penarth; is that your experience? — That is totally exceptional.
1223. Have your ships to wait for a tip at Penarth as well as at Bute? — Oh, yes. 1224. Could you strike an average, and say how long ships are delayed? — For tips?
1225. From any cause. In how many cases do you pay dispatch money, that is the best way of putting it, perhaps? — I do not pay dispatch money now once in 20 times, and in former years it was a common thing to pay dispatch money; and it is notorious that we made much better profit out of our steamers when we paid dispatch money.
1226. Once in 20 times you pay dispatch money, and you pay it whenever the ship is liberated under 96 hours? — Yes, that is a fair average time to give.
1227. Mr. Radford has been mentioned as a person who loads rapidly; has he recently put on steamers to run to London? — Yes.
1228. How long ago? — I think I saw the Bills out announcing this, it may be a month or two ago; I do not recollect exactly.
1229. Is he under contract to take the whole output of the Hafod Colliery? — Yes; he is the colliery proprietor, virtually carrying his own coals.
1230. You say he is a colliery proprietor; as I understand, he is the purchaser of the output of the Hafod Colliery? — From my point of view, that is nearly the same thing.
1231. And of course if he can succeed in carrying that output by sea to London, rather than overland, it will be a great advantage to him? — Yes.
1232. Now the Bute Trustees have suggested that they are going to do all kind of things. I dare say you are aware of this. Do you know that since 1866 the Bute Trustees have had power to dredge, and to remove obstructions and impediments in any of the approaches to the dock or basin? — I understand that they had always had those powers.
1233. It is in Section 19 of the Bute Dock Act of 1866. You will find, sir, that they have a similar power there. (To the Witness): Do you know whether since 1866, the Bute Trustees have improved that channel at all? — Not to my knowledge. I have never perceived any marked improvement.
1234. The CHAIRMAN: But are they not constantly dredging it? — They must keep down the natural silting.
1235. Mr. MATTHEWS: But have they either widened it or made it deeper that it was before their works were made? — Not to my knowledge.
1236. If they suggest that under the dredging power of last year ——
Dr. PHILLIMORE: I think you will find that the whole cut through Cefn-y-wrach has been cut since 1866.
1237. Mr. MATTHEWS: They began to dredge at Cefn-y-Wrach when this contention with Newport arose, did they not? — Yes.
1238. How did they dredge at Cefn-y-Wrach; all over the shoal? — No, only a channel, which is partly silting up again.
1239. That entrance channel was prolonged through Cefn-y-Wrach? — Yes.
1240. That was in consequence of the agitation at Newport? — Yes.
1241. You have been asked about your subscription to this dock. Your letter is now here. This is the writing you allude to (handing a document to the Witness)? — Yes.
1242. I will read it: “The promoters of the Bill now before Parliament for powers to construct a dock at Barry with certain railways referred to in the Parliamentary notices issued in the month of November last having notified their intention of allotting a certain number of shares in the company when formed to shipowners I hereby through you make application for shares in the said company to the nominal value of £8,000.” Your promise is rather larger than you stated just now? — Yes, I thought it was only £5,000.
1243. “And I request you for me and on my behalf and as my agent to make such application to the promoters either in my name or in your own name jointly with the application of others and in consideration of your so doing I hereby agree to accept all shares which may be allotted to me to the nominal value above named or to any less value and I agree to pay all amounts which may become due and payable thereon either on application allotment or by way of Parliament and become law either in its present or in any altered form. If however the said Bill shall from any cause whatever be withdrawn or shall not receive the sanction of Parliament I hereby undertake to bear and pay such proportion of the expenses incurred by the promoters in promoting the Bill and in the preparation of plans and taking levels and sections as the number of shares applied for by me shall bear to the total number of shares,” and so on. That is a printed form signed by all the subscribers? — Yes.
1244. My learned friend, Mr. Bidder, would keep on using the word “unconditionally”. I know what he meant, and I will ask you, have you secretly or privately stipulated for any advantage or concession to yourself? — Most certainly not.
1245. Are those the only terms between you and the other promoters of the Bill? — Those that are in that paper are the only conditions.
1246. There is nothing behind? — Nothing behind in the slightest degree.
1247. You have pledged yourself to put £8,000 in this dock, and you say you are ready to put much more? — Yes, if required.
1248. And, at the same time, you desire to see the Bute Dock Extension take place also? — I do.
1249. I do not know whether you are aware that the Bute Dock Trustees, in 1865, took power after three days to charge something beyond their statutory wharfages. The Acts of Parliament give a wharfage irrespective of time, which is not limited to time. There are wharfage rates for which people are entitled to use the wharfage, and then, in the Act of 1865, Section 61, is this: “Where any goods liable to any of the wharfage rates are placed on any of the public wharves of the undertakers and remain there more than three days the undertakers at any time after the expiration of three days may require the owner to remove the same from the public wharf.”
Dr. PHILLIMORE: It is limited to public wharves.
1250. Mr. MATTHEWS (to the Witness): But you have no private wharves of your own? — No.
Dr. PHILLIMORE: If you look at Section 24 ——
1251. Mr. MATTHEWS: The Section goes on. “The Undertakers at any time after the expiration of three days may require the owner to remove the same from the public wharf and to pay such a rent as the Undertakers think fit for every day during the whole or any part of which the goods remain on the public wharf after the expiration of the three days.” Now, as a matter of fact do you know this: when goods are wharfed at the Bute Docks is the rent charged by the trustees after three days? — I cannot say as to the three days, but the rent is charged.
1252. But is there some rent besides the statutory wharfage? — There is rent for the wharf, of course.
1253. Do you know what it is that they generally charge on iron ore and coal? — No; I have paid it for pit wood, but not for coals, because for our coals we cannot get wharf room.
1254. It is suggested to me that it is a halfpenny a ton a week for coals? — Yes, that is the price.
1255. But you say there is no room to do it? — No room to do it.
1256. The CHAIRMAN: As a matter of fact, do you pay it? — On pit wood I have paid the wharf rent.
1257. You have not paid it for coal? — Because I cannot get the wharf.
1258. You have not paid it? — I have paid it at the moors.
1259. Mr. MATTHEWS: You say you cannot get wharf room? — That is so.
1260. My learned friend, Mr. Bidder, put to you that these storage sidings which the Taff Vale Company have told us that they intend to make, will remove all the block and difficulty at the dock. That is worth alluding to a little. I need hardly ask you: the storage sidings will do nothing to increase the number of tips? — It will do nothing to give us increased dock room for our ships either.
1261. It will not give you increased space between the tips? — It will not.
1262. It will not diminish the crowd of vessels at present in the docks? — No.
1263. Are the vessels at present crowded in the docks so that there is difficulty in moving about? — Very great difficulty.
1264. Do collisions and accidents arise to the vessels in the docks themselves? — Vessels in the docks do get damaged very frequently in moving.
1265. The CHAIRMAN: But these sidings will enable the vessels to load more quickly than they do now, will they not? — I cannot conceive that they will, because the docks are so crowded that we cannot get our ships about; and if the number of ships exceeds the dock accommodation, what is the use of sidings if we cannot get into the docks.
Mr. MATTHEWS: Of course the sidings will do this too — save Lord Bute the expense of having to shift and transfer the traffic from one side to the other of the dock.
1266. The CHAIRMAN: But the quicker vessels are enabled to load, the quicker they can go out of the dock? — Yes.
1267. Will not that pro tanto relieve the pressure of vessels in the dock? — No; It is water area that we require, and I cannot conceive that the sidings are going to provide water area.
1268. It will enable the vessels to load more quickly, will it not? — Not with the appliances which now exist. I cannot see how they will alter that. These docks have been worked to their utmost for years, and the fact of there being more coal in the sidings will not make those appliances quicker.
1269. Mr. MATTHEWS: Have you now to get under a tip, and then is the coal tipped into the vessel as fast as it can go? — It is now, but it is the difficulty of getting to these tips that is the great difficulty.
The CHAIRMAN: We have had, in the other case, evidence to show that vessels remained in dock because they could not get loaded.
Mr. MATTHEWS: When one they are under the tip no one has pretended to say that they could not get loaded.
Dr. PHILLIMORE: Last year something was said about “nursing” the tips.
The CHAIRMAN: I only want to know what this witness thinks with respect to the sidings.
1270. Mr. MATTHEWS: When a ship now does get under the tips in the Bute Docks, as a rule, does the coal come down to that ship from the colliery as fast as the tippers and trimmers can get it into the hold? — When the coal is on the tips the ship gets under them as quickly as possible.
1271. Do the delays arise from the difficulty of getting under the tips and not from the slowness of the coal coming? — Yes, from the difficulties of moving the ship in the dock.
1272. When a ship is at a tip, and ready to receive coal, do you, as a rule, find that the coal comes to it as fast as the tippers and trimmers can work? — Yes.
1273. Of course, that is done at an expense to my Lord Bute, if he has to shunt and to shift in his docks, and with his locomotives? — That is so.
1274. And, therefore, he asked this year that he might be allowed to do that at storage sidings charging a halfpenny for it? — Yes.
1275. And now the Taff Vale Railway Company undertaken to relieve him of that labour and expense? — Yes.
1276. But I understand you that no machinery of storage sidings will give tips to steamers? — Nor room to get into the docks.
1277. Nor room to shift when they have got in? — That is so.
1278. And the Crockherb Town sidings, when made, will not have any effect upon Penarth, will they? — Not at all, that I can see.
1279. Do you know that the Taff Vale Railway Company have ever complained that they had not storage sidings enough? — No, I do not know that they have.
1280. Have you ever heard any complaints of the Taff Vale Railway Company? — No.
1281. Though they have abundant sidings at Penarth Junction, do you find delays in getting to the Penarth Dock? — Yes. There is the case I gave you just now, that has occurred in the last two or three days.
1282. You say that in spite of the sidings at Penarth Junction your ships experience the same sort of delay in the Penarth Dock that they do at the Bute Dock? — Yes.
1283. From the difficulty of getting a tip? — From the difficulty of getting a tip. I think you will have abundant evidence of that later on.
1284. Mr learned friend, Mr. Pope, suggested to you that you could load very rapidly at Penarth — can you give me an average of the length of time your ships wait at Penarth before they are quit of the dock, before they get out free? — The same time as at Bute Docks. We have, in chartering our vessels, to give the same time for loading at Penarth as at Bute; the freighters make no difference, because they contend that they have the same difficulty in providing ships at Penarth as they have at the Bute Docks. I cannot get my vessels chartered under such conditions as Mr. Radford appear to have.
1286. Do I understand you that the answer you gave before — that you pay dispatch money only in one case out of twenty — applies to Penarth as well as Bute? — Yes.
1287. And yet Penarth has abundant storage sidings? — I understand so.
1288. You were asked about the timber trade, and you said that the timber trade was not carried on in the Glamorganshire Canal, as I understood you? — No, the general trade is certainly not.
1289. Where is the timber trade carried on? — In the Bute Docks, and part of it in the basin of the Penarth Dock. There is one timber yard there, but it is supposed to be carried on in the Bute Docks — the East Bute Dock principally.
1290. Where does this timber come from that you say is floating in the Glamorgan Canal? — That is timber in many instances sent from the East Bute Dock through the junction to this Glamorgan Canal.
1291. So that it is unshipped in the East Bute Dock first and then gets to the Glamorgan Canal as a place to deposit? — Yes; but I am not in the timber trade. I believe that is only logs of wood stored there, which are not likely to be wanted for some months again, say masting pieces for vessels.
1292. That does not look as if there were much traffic on the Glamorgan Canal? — There is little or no traffic on the Glamorgan Canal.
1293. That is at an end, is it? — That is virtually at an end.
1294. My learned friend, Mr. Bidder, asked you the percentage of vessels over 1,500 tons, and you answered that you could not tell what the percentage was, and that a vessel of 1,500 tons would draw 18 feet of water, Did you mean registered or actual tons? — Actual tons burthen, I meant.
1295. I rather suspect that Mr. Bidder meant registered? — 1,500 tons register would give a large steamer.
1296. It would be what in actual carrying capacity? — It would be a steamer of 3,000 tons. Of course 3,000 tons is a very large steamer, and would draw very much more water than 18 feet. I understood him to mean 1,500 tons burthen.
1297. Do you either possess or are you having built, any steamers of 1,500 tons actual burthen? — I am having a steamer built now which will carry nearly 3,000 tons.
1298. The CHAIRMAN: What is her registered tonnage? — She has not been measured yet.
1299. What will it be about? — I imagine she will register 1,500 tons.
1300. Mr. MATTHEWS: What is the size of the largest sized steamer you have now? — I have had to go on increasing. The largest steamer I have now is about 1,800 to 1,900 tons burthen, and if we have proper facilities I should build even a larger steamer than 3,000 tons; but till we get a larger dock accommodation I will not do it.
1301. Why do you say, you “have” to do it? — Because it is found that the larger cargo you carry in one bottom the cheaper the rate you can carry at. With a steamer of 2,000 tons you have nearly the same crew as with one of 3,000 tons; probably there are three men more in the latter; the same captain and the same engineers, and the standing expenses are pretty nearly the same; and also the larger steamer is built at a cheaper rate than the smaller one per ton.
1302. The CHAIRMAN: That is the consideration that led to the large tonnage? — Yes; and that must increase.
1303. Mr. MATTHEWS: You could not keep up your trade at Cardiff in competition with other places that have the large steamers, if you stick to small steamers? — No. I have lost one or two small steamers, and the rest I have sold out. I say what it was coming to, and began going into the large class of steamers, which I must do if I wish to hold my own.
1304. And if these large steamers are to trade you must have these new docks? — The value of quantity of tonnage now building I calculate at £12,000,000; and I say that the dock system ought to be subservient to that great interest. These delays and this extra time that we have to give for loading these steamers detract very much form the value of that property. Therefore it becomes a national question. We had better have one dock empty than keep that tonnage and keep these collieries working under the present conditions, that is my idea; that it would be better to have an extra dock doing nothing. Here we are; if our dock is doing nothing we provide our own money and therefore the public have the benefit of it.
1305. The interest upon the money for your dock is a mere bagatelle compared to the money wasted by the detention of your shipping? — It would not pay us to take our money out of our business, the coal proprietor to take his capital away from his colliery, and the steam shipowner to take his money away from his steamship property, to provide docks for the sake of the dock proper. It is really to accommodate the steamers and to accommodate the trade generally.
1306. I mean that the taking the interest of your dock expenditure at this Barry Dock, for instance, 5 per cent. would only be £25,000 a year? — That is so.
1307. Whereas the annual loss by this detention and delay of your shipping is very much more considerable? — it must be considerably more in trade. I say that the docks should be subservient to the trade and not the trade to the docks.
(The Witness withdrew)
Extracts from House of Lords Minutes of Evidence Fri 6th July 1883 to Mon 9th July 1883
BARRY DOCK & RAILWAYS
HOUSE OF LORDS
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE VOL. 1
BARRY DOCK AND RAILWAYS BILL
Friday, 6th July, 1883.
THE LORD FOXFORD IN THE CHAIR
Mr. THOMAS ROE THOMPSON, sworn.
Examined by Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS.
585. You are a Steamship Owner, Steamship Broker and Agent, carrying on business in Cardiff? — I am.
586. You are also agent in the Bristol Channel to owners of many other steamers? — Yes, that is so.
587. How long have you been in business on your own account in Cardiff? — Somewhere about 20 years.
588. With regard to these steamers for which you act, in what trade are they principally engaged? — General trade.
589. Have you often one steamer at Cardiff? — Always one or more.
590. Besides your individual connection with the trade, you are also a director of steamship companies? — I am a director of several steamship companies.
591. Are you, in addition to that, one of the promoters of the Bill, and named as one of the directors? — I am.
592. Has the subject of the present Bill been a matter that has been before the shipowners of Cardiff? — Yes, we have discussed it very freely and openly.
593. Was there a meeting of shipowners upon the subject? — Yes, a meeting of shipowners was convened to consider this Bill.
594. And what was the outcome of that meeting? — We agreed to support the Bill, and found that it was absolutely in the interest of the port; we agreed as a body to support the Bill.
595. Were you appointed a member of that committee? — I was appointed a member of that committee, which was empowered to treat with the promoters of this Bill.
596. Could you give your lordships any idea roundly what would have been the amount of shipping was represented at that meeting? — I think there were 21 shipowners who attended the meeting, and they represented about 63,000 or 64,000 tons belonging to the port of Cardiff, but subsequently a large number of other shipowners belonging to the port, who had not attended the first meeting, have given their consent to this Bill, and have joined it. Some are promoters and some are supporting it by petition.
597. Have you been all along of opinion that further dock accommodation was desirable in this district? — Yes, I have been so for many years; last year I supported Lord Bute’s applications for a new dock, and was only too glad to do so.
598. This Bill does not in any way interfere with the legislation of a former Session? — Not, that I am aware of, at all.
599. What do you say as to the conditions of the present day with regard to vessels, more particularly the size of vessels? — We find that the small steamers that we owned in former days are going entirely out of date. The quantity of steamers is vastly on the increase, and in order to compete one with the other, we must carry more tonnage in one bottom at the same expense. You understand that with a small steamer we have one captain and almost the same crew, with very slight difference, as in a steamer double the size. Therefore, we aim at carrying as much as possible in one bottom at the same expense.
600. Therefore, from the conditions of the trade itself the size of steamers is largely on the increase? — The size of steamers is largely on the increase.
601. What effect has that increase in the size of steamers on the older class of docks? — I do not want to say anything to disparage Lord Bute’s property, it is not my wish to do so, but I am bound to touch a little on that point.
602. Mr. BIDDER: Do not have any compunction? — The first dock Lord Bute made, as is apparent to anybody, is quite out of date, and the East Bute Dock, which was the next dock, is rapidly following in its wake; for instance, those two docks are built at the sill lower than the sea outside, a thing that no engineer would think of doing at the present day, the consequence is, that all the tonnage coming into the docks have to be raised in going in to the level of the dock inside, and in coming out they have to be lowered out to the sea by means of lockage which is a very obstacle form of docking and undocking ships, and means a great waste of time.
603. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Does it affect the time during which it is possible to get into the docks; entrance into docks can only be got at certain states of the tide? — At Cardiff.
Mr. BIDDER: It would be the same with Barry.
604. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Is it the case that vessels at Cardiff and Penarth have occasionally been neaped? — Yes; frequently.
605. What result has that? — They get in and cannot get out, but in the Roath Dock, which is a great improvement on Lord Bute’s two first docks, that is a dock upon a modern principle; it is supposed to be on a level with the sea, and is a great improvement on the former docks.
606. That was commenced in 1874? — Yes; but some means or other there is less water in the dock than upon the dock sill, so the utility of the dock is very much detracted from owing to that circumstance.
607. Supposing you are going into Cardiff, what is the approach to the docks? — We first approach through the shoal called the Cefn-y-Wrach Shoal, and we then follow up an artificial cut cut by the trustees of Lord Bute. It is a narrow cut in mud, leading up to the entrance to the docks.
608. Is that the blue stripe through the mud? — Yes.
609. By a LORD: What is the length of that narrow part? — From the end of the Wrach, I should think a mile.
610. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: What is the width? — In some places 210 feet; in other places 170 feet, and near to the dock entrance it broadens, but the moment that ship begins to enter the Cefn-y-Wrach it must follow right up to the dock’s entrances.
611. That is on the tide going in? — Yes.
612. Coming out they have to do the same thing? — Yes.
613. Are these patches on a shoal? — That is the shoal and the mud flats above the shoal. The whole of this channel is dry at low water and the rise and fall of the tide in the Bristol Channel is exceedingly great and very rapid, and it lessens the time at which these docking and undocking operations can be performed.
614. What causes delay in getting vessels out; we have cut, and we know what they do there in coming up and down; will you explain the processes of locking in and out? — In locking in we take a vessel into the East Basin; after she gets locked into the East Basin she will remain there, and a steamer often loses 12 hours before the water is lowered from the dock to the basin in order that she may pass from the outer basin into the dock, and in coming out the water is again lowered in this basin, and then they are lowered; but there is not as much time lost in coming out as in going in, through locking.
615. Is there any difference in the water in the docks — is it all salt water? — It is all fresh water in the West Dock and the East Bute Dock, and partially so in the Roath Basin; but it is all fresh in the first two docks.
616. I suppose they cannot get the sea water into the gates? — You cannot get the sea from its level up to the level of the docks inside — the ships are raised from the level of the sea up at high-water, and get into the docks.
617. The ship must come down stairs to get to the sea? — Yes, we have to take her upstairs and bring her downstairs.
618. Do you find that in practice, these delays are serious? — very serious indeed.
619. Something has been said about the change from sailing vessels to steamers? — Yes.
620. That process is still going on? — That process is still going on and must continue; there are numbers of foreign ports — a vast number — which are now receiving merchandise by sailing vessels, they have not the appliances yet, and they are not sufficiently advanced to receive all the merchandise — coals and other things — by steam, but if they want to compete with other ports they must lay themselves out for receiving by steam, and that conversion is going on year by year.
621. Upon what scale is that going on; take last year’s return? — The sailing vessels no doubt, are to a great extent, dying out, there are trades which will always be done by sailing ships; there are certain very long trades that would not pay steamers to carry exceptionally long voyages; these steamers would be obliged to carry as much coal for consumption as they would carry in freight.
622. Is there anything in the character of the coal trade of Cardiff which brings this large class of steamers there? — They must come to Cardiff; steamers taking Cardiff coals for their own use can earn more money than by having any other class of coals, because the consumption is less, and it means this to a steamer taking 400 tons of Cardiff coal for a single voyage for her own use, if she took North Country coals she would take 500 tons of coals; that is 100 tons less freight that she would earn, because it is 100 tons shut out which would be available for cargo purposes.
623. Vessels, I believe, can only get in and out of the docks at a limited time? — Yes, that is so; the rise and fall of the tides on an average, taking one set of tides with another, is about four hours, and all the work for these docks, inwards and outwards, must be done in the narrow cut, and during an average of fours hours in each tide.
624. In coming down the narrow cut, are inconveniences felt in the sense of anything happening to the vessels themselves? — It must be so frequently; the wind is strong across the cut one way of the other, and consequently the light sailing ships and large steamers which take tugs to assist them in going in being all light are comparatively like bladders in the water, they tail across the river one way or the other, and the consequence is that there is a great liability to collisions. A loaded ship can keep her position better in coming out. It does not apply to a loaded ship, because, being loaded and deeply immersed in the water, it does not have much effect upon her; but a light ship coming in obstructs the passage always.
625. As you get larger and larger vessels going in, they are, of course, more and more exposed to the wind? — Yes, they are much more difficult to handle in narrow waters naturally.
626. Have they all to go up to the same dock? — Yes.
627. There is no separate entrance? — No.
628. When the new dock is opened, will there be any separate entrance to that? — None whatever.
629. Any vessels intended for that dock would be, as it were, in addition to the vessels going down that narrow course now? — Yes, that will add largely to the number of vessels navigating in that cut.
630. As to the entrance into the new dock, how will that be; will that be inside the existing dock? — The present dock basin will serve as an ante-chamber to the now Roath Dock; that is, all the ships loading in this new dock, must pass into and out of the Roath Basin.
631. We have heard that this Roath Dock is where the best and quickest loading of coal in the Bute Docks takes place now? — Yes, and that is the only place which we have for our largest and best ships at present.
632. Then, as I understand it, with the new dock made in that Roath Basin, and the Roath Basin, which is now used for tipping purposes, there will be a great influx of outgoing ships through it? — That is so.
633. There would be nothing of the kind at the Barry Docks? — Nothing of the sort, because there is only one dock whichever channel we are in.
634. Mr. BIDDER: There would be one basin through which you pass? — Yes, but not through another dock: that basin is not used at present as a dock in which coal is tipped, therefore, in passing into that basin we do not stop any present or projected traffic.
635. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: My learned friend, Mr. Bidder, will have the opportunity of asking you the question by and by. (To the Witness): To that extent it would be a reduction of their dock power? — Yes.
636. They extend it in one direction and reduce it in another? — Yes.
637. Beside the docks at Cardiff there are also docks at Penarth? — Yes.
638. Do they come out at right-angles into the same cut? — They come out into the same cut; but that channel which comes from the Cefn-y-Wrach into the Penarth basin, is so sharp an angle that large long vessels cannot come through it in coming out of the dock; they never do, they pass over the shoal, they come across it to get into the Cefn-y-Wrach, and that shoal takes off 6 feet of water — in Penarth Dock you have to allow 6 feet to get over it.
639. Have you in your experience as a shipowner, known cases of losses from these difficulties of navigation? — Yes, I have, and collisions as well.
640. And loss of property? — A serious loss of property.
641. I think I have done with the Bute Dock at present — I will ask you this — do you show the situation of the proposed Barry Docks? — I have known it for the last 27 years.
642. What do you say as to the suitability of that for a dock? — I say a finer site for a dock is not to be found in Great Britain. I say that most emphatically.
643. Will there be any saving in distance or convenience of approach at Barry over Cardiff? — It is considerably nearer, and it shortens the distance for vessels coming from the westward; but our greatest advantage will be having this available for this large class of steamers. We have at Barry more water than at the Bute Docks and we avoid these narrow channels, for which there would be plenty of traffic by vessels not of a full size. We would thus keep the new dock for the biggest steamers.
644. It will be suggested to you that the construction of the Barry Dock will in some way hurt Cardiff; have you considered that question? — I have. I am of opinion that it will benefit Cardiff. I am strongly of that opinion.
645. What is your reason for saying that? — At the back of Cardiff we have a large mining population. It is a strange fact, that at present all the supplies of the Bute Docks which come from Liverpool, Bristol and Gloucester, that is to say, ships loaded with corn and other produce consumed by these people in these mining districts, comes through Bristol, and comes through Gloucester. I, as a shipowner, could carry that produce to Cardiff, if we had sufficient dock accommodation, at 20 per cent. less freight that I can carry it to Bristol and Gloucester, and shift my vessel from those ports to Cardiff. Then we have at Cardiff a much lower railway rate to and from Cardiff to Birmingham and the Wolverhampton district, than to Liverpool, and for a great proportion of the merchandise going through Liverpool to this district, their natural artery is through Cardiff. At Cardiff we have a splendid seam of coals, and if the steamers could bring cargoes into Cardiff direct and send them on by railway to these districts, instead of going to Liverpool and paying the Liverpool port charges, and coming round to Cardiff to load, the goods would reach those teeming masses of people in the district at a lower price than they now reach them.
646. And there would be not merely the conveyance of the coal, but there would be a general benefit to the population of the district? — Yes; I cannot understand what Cardiff wants. There is no consideration given to anything but the coal trade. I say, as a shipowner, that greater accommodation ought to be given to the import trade, and by-and-bye we shall require a new import dock altogether. It is impossible to carry on the import trade at Cardiff, jumbling up imports with coals. The rush is so great in the coal docks that it is no use persons importing, or attempting to import stuff into Cardiff. For instance, I have imported pit wood into Cardiff very largely, and these freighters have been talking about the cost of their pit wood. As far as I am concerned, it is likely to increase. I formerly imported pit wood largely, but, owing to detentions, and delays, and difficulties in getting pit wood, I shall abandon the trade altogether, and no doubt others will do the same. We cannot carry on that class of business; we must give it up altogether. I am doing it now, but on a very small scale.
647. You instance difficulties and delays. It was put to the last witness that there was such a rapid increase of shipment at Cardiff. Does your experience correspond to that? — I believe that the docks have been worked to their fullest pressure, but at a serious loss to us. There is no question of that, both to the shipowners and the freighters; that must follow.
648. Explain how there has been, as you say, a serious loss to the shipowners from the present system at Cardiff? — We carry on business under serious disadvantages. If I can take a ship into the dock without delay and get even ordinary despatch and get a tip at one, and load the ship and get away to sea promptly, I can afford to carry coals cheaper because we can make so many more voyages in a year.
649. If you can get into the dock and get a tip easily? — We do not. I must tell you that the freighters are the persons who take the risk of obtaining tips, but it recoils on us in this way: They say to us, You have a ship of a certain size to load; we demand 96 hours or 120 hours to load the ship, an operation which, when they get a tip, is actually performed in 36 or 40 hours, and sometimes in 24 hours, consequently, if all these difficulties did not exist and these people had not to provide for all these contingencies instead of demanding 96 or 120 hours for loading my ship, I could load her in 36 or 48 hours, according to the size, and that I could make as many more voyages in the year if I got the despatch which I do not get.
650. Before you get inside the dock, where the preliminary ceremony has to be gone through? — Yes, at Cardiff, with every vessel, sailing or steaming, when arriving in Penarth roads, the captain has to anchor in the roads, no matter what the weather is — he must come on shore and go to the dock office, and use what is called the stemming book — that is, he must put the name of the ship and some other particulars in the stemming book, and by that book he takes his turn for entering into the dock. I know no port in England where my steamers go to where is necessary, excepting at Cardiff, and that is the result of this congestion.
651. If the stemming list happens to be slack, he may get in in reasonable time — I do not say that we suffer — we do not suffer serious delays outside now, but those delays are bound to increase.
652. Then supposing the stemming list to be full there, you have to wait until you can get in? — Undoubtedly, but there is the inconvenience of anchoring in the roads with a light ship in bad weather — the captain has to land and use the stemming book or wait till the next tide time — he must wait till he gets his orders, whether he is to come in or not, and the he has to go off again — it is a most inconvenient method.
653. Where is he all this time — out in the mud cut? — Being light ships they do not lie out so far as if they were loaded — the light ships use the inner roads, and heavy steamers the outer roads, but it is delay and personal risk.
654. After the stemming book is done, and after he has got permission to come in, then he has to begin to come up that cut? — He goes off to his ship, and if he does not get off on that tide time, he waits till the tide rises sufficiently, and takes his pilot off and brings his ship into port.
655. Now we have got into the dock, under these circumstances which you say are peculiar to Cardiff? — Yes.
656. Then when you get into the dock, the next stage is to get to the tip? — The next stage is to get to the tip, that is a duty which devolves upon the freighter. The freighter makes a contract with us to load our ship in a certain number of hours, and that involves delays in getting a tip, which, in many cases, are very serious.
657. If he does not get a tip for a certain number of hours or days, demurrage begins to run? — Yes, but before we get to demurrage, we have given us double the amount of time for the men to run the risk of a tip, and the demurrage does not pay us; it is a serious loss to us. It is merely ascertained liquidated damages, supposed to cover the insurance of the ship and the cost of the crew, but it is no profit whatever — it is serious loss.
658. What is true of other businesses us true there, that time is money? — Time is money, and in that way we offer to pay the freighters for despatch. They say, We exact from you so many hours to load, and we say, We will give you so much per hour for every hour you can save, showing that we are very anxious to pay despatch money, and the more despatch money we can pay the better for us.
659. You are always anxious to get away, but owing to the existing condition of things, they are against you, and there is a loss to all parties? — Yes, time is money to steamers. If we are delayed twelve hours with a steamer it is a serious thing, and especially now, when the quantity of steamers is increasing so terribly as they are. We must keep them going. If they are kept lying about it is a very serious matter.
660. Have you considered whether it would make any difference to you being able to load at Barry in place of having to come up to Cardiff? — Yes, I have a large steamer. Other people may not be of the same opinion as I am about working steamers. If I had a very large steamer I would accept directly 6d. a ton less for the steamer to load at Barry rather than at Cardiff, because I avoid these delays. I should avoid all the risk of the navigation and the risk of getting damaged. The damage we are paid for by insurance, but the delay in repairing the damage we get nothing for. Therefore, the risk of damage is at all times a matter of serious consideration to shipowners, to avoid these delays in getting into the docks, and risk of damage, I would make an allowance of 6d. a ton to load at Barry for a large steamer than to load in Bute Docks, but for small steamers I should not make any reduction.
661. You consider that in your business as a shipowner it would be worth to you that money difference? — Yes.
662. At the Barry Dock there is nothing in the nature of a mud cut, I believe? — No, a vessel going into Barry would be in there in three minutes from arriving at the outside, and she does not meet any other ship coming out — that is a great point. If the ship could go along the cut to Cardiff without meeting other ships coming out of the other docks there would not be so much difficulty — they would have the cut all to themselves.
663. In point of convenience, there is no comparison whatever between the access to the two docks? — None whatever; in leaving the Barry Dock with a large steamer, you out in deep water at once, and in leaving dock at night it is naturally a very great advantage at Barry in being able to get out into the clear open water at once. I have known many captains decline to take vessels out at night from Cardiff, because it was dark, and no moon, and having that risk of narrow water they would wait till the next day’s tide, and I have permitted my captains to do so.
664. It is a know feature in connection with Cardiff that there are these difficulties of navigation, and occasionally disasters? — Yes.
665. Have you found anything in point of time by which you might estimate the delays in consequence of this congestion of traffic at Cardiff. Do you know of any case in which time has been occupied before a vessel could get into Cardiff, comparing it with the facility of access to Barry? — Yes.
666. I believe you gave some evidence upon that point upon a former occasion? — Yes, I have had vessels detained in getting into Cardiff, and I have had some even lately.
667. In some cases extending to more than one or two weeks? — Yes; in my evidence that I gave on behalf of the Bute Docks for 1882, I said on behalf of Lord Bute, I had known sailing vessels detained three weeks outside in Cardiff, and I have known vessels last year and this year in Cardiff and loss of life in one case, waiting outside to get into the docks; that is owning to have to wait, the docks being full of shipping.
668. And whilst the vessels are waiting there they are exposed to all kinds of accidents? — Yes, upon one occasion a strong easterly wind came on when vessels were lying in the Penarth Roads, and one vessel, a French vessel, loaded with pit wood, was blown down the Channel; she was waiting for permission to come into Cardiff; and that vessel has never been heard of; she was lost, with all hands.
669. I ought to have asked you this, you mentioned the stemming list as applicable to vessels coming in to get coals; has that list a general application now to other vessels as well? — It applies to all vessels bound into Cardiff, steam and sailing.
670. Supposing that you merely want to go in and get ballast, you would be equally bound to stay outside? — Yes, equally bound to anchor and wait for permission, owing to the docks being so full.
671. If you want to go in for any purpose whatever, much or little, down you go upon the stemming list? — You must anchor outside, and let down your board, and see the dock-master use the stemming book, and wait till the lists are issued at each tide to see whether you are on the list or not; if you are not on the list you must wait patiently until you are.
672. Is there some regulation at the Bute Docks about captains having notice of readiness? — There have been so many regulations issued there by letter within the past few weeks, that I hardly know what regulations are in existence. I know one that particularly affects us, that is, that if a captain, who gives notice of readiness to his merchants or freightor for his cargo, must at the same time send a copy of that notice to the Bute Dock wharfingers office, or tipping office; and I believe it can only result in general delays to the shipping.
673. Why so? — I will give you a case; I have a steamer arriving in the night; the tipping office, or coal office of Lord Bute, and the freighters offices close at 5 o’clock at night; if a steamer arrives at 6 o’clock, he comes into the dock; he cannot apply for a tip, until 9 or 10 o’clock the next morning, when the office is open again; that is a harassing regulation; and I really cannot conceive why it is don, it must be to debar them from showing them the delays. In some cases they lose 12 or 14 hours in the port without having any return. In one case I had a steamer call the “Ernest”; she got into dock at 4 o’clock, docked at Roath Basin at 4 o’clock a.m. on the 19th May last, the freighter in the ordinary way which has been in existence for years at Cardiff, applied for a tip on the evening of the 18th. It has been an ordinary custom to apply for a tip before the office closed, so that when the ship goes into dock there might be no waste of time, and the loading might be commenced at once; but although there was a tip vacant in that case the ship had to lie until 10 o’clock next morning, until the captain could give notice to the merchant, because he could not give notice while an office was closed; the consequence was that the ship did not get under the tip until 11 a.m.; she lost seven hours and that cost her to lose a tide in getting out of Cardiff, and as this vessel is in short trades running at low freights, between Cardiff and France, every tide is of great importance to this man.
674. And that, I understand you to say, was a complete departure from the former practice.
675. It is a fact, is it not, that there have been a whole sheaf of new notices sent out by the Bute Dock authorities? — Every day or two there are new orders and regulations asking for opinions as to certain regulations not in force, but which are to be put in force, and what is the meaning of it all I cannot tell you.
676. They are working at the highest pressure, and they have all sorts of ideas as to the best way of doing? — Yes.
(The Witness is directed to withdraw.)
(ORDERED — That this Committee be adjourned to Monday, at 11 o’clock.)
BARRY DOCK AND RAILWAYS BILL,
Die Lunæ, 9o Julii, 1883
THE LORD FOXFORD IN THE CHAIR.
The Counsel and parties are ordered to be called in.
Mr. THOMAS ROE Thompson, recalled.
Further examined by Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS.
677. At page 63, Question 651, the question is, “If the stemming list happens to be slack he may get in in reasonable time? — I do not say that we suffer. We do not suffer serious delays outside now but those delays are bound to increase” — is that correct? — What I meant to convey was that I did not suffer so many delays outside as inside, but that the delays inside are on the increase; that is what I wished to convey.
678. When we left off the other evening you were going to give some figures with reference to showing the increase in shipping at Cardiff? — Yes.
679. I wanted to get the figures which will show their lordships what has been the actual increase in tonnage in Cardiff, built for Cardiff, from 1871 to 1881? — The increase of tonnage owned by Cardiff shipowners from 1877 to 1881 was 75 per cent. in tonnage owned at Cardiff. I believe there is no port in the kingdom where such an advance has been made in the tonnage as at Cardiff.
680. Can you compare the increase at Cardiff with the other ports? — for instance, there is Hartlepool and Newcastle? — Yes.
681. Can you compare the increase at Cardiff with the other ports? — In the carrying ports which are ranked above Cardiff for tonnage of vessels, Hartlepool has increased 54 per cent., Hull 14 per cent., and Greenock 7 per cent., the others have decreased.
682. So that the increase in Cardiff, in this respect, has been marked? — Larger than any other port in the kingdom.
683. In fact, Cardiff has altered its position relatively to the other docks since then? — Yes, Cardiff ranks as the third port in the kingdom as regards tonnage entered and cleared; the figures being for 1881, London first with 16,287,922 tons entered and cleared, Liverpool second with 14,772,291 tons entered and cleared, and Cardiff third with 8.349.263 tons entered and cleared.
684. Are docks, as a matter of fact, in the present day becoming more and more important for the shipping? — Yes, I think it will be found that a great portion of the trade of the country is done by ports through docks, that is to say, Hull, Liverpool and Cardiff — if you take the three ports where all their trade is done by docks — about one-third of the dead weight trade of the country is done in those ports; and the average of tonnage they have cleared per acre of water space, is Liverpool, in 1881, 26,000 tons per acre, Hull 35,000 tons per acre, and Cardiff in the same period 75,000 tons per acre — that is the water space.
685. Then what conclusion does that lead you to as regards the amount of work done in the different docks? — It is quite evident that the trade of Cardiff must be very much congested and that is brought about by the fact that at these ports which I have named, there has been an increase of dock accommodation since the year 1877, and there has been none at Cardiff — we have not kept pace with the times.
686. You have been dealing with the registered tonnage applicable to each of those docks? — Yes.
687. Can you compare the water areas in those different cases? — Yes, that is the registered tonnage per water area, that I have given you.
688. Mr. POPE: Per water area or quay space? — Per acre of water space.
689. That matters nothing? — I beg your pardon, it does.
690. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Will you compare the acreage in dock accommodation in Cardiff with the other ports? — Cardiff is only the fifth port in the United Kingdom with regard to dock accommodation, and of the 111 acres accommodation at Cardiff, 12 of those are the Glamorganshire Canal, which is now entirely useless and virtually closed.
691. And also as regards a portion of the dock accommodation, the West Dock itself is out of date? — It is out of date for the increasing shipping of the present day, but there is always plenty of margin for a dock like that — in fact you can have a dock of any sort in Cardiff and you will always get plenty of trade to it.
692. You say Cardiff is the fifth as regards wet dock accommodation? — Yes, that is including the Glamorganshire Canal which is no use to us for steamers.
693. So that it practically drops down to under 100? — Yes.
694. At Liverpool there are 565 acres ? — Yes.
695. At London there are 560 acres ? — Yes.
696. Besides that there is the new Tilbury Dock? — Yes.
697. At Barrow there are 133 acres ? — At Barrow there are 133 acres.
698. Of course, we are speaking in this case of acres? — Yes.
699. How many are there at Newcastle? — 117.
700. And there are additional docks in progress? — Yes, there is the Cobble Dean Dock being made, which is not included in the 117.
701. Is the suggestion by all these figures that Cardiff is decidedly under docked? — Yes , take Barrow; for instance, which does nothing like the trade we do at Cardiff; there is 133 acres of dock space.
702. At Newcastle, again, do they do the same amount of foreign trade? — Not anything like the foreign or the sea trade that we do, and yet there is 117 acres of dock space and a large new dock in progress of construction, and they have the river, where there is a large amount of trade done; we have nothing of the sort at Cardiff.
703. Comparing coal docks with coal docks, is there anything in the character of the coal at Cardiff which makes it more difficult to deal with than it is in the northern ports? —Yes, the fact is we ought to have more dock accommodation than the north, because the north country coal is so much more easily handled, and requires less time to load than the Cardiff coal.
704 What makes it more easy to handle? — The difference is this: the Cardiff coal contains very large knobs, some of them weighing two hundred weight each; in loading ships at Cardiff these knobs drop into the hatchway, and jam the coal and prevent it being handled, whereas the north country coal is more of the size of walnuts, and finds its own level and does not take half the time for trimming that the Cardiff coal requires; in fact, they have loaded a ship in the north 1,000 and 1,200 tons, which has gone in and gone out on the same tide; that has never been done in Cardiff, and never can be done Cardiff.
705. Why not? — Because to go in and out on the same tide will leave you only four hours to do it; they have gone into Cardiff one tide and out the next, but never on the same tide: it cannot be done there; the coal cannot be shipped in the time.
706. Do the owners of the colliery and the people for whom it is intended require that special care should be given to the trimming of coal at Cardiff? — Yes; the Cardiff coal is much more difficult to trim than the north country coal; we find that it takes so long to trim the Cardiff coals that Mr. Dalziel, a friend of ours, lately deceased, and who was Secretary of the Coal Owners' Association thought, he would bring down the north country trimmers to see if they could trim the Cardiff coals as quickly as Newcastle coals, and they went back in three days; they found the Cardiff coal was so much more difficult to trim that they returned to the north; they would not remain.
707. There is a well marked difference in trimming the two coals; it affects the question of the rate at which the coal can be shipped? — Yes; in the north .they can do with much less dock apace than we can, because they can ship their coal in half the time or nearly so.
708. And notwithstanding that they have, as a matter of fact, dock accommodation very considerably in excess of what you have? — Yes, more than we have at Cardiff.
709. You can give us some figures showing what the increase in the size of steamers has been coming to Cardiff? —Yes, I have taken it from the Customs Returns from the year 1874 to 1882, showing the increase in the size of steamers trading to the port of Cardiff for that period.
710. Does that return show the carrying capacity of the vessels, arranged under different heads? —Yes, this is the carrying capacity.
711. Would it show the steamers which were under 1,500 tons; the steamers which were between l,500 and 2,000 tons, and the steamers of 2,000 tons and upwards? — That is so; that is how I have taken out the return.
712. Will you give us shortly the results of the return showing what the relative increase has been under each of three heads? — Yes, I will. The steamers under 1,500 tons cargo in 1874 were 3,294,312 tons, 1882 similar steamers took from Cardiff 3,869,783 tons, making an increase of 575,471 tons, or nearly l7½ per cent. Now, to show the increasing size of the steamers, the vessels carrying from 1,500 to 2,000 tons in 1874, the quantity shipped by vessels of this size was 362,408 tons; in 1882 the quantity shipped in steamers of similar size was 1,784,078 tons, showing an increase of 1,421,670 tons, or nearly 392.276 per cent. Now, in steamers of 2,000 tons and upwards in 1874 we shipped in vessels of that class 122,813 tons only, whereas in 1882 we shipped by vessels of that class 1,088,894 tons, an increase of 966,081 tons, or an increase of 785 per cent. in those large steamers.
713. Just to recapitulate the smaller steamers, there was only an increase of 17½ per cent., the medium class 392 per cent. and the largest steamers 785 per cent. in a period of eight years? —Yes.
714. You have also, I think, some figures as to the value of the ships, taking a particular year, say last year, the value of the ships which entered Cardiff during the whole year? —I have taken rather the vessels which cleared; I did that because some of the vessels which entered may have remained there for a considerable time, therefore I have taken those which cleared; there were cleared from Cardiff in 1882, sailing vessels 7,211, and a tonnage of 1,543,336 tons; steamships cleared 5,744 steamers and a registered tonnage of 3,098,609, tons; I have valued that property, and my estimate of the total value of that property is £71,000,000 sterling.
715. The value of the docks, as we know, is between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000? —The value of the dock property accommodating that vast interest, I think is, taking the figures of Lord Bute's Trustees, £2,500,000 sterling, to which in due time will be added the new dock now being built, another £500,000.
716. The dock interest would be, taking their own figures, £3,000,000, as against the value of the shipping property on one year of £71,000,000? — Yes there is also 1,000,000 tons of shipping building, which I estimate at a low value at £12,000,000 sterling, in addition; and 1,000,000 gross registered tonnage.
717. Mr. BIDDER: In a case where a vessel came two or three times, did you value her each time? — Whether a vessel comes two or three times, or six vessels come once, it comes to exactly the same figures.
718. If a vessel came six times, would you value her six times over? — No; the quantity of tonnage was cleared, and whether one vessel comes six times, or six vessels come once, it comes to exactly the same thing.
719. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: That amount of tonnage and shipping, whatever was the name of the ship, went out of Cardiff in the course of the year? — Undoubtedly, it was the quantity of tonnage cleared.
720. And as you say, whether the “Eliza” went once, and the “Mary” went the other time, it is exactly the same thing? — Yes.
721. Looking at the amount of shipping carrying the Cardiff trade, will the detentions upon that large amount of capital amount to a very large figure in money also? — Yes, the detentions of those ships amount to a very large sum annually. The interest upon the £71,000,000, at the rate of 6 per cent. per annum, for one day is £9,726. Now a shipowner should earn more than 5 per cent. out of property of this class because the depreciation is so great, but I have put it at 5 per cent. Now, into addition to this, loss of interest and detention of shipping for one day means a loss of insurance, which is paid whether the ship is in dock or out, and that insurance averages 10 per cent. per annum, to which must be added, of course, the rate of wages of the captain and crew, the insurance alone on that property would amount to £19,452 for one day.
722. So that there is not merely the inconvenience and delays of the present system at Cardiff, but actually money loss to the shipping that has all this capital invested? — That is so.
723. We have heard of a stem list at Cardiff; is there anything which you can point to which would show that the system of delays was also felt at Penarth? —Yes, under the bye-laws of the Penarth Harbour Dock and Railway, dated the 25th of May, 1876, they there announced that steam vessels, light bound for Penarth Dock would have the privilege of having at all times a free stem, and steam vessels loaded could enter upon the same terms by merely reporting their draught to the dock master prior to loading. Now, in their amended bye-laws issued in 1882 they have come to the same system as the Bute Docks, because they found they were getting so choked with it that they inserted this bye-law: “The stemming book is kept at the dock master’s office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. after which it is transferred to the watch-house on the pier head in which masters of vessels are required to enter prior to docking.” So that they had to abandon their free stem when they got so much trade, they came to the system of Cardiff.
724. The system which we have already heard about? —Yes, at Swansea they also advertise that vessels do not have to wait their turn in the roadstead before entrance into the docks. This is a competitive advertisement as against Cardiff.
725. The stemming system was where the captain was obliged to leave the ship outside, land, write his name in the book, and wait till his turn came? — Yes, that is what I explained on Friday last.
726. I do not want to go over anything that we have gone through before; we have heard that collisions take place outside; you have had personal experience of them, have you not? —Yes, I have.
727. Supposing a vessel to come into collision with another and to be obliged to return into dock for repair, what sort of facilities are there in the dock for that purpose? — There are no means of discharging the cargo on to the quay; the docks are so blocked that there is no room upon the quay to discharge their cargo, and the consequence is that the trustees of Lord Bute send their locomotives and wagons and take the cargo to the Cardiff Moors, probably a mile distance from the docks ; that involves very great expense, and the shipowners are charged with that expense, which is not lair.
728. Have you had any experience of this system, and can you give an instance of what expense that process is attended with? — Yes; here is an account I paid to the trustees of Lord Bute in August, 1882, for landing and re-shipping the :cargo of a steamer, including its transit to the Moors and back to the ship, owing to an accident; it cost £752. 18s. ld. I say it is a most monstrous charge, and a terrible tax upon the shipping in all respects.
729. The journey to and from the Moors being due entirely to the fact that there was no wharf accommodation? — No wharf accommodation.
730. Where did that ship meet its injury? — That ship was coming out of the Penarth Dock as all large ships of that size have had to do. They must come stern first, owing to this dock being so narrow. As the vessel was coming out of the Penarth Dock stern first, while performing the evolution of turning her head round to go to sea, a steamer with a tug ran into her, out her down, and sunk her. We had to put her into the Bute Docks. That was the result. We had to pay £762. 18s. 1d. for getting apace, and landing the cargo, and re-shipping it.
732. By a LORD: This accident .was not at Cardiff at all? — It was in the same cut or turn where the ship had to go up to Cardiff.
733. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Can yon show where this accident happened? — Just after leaving the Penarth Dock, near the entrance of Cefn-y-Wrach. It was when the vessel was attempting to turn.
734. Both the Penarth and Cardiff shipping ultimately come out into the same cut? —The same cut from that point vessels bound for, Cardiff and Penarth go up the same cut. I have known ships from Cardiff come into collision with steamers bound out from Penarth in the same way.
735. These collisions are matter of notoriety in the neighbourhood? —Yes.
736. There was a return in the other House of a considerable number of them? — Yes.
737. Is it the fact from that circumstance that vessels going both ways are at the same time in the same cut? — That is so. Nearly every tide vessels pass each other in that cut at almost every tide.
738. Vessels coming out and vessels going in? — Vessels going out and coming in, and mud barges, and so on.
739. You know the narrow cut? —Yes.
740. From the conditions of the trade, there is, at all events, constant liability to collisions, whether they happen or not? — Yes, that is unquestionably so.
741. Do you know of any other dock where cargoes have to be taken off to the moors in this way? — I know of no dock, none whatever.
742. Is that liability and that difficulty in repairs again a matter which would tend to make the dock very costly to vessels? — When docks are crowded the repairs which every steamer requires, that is maintenance repairs, and the cost of these maintenance repairs in Cardiff is much higher than in the average ports. I am a director of two engineering works, and I am able to say of my own knowledge that our charges for repairs are so excessive, that is owing to the vessels in these docks being so crowded that you cannot get quay berths for effecting repairs. The work has to be done in the centre of the docks by stages round the ships, and, with the constant movement of the vessels in the dock, it increases the difficulty; you have to take the materials and the men off to the middle of the dock.
743. And from the fact of the ships being in the middle of the dock, everything has to go off to them in boat? —Yes, and when the men are waiting upon the quay, and they cannot get to the ship for two hours, their time counts a11 the same.
744. We have here what there was not in the other House, that is a petition professing to be from pilots? — Yes.
745. Will you tell the Committee what passed with regard to the pilots. Were you present at any interview? — Yes, I was on the general committee of three appointed by the promoters of the docks to meet the pilots and to hear what were their objections, if any, to this Bill.
746. For the general Committee who waited upon the promoters? — The pilots formed a committee — it was a very large committee of pilots who attended with their solicitor, Mr. Hamilton, and had an interview with us.
747. I understand this was a representative committee of pilots who came with their legal adviser? —The pilots came with their legal adviser, and pointed out the alterations they wanted in the Bill, and after a lengthy discussion we settled terms with the pilots. Their solicitor, Mr. Hamilton, subsequently submitted the terms of the arrangement to our solicitor, Mr. Hill, who signed the same and returned it to Mr. Hamilton, and we say there has been a breach of faith upon the part of these pilots, who got us to alter our Bill to suit their requirements, and after they had got our Bill altered, and we cannot put it right again, they now appear against us.
748. Was there not merely this meeting but this arrangement reduced to writing and signed, which is afterwards laid before the general body of pilots? —Yes, it was afterwards submitted.
749. You say that there was first a deputation? — There was first a deputation.
750. Then a meeting with the promoters, and terms arranged and signed, and then reported to the general body of pilots? —That is so.
751. And three of the clauses have been arranged to meet their views? — Yes, the clauses which they altered were Nos. 89, 92 and 93.
752. In 89 there is a proviso inserted for them, “Nothing in this Act shall interfere with the existing rights of pilots or pilotage”? — Yes.
753. Then, in 92, I find the limits, within which the dock master would have jurisdiction were restricted to meet their views? — It was reduced to meet their views.
754. To 500 yards? — Yes.
755. It had been 1,000, and it was cut in half and reduced to 500 yards? — Yes, they said they considered 500 yards was fair, and we agreed to the alteration to meet their views.
756. And Clause 93 was a special clause, that pilots may shelter under the breakwater? — Yes.
757. In order that I may be making no mistake about it, do you recognise any names in this petition as names of people who met you as a deputation? — Yes; I recognise the names of Berkeley, Jenkins and Saunders, but a Mr. Francis was nominated by the pilots as one of the committee, and I am not sure whether he attended or not.
758. These were the actual gentlemen you had the pleasure of seeing and negotiating with? —Yes.
759. Now they sign the petition and come up against you? — Yes, but there is one particular clause, I am not certain whether it is one that you have named, where the pilots asked for the exclusive right of piloting ships in and out of Barry Dock.
760. That is Clause 89? — That is the clause that we had serious objections to at first, because we did not see why at the time other pilots should be excluded; and that clause we gave in to the pilots. We gave them their own way in that particular clause, which was virtually shutting out the pilots of Newport and other ports from taking ships in and out of our port; and after we met them so handsomely as to give them the exclusive right of pilotage to our port, it is most ungracious for them to round upon us in the way they have done.
761. At the time that these discussions were going on, which, I think, extended over some time, did they not? — Yes.
762. Some weeks? — Yes.
763. Was anything said by any of the deputation about destroying, the harbour of refuge, or anything of that sort? — Not one suggestion that this was a harbour of refuge, and until this Bill was heard of, I may say that I never heard it suggested that it was a harbour of refuge.
764. It did not occur to them to suggest it in the deputation? — Not one of them raised the point.
765. Is there a pilot named Richards? —Yes.
766. Had you and any of the other shipowners an interview or conversation with that pilot? — When I first took up the question of this dock I think Mr. Richards was the first pilot I consulted to get his views upon this dock, and in my office, in the presence of Mr. Guthrie, shipowner and Mr. John Fry, shipowner, at Cardiff I consulted Mr. Richards as to the eligibility of this site for a dock.
767. That was before you committed yourself? — Before I committed myself at all.
768. What was Mr. Richards's view of that site? — Mr. Richards told us that no man living could say one word against this site for the dock; that it was one of the finest he knew.
769. Has he been consistent in his opinion since? — No, to my surprise I found him here in the House of Commons, against this scheme, assisting all he could. He was here in attendance, but was not called.
770. Has he been practically active in this matter upon the side of the opponents? — Yes; at Cardiff he has been stirring up opposition amongst pilots to this scheme.
771. Notwithstanding the opinion which he expressed to you and other gentlemen? —Yes.
772. That is the same harbour with reference to which the Board of Trade have made their report? —Yes.
773. And with reference to that, special clauses have been introduced into the Bill? —Yes.
774. Is there a good anchorage in the vicinity of Barry? — The Barry Roads have excellent anchorage, some of the best in the Bristol Channel, extending from Nell's Point up to Sully Island, a space of about two miles in the channel.
Mr. BIDDER: You bad better keep this for the nautical witnesses. This gentleman has immense information, but he is not a nautical man.
Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: He might know by accident that there is good anchorage ground.
The WITNESS: That is where I have to carry on my business.
775. Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: You spoke to some extent, did you not, of the import trade? —Yes.
776. You, I believe, can explain the difficulties that there are in getting the vessels in and out; through the making of the levels of these different docks? — Yes.
777. As we know, they are at different levels; one is very shallow, and another rather deeper, and another still deeper, till you yet down to Roath Basin? — Yes.
778. Have you, owing to the depth of the dock and the circumstances of the tides, to make a level for getting the ships out? — A level for getting the ships in and out of the east and west docks.
Mr. BIDDER: We went fully into this on Friday — it is all upon the notes. If you look at page 60, Question 616 and following questions, you will see he went into it very elaborately; I may say.
The CHAIRMAN: It was gone into at the end of page 59.
Mr: PEMBROKE STEPHENS: I was going into the Roath Basin.
Mr. BIDDER: He deals with it in 615: “It is all fresh water in the West Dock and the East Bute Dock and partially so in the Roath Basin.”
The CHAIRMAN: At 616 and 617 he has gone into it.
Cross-examined by Mr. BIDDER.
779. Just before I go into the matters that you spoke about on Friday, let me deal with one or two minor things that you have alluded to to-day; about the wonderful £71,000,000 of shipping that comes into Cardiff every year. Just tell me, explicitly, one way or another, if a vessel comes a dozen times in the course of the year, do you count her a dozen times over in that tonnage? — I say ———
780. Do not say anything but yes or no — if a vessel comes a dozen times over into Cardiff, is that vessel counted a dozen times over? — Not in the way you put it.
781. Have you or have you not counted that tonnage six times over? — I took the tonnage from the Board of Trade Returns.
782. In the cases of vessels that went frequently from the port, did it include the vessel as cleared each time from the port? — I do not know.
783. Do you not know? — No.
784. Have you made any deduction upon that account? — None whatever. It does not come in. 785. In point of fact, does not the Board of Trade Return put down a vessel’s tonnage every time she clears the port? — I take the aggregate.
786. Does it not include a vessel every time she clears? — No doubt it does.
787. Take one. You have got one of two vessels of your own going to Cardiff? — Yes.
788. One you own going from Cardiff once a week? — Yes.
789. What is her tonnage? — About 1,200 tons burthen.
790. That figures in that return 52 times? — Not at all.
791. Not in the Board of Trade Returns? — No.
792. Not if she cleared every week? — She never cleared so many times.
793. How many times? — The greatest number of times I had any steamer in Cardiff was 30 times in one year; but whether 30,000 toms of coal are carried out by 30 ships, or 30 vessels carry 1,000 toms each, there is the same amount of detention for each of the vessels.
794. That is another point. I am not asking that.
795. By a LORD: Is that the value of shipping or the cargo? The value of the shipping.
796. Mr. BIDDER: There is a certain number, and they are cleared 20 or more times? — Yes.
797. Are you the W. Thompson who wrote a letter on the 6th of May, 1878, to the papers on the subject of Cardiff versus Newport? — Yes.
798. I find the paper contains this paragraph — “I pay for the same steamer loading coals for the same destination on 15s. 4d. or 15s. 6d. at Cardiff when we consider that steamers of that description average about 40 voyages per annum”? — Yes, let me explain it.
799. Is it the fact? — It is not that fact that I have steamers 40 times a year in Cardiff.
800. You see that average 40 times? — That is five years ago. I have not had a steamer of that size since — steamers of 400 tons are going out of date — it was with regard to a steamer of 400 tons, bound to Caen, in France.
801. Now, may I take it that one of your steamers appeared in that return of £71,000,000 about 30 times? — No.
802. How many times? — Probably 12 times, at the outside number.
803. You have counted that steamer therefore in the £71,000,000 12 times her value? — Yes, 12 detentions.
804. When you talk of 5 per cent. upon capital for detention, you have counted on her 60 per cent. for detention? — Not at all, I do not take it as you put it at all.
805. Twelve times five is 60? — It used to be.
806. When you talk of loss upon the crew, her crew would get paid 12 times over upon that estimate? — Yes.
807. And insurance 12 times over? — Yes; undoubtedly 12 detentions and 12 insurances lost, and you cannot make it anything else by any process of argument.
808. Can you give their lordships any idea of what the real figure is, instead of £71,000,000? — I have given it you, that is the real figure.
809. If you had not counted the same ship over and over again, like stage soldiers, what was the actual value? — I say £71,000,000 last year is the value of shipping that cleared from the port of Cardiff. 810. What is the capital value of the ships cleared from Cardiff, not counting the ships a dozen times over? — I say £71,000,000.
811. You have already told me in the case of your own vessel that it was 12 times in Cardiff; you counted her 12 times over, and in the case of other vessels that were there more than once, you counted them more than once? — My vessel had 12 detentions, and if you take her once, you only refer to one detention.
812. I asked what was the real value of the ships that cleared from Cardiff, if you did not count the same ship over and over again, the capital value of the ship? — That is not a fair way to put it.
813. I put the question, have you any idea? — There is nobody living who can give you that.
814. You told their lordships that the increase of shipping in Cardiff was 25 per cent. in four years? — Yes.
815. Do you mean shipping frequenting the port, or the tonnage clearing the port? — That is shipping owned at the port of Cardiff.
816. It may have nothing to do with the trade of Cardiff; it may be in the South Seas? — The inference is that all the Cardiff ships trade from Cardiff.
817. Is it? Is it not the fact that a ship may be built and registered at Cardiff and not visit the port for years? — That will not apply to the Cardiff ships; all the Cardiff ships trade to and from Cardiff.
818. Do you say that as a fact? — Yes; I know them all.
819. You did not say that the tonnage clearing at Cardiff increased anything like that? — No, I did not; I have left other gentlemen to give the figures as to the quantity of coal taken from the port. I am dealing with tonnage owned by shipowners in Cardiff, and the increase of tonnage in four years owned by the shipowners at Cardiff.
820. Do you include in that tonnage of the shipping owned at Cardiff a lot of shipping owned by a firm called Young and Christie? — In the increase of tonnage?
821. Yes? — Of course, every ship in Cardiff.
822. Registered at Cardiff and owned at Cardiff? — Yes.
823. Is it not the fact that Young and Christie’s ships do not come to Cardiff for months at a time? — No; Mr. Christie is here and can tell you for himself.
824. You gave another fact to their lordships as to the tonnage of shipping dealt with at Cardiff as compared with Liverpool and Hull — Liverpool 26,000, Hull 25,000, and Cardiff 75,000? — Yes.
825. I take Liverpool first; is it not the fact that there is no analogy whatever between the trade of Liverpool and the trade of Cardiff? — No.
826. What do you mean by “No”; am I not right or wrong? — I think you are wrong if you suggest that.
827. Is the trade of Liverpool chiefly a coal trade? — I do not mean to tell you that Liverpool would ship so many tons per annum as Cardiff, but this is the area of dock space, and it is the tonnage of shipping afloat, and the value of their cargoes; but, feather or coals, they occupy the same space in the docks.
828. But not for the same length of time. Is it not frequently the case that six ships come in one day and go out the next? — I wish it was.
829. Is it not the case? — It is the exception.
830. Is it not the case in Liverpool that ships come in on tide and go out the next? — I have had a ship going to Liverpool with esparto loaded, and out of there in 24 hours.
831. Do you suggest that the trade of Liverpool is analogous with the trade of Cardiff? — As regards shipping and in dock space, certainly so.
832. As regards the character of the trade done? — As to the dead weight of tonnage, No.
833. Coal is the principal export of Cardiff? — It does not apply to the water area; a ship in Liverpool will occupy the same space loaded with her merchandise.
834. The Cardiff trade is a coal export trade, in which you load up a vessel by tipping 10-ton wagons one after another into the hold? — Yes.
835. Liverpool has a trade in cotton and other goods, all of which are handled careful and gingerly, and take a long time to stow? — There is a large amount of coal shipped there, and salt.
836. You do not suggest that they should tip 10-ton wagons of Manchester goods into the Liverpool ships? — I do not suggest that Liverpool will ship the same amount of dead weight as a whole as Cardiff will, but as to the cargoes in the docks showing tonnage afloat upon the surface of the docks, it is the same in Liverpool as in Cardiff.
837. If she cannot ship the same weight of dead weight of goods, she cannot discharge the same tonnage of ships? — It does not follow; some of the steamers going into Liverpool are despatched as quickly as they are from Cardiff.
838. Thought we know a vessel carries half as much again as her registered tonnage, there is a proportion between the tonnage of ships and the tonnage of goods? — Yes.
839. And if you cannot ship at Liverpool the same tonnage of goods, you cannot despatch the same tonnage of shipping? — I beg your pardon, you can.
840. You can send them empty? — Many ships go into Liverpool and come out empty; they go in with a very small quantity of goods, and come out empty.
841. By a LORD: Surely there is no comparison between Liverpool and Cardiff. At Liverpool they discharge by the side of the river on the quay? — I am referring to the Liverpool Docks, only to the docks; I do not refer to the quays at all.
842. Mr. BIDDER: I will pass from that, as I have given you an opportunity of speaking to it. You represent 64,000 tons of shipping in that owned by yourself? — No, I do not think I said so.
843. You did not say so, I ask you? — What shipping do you refer to?
844. You said in evidence on Friday that you represented 64,000 tons of shipping? — No, I said represented at the meeting.
845. You are quite right, it is my mistake, and you also said that you had been in the pit wood trade, but had given it up on account of want of facilities? — I said I am still doing a small trade in the pit wood trade, but nothing to what I did in former times.
846. Did you ever do a large trade in pit wood? — Yes; I have discharged 5,000 tons of pit wood in Cardiff in six weeks.
847. How much have you ever done in a year? — I should think I have done lately, the last two or three years, not so much as formerly.
848. Go back to the best year you ever had? — I should say I had 7,000 or 8,000 tons.
849. In one year? — Yes.
850. There are other gentlemen who manage to carry on the pit wood trade of Cardiff? — Some are coming here.
851. But there are? — Yes.
852. And a very extensive trade? — Yes, and they are of my opinion, too.
853. That I will hear when they come; but they carry it on to a very large extent? — Yes, much larger than I do.
854. Some of them do as much as a quarter of a million tons a year? — I cannot say that.
855. You have given a lamentable account of Cardiff, as apparently being an obsolete dock, according to you? — Which dock?
856. Cardiff generally? — I have told you the West Bute Dock is for the tonnage of the present day obsolete, and the East Bute Dock practically so.
857. And so the whole dock is a lion in the path, and with a dangerous approach? — The approach is dangerous as has been shown by the list of casualties.
858. The list of detentions is very startling? — That was your contention whey you applied for your dock last year.
859. It is a singular thing that a dock with so many imperfections should develop such a large trade? — Not at all.
860. This altogether obsolete dock to begin with; do you know that a very large tonnage is being done it [sic] it? — No doubt, a small tonnage.
861. Do you send steamers to it? — I have had one steamer there this year.
862. Have you had more? — Not to my knowledge.
863. A steamer of what tonnage; how many thousand tons? — I think carrying 1,000 or 1,100 tons.
864. Did she go into that obsolete dock to load with coal? — I think she took in a cargo of grain.
865. Will you tell their lordships how long it took to despatch her in the obsolete dock? — With a cargo of grain, I do not know.
866. What was her name? — I cannot give that, because it was a steamer I was agent for? — It was one of Mr. Westhall’s steamers, of Sunderland.
867. Was it the “Ernest”? — No.
868. Have you a ship called the “Ernest”? — I am agent for a ship called the “Ernest”; I act for the owner.
869. Does she carry coal? — Yes.
870. Did you send her into the obsolete West Dock lately? — She is a very small steamer, carrying 950 to 1,000 tons.
871. As a matter of fact, have you sent her more than once into those obsolete docks, this year? — I have not, but if you say she has gone there, I say that dock is still useful for vessels of that class.
872. Obsolete is a relative term? — Yes.
873. She went there, but fatuously? — The freighter has the ship chartered, and he orders her to which dock he likes.
874. He preferred the West Dock, because he could not get accommodation in the other.
875. Some people prefer the West Dock? — Yes, for some vessels.
876. Having got into the West Dock, how long did they take to load and despatch her? — I do not know.
877. Do you know she went in one evening and went out the next morning? — No.
878. Are you surprised to hear it? — No.
879. With 1,000 tons on board? — If you despatch A B C, and keep D E F lying waiting, that is no argument whatever.
880. Do you act for the “Alliance”? — Not now.
881. Did you recently? — I sold her some time ago.
882. Did she belong to you last February? — She has never been put in the West Bute Dock by me.
883. Do answer the question; did that vessel belong to you last February? — I think not.
884. What is her tonnage? — The “Alliance” is 610 tons register.
885. She loads about 1,200 tons of coal? — Yes; she is a small coasting steamer.
886. Should you be surprised to hear that she went into that obsolete dock? — No; I say there is plenty of trade left for that dock.
887. I may take it that for vessels up to 1,200 tons the West Dock has plenty of accommodation? — Quite so.
888. May we go as far as 1,500 tons? — I should not think it. You may get a shoal of steamers of 1,500 tons to go in there, but ordinary steamers, taking them one with the other, would not go in there.
889. As to the East Bute Dock, is that obsolete? — The East Bute Dock is available for ships to load in the dock up to 22 feet or 22 feet 6, but at that draught they cannot pass out of the dock, they must pass through the Roath Basin. I have had a ship in the East Bute Dock drawing 17 feet 11 of water in, when for 12 hours she cannot get out of it.
890. What is the harm in passing out through the Roath Basin? — It means delay.
891. Does it mean delay? — Yes.
892. How much delay is it if she passes through Roath Basin instead of going straight out? — It must be apparent.
893. Does she not get out on the same tide? — She may or may not.
894. Did you ever know a case of a vessel losing a tide that was ready to go out because she went through the Roath Basin instead of direct out? — I never knew a vessel drawing 22 feet 6 that did not.
895. I did not ask about a vessel drawing 22 feet 6. Did you ever know a case of a vessel losing a tide in the East Bute Dock because she had to go through the Roath Basin instead of direct out? — I cannot say that I have.
896. As a matter of fact, will you tell their lordships as the East Bute Docks will accommodate vessels up to 22 feet 6, what tonnage that represents in colliers or ships that carry coal? — I should think it would be possibly on the average about 2,200 to 2,300 tons; 2,500 tons register, I have know ships carry 1,850 tons drawing 22 feet.
897. I do not want the curiosities of your memory; I want to keep to the general run of ships drawing loaded; 22 feet 6 would be 2,200 to 2,500 tons register? — Not registered burthen.
898. Can you give their lordships any idea what percentage of ships at Cardiff exceed that? — I have given it already this morning.
899. Can you tell us all the ships that clear from Cardiff; what percentage in number exceed that draught of 22 feet 6 inches? — I should say a very good percentage — a very large percentage.
900. I will suggest this to you, and give you an opportunity of contradicting it — 2 per cent.? — No, that cannot be correct.
901. I put it to you, and ask whether you are prepared to contradict it. I have figures before me that I will put in at the proper time? — I can tell you; I have a vessel 17 feet 11 that has been neaped and could not get out of East Bute Dock.
902. Then she would go through the Roath Basin; we have dealt with that. Are you prepared to say that it is wrong that not more than two per cent. of the vessels leaving Cardiff draw, when loaded, more than 22 feet 6 inches? — It has been shown by the Newport people ———
903. Do leave the Newport people alone, and answer; is that true? — I cannot say.
904. With reference to Cefn-y-Wrach, you have described to their lordships the danger of this entrance? — I do not think I did so.
905. Do you present it as a dangerous entrance? — It is the narrow entrance where collisions take place.
906. Do you represent that the approach to the Cardiff Bute Docks, through Cefn-y-Wrach is, or is not, dangerous? — With large steamers, it is very dangerous.
907. There has been a good deal of rivalry between Cardiff and Newport, of late years? — There was some years ago.
908. The Newport people suggested that Cefn-y-Wrach and the entrance through there was an objection to Cardiff? — Yes, to my mind they are equally bad.
909. Did not you write a letter to the papers to prove that it was all rubbish? — I wrote one letter five years ago, my letter referred to the Cefn-y-Wrach shoal, and I disputed that it was so dangerous. I evidently took too sanguine a view at that time of Cefn-y-Wrach shoal, because you did not agree with me, and you afterwards dredged it.
910. You did in your letter say that the objections raised to Cefn-y-Wrach being dangerous were all rubbish? — Nothing of the sort.
911. You have know it for a good many years? — Yes, but the last five years the trade of our port and the size of our ships has greatly increased.
912. I presume you told their lordships, when commenting upon that entrance, that Lord Bute last year got power to pretty nearly double its width and depth too? — No, Lord Bute got nothing of the sort.
913. Did you mention it, and tell their lordships that? — That he got power to widen it?
914. Yes? — No, I do not think so.
915. You know it as a fact? — No, I do not.
916. You said it was news to you in the House of Commons. I thought by this time you might have become acquainted with it ———
Mr. PEMBROKE STEPHENS: Not double the width.
917. Mr. BIDDER: To nearly double the width. I read this to you in the House of Commons, and you said it was news. I was in hopes, as it was three months ago, that you might have become familiar with the fact? — It is news still to me.
918. This is Clause 25 of the Bute Dock Act, 1882: “The undertakers shall have full power and authority from time to time to dredge scour widen and improve the entrance channel to the docks from the southernmost part of Cefn-y-Wrach and all channels and waters forming an access to the docks or any of them and they may from time to time provide and fix all such dolphins mooring posts lights signals telegraph and telephonic appliances and such works and conveniences as may be required for the navigation of the said channels”, and so on — is that news to you this morning? — You know very well that is the same power you have always had, with the exception that in that section you take power over Cefn-y-Wrach Channel, which you had not before.
919. That is the question I have been putting to you. You told me five minutes ago that you did not know of any such power? — What I understood you to ask was whether I knew you had taken power to widen to 400 feet.
920. Cefn-y-Wrach? — You cannot widen Cefn-y-Wrach 400 feet.
921. I did not mention 400 feet, I said nearly double? — That would be 400 feet.
922. There is not limit to it. I ask without the question of width. Is it news to you? — I say those are the same powers.
923. Do you know of those powers or not? — I know of those powers.
924. Are they not new powers as regards Cefn-y-Wrach? — Only as regards Cefn-y-Wrach going up to that point there.
925. That is the very point at which you tell their lordships there is danger? — I say the principal part of the collisions in your drain, happen off the low water pier, considerably higher than that.
926. Have not you been telling their lordships about Cefn-y-Wrach in answer after answer? — I do not wish you to infer that the danger is only in the Cefn-y-Wrach, and not in the cut; most decidedly not.
927. Were not you told in the House of Commons that under those powers it was intended to almost double the width of that entrance channel to the Bute Docks right through? — Yes, and I was hoping you would now abandon the suggestion.
928. How do you mean? — I mean that first of all there is nothing in your estimate, or the original deposit of last year with regard to the widening of that cut, and if you had intended to widen it, it would have been there. You have simply now brought out your general powers of dredging which apply to every dock company. There is not any dock company which does not take general powers in the way you put it just now. Then again I consider it impracticable to alter that cut to 400 feet in width. 929. You used these words: “If we had intended to widen it we should have taken power and made provision in our estimate.” Did you hear Mr. William Thomas Lewis, the agent of the Marquess of Bute, state upon oath in the House of Commons that the Marquess was going, under the powers of the Act, to widen and nearly double that entrance channel? — No, I was not here when Mr. Lewis was examined.
930. Are you not away that he stated that upon oath? — No, I am not, and there is nothing done in the way of widening it since.
931. Take it from me that he did. Do you suggest that Mr. Lewis was stating that which was untrue? — I never hear Mr. Lewis state it.
932. When you say, if we intended to do it — do you suggest that Lord Bute and his advisers are putting that forward as a pretence, and they do not mean to carry it out? — I think it is an argument that you are using to defeat the present Bill.
933. And that he did not mean to do it? — Yes.
934. That the Marquess of Bute and his advisers have no intention to do this, but are simply throwing it as dust in the eyes of Parliament? — I give you my firm opinion that there is not the slightest intention in the world of widening that cut upon the part of the Marquess or his advisers, it is impracticable.
935. By a LORD: Why is it impracticable? — By widening that cut to 400 feet the silting power will be very greatly increased, and his lordship dredges it by means of sluices from the docks; those sluices are effective enough for the narrow drain, but if you widen the drain to twice the width, the sluicing power will be very greatly reduced and silt must accumulate; then, as to the cost of widening and excavating that drain to 400 feet, it will nearly come up to the amount that it will cost for the excavations at Barry Dock, where half the excavations are now made; it will cost nearly as much as the other dock.
936. Mr. BIDDER: Are you aware that Lord Bute has dredging power? — Yes, no doubt he has dredging power.
937. Are you aware that it is within his means to acquire additional dredging power? — Undoubtedly, Lord Bute has means at his disposal. I do not dispute it for a moment.
938. Another objection to the Bute Docks that you have made is that you have only four hours in which to enter and leave the docks? — I said the average.
939. How many hours will you have at the Barry Dock for going in and out, can you answer that? — Four hours for serving one dock, as compared with four hours serving five docks and the harbour in Penarth.
940. The time will be precisely the same in this Barry Dock? — Yes, during which you get in and out of one dock as compared with five docks.
941. You say you never heard of any other port which had a stem list? — None.
942. Did you ever hear of Newport? — Yes.
943. Is there a stem list there? — Not to my knowledge.
944. Are you not aware that there is a stem list at Newport? — I never heard of any detentions to ships.
945. Are you aware that there is a stem list there? — There may have been one put there lately, but I never had any ships detained there.
946. Can you suggest any other mode that can be adopted to avoid confusion? — I can suggest no arrangement for docks where the trade is carried on to such an extent as at Cardiff.
947. You want better despatch at Cardiff? — Yes.
948. Can you tell their lordships any other port in the United Kingdom that gives so good despatch as Cardiff? — Newcastle.
949. Have you ever sent ships there? — Yes.
950. Do you know what the average of detention at Newcastle is — the average time that a steamer is in dock? — No.
951. Is it greater or less than Cardiff? — There is nothing like the detention at Newcastle that there is at Cardiff — I have here a letter from a shipowner who wants to send his ship ———
952. I will wait till the shipowner comes? — I am agent for him.
953. In the meanwhile I will put this — Where a port is difficult or dangerous, or liable to detentions, it affects the shipowner’s profit? — Undoubtedly.
954. And he requires a higher freight? — Yes.
955. Is it the fact that the freight at Cardiff is lower than either at Swansea, or Newport, or Bristol? — As Bristol, the positions are not analogous.
956. Is not the freight to Cardiff lower than to either Swansea, Newport, or Bristol? — No.
957. Did you hear a gentleman of the name of Morell give evidence in the other House? — I was not present.
958. Are you prepared to say the freights are not lower to Cardiff than to Swansea or Newport? — No.
959. Are they the same? — The average is the same.
960. The detentions at Cardiff have in no way affected the freights? — No.
961. You made a difficulty about vessels bringing in imports? — Yes.
962. Vessels bringing imports, you say, go to Bristol instead of coming to Cardiff? — Yes.
963. How do you make that a complaint against the port? — I made no complaint against the port.
964. Or the accommodation of the port? — If we had ample dock accommodation at Cardiff, all the grain going to Bristol or Gloucester ought to come to Cardiff.
965. Is it not the fact that these vessels afterwards do come to Cardiff? — That is what I complain about. They ought never to go to Bristol, but bring the grain into Cardiff.
966. They take as much space in Cardiff when they do come as it they had come there originally? — I cannot say that that is so. I can carry grain into Cardiff 20 per cent. less than if I took it to Bristol, and then came to Cardiff.
967. Are you in the grain trade? — No, I carry grain.
968. You are a shipowner. If your vessel is chartered for grain, it goes? — I speak of the carriage of the grain.
969. Have you any notion how much grain actually does come into these docks at Cardiff? — Not one-twentieth part of what ought to come.
970. Do you know what it is? — No, I do not.
971. Have you any notion how much does come in? — A very small quantity, compared with the other trade done at the port.
972. Has the Marquess of Bute expended large sums of money in providing accommodation for the import trade? — The Marquess of Bute has erected warehouses, but they are not at all the sort of thing likely to encourage import trade in Cardiff.
973. He does not know his business, is that it? — Those warehouses are not likely to induce grain people to come to Cardiff to start business.
974. Are they perfectly useless? — I do not say so, but when a person imports grain into Cardiff, the do not want their grain put in warehouse, and have it kept paying warehouses charges, and Lord Bute’s men transhipping it — they want to do some of the operations themselves, the same as Messrs. Spiller and Company.
975. Do you know that those who wish to have it done in that way have warehouses themselves, and they do it themselves? — I know Messrs. Spiller and Company are largest importers of grain into Cardiff.
976. Have they warehouses? — Yes.
977. Do they perform the operation which you describe as so desirable? — No doubt when all their warehouses are full they will.
978. They carry on a large trade at Cardiff? — Yes, under grave difficulties.
979. That you are pleased to throw in; they are the largest warehouses in England? — I believe one of the firm will be here to give an explanation; they carry on their business under extreme difficulties; I have it from themselves.
980. There is no doubt that the Bute Docks, which have been constructed by the Marquess of Bute, have created the South Wales trade? — Lord Bute has done a great deal for us, and we do not want to injure him to the extent of a penny.
981. Will you go further and say, he has not only done a great deal, but done everything? — I cannot say that.
982. Until the Marquess of Bute made the West Dock there were no docks, and no railways, and no coal trade, and no anything? — You do not insinuate that all that was done for our benefit?
983. I never insinuate? — You do not put forward that it was all done in the interests of the public, and not in his own interest?
984. I say, do not you know that there was no South Wales trade and no railway till Lord Bute made the West Dock at Cardiff? — I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN: I do not think it leads us very far.
985. Mr. BIDDER: You know that all the subsequent dock accommodation for Cardiff has been provided from time to time by Lord Bute extending his docks? — Yes; but I know this, that the trade of Cardiff, to my mind, is boundless; it has not reached anything like the proportions that it will reach. Cardiff is destined to eclipse Liverpool, but it will never be so as long as the dock system at Cardiff is in the hands of one person. If the Liverpool Docks were in the hands of one person it never would have got to the proportions it has now reached.
986. What has Cardiff risen to be? — I say it will.
987. At the present time it is the third port in the kingdom? — Yes, but there is a long space between Cardiff and Liverpool, which will be reached.
988. And, under the present system, the increase of Cardiff is far more rapid than any other port? — That is so; but how are we ever to reach Liverpool if Lord Bute takes the power in 1874 to make a dock, and in 1876 writes a letter saying he will never make it, that is what has put us in the position we are now in.
989. You seem very anxious to throw mud upon Lord Bute? — I beg pardon, it is contrary to my wish.
990. You speak of the Cardiff trade being in one hand; it does so happen that it is not in one hand? — Virtually it is.
991. Is there a place called Penarth? — Yes, and you did your utmost to persuade Parliament that Penarth never would been required, and if Parliament had not granted the Penarth Dock, our trade would have been greatly thrown back.
992. Is there a competitive dock called Penarth? — Yes, in which is equally full with Lord Bute’s.
993. Do they do big trade? — With that exception.
994. It is with that exception of Penarth Dock? — I was glad Parliament granted the dock; it does trade to the best of its capacity.
995. A big trade, in fact? — Yes.
996. What did you mean by telling the Committee that the trade was in one hand? — I did not mean to mislead anybody.
997. Why did you tell their lordships that the trade was in one hand? — Virtually, with the exception of Penarth.
998. Is there any combination between Penarth and Lord Bute? — Upon this matter there is, evidently.
999. In trade there has been the warmest competition? — Yes.
1000. From time to time great pressure has been put upon Lord Bute, has there not, to spend more money in enlarging the dock accommodation at Cardiff? — Yes.
1001. You have been one of the persons who have put pressure upon him? — I think not; but I am willing to take part of the responsibility for doing it.
1002. Have you not? — No, I gave evidence in favour of Lord Bute’s Dock.
1003. Did you not sign a memorial to Lord Bute as far back as 1873, pressing for more dock accommodation? — I do not recollect signing it, if you say I did I will take it.
1004. I am told you did? — Will you show me that paper?
1005. No, this is a bit of paper with notes for cross-examining upon. Will you say you did not? — I will not deny that I did, if I did so.
1006. You traded under the name of Matthew Thompson? — I do now.
1007. Is it not also within your knowledge that the year before last great pressure was put upon Lord Bute? — Undoubtedly.
1008. And in consequence of the pressure put upon him, he came for a Bill last year, which resulted in the Act which is now upon their lordships’ table? — Yes, that is so.
1009. Just say what you mean by shaking your head in that manner — what do you mean to suggest? — I say it was no new power, it was in substitutions for the power sought in 1874, and never performed.
1010. Perfectly true? — And there was less dock room taken than in 1874 when the exports were £3,000,000, as compared with £8,000,000 now.
1011. In 1882, in consequence of pressure put on him by the freighters, Lord Bute applied to Parliament for power to construct what is known as the Roath Dock. I agree that there had been previous powers in 1874? — Lord Bute did apply in 1882, as you say, but whether under pressure or not, I do not know.
1012. Do not you know that it was under pressure from the freighters? — Their great complaint is as to the congested state of the port for years past.
1013. Was not very strong pressure brought to bear on him? — Very strong pressure was brought to bear on him, either to carry out this himself, or to let us do it.
1014. When he came for the Roath Dock, did you give evidence? — Yes, I was very glad to, and I will come again next year if he comes for another one.
1015. That dock depended upon the same entrance as the docks you describe as so dangerous? — It did.
1016. You, nevertheless, represented it in Parliament last year as being an excellent dock? — Nothing of the sort. You will do me the justice to say that I was never asked a single question as regards the separate entrance; if I had been, I should have been bound to admit that a separate entrance was necessary.
1017. You gave evidence in favour of the dock as it was then, and it had no separate entrance? — I did not support it upon the engineering.
1018. You knew that there was a separate entrance? — Yes; and so anxious was I to get out of a desperate situation for want of accommodation, that I supported it.
1019. That dock is being constructed? — Very rapidly, but the timber pond you are not touching at all, for which you took powers at the same time.
1020. Did you hear Mr. Lewis in the House of Commons say, as regards the timber pond, that he had been waiting till it was arranged with the timber merchants, where was the most convenient spot? — No.
1021. You know that it will be opened within two year? — I do not — I hope it will.
1022. Have you any doubt about it? — I think it is a short time.
1023. You think we are not in earnest about it? — I think you are.
1024. It will give an immense addition to the accommodation at Cardiff? — No doubt it will, but it will not be sufficient, and I said, when supported by Lord Bute, that I should have been glad to see his lordship go in for a larger scheme; and again in March, last year, when I gave evidence on behalf of the Glencorrwg Rhondda and Swansea Junction Railway Bill in the House of Lords, on the 20th of March, 1882; I then said “Lord Bute’s dock will greatly relieve us but not sufficiently I am afraid I should be glad to see his lordship going in for a larger scheme.” That will show what was in my mind in March, 1882.
1025. And you came last year, and supported a Bill for a line from Rhondda; the Swansea Line, in order to carry the Rhondda coal to Swansea? — Yes.
1026. Which will relieve a good deal of the Rhondda coal? — If we cannot get docks at Cardiff, we must go somewhere.
1027. You have been good enough to say that you have no desire to hurt Lord Bute in his interests in anything that will benefit Cardiff; you are one of the promoters of this Bill? — Yes.
1028. The principal promoters of the Bill are the colliery owners in the Rhondda Valley, are they not? — In money value, yes.
1029. And if they obtain this power to construct this railway and dock, the same persons would be owners of the colliery, owners of the railway, and owners of the dock? — No; that is not a fair inference.
1030. Is it true? — No.
1031. Is it not the fact? — No.
1032. Is it not the fact that the principal promoters of this Bill are the colliery proprietors in the Rhondda Valley? — Not in point of number; in point of value that is so.
1033. And in point of tonnage? — Yes; but I do not consider that that is a fair inference.
1034. Perhaps not; but as a matter of fact the same persons will be workers of the colliery, the owners of the railway, and the owners of the dock? — But you must bear in mind ———
1035. Yes or no? — Will you allow me to speak afterwards?
1036. Yes or no? — Yes. What I wish to say is this — the freighters you refer to are in the minority, both as shareholders in the scheme and voting power; they will have no power to use their position unfairly.
1037. What sort of competition will it be between Lord Bute’s Docks and the other railway, and their dock and railway for their coal? — They cannot send all to Barry; it is impossible; Barry cannot take it.
1038. Are the promoters banded together in an agreement amongst themselves, binding them to send half their coal to Barry; to take it away to Barry? — I was glad to see that agreement; it was stated to be secret.
1039. It was secret till I found it out in the other House ——
Mr. MATTHEWS: It was not secret.
1040. Mr. BIDDER: Secret or not, the principal freighters and the greatest freighters have signed an agreement, by which they bind themselves to take away a third of their Cardiff trade just a year and a half afterwards? — Yes.
1041. Have you signed an agreement of that kind? — I have no coal.
1042. As a shipowner and shippers? — No.
1043. Have you signed any agreement? — Only to take a number of shares.
1044. On any conditions? — None whatever; only that I shall pay for them.
Cross-examined by Mr. RODWELL.
1045. You were going to say something about Newport just now, when my learned friend stopped you; it has a very commodious dock, has it not? — Yes.
1046. Perhaps you agree with me that it has an excellent deep water entrance? — Yes.
1047. And is doing a large business, and is capable of doing more? — Yes.
Mr. MATTHEWS (to Mr. Rodwell): Who do you appear for?
Mr. RODWELL: The Alexandra Newport Docks.