Cob takes pride of place in Queen's Pageant
The owner of a piece of Middlesbrough’s shipbuilding history has spoken of his pride after it played a leading role in the Royal flotilla to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The tugboat ‘Cob’ was built at Middlebrough’s famous Smith’s Dock in 1911.
Antique dealer and boat enthusiast James Muggoch bought it for £6,000 in Newcastle 25 years ago and restored it after much time, effort and cash.
The Cob came to the attention of Middlesbrough people last year during the centenary celebrations for the Transporter Bridge.
James and his crew travelled on the Cob from its moorings at Kew Bridge, London, to the Transporter Bridge for the celebration event in October and took local people and children on trips up and down the Tees.
Now the humble boat has successfully completed what could be its finest journey yet by being a group leader in the historic tugboats section for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames on Sunday, June 3.
The Cob was one of more than 1,000 boats to take part in the formal river procession watched by The Queen, the Royal Family and more than 1 million members of the public.
Having just returned from the event James, 63, said the week had left some magical memories.
He said: “All the historic tug boats let go of their moorings at the same time and we went down four abreast with only about 50 foot between us.
“We looked to the right and there was a small park with a hill and there must have been about 20,000 people there. It was like that for the next 20 miles.
“The crowds were fantastic, unbelievable!
“These were ordinary people cheering another bunch of ordinary people who happened to have boats. It was mind-blowing and we loved it!”
Prior to the event the Cob had to be checked over by security personnel. There were 14 crew on board including James’s wife, sons, daughters, son-in-laws and his regular crew.
He admitted they all got a bit emotional during the historical journey.
“The rain was coming down outside but we were wiping away the tears inside,” he said.
Originally named Smiths Dock No 3, the Cob saw service with the Royal Navy as 'Mary' at Scapa Flow during the First World War, then as the Cob was with Swan Hunter until sold to Micky Devlin of Tyne Towage Co. for £1 and finally to James.
She spent 18 years in Brentford, London and more recently - as a family 'yacht' - spent her time in Cowes, Isle of Wight before being brought to the Thames.