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R.G.Odell
 
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This page shows the Thames excursion boats of R.G.Odell. This is one a of series of Simplon Postcards pages devoted to River Thames Excursion Boats.
R.G.Odell entered the Thames passenger trade in 1933, having previously been involved in the lighterage business. Odell came from a long line of Thames watermen and had won the coveted Doggett's Coat & Badge as an oarsman in 1902. He obtained a contract with the Ford Motor Co of Dagenham to ferry visitors to their works from Westminster, forming the Odelia Cruising Motor Ship Co to do this. His first passenger boat, acquired for this service, was named New Dagenham and was built in the Netherlands. In the same year 1933, A.Gordon Cooper started a ferry service across the Thames from Erith to Dagenham, to bring Ford workers from the south bank. This service continued until quite recently. Odell's service from Westminster continued until the outbreak of WW2, although Geoffrey Grimshaw says that  New Dagenham was sold in 1937. In 1934 a public enquiry was conducted by the Minister of Transport to look into the provision of a Thames waterbus services along the lines of the pre-WW1 London City Council service. The recommendations were not pursued. During the early part of WW2, and emergency service was run using three launches owned by Joseph Mears.
 
In 1946, R.G.Odell again obtained the contract for Ford Motor Company services from Westminster to Dagenham. He obtained the boats Ich Dein and Mark Rock, the latter being renamed Odette. The London Transport Board looked at setting again providing a waterbus service, supported by R.G.Odell amongst others. Odell began building a fleet of suitable vessels, the first of which, Oat, was also the first new post-war Thames boat. She was followed by the Obe, Ocenia and Odelia. They had wooden hulls with square sterns, and observation saloons fore and aft of a central entrance and cockpit. I presume the forward saloons could be removed in their entirety, since the same boats are also seen with open foredecks. The service began on 7th July 1947, running from Putney to Charing Cross, with connections there to Greenwich by Thames Pleasurecraft. The service was so successful that an additional shuttle had to be provided between Charing Cross and the Tower. Additional Odell boats built in 1947/48 were Oenid, Officer, Organic and Ohmid. He completed the fleet with Oinette and Ojonto, and also built three larger boats Zodiac, Fordson and Prefect for the Ford service. In 1950, a fourth large boat, Ford Consul, was added to the fleet, plus the small Santina and Santosy for the Charing Cross to Tower shuttle. Ford Consul and Zodiac were licensed to operate as far as Southend. The Festival of Britain was held at the South Bank in 1951 and boat services were particularly busy. In 1952, Odell ran the Thames Docks cruises. In 1958, Odell took over the ex-Croson boats Titlark and Titlark II which had been running for County Cruises from Charing Cross to Gravesend, and they were renamed Okra and Oleander. The water bus service ended in 1962, with the Odell fleet passing to Thames Cruises Ltd (R.G.Odell & son Leslie Odell both directors). Thames Cruises were taken over by Thames Launches in 1966.
 
 
Boats on this Page:-
Consulate - R.G.Odell: 1958-1965 - ex-Ford Consul
Everest - R.G.Odell:1951-1970
Ford Consul - R.G.Odell: 1951-1958 - later Consulate
Fordson - R.G.Odell:1949-1967
New Dagenham - Odelia Cruising Motor Ship Co (R.G.Odell): 1933-1937
Oat - R.G.Odell: 1946-1962
Obe - R.G.Odell: 1946-1953
Ocenia - R.G.Odell: 1946-1953
Odelia - R.G.Odell:1947-1963
Odette - R.G.Odell:1945-1946
Oenid - R.G.Odell:1947-1964
Officer - R.G.Odell:1947-1964
Oganic - R.G.Odell:1947-1965
Ohmid - R.G.Odell: 1947-1965 - later Swan of Basildon III
Oinette - R.G.Odell:1948-1964
Ojonto - R.G.Odell:1948-1964
Okra - R.G.Odell:1958 - ex-Titlark 1
Oleander - R.G.Odell:1958 - ex-Titlark 2
Prefect - R.G.Odell: 1949-1965
Santina - R.G.Odell:1947-1965
Santosy - R.G.Odell:1947-1965
Swan of Basildon III - ex-R.G.Odell river bus Ohmid
Zodiac - R.G.Odell:1950-1965
 
Thames Passenger Boat Pages:-
River Thames Excursion Boats - Thames Header Page - Full List of Companies
Colliers Launches - Westminster-Kew-Hampton Court services - Thames River Boats
Complete Pleasure Boats - Westminster-Kew-Hampton Court services - Thames River Boats
Ed Langley - Westminster-Kew-Hampton Court services - Thames River Boats
Joseph Mears - Westminster-Kew-Hampton Court services 1907-1945 - passed to Thames Launches
King Cruises - Westminster-Kew-Hampton Court services - Thames River Boats
Maynard Launches - Westminster-Kew-Hampton Court services - Thames River Boats
Salter Brothers - Oxford-Abingdon-Wallingford-Reading-Henley-Marlow-Maidenhead-Windsor-Staines services
www.completepleasureboats.co.uk - official website for charters
www.thamesexecutivecharters.com - official website for Blackfriars-Putney commuter service
www.thamesriverboats.co.uk - official website for Hampton Court services
 
Associated Pages:-
UK Excursion Ships
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards - Recent Updates
Simplon Postcards - Home Page
 
References:-
Royal River Highway: Written by Frank L. Dix - published David & Charles 1984
British Pleasure Steamers 1920-1939: Written by Geoffrey Grimshaw - published Richard Tilling 1945
Trip Out Guides - Written and published by G.P.Hamer - various editions from 1977 to 2005 consulted
Trip Out Guides are available from Geoffrey Hamer, PO Box 485, Southall, UB1 9BH
 
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R.G.Odell & Sons

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New Dagenham
(Odelia Cruising Motor Ship Co: 1934-37)



R.G.Odell entered the Thames passenger trade in 1933, having previously been involved in the lighterage business. Odell came from a long line of Thames watermen and had won the coveted Doggett's Coat & Badge as an oarsman in 1902. He obtained a contract with the Ford Motor Co of Dagenham to ferry visitors to their works from Westminster, forming the Odelia Cruising Motor Ship Co to do this. His first passenger boat, acquired for this service, was named New Dagenham and was built in the Netherlands by N.V.Industrieele Maats 'De Noord', Alblasserdam. She was powered by two 200bhp diesels supplied by Gebr.Stork, Hengelo. The books also disagree on her build date, Dix saying 1933 and Grimshaw 1934. Odell's service from Westminster continued until the outbreak of WW2 according to Dix, although Geoffrey Grimshaw says that the New Dagenham was sold in 1937 to Turkey as the Bayrakli of Izmir Liman Isletmesi.


New Dagenham in the Royal Albert Dock on 29th July 1935
NEW DAGENHAM - www.simplonpc.co.uk






Oat
(R.G.Odell: 1946-62)


Oat was built by the Walton Boat & Launch Co in 1946 for R.G.Odell. She was 63ft 11in long. Oat was sold in 1962 and served with Coakley's Launches until 1976.


Oat at Lambeth Pier
OAT - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Oat at Putney Pier
OAT - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk



The Odell fleet at builders the Walton Boat & Launch Co
Ocenia, Oat and Obe in the foreground. Fore saloons are on the quay - these appeared to be removable to suit weather conditions
Photo: © David Lord



Oat with fore saloon
OAT - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk






Obe
(R.G.Odell: 1946-53)


Obe was built by the Walton Boat & Launch Co in 1946 for R.G.Odell. She was 66ft long. Obe was sold in 1953.


The Odell fleet at builders the Walton Boat & Launch Co
Ocenia, Oat and Obe in the foreground. Fore saloons are on the quay - these appeared to be removable to suit weather conditions
Photo: © David Lord






Ocenia
(R.G.Odell: 1946-53)


Ocencia was built by the Walton Boat & Launch Co in 1946 for R.G.Odell. She was 63ft 11in long. Ocenia was sold in 1953.


Odell launch Ocenia passing Richmond to take up station on the water bus
Photo: © David Lord



The Odell fleet at builders the Walton Boat & Launch Co
Ocenia, Oat and Obe in the foreground. Fore saloons are on the quay - these appeared to be removable to suit weather conditions
Photo: © David Lord






Odelia (R.G.Odell: 1947-63)

Odelia was built by the Walton Boat & Launch Co in 1947 for R.G.Odell. She was 66ft long. Odelia was sold in 1963.


Ohmid on the Thames
ODELIA - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk






Ohmid(R.G.Odell: 1947-65)
Swan of Basildon III(G.Beale: 1965-??)

Ohmid was built by the Walton Boat & Launch Co in 1947 for R.G.Odell. She was 66ft long. Ohmid was sold in 1965. She became the Swan of Basildon III for the Child-Beale Trust at Basildon-on-Thames near Reading.



Ohmid at Walton-on-Thames
OHMID - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Ohmid at Walton-on-Thames - enlarged view from card above
OHMID - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Swan of Basildon III at the Child-Beale Trust, Basildon-on-Thames, near Reading
SWAN OF BASILDON III - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Swan of Basildon III at the Child-Beale Trust, Basildon-on-Thames, near Reading
SWAN OF BASILDON III - www.simplonpc.co.uk






Santina (R.G.Odell: 1947-53)
Santosy (R.G.Odell: 1947-53)

Santina & Santosy were smaller 50ft boats built by the Walton Boat & Launch Co in 1946 for R.G.Odell to use on Westminster-Tower shuttles. They were both sold in 1965.


Santina on the Thames
SANTINA - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk



Santina or Santosy at Teddington
Photo: © David Lord






Ford Consul (R.G.Odell: 1948-58)
Consulate (R.G.Odell: 1958-65)

Odell launch Ford Consul on trials, passing Thornicroft Hampton launch Works
Photo: © David Lord






Prefect
(R.G.Odell: 1949-65)

Odell launch Prefect passing Surbiton
Photo: © David Lord






Zodiac (R.G.Odell: 1950-51)
Festival (R.G.Odell: 1951-5?)
Zodiac
(R.G.Odell: 195?-65)

Zodiac was built by the Walton Boat & Launch Co in 1950 for R.G.Odell. She was 85ft long. She was renamed Festival in 1951 for the Festival of Britain. Dix says that she was renamed just for the Festival period, but then puts the date of reverting to Zodiac as being in 1957. I suspect this may be a typo and should be 1951 or 1952. In 1966 she passed to Thames Cruisers (of which R.G.Odell was a director), then to Thames Launches in 1979 and later London Launches. In 2006 she remained in use as a house boat at Hoo Marina on the River Medway.



Zodiac at Hoo Marina on 10th June 2006
Photo 2006 Ian Boyle
ZODIAC - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk









Unidentified Odell Boats


Two river buses with fore saloons by the Palace of Westminster
River Buses - R.G.Odell - www.simplonpc.co.uk



The Odell fleet at builders the Walton Boat & Launch Co
Photo: © David Lord







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