Norman's Shieldhall Retirement
At the end of July 2016, Norman formally retired as Superintendant Engineer of “Shieldhall”, a task that he had taken on since the beginning of 2014 on the untimely and sudden demise of John Milne.
Norman became involved with “Shieldhall” in the very early days, when the ship was still owned by Southern Water pending the sale to what would become the Solent Steam Packet, whilst funds were being raised. The involvement was “limited” to watchkeeping aboard, as little else was allowed and watchkeepers were required 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the rota was organised by Southampton City Council. Probably OK during the summer months, but incredibly cold and miserable during the winter.
When ownership passed to the Solent Steam Packet in July 1988, Norman was one of the early members of the society (number 27) and with his wife, Jill’s support became one of the stalwarts of the engineering team of volunteers and becoming one of the Chief Engineers prior to taking “Shieldhall” to Bristol for the first Festival of the Sea in 1996 and then on to Dordrecht, the first time that “Shieldhall” had been outside of UK waters. One of many milestones that Norman had involvement with.
In 2005, “Shieldhall” returned to the Clyde to celebrate 50 years of service and Norman was one of the main instigators and a leader of the project team that worked so hard over about 2 years to achieve that goal. Although he was unable to take the ship as Chief Engineer, due to knee surgery a few weeks before, it didn’t stop him making the journey north to participate in the events.
Norman’s positive thinking and way of tackling difficulties were probably best illustrated on 2011 when during a dry-dock survey, the MCA condemned a number of hull frames in the engine-room and in essence, stopped “Shieldhall” sailing that year. Norman led the team that determined a temporary way forward that would meet the requirements of the MCA to enable “Shieldhall” to sail again in 2012 and thus provided an important buffer whilst the necessary funding was found to enable the permanent repairs to be made.
Norman’s enthusiasm for the ship and the engineering aspects have made him a tremendous ambassador for the ship and his leadership and encouragement have meant that we have always had a good, strong engineering department.
Something that was rarely seen by most, was the way that he could charm companies into providing goods and services and over the years, must have saved the society thousands of pounds.
Norman has been a key part of our HLF project team and has provided advice and guidance readily and his tenacity was demonstrated admirably with the way that the new AC generator set was eventually purchased. This took about two years of exploring what became blind alleys in order to meet the MCA requirements for such a set and to match our own requirements. Needless to say, the set eventually purchased has proven to be a master of the task and this is in no small way due to Norman’s determination to get the right result.
There are many tales that could be told by everyone associated with Shieldhall over the 30 years that Norman has been active, but these are best left to “lamp swinging” sessions. It is also not easy to condense 30 years into a few paragraphs and the foregoing is really only a brief resume and although Norman has retired, we will still expect him on board from time to time to provide us with his expertise and guidance.
We should also thank his dear wife Jill, for the support that she has given to Norman from the word “go” with our project, because without it, Norman is unlikely to have been able to give the time and energy that he has.
Your retirement has been well earned Norman, enjoy it.
Engineering Department’s dinner in honour of Norman Tulip on his retirement after over thirty years of service to Shieldhall. 29th October 2016.
(Click on each image below to enlarge)