An Invited Friend of the Harrison Butler Association
“A hybrid from the pen of Bob Anderson of ARP, Whitstable,
influenced by previous Harrison Butler designs he built
but with Maurice Griffiths tendencies”



The Truth About Mandamus
Mandamus first popped up on the HBA radar in February 2016, when she appeared on the Wooden Ships website described as a collaboration between Harrison Butler and Maurice Griffiths. This did not sound at all correct to our Membership Secretary, Robert Griffiths, who had looked over her when she was for sale several years ago. At that time, no mention was made of any such collaboration. Determined to get at the truth, Robert got in touch with Alan Staley who responded with a most informative email.


Alan Staley wrote; “Hello Mr Griffiths, I did indeed write the book Last One Down The Slip about my time employed by Anderson, Rigden and Perkins, firstly as an apprentice boat builder, and then as a boat builder. I had many conversations with Bob Anderson whilst researching for the book. Mr Anderson told me that he designed Mandamus himself, but admitted that he had been influenced a great deal by the work of Thomas Harrison Butler and Maurice Griffiths. I would guess that the actual drawings were worked up by Harry Beal who was the yard manager, having worked his way up from an apprentice boat builder (Harry Beal also did the drawings for Bob Anderson's house).
The yard had been building boats designed by Thomas Harrison Butler and Maurice Griffiths. The method of construction of Mandamus follows closely that of the 72 feet long Harbour Defence Motor Launches built for the admiralty during World War II, except that the outer skin is fore and aft planked, rather than diagonal. However, the steam bent frames, with every third one having a doubler inboard of the stringers, and fastened through from the outer plank, riveted on roves on the inner frame, was employed to build both the HDMLs and Mandamus.
Sadly this is all I know, and all who worked at the yard when Mandamus was built are now long since dead. During the 1990s I undertook the restoration of Mandamus, fitting much new planking to both port and starboard bows. A complete new deck was fitted together with a new, enlarged dog house. The original wooden centreboard was retained, although the case was rebuilt.
Mandamus was built with a 4hp Stuart Turner engine. I removed this and replaced it with a 9hp Arona diesel whilst employed at the yard, I then fitted a 28 hp, 3 cylinder Perkins Perama unit during the refit of the 1990s.   Mr Anderson attended the re-launch of Mandamus here at Faversham. A sister ship Gadfly III was built and is now owned in Holland”.

The 28 hp, 3 cylinder Perkins Perama engine fitted to Mandamus
by Alan Staley in the 1990s

So the use of the word collaboration is not correct. However, our authentication officer, Paul Leinthall-Cowmann said, “Bob Anderson's design has a graceful, sweeping bow section and an elegant sheerline, worthy of a Harrison Butler design”. The Association is happy to welcome Mandamus as an invited friend.

Photograph by Roy Rigden from Last One Down the Slip

Mandamus Statistics
Built : 1946 by Anderson, Rigden & Perkins, Whitstable, Kent
LOA : 31' 6"
LWL : 24' 0"
Beam : 9' 4"
Draught : 3' 3" to 4' 6"
Displacement : 8 tons TM
Lloyd's Register : N° 166902

First Sail
Photograph by Roy Rigden from Last One Down the Slip 

Mandamus Custodians & Home Ports 
Rod and Sue Moody (?-2011-2016...) Medina River, Isle of Wight
Leonard Hasted (1980-?) Queenborough
John C Close (1978-?) Queenborough
RE Barry (1977) Faversham
RK Anderson (1948-1976) Faversham

Mandamus Links
Mandamus For Sale (March 2016) - Now SOLD

Page last updated : July 2016


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