Many small harbours and quays provided only for manual loading and unloading of cargo, so when boats with their own on-board power-plant came along, it was logical to provide powered derricks for self-loading. Once powered by the steam plant, today’s ships have electric cranes with hydraulic jibs enabling transfer of goods between ship and shore in a few moments. Until the late 1950s, most road vehicles were also handled in this way, but the advent of the roll-on, roll-off ferry (Ro-ro) brought a revolution in vehicle handling, copied from the method used by the military with landing craft.
The classic Scottish steam coaster was the ‘Clyde Puffer’. uses its derrick to load a period-piece Albion lorry at an unrecorded location. The 1964 Renault 4 was probably quite new. CHRIS LEIGH COLLECTION