Bovril had been a staple in pantries all over France and Britain for generations. It should come as no surprise, then, that when London found itself with a massive deadly human waste build up in the Thames, the vessels that came to the rescue were aptly dubbed the “Bovril boats”.
Bovril boats, also known as sludge vessels, were specially designed sewerage dumping ships. The vessels were well maintained, and crews could expect reasonably good pay and regular work.
In 1887 the first ship of a long line of ‘pump and dump’ effluent tanker vessels was launched.