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Known Trades of Jigger Flats

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Jigger flats, built in the 19th and 20th centuries, were ketch-rigged sailing Barges. Ketch-rigged sailing barges, known in Cheshire and Lancashire as jigger flats, were built along the banks of the River Mersey from the late nineteenth century until the early twentieth century. The mizzenmast, shorter than the mainmast, was also known as a jigger mast and this may explain where these trading barges got their name from. These merchant vessels, a variation of the Mersey flat, were owned by businesses such as the Liverpool Lighterage Company and the United Alkali Company. A distinction arose between the mastless cut flats, or dumb barges, that did not leave the inland waterways and the sailing flats which were seagoing vessels. Sailing flats, including the ketch-rigged variety, could be towed along canals and rivers by horses but their rigging allowed them to operate in open waters. Jigger flats were built for coastal trade and made frequent voyages into the Bay of Liverpool, Dee Estuary