Thursday, September 4, 2014

Merchant Shipping

I am currently volunteering at the Ballast Trust where I have begun scanning and uploading some of the merchant shipping photographs held at the Ballast Trust from the William Lind Collection.

The picture below depicts one of the photographs from the William Lind collection.

This is the S.S "Amerika" built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, in 1905.  Her story begins in 1910 where "Amerika" was the first ship to carry an extra-tariff restaurant, created by Charles Mews's of Ritz Carlton fame.
In 1912 she transmitted an iceberg warning just hours before the RMS Titanic struck the fatal iceberg that caused it to sink.
In 1914, with the outbreak of WW1, "Amerika" hid in Boston util the Americans entered the war where she was renamed "America", and carried troops across the Atlantic.

Check out the Ballast Trust's flicker account for more photographs and other interesting stories by clicking the link below.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday photo - Wemyss Bay Pier

Something a little different for this week's Friday photo. A great image of Wemyss Bay Pier featuring the following paddle steamers:

  • Largs built by Wingate & Co, Whiteinch, 1864
  • Lancelot built by Robert Duncan & Co, Port Glasgow, 1868
  • Lady Gertrude built by Blackwood & Gordon, Port Glasgow, 1872. 
  • Argyle built by Barclay, Curle & Co, 1866.

Wemyss Bay Pier


Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday photo - Windsor Castle

More images from the paddle steamer album have been added by our Project Scotland volunteeer this week to Flickr. Including this one of the Windsor Castle built by Caird & Co, Greenock, circa 1860.

Edit: Apparently the Caird & Co ship was built in 1859 and sank in 1860; since we have another photo of this ship dated 1889 (though we don't know when or how that date was attached), this may be a different Windsor Castle - most likely the 1875 ship built by Thomas B Seath of Rutherglen.

Windsor Castle

There is a model of the 1859 Windsor Castle on display in the McLean Museum, details here.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday photo - Victoria

Between 1834 and 1961, there were 23 Clyde-built ships which were given the name Victoria; nine of these were paddle steamers.

This is one of them.

I believe this is the 1886 Victoria, built by Blackwood and Gordon, of Paisley and Port Glasgow.

This Victoria went on fire on 17th September, 1893, while lying at the Broomielaw in Glasgow. The fire-brigade had to use two small ferryboats in fighting the fire, and a great deal of damage was done. The ship then spent a few years working on the Thames before returning to the Clyde, and was ultimately scrapped in 1900.

Of the eight other paddle steamers named Victoria: one has no location given; two were owned by the Alloa, Stirling & Kincardine Steamboat Company; one worked in Aberdeen and Newcastle, and later in Portugal; one sailed on Lake Lucerne; one worked in Australia, and later in Japan; one worked along the south coast of England; and one sailed the Channel crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe, and was wrecked in 1887 due to fog, with the loss of 19 lives.

And that's not mentioning the ships named Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria, or Royal Victoria...


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Friday photo - Scottish Maid

Today's photo is one which caused me some confusion this week! I'm the Project Scotland volunteer who's been scanning old photos of paddlesteamers. Usually, after scanning a photograph, I look up the ship in one or two places, such as the Clydebuilt database, and find a little information to put on our flickr. Not this one, however.

It looked to me like a very early paddle steamer, and I was quite put out at not being able to find anything. At first I thought the name written beside it was wrong - the second word didn't look like Maid to me - but my eyes deceived me, and Scottish Maid was indeed the name. Staff member Duncan took a look as well, and he recognised that the photograph was taken from Gourock Pier, with Kilcreggan in the background.

Unfortunately for my searching, Scottish Maid is also the name of the first clipper ship, and she dominated the initial search results.

One item caught my eye, though: a genealogy forum. The original post was from an Australian, looking for information on his great-great-grandfather from Port Glasgow, who was lost at sea. Further down the page was a paragraph from the Glasgow Herald about that very man's death in 1863 after falling from "the Tug-Steamer Scottish Maid" in Port Glasgow harbour. Port Glasgow is not very far from Gourock - surely it was the same boat?

Searching for "Scottish Maid tug" brought me immediately to Tyne Tugs which lists four tugs under the name; but only one of them was registered at Port Glasgow.

So, this is - most likely - the wooden tugboat Scottish Maid, built by J Dowey of North Shields, in 1846. She was registered at Port Glasgow in 1853, and stayed on the Clyde until she was broken up in 1873.

Update: New information has come my way, that another of those four tugs was based at Greenock from 1877 to 1892. This was the Scottish Maid built in Gateshead in 1856.

Simply thinking about the development of photography, it's probably more likely to be the later boat; we may never know for sure...


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