Caledonian Steam Packet Company
|Clyde and West of Scotland|
The Caledonian Steam Packet Company provided a scheduled shipping service, carrying freight and passengers, on the west coast of Scotland. Formed in 1889 to complement the services of the Caledonian Railway, the company expanded by taking over rival ferry companies. In 1973, they were merged with MacBraynes as Caledonian MacBrayne.
Rival railway companies, the Caledonian Railway (CR), the North British Railway (NBR) and the Glasgow and South Western Railway (GSWR) at first used the services of various early private operators of Clyde steamers. The CR failed to attract private ship owners to their new extension from Greenock to the fishing village of Gourock. They had purchased the harbour at Gourock, which had advantages of a faster line from Glasgow, bypassing the Glasgow and South Western Railway Prince's Pier at Greenock, and being closer to the Clyde resorts. The CR began operating steamers on its own account in 1889.
The Caledonian Steam Packet Company (CSP) was formed as a packet company in May 1889, with Captain James Williamson as secretary and manager. Nominally an independent company, they bought the ships needed to operate steamer services to and from Gourock. On withdrawal of the Wemyss Bay Steamboat Company in 1890, CSP took over services to Rothesay, Largs and Millport. In June 1890, they established a service to Arran from the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway railhead at Ardrossan. In the years that followed, there was significant investment in piers and ships.
After years of fierce competition between all the fleets, the CR and GSWR amalgamated with several other railways at the start of 1923 to form the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and their fleets amalgamated into the Caledonian Steam Packet Company, their funnels being painted yellow with a black top. At the same time the NBR (and its shipping fleet) also amalgamated with other railways to create the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), which built the PS Waverley in 1947.
In 1935, Williamson-Buchanan Steamers was taken over by the Caledonian Steam Packet Company.
With nationalisation in 1948, the LMS and LNER fleets were amalgamated as Clyde Shipping Services, under the control of the British Transport Commission.
In 1957 a reorganisation restored the Caledonian Steam Packet Company name, and in 1965 a red lion was added to each side of the black-topped yellow funnels. The headquarters remained at Gourock pierhead.
At the end of December 1968 management of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company passed to the Scottish Transport Group, which gained control of David MacBrayne's the following June. The MacBrayne service from Gourock to Ardrishaig ended on 30 September 1969, leaving the Clyde services entirely to the Caledonian Steam Packet Company.
Merger with MacBraynes
On 1 January 1973 the Caledonian Steam Packet Co. acquired most of the ships and routes of David MacBrayne Ltd and commenced joint Clyde and West Highland operations under the new name of Caledonian MacBrayne, with a combined headquarters at Gourock.
List of ships operated by the company
|PS||Meg Merrilies||Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow, 1883||244||1888-1902||ex Capt. Robert Campbell|
|PS||Madge Wildfire||McKnight, Ayr, 1886||220||1888-1911||ex Capt. Robert Campbell|
|PS||Caledonia||Rankin & Blackmore, Greenock, 1889||244||1889-1933|
|PS||Galatea||Caird & Co., Greenock, 1889||331||1889-1906|
|PS||Marchioness of Bredalbane||John Reid & Co., Port Glasgow, 1890||246||1890-1935|
|PS||Marchioness of Bute||John Reid & Co., Port Glasgow, 1890||246||1890-1914||Returned after World War I but not re-commissioned|
|PS||Duchess of Hamilton||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1890||533||1890-1914||She served as a minesweeper during World War I. She struck a mine in the Thames Estuary, laid by German submarine UC-3, and sank on 29 November 1915|
|PS||Marchioness of Lorne||Russell & Co., Port Glasgow, 1891||295||1891-1914||Returned after World War I, but not re-commissioned|
|PS||Duchess of Rothesay||J. & G. Thomson, Clydebank, 1895||338||1895-1939||Not returned after World War II|
|PS||Duchess of Montrose||John Brown & Co., Clydebank, 1902||321||1902-1914||Sunk whilst serving as minesweeper, 1917|
|PS||Duchess of Fife||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan, 1903||336||1903-1953|
|TS||Duchess of Argyll||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1906||593||1906-1952|
|PS||Ivanhoe||D. & W. Henderson & Co., Glasgow, 1880||282||1897-1911||ex Firth of Clyde Steam Packet Co.|
|TS||Duchess of Montrose||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1930||806||1930-1965|
|TS||Duchess of Hamilton||Harland & Wolff, Govan, 1932||801||1932-1971|
|PS||Caledonia||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1934||624||1934-1969|
|PS||Marchioness of Lorne||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan, 1935||449||1935-1955|
|MV||Wee Cumbrae||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1936||36||1935-1953|
|MV||Arran Mail||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1936||137||1936-1951|
|MV||Countess of Breadalbane||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1936||106||1936-1971|
|TS||Marchioness of Graham||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan, 1936||585||1936-1958|
|PS||Jupiter||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan, 1937||642||1937-1960|
|PS||Juno||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan, 1937||642||1937-1939||Bombed and sunk whilst serving as HMS Helvellyn, 20 March 1941|
|MV||Ashton||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1938||38||1938-1965|
|MV||Leven||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1938||38||1938-1966|
|PS||Glen Rosa||J. & G. Thomson, Clydebank, 1893||306||1938-1939||ex London, Midland and Scottish Railway|
|TS||Glen Sannox||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1925||664||1938-1954||ex London, Midland and Scottish Railway|
|PS||Mercury||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan, 1934||621||1938-1939||ex London, Midland and Scottish Railway. She struck a mine and sank in the Irish Sea whilst serving as a minesweeper, 24 December 1940|
|TS||King Edward||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1901||551||1943-1952||ex Williamson-Buchanan Steamers|
|TS||Queen Mary II||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1933||870
|1943-1973||ex Williamson-Buchanan Steamers, to Cal Mac|
|PS||Queen-Empress||Murdoch & Murray, Port Glasgow, 1912||411||1946||De-requisitioned 1946 and returned to CSP (as successors to Williamson-Buchanan Steamers) but not recommissioned|
|PS||Jeanie Deans||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Eng. Co., Govan, 1931||814
|1951-1965||ex British Transport Commission|
|DEPV||Talisman||A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, 1935||544||1951-1967||ex British Transport Commission|
|PS||Waverley||A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, 1946||693||1951-1973||ex British Transport Commission, to Cal Mac|
|PS||Maid of the Loch||A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, 1953||555||1953-1973||to Cal Mac|
|MV||Arran||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1953||568||1953-1973||to Cal Mac|
|MV||Maid of Argyll||A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, 1953||508||1953-1973||to Cal Mac|
|MV||Maid of Ashton||Yarrow & Co., Scotstoun, 1953||508||1953-1973|
|MV||Maid of Cumbrae||Ardrossan Dockyard, 1953||508||1953-1973|
|MV||Maid of Skelmorlie||A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, 1953||508||1953-1973|
|MV||Bute||Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, 1954||569||1954-1973||to Cal Mac|
|MV||Cowal||Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, 1954||569||1954-1973||to Cal Mac|
|MV||Glen Sannox||Ailsa Shipbuilding Co., Troon, 1957||1,107||1957-1973||to Cal Mac|
|TS||Caledonian Princess||Wm. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton, 1961||3,629||1961-1968||to British Rail (Sealink)|
|MV||Keppel||J Samuel White, Southampton, 1961||214||1967-1973||ex British Railways (Eastern Region) MV Rose, to Cal Mac|
|MV||Caledonia||A/S Langesunds Mek Versted, Norway, 1966||1,157||1970-1973||ex Stena Line MV Stena Baltica, to Cal Mac|
|MV||Kilbrannan||J. Lamont & Co., Port Glasgow, 1972||65||1972-1973||to Cal Mac|
- "Caledonian Steam Packet Company". Scran - part of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- Duckworth, CLD; Langmuir, GE (1968). Railway and other Steamers. Prescot, Lancashire: T. Stephenson and Sons.
- Bernard Dumpleton. The Story of the Paddle Steamer.
- Williamson, James (1904). Clyde passenger steamers. Glasgow: J. Maclehose. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- "Clydebuilt Ships Database". Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- "Clyde Steamers website". Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- "Tramscape paddle steamers database". Retrieved 16 August 2011.