Caledonian Steam Packet Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Caledonian Steam Packet Company
Industry Shipping
Fate Taken over
Successor Caledonian MacBrayne
Founded 1889
Defunct 1973
Area served
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.

Formation[edit]

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.[1] 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,[2] with Captain James Williamson as secretary and manager.[3] 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.[4] 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.[1]

Amalgamations[edit]

PS Waverley lying in Brodick Bay in front of Brodick Castle, waiting for the car ferry to leave before returning to the pier

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.

In 1945, the Caledonian Steam Packet Company took responsibility for the Kyleakin to Kyle of Lochalsh ferry.

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[edit]

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[edit]

Sources[5][6][7]

Type Name Built Tonnage (GRT) Operated Notes
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
later 1,014
1943-1973 ex Williamson-Buchanan Steamers, to Cal Mac
TS Queen Mary laid up in harbour at Greenock in 1981. The funnel was later removed and replaced with two smaller ones, as the ship originally had.
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
(as modified)
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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Caledonian Steam Packet Company". Scran - part of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Duckworth, CLD; Langmuir, GE (1968). Railway and other Steamers. Prescot, Lancashire: T. Stephenson and Sons. 
  3. ^ Bernard Dumpleton. The Story of the Paddle Steamer. 
  4. ^ Williamson, James (1904). Clyde passenger steamers. Glasgow: J. Maclehose. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Clydebuilt Ships Database". Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Clyde Steamers website". Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Tramscape paddle steamers database". Retrieved 16 August 2011.