Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company

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Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company
Industryexcursion-steamer operator
FateVoluntary liquidation
SuccessorRoutes sold to P and A Campbell and Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
ProductsLiverpool-Holyhead-Llandudno-Menai Straits-Beaumaris-Bangor
ParentFairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company

The Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company (LNWSC) was a pleasure cruise company based in Liverpool.[1]


In 1890, the Glasgow-based Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company had formed the New North Wales Steamship Company (NNWSS).[1] The pleasure cruiser market was quickly changing, and bigger boats meant cheaper prices, and hence higher profits. The NNWSS operated its first season with the new Fairfield-built St Tudno, far bigger than any rival vessel on that run.[1][2]

As a result, in 1891 the NNWSS took over the rival Liverpool, Llandudno and Welsh Coast Steam Boat Company (LL&WC) to form the LNWSC. The original St Tudno was sold to Germany, but along with the older and smaller LL&WC steamers was replaced by the brand new St Tudno, which became the first ship to run under LNWSC colours.[1][2]

The flag of the LNWSC was white swallowtail, bearing a blue cross throughout, with three gold-coloured ostrich feathers in the form of the Fleur-de-Lys in the centre.[3]

In 1899, the company took over the smaller Snowdon Passenger Steamboat Company (SPSC), which had started in 1892.[1]


The company's main route was as described in their name: Liverpool, Holyhead, Llandudno and the Menai Straits piers of Beaumaris and Bangor.[1][2][4] The company's largest ships operated this route.[1][2] They also operated services north to Fleetwood, west to the Isle of Man, and around the Isle of Anglesey.[1]


The fleet was supplied direct from the Govan yards of Fairfield,[5] where vessels had either been freshly built or heavily refurbished, and where winter maintenance was also undertaken.[1]

The paddle steamer St Elvies was introduced in 1896, mainly deployed on excursions on the Isle of Man route. After the purchase of the SPSC in 1899, she was joined by their paddle steamer Snowdon. In the 1904 season, the expensive La Marguerite was transferred from the Thames Estuary services, operating from Liverpool on the main route until the end of the 1925 season.[1][2]

After this point, steam turbine vessels began to be deployed. The first steam turbine vessel to be built for the LNWSC was 1914s St Seiriol, but she was lost during World War I, when all commercial services had been suspended. Hence the St Tudno in 1925 became the first turbine vessel, with a second similar but smaller version also called St Seiriol joining in 1931. In the mid-1930s the small diesel-powered St Silio joined the fleet, renamed St Trillo after World War II, again when commercial services were suspended.[1][2]


Along with other pleasure steamer companies, the LNWSC suffered from the excursion market’s decline starting in the 1950s, due to competition from the motor bus and later the motor car.[1][2]

The company went into voluntary liquidation at the end of the 1962 season. The receiver immediately sold the St Seiriol for scrap in November 1962, followed by St Tudno in April 1963.[1][2] The St Trillo was sold to rival P and A Campbell, who continued to run excursions from Llandudno until the 1970s.[1][2]


The coastal pleasure steamer MV Balmoral in the Menai Straits, as seen from Garth Pier, Bangor, 2007

Services from Liverpool to Llandudno, and Llandudno to Douglas were taken over by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, at a reduced frequency.[1][2] The coastal pleasure steamer MV Balmoral regularly operated summer pleasure cruises on the same routes as the LNWSC, but was taken out of service in 2017.[6]

In the 1990s, a series of early films were rediscovered from Mitchell and Kenyon, who had filmed LNWSC vessels on trips between Liverpool, Holyhead and Llandudno, featuring the St.Tudno and St. Elvies.[7]

Revival In 2016[edit]

In 2016 the Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Company Ltd was formed,[8] with the aim of re-introducing pleasure cruises to Liverpool and the North Wales coast. Restoration began on a 1959-built motor vessel and additional purchases were planned.[9] Restoration of the ferry, renamed TSMV Endeavour, was well underway in May 2019 [10] when it sank at its moorings in Canada Dock, following a suspected break-in.[11] Shortly afterwards, the company's social media accounts were removed and their accounts are overdue as of May 2021.[citation needed]

Fleet Details[edit]

Name Builder GWT Built Entered Service Disposed Notes
Paris 1875 1890 1892 Originally NNWSS
Bonnie Princess 1882 1882 1895
St Tudno Fairfield 1,146 long tons (1,164 t) 1889 1890 1921 Sold to Ballin company in Hamburg, Germany. Renamed PS Cobra, served with Hapag
St Tudno Fairfield 1891 1891 1912
PS St Elvies 1896 1931
PS Snowdon 1892 1899 1931
La Marguerite Fairfield 1,554 long tons (1,579 t) 1894 1904 1925 Moved from English Channel service
St Elian Barclay Curle 203 long tons (206 t) 1872 1907 1915
St Trillo Barclay Curle 1909 1921
St Seiriol 1,586 long tons (1,611 t) 1909 1914 1915 Never joined the fleet, sunk during World War I
St Tudno 2,500 long tons (2,500 t) 1909 1925 1963
St Seiriol 2,500 long tons (2,500 t) 1925 1931 1963
MV St Silio 1935 1935 1963 Later renamed St Trillo, sold to rival P and A Campbell

See also[edit]


  • John Shepherd (2006). The Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company. Ships in Focus Publications. ISBN 1-901703-68-1.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o John Shepherd (2006). The Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company. Ships in Focus Publications. ISBN 1-901703-68-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Flag of the Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company". Anglesey Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Vintage cruise ship Balmoral sets sail from Liverpool". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company". BBC Wales. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company Ltd". Companies House. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Team transforming ship to sail to North Wales want second passenger vessel". North Wales Live. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Rusting 'ghost ship' to be restored for new Liverpool-Wales ferry service". Yachting & Boating World. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Former ferry is sinking after being left to rot for years". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 7 May 2021.

External links[edit]