SS City of Glasgow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SS City of Glasgow 1850.jpg
City of Glasgow
 United Kingdom
Name: City of Glasgow
Port of registry: Glasgow
Ordered: 1849
Builder: Tod & Macgregor, Partick, Glasgow
Yard number: 57
Launched: 28 February 1850
Christened: 28 February 1850 by Miss M. Galbraith [1]
Maiden voyage: 16 April 1850
In service: 1850
Out of service: 1854
Fate: Lost at sea, March 1854
General characteristics
Type: ocean liner
Tons burthen: 1610 bom
Length: 227 ft (69 m)
Beam: 34 ft (10 m)
Depth: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion: Single screw
Sail plan: Three-masted barque
Capacity: 137 cabin passengers as built. 400 steerage added later.
Crew: 70
Button from officer's uniform

SS City of Glasgow of 1850 was a single-screw passenger steamship of the Inman Line, which disappeared en route from Liverpool to Philadelphia in January 1854 with 480 passengers and crew. Based on ideas pioneered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel's SS Great Britain of 1845, City of Glasgow established that Atlantic steamships could be operated profitably without government subsidy. After a refit in 1852, she was also the first Atlantic steamship to carry steerage passengers, representing a significant improvement in the conditions experienced by immigrants. In March 1854 City of Glasgow vanished at sea with no known survivors.[2]

Development and design[edit]

Built by Tod & Macgregor of Partick, Glasgow and launched on 28 February 1850, City of Glasgow initially carried 44 first class and 85 second class passengers along with 1,200 tons of cargo. Her iron hull considerably reduced repair costs incurred by the wooden-hulled steamships of the day, and the use of a propeller instead of paddle wheels allowed more space for passengers and cargo. City of Glasgow was especially economical because she was not built for speed; her best time across the Atlantic was 14 days, 4 hours, almost 4 days longer than Cunard Line's Asia, the record holder in 1850. While the City of Glasgow's two lever-beam engines of 350 horsepower produced a moderate 9.5 knots, her coal consumption was only 20 tons per day, compared with 76 tons for Asia.[3]

Service history[edit]

She made five voyages on the GlasgowNew York City service on Tod & Macgregor's own account and sailed on her maiden voyage on 15 April 1850. City of Glasgow was the first steamship to travel from Glasgow to New York. William Inman, a business partner of the line of sailing packets, persuaded his other partners to expand their line by buying the advanced new steamship. On 5 October 1850, she was purchased by the newly formed Liverpool and Philadelphia Steam Ship Company (also known as the Inman Line) and moved to the LiverpoolPhiladelphia route from 17 December 1850. In 1852, the company entered the immigrant trade and City of Glasgow was refitted to accommodate an additional 400 third class passengers in her holds.[2]

Cabins were available in state rooms from fifteen to twenty one guineas for each berth. Steerage passengers were charged eight guineas. Dogs were £3. [4]

Loss at Sea[edit]

City of Glasgow left Liverpool on 1 March 1854, with 480 people on board. There were 111 cabin and saloon passengers and 293 in steerage. Her crew was 76; 5 Captain and officers, 1 surgeon, 1 purser, 4 engineers, 6 firemen, 5 coal trimmers, 19 stewards and waiters, 1 stewardess, 1 quartermaster and 30 able seamen. She sailed under Captain K. Morrison. This was his first voyage in command, but he had served as her chief officer for many months before. He was reported to have considerable experience in navigating the Atlantic. [5] The ship was due to return from Philadelphia on 25 March 1854.[4]

No word was received from the ship after she left Liverpool. Her sister ship the City of Manchester met many icebergs and large fields of ice on her journey from Philadelphia on 8 March. Other ships reported that the ice was greater than had been witnessed for many years. Large icebergs and fields of ice were in the course that the steamers usually used. [5] When news of her delay reached the ship's owners, they issued a report stating that they felt the ship had been detained in the ice. She was well supplied with water, coal and provisions. [6] However, by the end of May 1854 she was accepted as lost. The ship and her cargo was insured for £50,000. [7]

Her fate remains a mystery.[8] Newspapers of the day reported various sightings of the ship, but these were often contradictory. For example, the Captain of the Baldaur spotted a large steamer with a list to port on 21 April, [5] however he asserted was "unlike that ill-fated vessel".[9] The Mary Morris came upon the hull of large iron vessel that was apparently Clyde built and thought to be of the City of Glasgow. [10] However the owners of the City of Glasgow ascertained that this was in fact the Shannon from Glasgow to Montreal. [11]

It was reported that a portion of the bow of a ship, bearing the name City of Glasgow in gilded letters, washed ashore at Ballochgair near Campbeltown on 25 October 1854.[3] [12] However another ship called City of Glasgow at 416 tons had sailed from the Clyde under Muir towards Calcutta at the end of October. She may have been caught in late gales in the area but continued on her way. Lloyd's List reported a head-board been found with City of Glasgow on it in Kilbrannan Sound around the same time. This may be related to the Campbeltown find. [13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Direct Steam Communication Between Glasgow and New York: Launch of the City of Glasgow, Glasgow Herald, 1 March 1850
  2. ^ a b Gibbs, CR Vernon (1957). Passenger Liners of the Western Ocean: A Record of Atlantic Steam and Motor Passenger Vessels from 1838 to the Present Day. John De Graff. pp. 112–114.
  3. ^ a b Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeological Society. James MacNab. 1859. p. 68.
  4. ^ a b "The Liverpool and Philadelphia Steam-Ship Company's Favourite Iron Screw Steam Ships". Liverpool Mercury. 17 March 1854. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ a b c "The Missing City of Glasgow Steamer". Sheffield Independent. 13 May 1854. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "The City of Glasgow Screw Steamer". Liverpool Mercury. 25 April 1854. p. 8. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "The City of Glasgow Screw Steam-Ship". London Evening Standard. 29 May 1854. p. 2. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ Fox, Stephen (2003). Transatlantic. HarperCollins. pp. 182–184. ISBN 0-06095549-X.
  9. ^ "The Steamer City of Glasgow". Liverpool Mercury. 30 May 1854. p. 6. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "The Missing Steamship City of Glasgow". Brighton Gazette. 19 October 1854. p. 6. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Omnium". Worcestershire Chronicle. 25 October 1854. p. 7. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "Wreck of the City of Glasgow". Nairnshire Telegraph and General Advertiser for the Northern Counties. 9 November 1854. p. 2. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Glasgow, 2nd Nov". Lloyd's List. 3 November 1854. p. 4. Retrieved 22 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.