Iron paddle steamer Cambria, Built W. & J. Laird, Birkenhead 1848
590grt, 328nrt, 207.5 x 26.3 x 14.4 ft
Engines: oscillating, 2 cyl, by G. Forrester & Co., Liverpool
Owned Chester and Holyhead Railway Company, registered Chester.
Accidents: 27 August 1848, one paddle wheel became disconnected - 4 hour delay
27 September 1849, paddle shaft broke, needed to be towed to Holyhead.
As the railway from Chester to Holyhead neared completion, The Chester
and Holyhead Railway Company ordered 4 iron paddle steamers to provide a
regular service to Ireland. They inaugurated the service in 1848 when
a 3.5 mile road journey over the Menai Bridge was still needed. The tubular rail
bridge over the Menai Straits was opened on 18th March 1850.
The directors of the Holyhead and Chester Railway entered into contracts in 1847 with four of the most eminent builders of iron vessels for the construction of four steamboats for the conveyance of the mails and passengers between Holyhead and Dublin. The terms were that each builder should provide his own plan and model and specifications; and that after one year's trial, the builder of the most successful vessel, taking into account comparative speed, stowage, and strength, should be awarded a considerable prize. The builders selected were Messrs. Ditchburn and Mare, London[Anglia]; Mr. Wigram, London[Scotia]; Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead[Cambria]; and Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Sons, of Liverpool[Hibernia].
The Cambria was built by Lairds and her maiden voyage was on 13 July 1848. Later comparisons of the speed of these vessels showed that the Anglia and Scotia were fastest; also that they were faster than the Government [HMS, carrying Mail] paddle steamers on the same route: Banshee (wooden, built Thompson, Rotherhithe), St. Columba(iron, built Lairds), Caradoc(iron, built Mare, Blackwall) and Llewellyn(iron, built Miller & Ravenhill, Blackwall).
Cambria (when London and Northwestern Railway had taken over the
Chester & Holyhead Railway, after 1859 )
From Sun (London) - Monday 01 October 1849
ACCIDENT TO THE CAMBRIA STEAMER. The Chester and Holyhead Railway Company's steam boat Cambria broke her paddle shaft on her outward voyage from Kingstown to Holyhead yesterday morning. The Banshee, which left Kingstown at half-past twelve, came up to the Cambria, which had left at half past eight, took her passengers on board, and conveyed them to Holyhead. The Hibernia was dispatched from the latter port; and on meeting the Cambria, took her in tow and returned with her to Holyhead. The Hibernia left Holyhead again at three this morning, and arrived at Kingstown shortly before eight. The following communication on the subject has been received by the Secretary to the Chamber of Commerce:
Her Majesty's packet. Banshee, Kingstown, Sept. 27, 1849.
As considerable anxiety will naturally be felt for the safety of the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company's steamer the Cambria, which vessel left Kingstown yesterday, at nine A. M. (London time), I feel it my duty to acquaint you, as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, that at 3.50 P. M. yesterday, when on my passage to Holyhead, in her Majesty's packet under my command, I observed a steamer on our port-bow, with her colours flying, laying to, apparently disabled. I changed our course towards her, and soon found it to be the Cambria.
At 4.17, I stopped the Banshee, close to leeward of her, when two boats came alongside with several passengers (about 20 in number), whom we succeeded in getting safely on board, although attended with considerable risk, there being a heavy sea at times, Lieut. Keane also sending a request that I would cause immediate assistance to be sent to him, as their intermediate shaft was broken, and both engines quite disabled - Holyhead in sight, bearing S.E. by E. 1/2 E., dist. 18 miles. I proceeded at 4.45 P.M., and on my arrival at Holyhead at 6.25 P.M., communicated to Commander Fraser, RN., who superintends the packet establishment there, the situation of the Cambria, and the request of Lieut. Keane, her commander, handing him his letter to me. I also sent for the commander of the Hibernia, one of the steamers belonging to the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company (which vessel was then preparing for leaving Holyhead with the London passengers for Kingstown), and gave him all the information I possibly could on the subject. Commander Fraser sent H.M.S. V. Otter as soon as she could be got ready (at 8.30 p.m.), and the Hibernia left at 11.30 P.m., both in search of the Cambria.
I am glad to be able to report my having this morning passed the Cambria in tow of the Hibernia, at nine o'clock, and have no doubt but she will be safe at Holyhead about eleven o'clock this morning.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, Wm. SMITHETT, Commanding.