Mersey built steam ships - wooden paddle by default - pre 1860.

Chris Michael

Information mainly from newspapers, where [] is additional clarifying information. [sic] means that is what was written, but it might be in error, or a typo.
Also port names are mainly given as in contemporary use - and are nowadays different - eg Kingstown / Dun Laoghaire; Cove / Cobh; Smyrna / Izmir; Constantinople / Istanbul; Bombay / Mumbai; Calcutta / Kolkata; Kurrachee / Karachi; etc
MNL is Mercantile Navy List; LR is Lloyd's Register.

Shipbuilder Index.
Year Index.

**** pages still under construction - mainly up to 1860 ***

About 275 steam vessels included as built before 1850. Many steam vessels were built on the Mersey to foreign order. These are not always recorded in newspapers, so several may have been missed in the lists below.
For some builders, especially those who specialised in building steamships, details are also given of sailing vessels they built.

Main Index.

Shipbuilders


Laird, Birkenhead [briefly at Liverpool also]
William Seddon; later Seddon & Leadley, Birkenhead
Robert Russell, Birkenhead
Steam Tug Co., Birkenhead
Peto, Brassey & Co, Canada Works, Birkenhead
Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere
Miscellaneous, Birkenhead, Wallasey
Runcorn
Warrington
Manchester
Eagle 1822 Bellhouse, Manchester
Jack Sharp (iron, stern wheel) 1837 Jones, Newton-le-Willows.
Experiment (iron, screw) 1840 Taylor, Hollinwood, Manchester

Dawson & Pearson, Liverpool
Grayson & Leadley, Liverpool
Humble, Hurry, Milcrest, Liverpool
Clarke & Nickson, Liverpool
Mottershead, Hayes, Hutchinson, Liverpool
Caleb & James Smith, Liverpool
Bland & Chaloner, Liverpool
J Rathbone, Liverpool
William & Richard Haselden, Liverpool & Ellesmere Port
Wilson & Gladstone; J Wilson; T Wilson, Liverpool, later Birkenhead
Page & Grantham, Liverpool
Davenport, Grindrod & Patrick, Liverpool
Hodgson, Liverpool
Thomas Royden, Liverpool
Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, later Birkenhead
P Cato, Liverpool
W C Miller, Liverpool
Rennie, Johnson & Rankin, Liverpool
Liverpool Steam Tug Co, Queen's Dock, Liverpool
Josiah Jones, Jones & Quiggin, Liverpool

Other Liverpool shipbuilders:

Built Liverpool/Mersey by unknown shipyard.


List on date order

Named steam vessels listed by type and date:
Wooden PS, Wooden SS,
Iron PS, Iron SS,

Wooden paddle steamers:
1816: Duke of Wellington, Prince Regent, Princess Charlotte
1817: Etna, Union?, Regulator,
1818:
1819: Mersey,
1820: Conde de Palmella,
1821: Britannia, Cambria, Lady Stanley,
1822: St George, Abbey, Eagle, Paquete Lusitano, Duke of Lancaster, St Patrick, Seacombe, Albion, Royal Mail, Prince Llewellyn, Duke of Bridgewater, Duke of Beaufort, Cambria, St David,
1823: City of Dublin, Druid, Emerald Isle, Lady Rodney, Henry Bell, Earl of Bridgewater, Vesuvius, Eclipse,
1824: Hibernia, Mersey, St David, James Watt, Telica, Alice, Maria, Shamrock, Town of Liverpool, Liffey,
1825: Britannia, Francis, Manchester, Liberator, Commerce, Hibernia, Magdalena, Comet, Aetna, St Patrick, Mona, Innisfail, John o'Gaunt, Britannia, Severn, Hercules, Lord Blaney,
1826: Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Nora Creina, Hero, Victory, Harriet, Earl of Roden, George IV, City of Londonderry, Leeds, James, Satellite, Erin, Conde de Cea,
1827: Nottingham,
1828: Gypsey, William Fawcett,
1829: Ballinasloe, Ribble, William Fawcett,
1830: Liverpool, King Fisher,
1831: John Rigby,
1832: Quorra, Water Witch, Express, St George, Victory,
1833: El Balear, William Penn, St Patrick, Eleanor,
1834: Newcastle, City of Carlisle, Ann, Mermaid, Rival, Thomas Stanley, Martha, Egerton,
1835: Niteroiense, Praia Grandense, Especuladora, Alexander, Admiral, Windermere, Hercules, Emerald Isle, City of Limerick, Athlone, Crescent, Margaret.
1836: Clonmel, Tower, Porto, John McAdam, Ocean,
1837: Vulture, Liverpool, Victoria, Royal William, Queen Victoria, William Stanley, Royal Victoria, Thomas Royden,
1838: Abbey, Duchess of Kent, Royal Adelaide, Reindeer, St Sebastian, Prince, Pernambucana, Bahiana,
1839:
Duke, President, Princess, Ethiope, Paraense, Maranhense
1840: Elizabeth, Albert, Oriental,
1841: Duke of Cornwall, Lady Mary Wood, Thunderer,
1842: Hindostan,
1843: Bentinck, Prince of Wales,
1844: Pilot?, Dreadnought,
1845:
1846:
1847: Wallasey,
1848: Affonso,
1849: Tartar,
1851: Amazonas,
1853: Cisne,
1855: Racehorse/Redpole,
1856: Conqueror, Elizabeth, Chieftain, Favorite,
1857: Teazer,

Wooden screw steamers:
1843: Daedalus,
1853: Wooden screw river steamer
1856: Clown, Kestrel,
1855-6: Beacon, Brave, Bullfinch, Redbreast, Rose, Blazer, Rainbow, Brazen, Raven, Rocket
1856: Blossom, Gadfly, Gnat, Garland
1860: Steady, Penguin, Doterel, Heron,

Iron/steel paddle steamers [excluding Laird built, listed below]:
1826: Marquis of Wellesley,
1829: Lady Dunally,
1832: Alburkah,
1835: Avonmore
1836: Cleveland,
1837: Jack Sharp,
1838:
1839: Alice,
1840: Erin-go-Bragh, Brigand, Warrington, Assam,
1841: Blanche, Troubador,
1842: Mersey, Santander,
1843: Fire Queen, Nimrod,
1844: Iron Duke, Queen, Iron Steam yacht, Wassernixe, Queen, Sabrina,
1845: Albert, Thomas Wilson, Iron Prince, Die Schöne Mainzem, Preussischer Adler, Vladimir, Roscommon,
1846: Haddington, Ajax, Windsor, Fenella, Surat, James Atherton, Liver, Dwarka, Unknown,
1847: Britannia, Lord Morpeth, Hibernia, Minerva, Guadalquivir,
1848: Whitehaven, Porvenir,
1849: Sylph, Fairy, Vernon, Cato, Menai, Fire Fly,
1850: Dragon Fly,
1851: Nymph,
1852: Invincible,
1853: Woodside, La Perlita, Tiger, Enniskillen,
1855: Prince Patrick, Destello,
1856: Camaragibe, Fury, Elizabeth Jackson, Despatch,
1857: Brackley, Bridgewater, Sphynx, Nile, Memnon, Luxon, Lotus, Fasonin, Chirkich, Suez, Rescue,
1858: Sao Luis, Pindare, Minnow,
1859: Itapicuru, Caxias, Delta, Light of the River, Enterprise, Bird of the Harbour,
1860: Helen,

Iron/steel screw steamers (see also LRNS article) [including Laird built screw steamers to 1850 only]
1838: R F Stockton,
1840: Experiment,
1842: Liverpool Screw / Clara,
1843: Dove,
1844: Iron Prince,
1846: Flecha, Antelope, Sarah Sands, Emerald, Diamond, Lucifer,
1847: Bombay,
1852: Eagle, Hunwick, Haggerston,
1853: San Guisto, San Marco, San Carlo, Glow Worm,
1854: Burra Burra, Black Prince, Firefly, Loire, Cleator,
1855: Empress Eugenie, Lota, Carbon, Labuan, Victoria, Test,
1856: Annie Vernon, Sovereign, Plynlymon, Saladin, Tajo, Proof, Nimrod, Firefly, Antonio Varas,
1857: James Kennedy, Midge, Agenoria,
1858: Said,
1859: Fideliter, Gondola,
1860: Cognac, Lalla Rookh,


Background information on Liverpool steam ships.

Steamships engined by Fawcett's [from LNRS vol 53, no 3, 2009] - seems to be incomplete and has some errors.
Potential gun-boats 1845.
Report on Liverpool shipbuilding, 1850
Liverpool steamships register 1851.
List of vessels with passenger certificate, 1850-3.
Report of Royal Visit by Queen Victoria to the Mersey in 1851.
Report of Mersey Ship-building 1852.
Liverpool steam ships 1854.
Building new ship-yards at Birkenhead 1855


Related information that may be of interest:

See here for ships built at Chester and the Dee estuary.
See here for more about early Mersey steam ferries and tugs.
See here for Mersey built blockade-runners.
See here for MDHB wreck listings.
See here for steam yachts (some built on the Mersey) before 1900.
See here for casualties to early steam vessels.

Back to top

Main Index.

Laird built steam vessels - in yard number order: [nearly all iron, (a few wooden ones so marked); HCS means Honorable East India Company; BAM is Mexican Navy; mostly PS, but RMS and SS are screw]
[Iron barge];
1: Lady Lansdowne PS; John Randolph PS; Garryowen PS; Euphrates PS; Tigris PS;
6: Chatham PS; Eliza Price PS; Duncannon PS; L'Egyptien PS; Indus HCS;
11: Rainbow PS; Lamar PS; Glow-worm SY; Voador PS; Robert F Stockton [Screw Tug] ;
16: DeRosset PS; Mary Summers PS; Comet HCS; Meteor HCS; Duchess of Lancaster PS;
21: Nimrod HCS; Nitocris HCS; Assyria HCS; W W Fry PS; Ariadne HCS;
26: Medusa HCS; Phlegethon HCS; Nemesis HCS; PS (for Vistula); PS (for Vistula);
31: Dover HMS; [Cayman SV]; Donets PS; Soudan HMS; Albert HMS;
36: Wilberforce HMS; Nun PS; Lady Flora Hastings PS; Paddle Steamer; [John Laird SV];
41: [Proto SV]; Guadalupe BAM; [SV Guide HCS]; [Lightship Prince]; Helen McGregor PS;
46: Loodhiana/Napier HCS; [Accommodation Boat]; Conqueror/Sutlej HCS; Meanee/Meeanee HCS; Phlox PS;
51: Birkenhead HMS; Dove SS; Queen PS; Prince PS; Earl of Elgin PS;
56: Assam; Sphinx; Prince Ernest PS; [Cargo Lighter]; Wirrall PS;
61: Princess Clementine PS; Princess Helena PS; Lord Warden PS; PS (for Odessa); St Columba HMS;
66: [Cargo Lighter]; [Sectional boat/Cargo Lighter]; Cambria PS; Falkland HCS; Indus HCS;
71: Jhelum HCS; Chenab/Chenaub HCS; Recreo PS; [Fidget]; Caxiense;
76: Prut PS; PS for Turkey; PS for Turkey; [Cargo lighter]; [Tank boat];
81: Clarence PS; [SV Amatola]; Weaver SS; Countess of Ellesmere PS; Fosforo SS;
86: [Barge]; [Barge]; Forerunner RMS; Faith RMS; Hope RMS;
91: Brazileira/Simois RMS; Charity RMS; Lusitania RMS; Nubia SS; Ottawa SS;
96: Argentine PS; Alma SS; Collaroy PS; Manx Fairy PS; Cancelled;
101: Emilie SS; Bahiana RMS; Lioness PS; Bacchante SS; La Plata SS;
106: [Tank boat]; Candace RMS; Imperador RMS; Imperatriz RMS; Pleiad SS;
111: Jourdain SS; Tapajoz PS; Ethiope RMS; Grafton PS; Resolute HMT;
116: Assistance HMT; Habana SS; Vigo SS; Ellan Vannin PS; Pampero PS;
121: Marquez d'Olinda SS; Paddle Tug; Hawk SY; [Barge]; [Barge];
126: [Lighter]; [Lighter]; Liverpool PS; Thais HM tug; Bucket Dredger (HEIC);
131: Bucket Dredger (HEIC); Siren HMSY; Barcelona SS; Franc-Comtois SS; Cadiz SS;
136: Lyonnais SS; Borysthene SS; Meandre SS; [Cargo lighter]; [Cargo lighter];
141: [Cargo lighter]; [Cargo lighter]; Frere HCS; Havelock HCS; Outram HCS;
146: Sir Henry Lawrence HCS; [4 Accommodation boats for India];
151: 10 wood gunboats: Beacon HMS; Brave HMS; Bullfinch HMS; Redbreast HMS; Rose HMS;
156: Blazer HMS; Rainbow HMS; Brazen HMS; Raven HMS; Rocket HMS;
161: [Cupid HMS/Mortar Float No.103]; 4 wood gunboats: Blossom HMS; Gadfly HMS; Gnat HMS; Garland HMS;
166: Bucket Ladder Dredger; [Mud punts nos 167-178]; [Mortar Floats nos 179-193]
194: [William Fairbairn SV]; [Kirkham SV]; [Energy wood SV]; [Bhatiah wood SV]; [unfinished SV]; [Pintado SV]; [Cargo Lighter];
201: [
Llama SV]; Zealand SS; Dayspring SY; Taman PS; Ackerman PS;
206: [Mud punts for Port Adelaide 206-217];
218: Sunbeam SS; Mazagon PTug; Emperor Alexander SS;
221: Iphigenia PS; Jeddo SS; [Tank boat]; [Barge]; Ma Robert PS;
226: Guajara PS; Rainbow PS; Ulster PS; Munster PS; Connaught PS;
231: Deerhound SY; [Barge]; [Barge]; Manaos PS; Volga PS;
236: Don PS; 2 paddle tugs for Ganges; [4 accommodation boats for India];
243: Zambesia Portuguese gunboat; Urara PS; [Barge]; [Barge];
247: 2 paddle tugs for Ganges; [4 accommodation boats for India];
253: Inca PS; King Eyo Honesty 2nd PS; PS for India; [3 barges];
260: [Cyclops SV]; [8 Mud punts for India];
268: Denbigh PS; Steam Tank boat; [2 accommodation boats for India];
272: Hercules PTug; Rover PTug; Chester HM Tank; Reiver PS;
276: Island Queen PTug; [Orient SV]; [Edward Percy SV]; PS for Rio Saladao; [2 Barges for Rio Salado];
282: SS tug for Valparaiso; Belem PS; [Tank unknown]; [Gilbert Thompson SV];
286: Orontes HM Transport; Elgin SS; Steam Yacht for Hyderabad; Titan PTug; Enrica/Alabama CSS;
...

Laird built a number of vessels for the Confederacy: Armed raiders of which Enrica/CSS Alabama is the best known. Their iron rams (named El Tousson & El Monnassir) were ordered by the Confederacy but bought by Britain as HMS Scorpion and Wivern. They also built blockade runners: Mary, Lark, Wren, Penguin. Denbigh, previously built by Lairds, was bought by the Confederacy and ran successfully 26 times. Sunbeam was also used to try to run the blockade - but was captured on her first run. Chatham was captured attempting to leave Savannah. Siren was captured off Beaufort NC.

A brief history of Laird shipbuilders of Birkenhead.

William Laird moved to Merseyside in connection with the family rope-making business. Around 1822, in partnership with Daniel Horton until 1828, he started boiler making. The skills of boiler making - bending iron and riveting plates together, were the same as those needed for iron ship-building. William Laird and his son John developed their business from 1828 - moving from boiler making to ship-building, initially from a yard in North Birkenhead (on Wallasey Pool, which was tidal at that date). They built several iron paddle steamers which were prefabricated: the Lady Lansdowne for the Shannon in 1834, the John Randolph sent to Savannah in 1834. They also built the small iron paddle steamer Garryowen for the lower Shannon Estuary in 1834 (the first sea-going iron vessel with watertight bulkheads). Their first iron Mersey ferry was the Eliza Price in June 1836 for Woodside service. As well as naval gunboats, river vessels, and tugs, Lairds built passenger iron paddle steamers: Rainbow in 1837 was one of the largest. Engines were provided by Liverpool iron-works, especially by Fawcett & Co., and by Forrester & Co.

Wallasey Pool was enclosed as a floating dock in 1847 - known as Birkenhead Docks or the Great Float. For a period from 1852 to 1857, Lairds also had a yard at Sefton Street (also called Dingle) in South Liverpool. In 1856 Lairds moved from Wallasey Pool to a new site on the Birkenhead banks of the Mersey - where they are still located today. The first launch from that site was in 1857. William (and later John) Laird were very influential in the development of the town of Birkenhead. Summary and image of Laird's Liverpool shipyard in 1856. Image of Laird's Tranmere shipyard, date unknown.

William Laird (1780-1841) was the founder, joined by his son John (1805-1874). Another son, MacGregor, pioneered trade to Africa and designed ships. By 1860, William Laird (1831-1899) and John Laird (1834-1898), the sons of John, were additional partners.


Cargo lighter / iron barge built for Shannon [no engine]: 60 x 13 x 7.5 ft, 54 tons, owned C W Williams. Possibly called Wye, possibly later fitted with an engine.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 12 October 1829]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON VESSEL. We are much gratified to learn, that the extensive arrangements making by the Irish inland Steam Navigation Company, under the spirited management of C. W. Williams, Esq., are getting forward most satisfactorily. This day one of the company's double iron boats [Lady Dunally], built by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., with the engine and paddles in the middle, will be tried on the river. She is intended to carry passengers, and tow other vessels built for the purpose of carrying live stock, grain, &c. on the Shannon.
And, to-morrow, an iron boat, sixty tons burthen, belonging to the company, will be launched from Messrs. Wm. Laird and Son's boiler-yard, on the banks of Wallasey Pool. She is admirably constructed for the conveyance of cattle, being ventilated in a very superior manner. We sincerely wish the company that success which their meritorious exertions entitle them to; and we feel confident that great advantages will result from the navigation of the river and canals of Ireland by the assistance of steam power.

[from Durham County Advertiser - Saturday 24 October 1829]:
LIVERPOOL, OCT. 14. LAUNCH OF AN IRON VESSEL. Yesterday a somewhat novel sight was witnessed in Wallasey Pool. An iron vessel had been constructed by Messrs Laird and Co. at their extensive steam boiler establishment, on the southern side of the Pool, and betwixt 11 and 12 o'clock in the forenoon all was ready for launching. She started down the ways about ten yards, when she was checked in her descent by the shrinking of the cradle within a few yards the water's edge, where she stuck for a short time, until she received assistance from a steam-boat, which had brought a number of gentlemen from Liverpool to witness the ceremony. Thus aided by a line from the steamer, she descended into the water amidst the acclamations of the workmen and bystanders. Some anxiety had been manifested to ascertain the quantum of water she would draw upon being committed to the watery clement. This was soon apparent by the register on her bottom only drawing 14 inches, being less draught than that of a vessel of equal tonnage built of timber. She is a beautiful mould, and looked exceedingly well and buoyant upon the water. She measures 60 feet long, 13 feet beam, 7.5 feet deep, measures 54 tons carpenter's measurement, and will carry about 90 tons dead weight. Previously to being launched she had received a coating of a chemical cement, inside and out, to prevent oxygenization of the iron. She is intended for the Inland Irish Steam Navigation Company, recently established and under the management of C. W. Williams, Esq., and will, we understand, cost considerably less than a flat of equal size built of timber, and in many respects is likely to possess advantages over flats built in the ordinary manner. This is the first vessel constructed in Cheshire of this material, but it will doubtless be followed by others of a superior class, when their advantages shall be duly appreciated.



Iron paddle steamer Lady Landsdowne, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1834, yard no.1, 135 grt; 133 ft long; width of hull 17 ft; draught 5.5 ft; boiler by Lairds. Transported in sections to Killaloe, on the non-tidal Shannon, by sea from Liverpool to Dublin, then by canal. Built in dock at Killaloe by 20 men and 6 boys from Lairds by March 1834. Engines from wooden paddle steamer Mersey (built 1824 by Fawcett & Co., Liverpool). Owned City of Dublin Steam Packet Co.
LNRS article about iron Shannon steamers.
Bowcock et al, Mariner's Mirror 2013.
Sank/abandoned at Killaloe by 1867.



Iron paddle steamer Garryowen (also Garyowen), built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1834, yard no.3, 263grt, 120 x 21.6 ft, engines 80hp by Fawcett & Preston. First iron vessel to have water-tight compartments. Her delivery from Liverpool was one of the earlier sea voyages by an iron steamer. Owned City of Dublin SP Co. Not found MNL. Some history. History of Lower Shannon Navigation.
Bought by Stuart & Douglas, palm oil traders of Liverpool, reduced to sail, voyaged from Liverpool, June 1866, to act as a hulk at Bonny (West Africa). Circa 1871 moved, as a hulk, from Bonny to New Calabar. History of Stuart & Douglas, palm oil merchants.

[from Albion and the Star - Friday 12 September 1834]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON STEAM-VESSEL. A very fine steam-vessel, called the Garryowen, built entirely of iron, 120 feet long, 21 feet 6 inches beam, and about 270 tons burthen, was launched on Saturday last from the yard of the builders, Messrs. Laird and Son, of North Birkenhead. She went off the stocks in fine style, receiving her name from the amiable Lady of C. W. Williams, Esq. She is intended to navigate the Lower Shannon from Limerick to the sea, and is owned by the City of Dublin Steam-packet Company, making, with a small one not yet launched, the sixth iron steamer belonging to them. To the enterprising spirit of C. W. Williams, Esq., the managing director of the Company, may be attributed the great extension of this novel feature in naval architecture; and we have no doubt that every day's experience will tend to show that his partiality for iron vessels has been well founded, and that, in some degree, by their means we shall be enabled still further to improve the inland navigation of Ireland. The Garryowen is well worthy of inspection from the beauty of her model, the peculiarity of her construction, and the precautions that have been taken to prevent any risk of accident. From an examination of her build it would appear that ships may be constructed of iron of any degree of strength, and equal in every respect to those built of wood. She is fitted with four watertight bulkheads which divide her into five compartments, an advantage of which is, that, should any of these be injured by striking on a rock, or otherwise, there will be buoyancy sufficient in the four to float the vessel safely.

See also Another report of launch.

[from Limerick Chronicle - Saturday 20 June 1835]:
The City of Dublin Steam Packet Company's New Iron Steamer, Garryowen, for the Lower Shannon, starts from Limerick, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, for Glin and Tarbert, (on the route to the Lakes of Killarney,) and Kilrush, and returns on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from Tarbert, &c.



Iron paddle steamer John Randolph, built Laird, Birkenhead, yard no.2, transported by sail, [Alcyone, 392tons, Captain Muir] assembled at Savannah from sections, launched July 1834. Engines of 60hp by Fawcett & Preston, Liverpool. Dimensions 110 x 22 x 7.5 ft, draught 2.75ft. 263 tons. Owned Gazaway Bugg Lamar, banker and cotton merchant. An advantage of delivering the vessel in sections was that import duty was avoided. For use on Savannah river - mainly towing. The first iron steamship in the USA which was commercially successful. Wrecked 20 January 1865 on Sullivan's Island, at the entrance to Charleston Harbour, while acting as a transport in the American Civil War.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 11 September 1834]:
Launch of an iron steam vessel. A very fine steam-vessel, called the Garryowen, built entirely of iron, 120 feet long, 21 feet 6 inches beam, and about 270 tons burthen, was launched, Saturday last, from the yard of the builders, Messrs. Laird & Son, of North Birkenhead. She went off the stocks in fine style, receiving her name from the amiable lady of C. W. Williams Esq. She is intended to navigate the lower Shannon from Limerick to the sea. and owned by the City of Dublin Steam-packet Company, making, with a small one not yet launched, the sixth iron steamer belonging to them. To the enterprising spirit of C. W. Williams, Esq. the managing director of the company, may be attributed, in great measure, the very great extension of this novel feature in naval architecture; and we have no doubt that every day's experience will tend to show, that his partiality for iron vessels has been well founded, and that, in some degree, by their means we shall be enabled still further to improve the inland navigation of Ireland. The Garryowen is well worthy of inspection from the beauty of her model, the peculiarity of her construction, and the precautions that have been taken to prevent any risk of accident. From examination of her build, it would appear, that ships may be constructed of iron to any degree of strength, and equal in every respect to those built of wood, She is fitted with four water-tight bulkheads, which divide her into five compartments, the advantage of which is, that should any of these be injured striking on a rock, or otherwise, there will be buoyancy sufficient in the four to float the vessel safely. Messrs Laird and Son have, during the last twelve months, completed two iron steamers on the same principle as the Garryowen: one of them is at Savannah, the other on Loch Derg, Ireland. They are now, we hear, building two large ones for Government, which are to navigate the Euphrates, for the purpose of conveying the mail to and from Bombay.

Iron paddle steamer Chatham, built Laird, Birkenhead 1835, yard no.6, assembled Savannah 1836 for use on Savannah river, with engine from a previous steamer. Size 120 x 26 x 7.5ft, 46hp, 395grt. Owned G B Lamar. Captured by USS Huron leaving Savannah on Dec 6 1863.

Eliza Price PS, yard no.7.

Iron paddle steamer Lamar, built Laird, Birkenhead 1836, yard no.12, assembled 1838 at Savannah, engine by Watchman & Bratt, Baltimore. 308grt. Also listed as 196tons. For use on Savannah river. Owned G B Lamar. In 1861 used by Confederacy, named Herald.

Glow-worm SY, yard no.13.

Iron paddle steamer de Rossett, built Laird, Birkenhead 1838, yard no.16, assembled at Savannah, then at Baltimore by Watchman & Bratt, who provided the engine. 332grt. Also listed as 186tons. For use on Savannah river. Owned G B Lamar. Sold to US Quartermaster 1846. Renamed Liberty in 1850 and as a barge in 1853.

Iron paddle steamer Mary Summers, built Laird, Birkenhead 1838, yard no.17, assembled at Savannah, then at Baltimore by Watchman & Bratt, who provided the engine. 332grt. For use on Savannah river. Owned G B Lamar. Sold to US Quartermaster 1846, renamed United States in 1848. Possibly used by Confederacy in 1861.



Iron paddle steamer Euphrates, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1834, yard no.4, to be taken in sections to Sarmandag on the Mediterranean coast and then by river Orontes [also called Asi] and camel across to the upper river Euphrates at Bir [Birecik] and built there. Use as a river survey/gunboat, owned Admiralty, 179grt. Flat bottomed, draught 3 ft, 105 x 19 x 7.5 ft, 50hp engine by Fawcett & Preston. Reached mouth of the Euphrates in June 1836.

Plan of Euphrates:


Iron paddle steamer Tigris, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1834, yard no.5, to be taken in sections to the upper river Euphrates and built there. Use as a river survey/gunboat, owned Admiralty, 109grt. Flat bottomed, 2.5ft draught, 90 x 16 x 6.5 ft, 20 hp engine by Fawcett & Preston. Also described as 70 ft long. Lost 21 May 1836 in a sandstorm near Saliggye [Al-Muhusan], river Euphrates, with 22 men lost.

Image of Euphrates and Tigris on the Euphrates river [from Euphrates and Tigris, Chesney, 1850]:

[from Manchester Courier - Saturday 08 November 1834]:
The Navigation of the Euphrates. During the last week, we have had the pleasure of inspecting the two iron steam-boats, building by Messrs. Laird, of this town, at their yard, on the opposite side of the river, for the navigation of the Euphrates. Great progress has already been made with them, and they are expected to ready in five or six weeks. When finished, they will be remarkably fine vessels, and well adapted for the purpose for which they are designed.
Most our readers are aware, that a grant of twenty thousand pounds was made during the last session of parliament for the purpose of exploring and surveying the river Euphrates, with a view to ascertain whether a shorter and more expeditious route to India might not discovered along its waters than even the Red Sea. This great river, which was probably the first route followed by the nations of Western Asia in their expeditions to India, has, since the fall of the Caliphs, been closed against European commerce, owing to the barbarism and bigotry of the Turks and Arabs who reside along its shores, or occupy its approaches, and to the ignorance as to its course and capabilities prevailing amongst Europeans. Of late years, however, it has been partially explored by Capt. Chesney, and others, and a more civilised government having been established by the Pasha of Egypt, along part of its banks, and in the north of Syria, by which Europeans approach it, the idea of reopening its waters to commercial enterprise has been suggested, and there is reason to hope, that by the beginning the month of May next year, the steam-boats now building in this port will be floating down its stream to the Persian Gulph. They are to leave Liverpool in December; to proceed in the first place to Scandaroon [now Iskenderun], on the coast of Syria, from thence up the river Orontes, past Antioch, for about a hundred miles; are then to be taken in pieces, and conveyed across the north of Syria in wagons, to Bir, on the Euphrates, where they are again to be put together, in time to proceed down the Euphrates in the spring of next year.
The first object of the expedition will be to make a more accurate survey, than any that has previously been made, of the whole course the river, from Bir to the Persian Gulf. It is pretty well ascertained that the water is sufficiently deep for the purposes of navigation in the lower parts of the river, from Hillah, near the ruins of Babylon, to Bussorah [Basra], near mouth of the Euphrates. Above Hillah and below Bir, the depth and practicability of the river is less certain. It is known that there are several rapids in it, and a number of stone embankments, erected across its stream in ancient times, for irrigating the neighbouring lands, but these, it is believed, are only formidable in the dry season. The object of Capt. Chesney, who accompanies the expedition, is to quit Bir, with the steam-boats, as soon as the river becomes flooded by the melting of the snows of the mountains of Armenia, that is in the month of May, when (if at any time) the river must be navigable along the whole of us course. In the voyage down, accurate surveys and inquiries will be made. The present belief is, the river is navigable for seven or eight months in the year, but there is some doubt to the summer months. The length of the voyage from Bir to Bussorah is eleven hundred and forty three miles. If the stream should be found navigable, then the steamboats will begin to ply regularly between Bir and Bussorah. The Egyptian and Turkish governments have both promised to give the expedition every protection in their power.
The boats building by Messrs Lairds are so constructed as to draw as little water as possible being flat bottomed and light. The largest, which is 105 feet in length and 19 in breadth, draws no more than three feet; the smallest, being 87 feet long and 16 broad, draws two and a half. They are built in such manner that they may be taken to pieces, and conveyed in wagons from the Orontes to the Euphrates. Mr. Charles Grant, the President of the Board of Control, will be in Liverpool in a week or two to inspect the boats.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 06 February 1835]:
The Euphrates Expedition. - This interesting expedition is at length fairly afloat in our river, and will sail first fair wind, after a vexatious detention, which we have heard with a regret, renders less certain the success of the enterprise. We trust, however, that the George Canning, now lying at anchor off Egremont Ferry, a fine ship of 400 tons, on board of which the whole is embarked, may have a quick passage to the coast of Syria, as she will be joined at the Cove of Cork by his Majesty's steamer Alban, which will accompany her to her destination. We are informed that fifteen officers, every one of them distinguished by eminent scientific, literary, or professional attainments; twenty picked artillerymen, chiefly artificers, six enginemen, seven Liverpool blacksmiths, and two interpreters, are engaged in the expedition, in all fifty persons, under the command of Colonel Chesney, of the Royal Artillery. The officer, second in command, is already in Syria, making arrangements. At Malta a number of labourers and seamen will be engaged. The George Canning has on board two iron steamers in frame, the Euphrates and the Tigris, with their materiel and ample stores, in all, probably, little short of 300 tons weight. These are made up into many packages, which will be transhipped on the coast of Syria into small country craft, and conveyed up the Orontes as far as it is navigable. This river, after passing the ancient city of Antioch, falls into the Mediterranean, near the Gulf of a Scanderoon. These packages will be taken from the Orontes to Bir on the Euphrates, across a desert of probably 150 miles, chiefly by camels, which carry about half a ton weight each, and may be hired on the coast of Syria to any number, and at a trifling expense. Some of the heaviest articles will be mounted on carriages which are taken out on purpose. At Bir the steamers will be re-constructed, and the Grand Seignor and Mehemet Ali have promised their protection as far as their authority extends. ...

[from Sun (London) - Saturday 30 July 1836]:
A dispatch has - been received at this Office from Col. Chesney, R. A., in command of the Euphrates expedition, dated Euphrates steamer Anna, 28th May, 1836, of which the following, with its enclosure, are copies:-
Euphrates Steamer, Anna, May 28, 1836. It is with feelings of the deepest regret, that I do myself the honour of informing you that the Tigris steamer was totally lost during a hurricane of indescribable violence, which, after the short struggle of about eight minutes, sent a fine vessel to the bottom in about five fathoms water, and deprived his Majesty of fifteen valuable men, with five natives in addition.
My reports up to the 17th instant, at Deir, will have informed you that all was going on as successfully as the most sanguine could possibly desire. We found the Arabs well disposed, and quite ready to form depots for us of wood, charcoal, bitumen, and lignite coal, all met in abundance, and tried with complete success. In addition to these marked advantages the survey had been carried 509 miles down the Great River, which seemed in all respects favourable; in short all was continued prosperity up to the afternoon of the 21st inst., when it pleased God to send the calamitous event of which it is now my duty to give a feeble sketch.
A little after one, P. M., on that melancholy day, the flat boats, being a little a-head, and the Tigris leading the Euphrates, a storm appeared, bringing with it, high in the air, clouds of sand from the west north west quarter. At this moment we were passing over the rocks of Is Geria (deeply covered) and immediately after we made a signal for the Euphrates to choose a berth, and make fast; which was done more as a matter of precaution, on account of the difficulty of seeing our way through the sand, than from apprehension that the squall would be so terrific. The Tigris immediately directed towards the bank, against which she struck without injury, but with so much violence as to recoil a distance of about eight yards, leaving two men on the bank who had jumped out to make fast. The wind then suddenly veered round, drove her bow off, and thus rendered it quite impossible to secure the vessel to the bank, along which she was blown rapidly by the heavy gusts, her head falling off into the stream as she passed close by the Euphrates, which vessel had been backed opportunely to avoid the concussion. The engines were working at full power, and every endeavour made to turn the vessel's bow to the bank. One anchor was let go, but the heel of the vessel made it impossible to get the other out, and she was then nearly broad side to the wind, with the engines almost powerless, and the waves, rising to four or five feet, forcing their way in at the windows. Lieut. Cockburn, the Messrs. Staunton, and some of the men made ineffectual attempts to keep out the water, for the fate of the vessel was already decided; and the fore part of the deck being under water, Lieut. Lynch came to report that the Tigris was sinking, and the word was immediately passed for all to save themselves. At this very instant a momentary gleam of light faintly showed the bank at the apparent distance of eight or ten yards; and as there seemed every probability that the stern would touch it before she went down, Lieutenant Lynch encouraged the people to remain steady until they reached the land. All were on deck at this critical moment, some clinging to the ropes of the awning, the paddle boards, and funnel but the majority were close to the tiller, and all behaving with the most exemplary obedience, until the vessel went down all at once; and probably within half a minute, after we had seen the bank for an instant.
Lieutenant Lynch, who was at my elbow, dived out underneath the starboard ridge rope; at the moment when there was about four feet water on the deck; and I had the good fortune to get clear, in the same way, through the larboard side, and, also to take a direction which brought me to the land, without having seen anything whatever to guide me through the darkness worse than that of night. When it cleared a little, I found around me Lieutenant Lynch, Mr. Eden (both greatly exhausted), Mr. Thompson, the Messrs. Staunton, and several of the men. The hurricane was already abating rapidly, and as the distance from the vessel to the shore was very short, we indulged the hope that the rest of our brave companions had reached the bank lower down. For an instant I saw the keel of the Tigris uppermost near the stern. She went down bow foremost, and, having struck the bottom in that position, she probably turned round on the bow as a pivot and thus showed part of her keel for an instant at the other extremity; but her paddle beams, floats, and parts of the side were already broken up and actually floated ashore, so speedy and terrific had been the work of destruction. From the moment of striking the bank until the Tigris went down, it scarcely exceeded 8 minutes; whilst the operation of sinking itself did not consume possibly more than three; indeed the gale was so very violent that I doubt whether the most powerful vessel, such as a frigate, could have resisted it, unless she were already secured to the bank; and for this there was, in our case, little or no time, as it was barely possible, in the position of our consort, to make fast and save the vessel.
I had little, or rather no, hope that the Euphrates could have escaped, but the intrepid skill of Lieutenant Cleaveland and Mr. Charlwood enabled them to get out two anchors in the very nick of time; and by the united means of two hawsers, and the engines working at full power, the vessel maintained her position at the bank until the storm abated, as the enclosed letter from Captain Eastcourt will explain more fully; and as it required all the powers of a 50-horse engine, in the case of the Euphrates, to keep her hawsers from snapping. I infer that the 20 horses of the Tigris would not have been sufficient to enable her to keep the position at the bank, even if the Officers had succeeded in securing her alongside of it.
....all our efforts, as yet, have failed even to find the remains of the vessel, not a ripple, or the slightest trace of the unfortunate Tigris, marks the spot where she went down; but our search has not yet terminated, and if she should be found without having been dashed to pieces, I shall take measures to recover her with the assistance of the diving bell, and other means; especially as there are many valuable instruments on board, in addition to the hull and machinery, and particularly as the Arabs here are well disposed.
I am happy to say, that the survivors of the expedition remain as much unshaken as ever in their confidence regarding the final success of this undertaking, as well as the manifest advantages, facilities, and cheapness of this line of communication. The hurricane has been, it is true, a most trying and calamitous event; but I believe it is regarded by all, even at this early day, as having no more to do with the navigation of the Euphrates in other respects, than the loss of a packet in the Irish Channel, which might retard, but could not put an end to, the intercourse between England and Ireland.
We are, therefore, continuing our descent and survey to Bussora, hoping not only to bring up the mail from India within the specified time, but also, if it pleases God to spare us, to demonstrate the speed, economy, and commercial advantages of the river Euphrates, provided the decision of Ministers shall be in the true spirit of Englishmen, to give it a fair trial, rather than abandon the original purpose in consequence of an unforeseen, and, as it proved, an unavoidable calamity. I have the honour to be, &c., (Signed) F. R. CHESNEY, Colonel,

[from Northern Whig - Thursday 02 August 1838]:
..... That he had that morning received despatches from Lieut. Lynch, commanding the Euphrates steamer, conveying the satisfactory intelligence that he had ascended the river in the steamer, from Bussorah [sic, now Basra] to Hit, a distance of 500 miles, in 120 hours - that he had found no particular difficulty in passing the Lumlum marshes; nor encountered the slightest opposition from the Arabs. Lieut. Lynch added, that he intended to continue his ascent, the next day (May 31,) and had little doubt of proceeding as high up the river as Beles, the nearest point to the great commercial mart of Aleppo, by which exploit, the original object of the Euphrates expedition, so far as the question of the navigation of that great river is concerned, would be completely accomplished. The steamer, in addition to a large supply of fuel, had the further difficulty of towing the launch of a sloop of war armed with a twelve-pound carronade, but even with this impediment, advanced from four to five miles an hour, against a rapid stream.



Iron paddle steamer L'Egyptien (also Egyptian), built Laird, Birkenhead, 1837, yard no.9, 188grt, for use on River Nile, ordered by Muhammad Ali, Pasha of Egypt. Reported 125 x 18 ft, 3 ft draught, Some more detail.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 12 May 1837]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON VESSEL. An iron steam-vessel of 200 tons measurement, and intended as a yacht for the Pacha of Egypt, was launched on Saturday last, from Mr. Laird's yard, North Birkenhead. She was appropriately named "L'Egyptien," by the lady of Emanuel Zwilchenbart, Esq. and is now, we understand, receiving her machinery and having handsome cabins fitted on board for the accommodation of the Pacha and his suite. L'Egyptien will, it is expected, be ready to start for Alexandria in a few weeks, and from her excellent model and light draught of water, (in addition to the well established superiority of iron vessels in hot and unhealthy climates), there is every reason to suppose she will prove particularly well suited for the navigation of the Nile.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 01 July 1837]:
Steam-boat for the Pacha of Egypt. On Thursday, we had in our river one of those beautiful displays for which our localities are advantageously situated. The Egyptian, iron steamer, constructed by Mr. John Laird, by order of Messrs. R. Zwitchenbart and Co., for the private use of the Pacha of Egypt, commenced plying in the river opposite our piers, and from the speed displayed, may be considered the fastest of her power this country. She measures 125 feet in length, by 18 broad, and draws only 3 feet of water, and her model is of the neatest and most elegant form ever witnessed. The arrangement of the cabin, and the elegance of the fitting up, were, particular, generally admired. Altogether, we are fully convinced she will give satisfaction, and be admired wherever she may go. At two o'clock, Mr. Zwitchenbart's private signal was hoisted, and soon a large party of ladies and gentlemen were collected together, and enjoyed a sail up and down the river till late in the evening, and partook of a collation prepared on board, which Mr. Zwitchenbart, after the health of our young queen had been given, took the opportunity of enumerating the high talents, and energetic powers of mind of H. A. R. the Pacha of Egypt, and his health was enthusiasticaiiy received, wish that he might live to complete his task.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 26 September 1837]:
THE STEAMER EGYPTIAN [sic]. The beautiful little iron steamer, built for the Nile by Messrs. Laird, of Liverpool, arrived here on the 5th, in eighteen days' steaming from England. All, whose opinions are of any value, acknowledge that a more perfect thing never walked the waters. She has since been to Candia and back, and last evening, she sailed again with a report of the progress of the inundation, which, this year, it is feared, will prove defective, that report showing a rise of 16.5 cubits only, while 20.5 are required to constitute a good and sufficient Nile.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 19 December 1837]:
STEAM NAVIGATION OF THE NILE. - On the 8th instant (November,) his Highness Mahomed arrived in Cairo, having come down from Miniah, in Upper Egypt, a distance of 240 miles, in eighteen hours, in his iron steamer Egyptian, which vessel gives ample satisfaction. This distance in such a space of time may be considered improbable; but we must not forget, that the current of the Nile averages four miles an hour in favour of it.

[from Perthshire Courier - Thursday 05 November 1840]:
... Then the Pasha has in the river Nile two iron steamers - Egyptian and Ibis. One is furnished with an engine of 45 horse power, made by Napier of Glasgow; the other with two engines of 10 horse power, made by Maudsley of London. ...



Iron paddle steamer Duncannon, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1837, yard no.8, 139grt, 71 nrt, 109.8 x 18.2 x 9.3 ft, 65hp engines by Fawcett, owned Waterford SS Co., registered Waterford 1850, ON 6423. For service on river Suir - passengers and towing. In MNL to 1863. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 April 1837]:
IRON STEAM VESELS. We noticed, a short time ago, the launch of the Duncannon, an iron steam vessel, from Mr. John Laird's yard, North Birkenhead. She has since been fitted. by Messrs. Fawcett .and Co., with an engine of 65 horse power; and, though her size (200 tons measurement) is great in proportion to the power of the engine, still, from her superior model and light draft of water, she was found, on trial in the river here, to exceed in speed some of the fastest steam vessels sailing from this port. We have no doubt, that iron vessels, from the many good qualities they possess, will soon be generally adopted, particularly where great speed and light draft of water are indispensable; and as a confirmation of our opinion we may add, that the builder of the Duncannon has now several large iron steamers in progress, and among them one of 200 feet long. By Lloyd's List we see that the Duncannon left here yesterday week for Waterford, where she is intended to ply permanently, and arrived there the following day.

[from Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Saturday 23 December 1837]:
Salvage Case. Alderman Carew, Alderman Henry Alcock, and Dr. Jones, sat at the Court-house on Tuesday to adjudicate upon a salvage case - the Waterford Steam Company's river steamer Duncannon, v. the Waterford Coal Company's brig Hippocampi[155t, b Dartmouth 1804] - £200 claimed against the vessel, and £50 against the cargo. On the 23rd of October, as the brig was going down the river, bound for Cardiff, and laden with flour, she was stranded between Duncannon and Broom-hill. The steamer went down from Duncannon to her assistance, and with considerable skill, and at some risk to herself, got off the brig. A great number of witnesses were examined on each side, and the trial terminated yesterday. The magistrates awarded against the vessel £30; against the cargo £5.

[from Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier - Tuesday 28 August 1855]:
WATERFORD HARBOUR REGATTA. A beautiful day, with moderate southwest wind, contributed in slight degree to render Dunmore, on the occasion of the Waterford Harbour Regatta Wednesday last, a scene of as perfect animation as we ever remember to have witnessed. Few sea-bathing places possess such varied natural attractions as Dunmore, with its bold head-lands and secluded coves, and its deep blue sea, and none can be better adapted for a regatta. At an early hour a large company from the immediate neighbourhood had assembled on the pier, and with lively interest discussed the probable success of the several intended matches. At about one o'clock the steamers, Duncannon and Shamrock, hove in sight and soon landed a living freight of the elite of the counties of Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford, and Limerick, many of whom had come to Waterford on excursion trains....



Iron paddle steamer Voador, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1838, yard no.14, 102grt, for service in Brazil. [Name means flying]. Arrived Rio Janeiro in 1838, after major delays caused by compass errors. Described as "small", and ordered by a steam ship company at Rio de Janeiro.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 19 December 1837]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON STEAMER. - On Thursday last a beautiful iron steam vessel was launched from Mr. John Laird's yard, North Birkenhead. She was named the Voador, and has been constructed under the superintendence of James H Weetman, Esq., agent for an enterprising steam company at Rio de Janeiro. The Voador is now receiving her machinery, and, we understand, is expected to sail for her destination in the course of next month, under the charge of Captain Clarkson, who commanded the iron steam yacht L'Egyptian, on her voyage hence to Alexandria.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 27 March 1838]:
Voador (steamer), hence for Rio Janeiro, at the Cove [Cobh]. [also reported as iron, master Clarkson, sailed from Cove 29th March]

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 July 1838]:
Voador, (steamer,) hence for Rio de Janeiro, off Maranham 5th ult., in want of fuel, stores, etc.; she had been towed nine days by a French frigate. [Mem. It appears that her compass would not act truly within the tropics, and she got to leeward, having been on the coast twenty odd days, between Maranham and Para.]

[from Liverpool Mercantile Gazette and Myers's Weekly Advertiser - Monday 01 October 1838]:
Voador (steamer) from Liverpool at Rio Janeiro.



Iron screw steamer Robert F Stockton [later New Jersey], built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1838, yard no.15, 33grt, 63 x 12ft, used a steam tug on inland waterways.
One of the first screw steamers built on Merseyside. She was launched on 7th July 1838 by Laird's of Birkenhead. She crossed the Atlantic mainly under sail.
She was the second ship designed by John Ericsson to be given screw propulsion and was built by Laird of Birkenhead, England, for Captain Robert F. Stockton of the United States Navy. Measuring 63 feet in length by 12 in the beam and a tonnage of 33 gross, she had two screws revolving in opposite directions on concentric shafts. After crossing the Atlantic, she became a tug on the Delaware River under the name New Jersey. Captain Robert F. Stockton had a very successful career in the US Navy as he was one of the first naval officers to act against the slave trade and was primarily responsible for the introduction of their first screw-propelled warship, the USS Princeton in 1843

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 09 July 1838]:
IRON BOAT WORKED BY ERICSSON'S PROPELLERS. We gave, a few weeks ago, an account of an iron vessel which was then constructing, at the buildingyard of Mr. John Laird, at North Birkenhead. She is, it will be recollected, called the Robert F. Stockton, is fitted with Ericsson's Propellers, and is intended as a tow-boat on the Delawar [sic] and Rariton Canal, in the United States. She was built under the inspection of Mr. Ogden, the United States Consul at this port, and was launched on Saturday last. All her machinery, with the exception of the boiler, which will be ready in a few days, was on board at the time. She will be schooner-rigged; and, as soon as she is fully equipped, it is Mr. Ogden's intention to try her on the Mersey. From the experiments which have been made with the twin-boat, the Francis B. Ogden, on the Thames, sanguine hopes are entertained, that the Propellers, worked by steam, will give the boat an average speed of six or seven miles an hour; and, should they be found applicable to sailing-vessels, they will produce an important revolution in ocean navigation. We subjoin a wood-cut, exhibiting a section of the Robert F. Stockton, with her machinery on board. The vessel herself may now be seen in Trafalgar Dock.
Image of propellor arrangements from above article.

Image of Robert F Stockton from Maritime Museum Greenwich:




Lairds built a large number of iron paddle steamers for the East India Company. These were mostly exported in sections and launched at Bombay. Information about these vessels is quite sparse.

[from The Mechanics' Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal, and Gazette, Volume 48, 1848]:
Progress of Steam Navigation in the Indian Seas. The Mining Journal gives the following as a list of the steamers belonging to the Honourable East India Company:- Acbar 1,143 tons 350 horses power 6 guns; Ajduha 1,440 tons 500 hp 6 guns; *Assyria 153 tons 40 hp; Atalanta 616 tons 210 hp 5 guns; Auckland 946 tons 220 hp; Bernice 664 tons 230 hp 3 guns; *Comet 204 tons 40 hp; *Conqueror 204 tons 40 hp; *Indus 304 tons 60 hp; *Meenee 409 tons 80 hp; *Medusa 432 tons 70 hp; *Meteor 149 tons 24 hp; Moozuffur 1,140 tons 500 hp 6 guns; *Napier 1,440 tons 500 hp 6 guns; Nimrod 153 tons 40 hp; *Nitocres 153 tons 40 hp; Planet 335 tons 60 hp; Queen 760 tons 220 hp 4 guns; *Satellite 335 tons 60 hp; Semiramis 1,000 tons 300 hp; Sesostris 876 tons 220 hp 4 guns; Snake 40 tons 10 hp; Victoria 714 tons 230 hp; Zenobia 684 tons 280 hp. The vessels marked * are built of iron and were sent from England in pieces. The greater portion were constructed on the Thames and Clyde [sic] and put together at Bombay.
[actually Assyria, Comet, Conqueror, Indus, Meanee, Medusa, Meteor, Nimrod, Nitocris were all built by Lairds; Indus, Ariadne, had sunk by this date]

See also list of Bombay built/assembled vessels.

INDUS FLOTILLA. The first steam boat on the River Indus was Indus in 1835 [presumably that built of wood in Bombay in 1833], followed by Satellite and Planet in late 1842.

When General Sir Charles Napier captured the remainder of Sindh in 1843, the river steamers were able to play a helpful role; carrying troops, shelling the enemy on the banks and preventing them from crossing the river. Whilst the Planet and Satellite played the major parts, they were joined by the Napier and Meteor, Comet and Meanee, Conqueror, Satellite, Assyria and Nimrod. So helpful were they to his campaign that Napier granted their officers and crews the Sindh medal and allowed them a share of the war booty.

All of these early steamers were made of iron and were armed with 2 guns. They were mostly around 200 tons and developed 40 to 60 nominal horsepower (nhp). Most were built by Laird in their yard at Birkenhead (on Wallasey pool) near Liverpool and shipped out in parts for reassembly in Bombay.
350 ton vessels: Indus, Planet, Satellite, Meteor, Comet.
200 ton vessels: Napier, Meanee, Conqueror, Assyria, Nimrod, Satellite (II)

In 1851, three bigger Laird steamers were assembled at Bombay. These were 500 ton vessels; the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab.

Of the above iron vessels, Planet and Satellite, both circa 300 tons, do not seem to fit well with any listed vessel built by Lairds at the appropriate date [Planet is mentioned as E I C iron steamer at Bombay April 1840, Satellite as E I C iron steamer at Bombay March 1841).

[from Bombay Gazette - Friday 27 November 1840]:
Flotilla on the River Indus: mentions iron steamers: Meteor, Indus, and Planet.



Iron paddle steamer Indus, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1837, yard no.10, 308 grt, for the East India Company, 60hp engine. Served Bombay - Karachi from 1839 when Karachi was captured and could be used as a base to enter the Indus and its tributaries. Wrecked 7 October 1847, only engine saved.

[from Sun (London) - Monday 04 February 1839]:
Latest from East Indies: ...
Yesterday forenoon the small steamer, built by the Government to receive the engine of the late steamer Indus [built at Bombay 1833], was launched from the dock-yard, and glided into her proper element most gracefully. She is named, we believe, The Snake, and is propelled by one engine of ten-horse power, carries about five days coals, with a draft of two feet water without her coals, and consumes about 2.5 tons per day.
This forenoon the iron steamer sent out by the Honourable Court of Directors, built at the Birken Head Iron Works, by Mr. John Laird, and put up in this country, will be launched from the dock-yard. She measures 115 feet in length, 24 feet beam, with engines of sixty-horse power. [most probably Indus]

[from Bombay Gazette - Monday 28 December 1840]:
H C Steam Frigate Sesostris, Captain H Morseby, from Kurrachee, 24th instant with steamer Indus in tow.

From R K Kennedy's report of Indus campaign 1840.
At sunset we saw the Indus, an iron steamer, at anchor in the mid-current. She was anchored by a chain-cable, and the torrent roaring past pulled her head down, so that the figures on her cutwater and stern-post showed that she drew a foot more water at her head than at her stern. When under way, her draught was apparently three feet and half. This would not be too much for a properly constructed vessel; for it is difficult to suppose that a river which has no ford for a thousand miles has not a four-feet water channel through its whole course.

[from Caledonian Mercury - Thursday 26 February 1846]:
Arrivals at Bombay: Jan 3. H C Steamer Indus, Newman, from Kurrachee

[from Greenock Advertiser - Tuesday 30 November 1847]:
Bombay. October 15. The East India Company's steamer Indus, hence for Kurrachee, is on shore, 25 miles N.W., of Dim Head [sic Diu], Kalliawur coast [sic Kathiawar], and the rocks have penetrated her bottom: assistance will be sent to her to-day.

[from Preston Chronicle - Saturday 11 December 1847]:
The loss of the steamer Indus, near Diu, on the 7th of October, has awakened public attention to the ineffective state of the Indian navy. The Indus ran on a ledge of rocks, where means were found to save her engines, but she has since sunk in deep water, and is, it is feared, totally lost. [also described as an iron steamer - so seems to be this vessel]



Iron paddle steamer Comet, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1839, yard no.18, 205 grt, 40hp, for East India Company - as a river gunboat. Reported assembled at Mazagon Dockyard, Bombay, in October 1839, as 220 tons.

Iron paddle steamer Meteor, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1839, yard no.19, 153 grt, 24hp, for East India Company - as a river gunboat. Reported assembled at Mazagon Dockyard, Bombay, in October 1839, as 149 tons. Lengthen by 15ft in 1848.

Iron paddle steamer Assyria, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1839, yard no.23, 153 grt, 40hp, for East India Company - as a river gunboat.

H. C. Steamer Comet. The Comet seems to have been an armed (two guns) iron river steamer of 204 tons and 40 horsepower built for the Indian Navy in 1839 deployed to the Indus and with non-Indian Navy officers to keep open communications and prevent hostile bands from crossing the river. In a bitter engagement in 1843 the Comet was the means of preventing a large body of the enemy crossing the river to link up with the main Belooch army. After seeing much action, including protection of British interests on the Tigris in 1855, the Comet was taken into the service of the newly-constituted Bombay Marine as part of an expedition to lay the Indo-European telegraph. The expedition sailed from Bombay in January 1864 and after proceeding to Baghdad in April returned to Bombay. According to a list of sea-going vessels at the disposal of the Bombay Government in 1875-1876, the steamer Comet was still employed on the Tigris.

[1848 information]: THE METEOR. The HC steamer Meteor, one of the Indus river boats, has just had her repairs completed; she has been cut and lengthened fifteen feet and was yesterday removed from the cradle on which these operations have been performed.

[from Kendal Mercury - Saturday 07 December 1844]:
The Ascent of the River Kuran, Persia. - Lieutenant Selby, of the Indian navy, has recently ascended the River Kuran, in Southern Persia, in the steamer Assyria, to a much higher point than ever had been visited before by Europeans. In 1836, one of the iron steamers belonging to Col. Chesney's Euphrates expedition explored the river upwards of a hundred miles from the point where it discharges itself into the Persian Gulph, but on arriving at Ahwaz, was stopped by the violence of the stream and a bund or dam constructed to retain the waters for the purpose of irrigation; this difficulty however, Lieutenant Selby succeeded in overcoming after two unsuccessful attempts and then ascended the Kuran River, and a canal connected with it, as far as Shusteer, a Persian town, containing a population of 8000 souls, and the Dizful, one of its tributary streams, to within 13 miles of the town of Dizful, and about the same distance from the ruins of Susa, one of ancient capitals of Persia, and the Shushan of the Book of Daniel. With the exception of the difficulty of the bund at Ahwaz, he found the ascent of the river quite easy, and he describes its banks as very fertile, and abounding in wood suitable for use of steamers, and the people as particularly friendly and courteous. This discovery throws open the richest provinces of Persia, which have hitherto been impenetrable, from want of roads, to English trade and commerce, and in case of any such political combination as that which was feared some years ago between Russia and Persia, might even render it possible for an English army to occupy Isphahan, long the capital, and still the finest city in Persia, and thus cut off all communication between the northern and southern provinces of the Schah's dominions, for the Kuran rises in the Zerd I Kol Mountain, near Isphahan, and is navigable to within a short distance of that city for the class of wide and almost flat-bottomed iron steamers now employed on the Indus and the Sutlej, which draw not more than two to three feet of water, and yet carry large bodies of troops with cannon and all the munitions of war. Our steamers have already laid open the Chinese empire to British influence and it is not unlikely that they will do the same for the Persian empire in the course of time.

[from Bombay Gazette - Monday 23 September 1850]:
STEAMER ASSYRIA. The H. Co's Steamer Assyria has been for some time past hauled up in one of the new docks, where she has been lengthened 25 feet in a similar manner to the Nimrod, which vessel was recently finished and is now completing her repairs previous to returning to her station on the Indus. The Assyria is now nearly ready for launching again.



Duchess of Lancaster PS, yard no.20.



Iron paddle steamer Rainbow, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1837, yard no.11, 581grt, 263nrt, 185 x 24.2 x 12 x 7 ft, 160hp engine by Forrester, Liverpool. ON 180. The largest and fastest steam ship of its day. Registered London 1838, by 1867 owned General Steam Navigation Co, London. In MNL to 1870 when broken up. More detail and image. Some more history.

Image of PS Rainbow, as owned General Steam Navigation Co., print after painting by Samuel Walters.

Painting of PS Rainbow in the Thames by Samuel Walters [Williamson Gallery, Birkenead]

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 20 October 1837]:
The Rainbow, iron steamer, launched from Mr. Laird's works, at Wallasey Pool, last week, is the tenth vessel which Mr. Laird has fitted upon the patent principle, which unites strength with safety. The following is a list of the vessels so fitted up:
Lady Lansdowne 200; Garryowen 280; Euphrates 200; Tigris 100; Richmond [sic, Chatham?] 400; Eliza Price 150; Duncannon 200; L'Egyptien 200; Indus 350; Rainbow 600.
In addition to which there are in progress of building: Savannah [sic, Lamar?] 350; Glowworm 350; Condor [sic, Voador?] 100.



Iron paddle steamer Nimrod, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1839, yard no.21, taken in sections to Basra and ascended Euphrates to Beles in 1841. Owned East India Company, 153 grt, until 1859. Reported as lengthened by 25 ft in 1850.

Iron paddle steamer Nitocris, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1839, yard no.22, taken in sections to Basra and ascended Euphrates to Beles in 1841. Owned East India Company, 153 grt. [Nitocris was a legedary Queen of Babylon]

[from Globe - Monday 09 August 1841]:
Intelligence has been received at the India Board of the arrival of the Hon. East India Company's armed iron steam-boats Nimrod and Nitocris at Beles [88 miles below Bir] on the Euphrates. This gratifying event took place on the 31st of May, and thus was completed an enterprise of much danger and difficulty, which had generally been looked upon as impracticable, and which, in all probability, nothing but British skill, intrepidity, and perseverance would have been able to accomplish. The actual distance of the voyage up the river was one thousand one hundred and thirty miles; the ascent occupied two hundred and seventy-three hours, or about nineteen days and a half. The average rate of steaming was three miles and seven furlongs an hour. The Tigris and the Euphrates have now been opened to vessels of considerable burthen, and the ascent and descent of these noble streams may be made available for the purposes of commerce as well as of civilisation; for, although the success of this splendid experiment reflects honour on the British name alone, the advantages which may be derived from it will be shared with us by many nations, and, it is to be hoped, by the inhabitants of the once-famous regions watered by the great rivers of Mesopotamia. The expedition was commanded by Lieutenant CAMPBELL, assisted by Lieutenants JONES and GROUNDS. The behaviour of the crews was most exemplary, and not a single casualty occurred during the whole voyage.

[from Saint James's Chronicle - Thursday 11 January 1844]:
Deaths: Aug 24, at Bagdad, on board Hon East India Company's steam vessel the Nitocris, aged 32, George Augustus Frederick Danvers, ...



Iron paddle steamers for the Honourable East India Company (Royal Indian Navy), built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1839, 432 tons, 70hp, armed. Assembled at Bombay.

Ariadne, yard no.25, foundered off Chusan 23-6-1842.

Medusa, yard no.26, wrecked near Prome [Pyay] Irrawaddy River 9-12-1853.

[from Leicestershire Mercury - Saturday 28 August 1841]:
It was reported in the Bombay papers that two armed iron steamers, the Ariadne and Medusa, both built by Mr. Laird, each carrying two twenty-six pounders, would be ordered to China; they would make an effective flotilla of four powerful iron armed steamers attached to the expedition [Phlegethon and Nemesis as well][another record states Ariadne had 3 swivel guns but Meteor was unarmed and used for towing]

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 12 December 1842]:
Extracts of a letter from an officer on board H. E. I. C. iron steam-vessel Nemesis, dated Woo-Sung, Nanking river, 26th June, 1842: "The iron steamers Ariadne and Medusa have joined the expedition, and both commanders speak in the highest terms of their qualities as sea-boats; in fact, the sailors say the same, and the room they have on deck for carrying troops is astonishing....

[from Bell's New Weekly Messenger - Sunday 05 February 1843]:
TOTAL LOSS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S WAR-STEAMER ARIADNE. LOSS OF LIFE. By private letter, received on Monday, we regret to announce the total loss of the splendid war steamer, Ariadne, in the service of the Hon. East India Company, attended with melancholy consequences, which occurred at about eleven clock at night, on the 23rd of June last, near the entrance of Chusan harbour. Extract of a letter written by an officer of her Majesty's ship Harlequin, Chusan Harbour, July 7.
On the 9th of June we sailed from Hong Kong island, with her Majesty's ship Thalia, and a convoy of 19 sail of transports for Chusan. The Thalia called in at Amoy, on the passage, leaving the convoy to our charge. However, we arrived safe, and brought to an anchorage on the even of the 16th. A few days afterwards we were surprised observing the approach of the East India Company's steamer, Ariadne, in tow of the Sesostris; when, upon their arrival, we ascertained that she had struck on a rock in the Yang-tze keang river. Upon the Sesostris casting her off, the vessel was hauled into shallow water, in order to repair the damage. On the 23d, a report having reached the Commander-in-Chief that an attempt would be made by the Chinese to destroy her, we were ordered to anchor as close to the spot where she lay as possible, to protect the vessel. Consequently we made ourselves prepared in case of any nonsense. Upon our arrival we ascertained that the point of the rock had penetrated through the Ariadne's bottom, and found her engine room full of water. It was late at night, and we were preparing to send a part of our crew to assist in repairing the damage, when loud cries and confusion on board the vessel attracted our attention. For a length of time we were at loss to know the cause, some of our men having but a few moments before left the steamer, when everything seemed quiet and safe, but shortly we discovered the vessel was sinking. She had slid off the bank upon which she had been hauled for security, and the water was rapidly flowing into her hold and different iron compartments. Our boats were all instantly launched, and I am happy to say we succeeded in saving the officers and all on board excepting three Chinese. These poor fellows went down with the vessel and perished.
Extract of another letter, dated - H. M. S. Cornwallis, Oct. 24 - The Ariadne is, we regret to say, irrecoverably lost. The attempts made to raise her have proved unsuccessful. The wreck lies in ten fathoms water.

The Medusa is listed in 1847 as arriving at Karachi.

[from Globe - Monday 13 February 1854]:
LOSS OF THE MEDUSA. The Hon. Company's small steamer Medusa has been totally lost in the Irrawaddy. She left Prome [Pyay now] to resume her station on the river frontier on the 9th ult. and had proceeded but ten miles, when at about two clock p.m., she struck a sunken rock and stove in her bottom, close to the second water-tight compartment, which instantly filled, and owing to the age of the vessel and her weak state consequent thereon, the rush of water destroyed her, compartment after compartment, and she finally sunk, going down so rapidly the crew had barely time to save themselves by swimming, and she is now 22 feet under water; no casualty of any kind occurred with the exception of the drowning of the captain's cook, who failed in the endeavour to reach the shore. The steamer Medusa had done her work; she was old and rotten, and the greatest loss the company will sustain, arises from the inconvenience the state will be put to on account of her destruct!on.



Iron paddle steamers for the river Vistula, built Laird, Birkenhead, yard nos. 29,30. Described as of 205 and 153 grt, launched December 1840.

Polish sources: quote Der Pfeil and Der Blitz as active from 1842. They are described as built by shipbuilder, J W Klawitter, of Danzig (Gdansk), but possibly these are the two Laird built steamers.
In 1841 cruises were undertaken along the Vistula from the city of Danzig to Nowy Port at the mouth of the river with the vessel Der Pfeil. Its success led to the introduction of Der Blitz to strengthen the service offered.

[from Hull Advertiser - Friday 02 October 1840]:
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE. Papers have been received from Cape Town to the 7th of July, They add little to our intelligence from the colony. The public meeting in Cape Town on the subject of emigration, which had been advertised, was held on the 1st of July, but a report of the proceedings has not yet reached us. These papers inform us of the arrival at Cape Town of the first iron steam-boat that has doubled the Cape of Good Hope, the war-steamer Nemesis. It was built by Mr. John Laird; who, we are reminded by the Cape papers, has built thirty iron vessels, which are at work in different parts of the world - on the Nile, the Savannah and Mobile rivers, the Indus, the Niger, and the Vistula.



Iron paddle steamer W W Fry [or William W Fry], hull built Lairds, Birkenhead, yard no.22, 63grt, in sections, and shipped to New Orleans, then taken up the Mississippi to Louisville to be constructed. Then taken to Mobile for service on the Alabama river. Described as 170/180 x 28 x 8 ft. Described as worn out by 1861.
More information

From US sources:
THE SECOND IRON STEAMBOAT BUILT FOR THE WESTERN WATERS, 1839. June, 1839. The packet ship Edwina arrived at New Orleans from Liverpool, England. She brought out in sections an iron steamboat 180 feet long, 28 feet beam, 8 feet depth of hold, and weighing sixty-five tons, intended to ply as a packet between Mobile and New Orleans. This steamboat has been sent up the river to Pittsburgh, where she will be put together, receive her engines and return to her station. The name of this boat was the W. W. Fry.
The next year [1840], the material for an iron hull, built in England, was received and re-erected at Jeffersonville, Ind. [across the Ohio river from Louisville], and the vessel named "W. W. Fry." In November, 1840, the vessel left Louisville for Mobile, Ala., where she did service until worn out, about 1860. It may be said, in passing on this subject, that there were four iron hulls constructed by the same builder as the "W. W. Fry" - John Laird, of Birkenhead, for the Savannah River, between 1834 and 1838, and the vessels used as passenger and towboats. They were about 120 feet long.

[from Sun (London) - Tuesday 12 January 1841]:
IRON STEAMER. The iron steamer mentioned in the following account, taken from an American paper, is one of the largest iron steam-vessels afloat, her dimensions being about 170 feet long, and 28 feet beam. She was built by Mr. John Laird, of North Birkenhead, for A. Pope, Esq., of Mobile; and from her light draft of water and speed, is particularly well adapted for the Mobile river. "Iron Steamer. The new Iron steamer, W. W. Fry, was ready to sail from Louisville on the 12th inst. for Mobile, touching at New Orleans. The Louisville Journal says of her, We can assure the citizens of Alabama, that they will have in her the noblest steam craft ever launched in American waters. Her hull is entirely of iron, and is divided into four water-tight compartments. The iron ribs are nine inches thick, and the outer iron covering half an inch. She is superbly finished, appointed, and furnished. Her berths are unrivalled mattresses of curled hair. On a trial run she showed that she possesses great speed."

[from Augusta (Ga) Weekly Chronicle, 14 Feb 1849]:
Steamboat Accident. On Monday night last, the steamboat W. W. Fry, on her upward trip, when near the junction of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, met with a serious accident to her machinery. She was running, we understand, very smoothly, when suddenly her shaft was broken, which disarranged the whole of her machinery, breaking the piston rod and otherwise injuring the engine. The flywheel was turned with great velocity, throwing its heavy segments through the cabin floor, destroying the dining table and other furniture. It luckily happened about midnight, when no one was in the cabin and no one was injured.

Dover HMS, yard no.31.



[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 04 December 1840]:
NEW IRON SAILING VESSEL. There is now in the Victoria Dock a new iron vessel, apparently about 60 or 70 tons burthen, built by Mr. John Laird of Birkenhead, and intended as a Droger [sic, Caribbean coasting craft] on the coast of Demerara. The necessity on that peculiar shore of a vessel of light draft of water, has as a matter of course, placed a restriction upon the builder; but he has nevertheless produced a craft that has all the appearance of a clipper - having a fine bow, a clean run, and a handsome stern, forming aloft a segment of a circle. There is an ingenious contrivance to give her addditional steerage power. The rudder, by lowering a plate of iron on one side of it by means of a chain, may be elongated perpendicularly in deep water, or reduced by being hauled up, to the level of the keel. The vessel is called the "Cayman", the Spanish appellation, we believe, of the alligator, that monster of the shallows. Her upper works are of timber. She has great beam for her size; is handsomely rigged as a schooner, and will, we hear carry thirty-five hogsheads of sugar upon only four-and-a-half feet of water. This handsome little vessel will be sailed out to her place of destination, and, it is supposed, will accomplish her long, and at this season of the year, somewhat perilous voyage in about thirty days. As she draws so little water and is flat bottomed, the writer of this paragraph suggests that she should be provided with what must (at the expense of an Irishism) be called win [sic] "lee boards", a contrivance which in vessels having little hold of the water, is found to be of great advantage by our neighbours the Dutch, when beating to windward. As the cost would be but trifling, the experiment would be worth trying. The Cayman is nearly ready for sea. She is fitted up, in every respect in a very superior manner. [yard no.32]



Iron paddle steamer Nemesis, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1839/40, yard no.28, 660tb, 184.0 x 29.0 x 0.3 x 6.0 [draught] ft, 2 x 60 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool. Owned East India Company, though registered Liverpool to John Laird. Warship. [name is Greek goddess of vengeance]. First iron steamship to pass around Cape of Good Hope. Fought in China. Also described as belonging to Bengal Marine. More history, More detail.

Image of Nemesis [another]:

Image of Nemesis war steamer destroying Chinese war Junks in Canton harbour [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 12 November 1842].
.

[from Chester Chronicle - Friday 17 January 1840]:
The Armed Steamer Nemesis. There is now lying in the Half-tide Basin Clarence Dock a very beautiful iron steamer, constructed by Mr John Laird, North Birkenhead, bearing the above name. She is fitted up with one engine of 120 horse-power from the foundry of Messrs. Forrester and Co., and armed with two 32-pound carronades, the one fore and the other aft, which move on solid swivel carriages. Her draught of water is under four feet. Her crew will consist of forty men. She will, it is said, clear out for Brazil; but her ultimate destination is conjectured to be the eastern and Chinese seas. On Monday last she made an excursion as far as the Floating light for the purpose of trying her machinery, which was found to work admirably.



Iron paddle steamer Phlegethon, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1840, yard no.27, 322grt, 180nrt, 156.2 x 25.3 x 10.1ft, 90hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool, owned East India Company, though registered Liverpool to John Laird. Warship. [Name is a Greek river of the Underword]. Also described as belonging to Bengal Marine. Fought in battle of Tonkin River 1849. More detail

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 01 June 1840]:
LAUNCH OF TWO STEAM VESSELS. Her Majesty's steam-packet Dover, of 240 tons, intended for the Dover and Calais station, the first iron steam vessel built for the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, was launched from Mr. John Laird's yard, North Birkenhead, on Saturday last; and, at the same time, another steamer, of 500 tons, named the Phlegethon, was launched. The Dover will be fitted with engines made by Fawcett and Co., and the Phlegethon, by Forrester and Co. There are several improvements in the construction of these vessels, which render them stronger and more complete than any iron vessels yet built.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 20 July 1840]:
... At a quarter to eleven o'clock the anchor was weighed and the leviathan of steam-ships [PS President] got under way in the Sloyne. Just at this moment the Phlegethon, armed iron steamer, with engines of ninety horse power, (companion vessel to the Nemesis, both built by Mr. John Laird), which had come out of the Coburg Dock, placed herself parallel with the President, for the purpose of comparing her speed with that of the last named vessel. The river, opposite the docks, was crowded with outward-bound vessels, through which the President steamed at half speed, the band playing appropriate airs as she proceeded towards the Rock. It was precisely eleven o'clock when the President passed St. Nicholas's Church, and from that point was her departure taken. The Phlegethon, which kept on the Cheshire side, while the President swept past the town, began to drop astern as soon as the latter felt the full power of her engines. Still, she performed admirably, having been distanced only about a mile and a half down to the Floating-light in the Formby Channel.



Iron steamships, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1840, with paddle engines by Forrester, Liverpool, for the Niger Expedition; owned Admiralty. Exploration vessels. Armed.

Painting of Niger Expedition off Holyhead, by Samuel Walters, 1841. Vessels Soudan, Albert, Wilberforce, left to right.

Soudan, yard no.34, 253 tons disp, 110 x 22 x 8.5 ft, draught 4ft, engines 35hp. 1 gun. RN record states wrecked 1844 on Nigerian coast.

Albert, yard no.35, 340 tons displ, 136 x 27 x 10ft, draught 5.75ft, two engines of 85hp. 3 guns. RN record states wrecked 13-7-1843, but after salvage, owned Gambia; broken up there 1850. Newspaper reports on anti-slavery duty but too slow to capture any vessel.

Wilberforce, yard no.36, 340 tons displ, 136 x 27 x 10ft, draught 5.75ft, two engines of 85hp. Reported in newspapers as wrecked 2nd February 1844 in river Gambia, condemned 10th February 1845. RN records specify commander as Richard Steppings Moore up to 8 August 1843.

Drawing of HMS Wilberforce in 1842, from NMM Greenwich.

[from Berkshire Chronicle - Saturday 16 January 1841]:
THE NIGER EXPEDITION. From the "Friend of Africa". Before the first month of the opening year shall have passed away, the Expedition destined, we trust, to be the harbinger of peace and civilisation of Africa, will have left the shores of this country, accompanied by the good wishes and prayers for success of all Christians throughout our land; it may not be uninteresting to lay before our readers some details respecting its outfit and movements at the present time.
In accordance with the recommendation of Sir Edward Parry, the Expedition will consist of three iron steamers, strongly built, and of light draught of water, fitted for river navigation. Three such vessels have been built by Messrs. Laird of Liverpool, and fitted with every improvement which their well-known experience could suggest. At their launch the steamers received respectively the names of Albert, in honour of our Royal President; Wilberforce, in memory of that venerated name; Soudan, (or more correctly Habib-es-Sudan), or Friend of the the Blacks. The dimensions of the vessels, the two larger of which are exactly of the same rig, and power, with all their stores precisely alike, are as follows:
ALBERT and WILBERFORCE, SOUDAN.
Length on deck.... 136 ft .... 110 ft.
Breadth of beam... 27 ft .... 22 ft.
Depth of hold....... 10 ft .... 8.5 ft.
Draught of water... 5 ft 9in.. 4 ft.
Tonnage, about..... 400 tons ... 200 tons.
Two sliding keels... 6 ft deep.
Each of the larger vessels has two engines of 85-horse power each, and can carry coals for fifteen days (of twelve hours). The smaller has one engine of 35-horse power, and can carry coal for ten days. All the engines were constructed by Mr. Forrester, Liverpool.
The vessels are thoroughly equipped, with every necessary, nay every comfort, that prudence or foresight could dictate. The supply of provisions of all kinds is most ample, including preserved meats, and sufficient for the consumption of the crews for four months. For the purpose of enabling the medical officers of the expedition to render their services useful to the natives, an extra quantity of medicines has been furnished to each of the ships; and from the great respect, if not veneration, in which the healing art is held throughout Africa, it may inferred that a judicious and liberal exercise of it will contribute much to the objects of the expedition.
With the view of endeavouring to supply a remedy for the want of a free circulation of fresh air between decks in a tropical climate, and for the miasma that usually prevails in alluvial soils on these coasts, a system of ventilating tubes has fitted, under the superintendence of Dr. Reid. With this is connected a chamber containing woollen cloths, lime, &c., through which it is intended, whenever the presence of malaria is suspected, the air shall pass previously to being circulated below by the ventilating apparatus.
The command of the whole Expedition is entrusted to Captain Trotter, of the Royal Navy, already well known by his services in putting down slavery while in the command of the Curlew, on the coast of Africa. The two other officers in command are Captain William Allen, R.N. the companion of Lander in his last voyage, and Captain Bird Allen, R.N., who had long been employed on the survey in the West Indies, and is well acquainted with the African character.
The crews of the three vessels consist, besides, of 22 marines, and 88 seamen and stokers; of these 88, not less than 20, or nearly one-fourth, already entered, are Africans by birth. On the arrival at Sierra Leone, the ships will take on board about 120 Kroomen, who will do all the work that requires exposure, as wooding, watering, &c.
The commanders of the ships, and Captain Cook (well known for his skill and humanity in rescuing the crew of the Kent East Indiaman, when on fire in the Bay of Biscay), will be her Majesty's four Commissioners for making treaties with the native Chiefs for the abolition of the Slave-trade.
The committee of the African Civilisation Society, deeply impressed with the necessity of embracing the opportunity afforded by the Niger Expedition, of carrying out its pacific and benevolent views, and of investigating the resources and capabilities of this part of Africa, have spared no pains or expense in selecting and engaging individuals in every department of natural history to accompany it. As a botanist, they have had the good fortune secure the services of Dr. Vogel, acting director of the Botanic Garden at Bonn, an individual who to a practical knowledge of horticulture, unites the acquirements of a scientific botanist. As a mineralogist, they have engaged Mr. Roscher, a practical miner, educated at the Academy of Mines at Frieberg, who will furnish a report upon the geological structure, as well as upon the minerals and metals of that portion of Africa. As naturalist they have embraced the offer of Mr. Fraser, Curator to the Zoological Society of London.
The committee has also engaged the services of a practical gardener and seedsman, who has made a selection of the most useful seeds and plants to introduce into Africa, and will explain their uses to the natives, and show them how to cultivate them. And, lastly, they have engaged a draughtsman, whose aid will be required in all those departments of natural history where the objects are too large or too delicate to be preserved; and who will otherwise furnish us with sketches of tropical scenery, and with the peculiar characteristic features of the various African tribes which may be met with. This completes the personnel of the expedition, which, as far as the Society is concerned, has been effected at an expense considerably exceeding £1000. Another very essential object with the committee has been the preparing of vocabularies, as far as could done in this country, of the chief languages of Western Central Africa. These are printed in the most convenient form for reference, together with a series of the most useful questions.
When we consider the complete manner which this expedition is equipped, the precautions taken for the health its officers and crew, the body of scientific men attached to it, the fresh outlet it will open for manufactures, and the great objects it has in view, we cannot but look upon it as one of the most important expeditions that ever left the British shores. But when we contemplate the possible, and far from improbable, consequence of this small beginning; that it may open the way for carrying civilisation, and the mild truths the gospel over a space in comparison with which Britain itself is "But speck upon the Globe"; we cannot but ardently pray that the favour of heaven may rest on the enterprise, and that the reign of our beloved sovereign, which in its dawn witnessed the deliverance of our colonies from slavery, may be prolonged till, through the divine blessing on British agency, the vast continent of Africa shall also be released from the greatest curse that ever afflicted the human race, and grateful millions invoke a blessing upon the country that sent out the Niger Expedition.

Detailed account of the Niger expedition. [there were 41 fatalities, including most of the Europeans aboard who died of illness]

[from Saunders's News-Letter - Wednesday 29 March 1843]:
The Albert steamer, Lieut. Cockcroft, commanding, was on the 7th January last at Sierra Leone, embarking John Carr, Esq., the chief justice, for an official visit to the river Gambia; in November last this vessel went up the Gambia, a distance of 85 miles, proving the utility of a vessel of her light draft of water in the protection of British commerce.

[from Morning Advertiser - Monday 26 February 1844]:
The steam squadron be placed under the command of Capt. W. Jones, on the coast Africa, for the more effectual prevention of the slave trade, will consist of the Penelope, Prometheus, Hydra, Albert, Hecate, Thunderbolt, Wilberforce, Soudan, Firebrand, and one other vessel, making altogether ten steam-vessels. The Penelope and Prometheus are on their passage to the coast; the Hydra, Albert, Thunderbolt, Wilberforce, and Soudan are already there; the Hecate is to dispatched from Ireland; and the Firebrand, now at Portsmouth, will be commissioned for this service in a few days.

[from Ipswich Journal - Saturday 20 April 1844]:
SHIPWRECK OF THE WILBERFORCE. - The surmises lately entertained relative to the fate of this vessel are, we regret to say too well founded, and that she was lost in the early part of February last, on the coast of Africa. She was, it will be recollected, engaged in the late unfortunate Niger expedition, and it is stated that no vessel in her Majesty's service was more commodiously fitted up than the Wilberforce. Since the failure of the expedition, she has been commissioned to the service on the coast of Africa, under the command of Lieut. Commander Richard O. Moore [sic], and was, we believe, engaged in surveying the river Gambia when she met with the disastrous accident. The letters received are dated Feb. 8, from which it appears that on the 2d of that month, the Wilberforce was proceeding on a cruise along the Gambia, when, at about 10 o'clock at night, the air bright and clear, the officers and crew were alarmed by the vessel striking heavily upon apparently a sunken rock, which subsequently proved correct, it being situated on the east side of the Dog Islands. As a precaution, to save the lives of all on board, Lieut. Moore had the paddle-box life-boats got afloat in case of necessity, and then every exertion was directed to get the ship off the rocks; her guns were thrown overboard, also her cables, anchors, shot, & stores; but notwithstanding she became a fixture, and by the following day it was found that the vessel was completely settled on the island, and the edge of the rock was protruding through her bottom, and she was half full of water. On the intelligence arriving at Bathurst, St. Mary's, the Governor, accompanied by most of the masters and captains of the merchant vessels then lying in the harbour, and other assistance, proceeded to the wreck, in the hope of getting her off. Her masts and all the rigging were taken out of her, as well as a portion of the materials, but still she remained as firm as before, and consequently will become a total wreck. Part of her crew have been taken back to St. Mary's, where they await further orders. The Wilberforce was the largest vessel built for the Niger expedition, and was, we understand, upwards of 600 tons burden. When fitted out, at Woolwich about three years since, she was the admiration of Her Majesty and her Royal consort Prince Albert, and also the King of Belgium, the Duchess of Kent, Duke of Cambridge, and, in fact, all the Royal family and nobility, who, it will be recollected, visited the dockyard for the purpose of inspecting the vessel, and the other steamers built for the expedition.

[from Naval & Military Gazette and Weekly Chronicle of the United Service - Saturday 22 February 1845]:
Penelope, 22, Commander Jones, left Bonavista 4 Jan., for the river Gambia, to assist in raising the iron steamer Wilberforce, sunk about six months since.

[from Evening Mail - Wednesday 02 April 1845]:
Bathurst, River Gambia, Feb 10 - Her Majesty's steamer Wilberforce has been condemned.

[from Evening Mail - Wednesday 09 July 1845]:
Her Majesty's steamer Soudan, owing to her inefficient state, has lain at anchor nearly the whole of the year 1843 in the river Sierra Leone. Her Majesty's steamer Albert, whose sailing qualities are so bad that, with both sails and steam at their full power, she cannot exceed five knots an hour, has been cruising in this quarter, but without succeeding in making a single capture. Had these vessels been anchored in the Gallinas and Pongas, they must have prevented a large export of slaves in those two places, and proved a great protection to British traders.

[from Kendal Mercury - Saturday 11 October 1845]:
DEATHS. On the 23rd July, on board H. M. steamer Albert, on her passage from Sierra Leone to Gambia, John, eldest son of the late James Dawson, Esq., of Seaforth, near Lancaster.



Nun PS, yard no.37.



Iron paddle steamer Donets, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1840, yard no.33, 274grt, for use on river Donets (Eastern Ukraine). No further details known.



Iron paddle steamer Lady Flora Hastings, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1841, yard no.38, 187grt, engines by Fawcett & Preston. Service in British Guiana - between Georgetown, Essequibo, Berbice and the island of Leguan. Note Cambria had provided the first steam service in Demerara in 1826.
Note that ON 25735 and ON 5242 have this name, but are listed as sail 674 tons, 161 tons.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 11 May 1841]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON STEAM VESSEL. - A beautiful iron steam-vessel, of about 200 tons measurement, was launched last Thursday from Mr. John Laird's building-yard, North Birkenhead. She was named the "Lady Flora Hastings," and is intended, we understand, for Demerara. Her engines are now putting on board by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., and she will, it is expected, be very soon ready to sail for the West Indies.

[from Morning Herald (London) - Monday 05 July 1841]:
Liverpool. Ships sailed, Lady Flora Hastings (steamer), Dixon, Demerara.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 29 October 1841]:
Lady Flora Hastings (steamer) Dickson, hence at Demerara.



Iron paddle steamer, name unknown, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1841, yard no.39.
Possibly the iron paddle steamer reported as shipped in pieces to Lundie in Kingston, Jamaica, and assembled there by the foundry of William James. Named Anglesey, active from 1843, and found too small for the volume of trade, so Lundie ordered a larger iron steamer from Lairds: Earl of Elgin in 1844.



Iron paddle steamer Guadalupe, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1842, yard no.42, 800tons burthen, 788 grt, 183 x 30ft, 180hp engines. Built on speculation, then sold to Mexican Government. Warship - a 68-pounder gun at bow and at stern. Engaged Texas navy in 1843. More detail with image.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 05 October 1841]:
There is also, in a forward state, an iron steam-ship of 800 tons measurement, and it is reported, to be fitted with 68 pounders. This is the largest iron vessel yet built, or building, with the exception of the Mammoth.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 11 April 1842]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON STEAM FRIGATE. Tomorrow forenoon, about half an hour before high water, (say, half-past eleven,) a steam frigate, of 800 tons burthen, will be launched from the iron ship building-yard of Mr. John Laird, North Birkenhead. This is the only large vessel of war which has been built in this port since the year 1809, when the Havannah frigate was built. She will carry 68-pounders pivot-guns, and will be fitted up in all respects like her Majesty's steam frigates. Her machinery and armament will be completed without delay. The East Indies is said to be her destination. She will make the eighth iron vessel of war which Mr. Laird has built; they all carry pivot guns fore and aft. Four of them are now in the Chinese seas, namely, the Nemesis and the Phlegethon, carrying two 32-pounders, and the Ariadne and the Medusa, two 24-pounders. The other three are in the Persian Gulph.



Iron paddle steamer Helen McGregor, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1843, yard no.45, 601grt, 436nrt, 180 x 25 x 15.8 x 12.5 ft, 330 hp by Forrester, Liverpool, ON 5387, owned Joseph Gee, Hull. Intended for Hull - Hamburg service. In MNL to 1881, then owned James Battersby, Hull, registered Hull 1865, 218.4 x 26.2 x 16.0, 665grt, 504nrt, 230hp.

Image of PS Helen MacGregor, from 1843 print.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 18 July 1843]:
LAUNCH OF THE IRON STEAM-SHIP "HELEN MACGREGOR"[sic]. On Thursday last was launched from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird, North Birkenhead, a beautiful iron steam-ship called "The Helen Macgregor", being the 45th iron vessel turned out by that gentleman. She is 180 feet in length, between the perpendiculars, 26 feet in beam, 16 in depth of hold, and admeasures about 591 tons. She is destined to run between Hull and Hamburg with passengers and goods, and is owned by Mr. Gee, one of the most enterprising merchants of the former port, and who has determined to keep the lead in the trade between the two places in his family name for two or three generations. The vessel is very strongly constructed - one of the strongest, indeed, yet built of iron, the plates being of extraordinary thickness, and the ribs and fastenings of proportionate dimensions. She has four water tight bulkheads, dividing her into five compartments, and greatly adding to her strength and safety. Her hull, paddlebeams, upper and lower deck, beams, &c., are all of iron, the kelson and decks only being of wood. She will be fitted with engines on a new principle (the inverted cylinder engine and tubular boilers), patented by our townsmen, Messrs. George Forrester and Company, and which combine economy of space and reduction of weight, to as great, if not to a greater degree, than has been attained by any plan that has yet been tried. The saving of space in this instance by adopting these engines and boilers is equal to 7000 cubic feet for stowage of goods. In point of model, as seen both before and after the launch, no form could we think be better adapted for the combined purpose of great carrying and great speed. She is remarkably sharp at bow and stern under the line of floatation, but has ample bearings aloft. Her bulwarks forward are carried out, or made good, to the head, so that head rails are dispensed with, and the space (in other vessels) between them and the stem is made available for buoyancy, and will doubtless render her livelier and drier in a heavy sea-way. A handsome figure of a female warrior forms the head, and her stern, which is finely modelled, is correspondingly decorated. The launch - in presence of many hundred spectators, and the day being was fine - was one of the most gratifying we remember to have witnessed. The vessel was fully rigged as a two masted schooner, and was handsomely decorated with national and other flags, one of which bore her name. A scaffold was erected close to her fore-foot for the accommodation of those who were to take a more immediate part in the ceremony. A great number of ladies and others also occupied a station on the shore formed by a projecting point of land, whence they could obtain a good view, as the vessel after floating had to pass abreast of them in a southerly direction. The tide was not at its full height till a quarter past twelve, but the final preparations being speedily accomplished by a great number of workmen, the lady who was to give her her name, accompanied by Mr. Laird and others, took her station on the platform. This was Mrs. Cook, of Manchester, sister of Mr. Walter Macgregor, one of the partners in the firm of Messrs. Forrester and Company, the makers of the engine - and no one could have been more appropriately selected for the interesting office. In a few minutes the word was successively given - out cleats, out oakum and keys, out chissels, and, down daggers - when the huge vessel, feeling her release, started on her way; the bottle was thrown at her bow, and gliding majestically down the inclined plane, increasing every moment in speed, "The Ellen Macgregor"[sic] bounded into her destined element, amidst the shouts and cheers of the spectators on shore and on land, and the firing of a cannon from the adjoining ground, till she floated lightly and gracefully at a considerable distance from the shore. She looked beautiful on the water, and very high, owing to her comparative lightness and buoyancy. Three sights, had previously been put up - one forward, one aft, and one amidships - to ascertain whether the vessel showed any sign of weakness in launching, but not the slightest alteration of shape took place. Considering her great length, no greater proof of her strength could be given. She was afterwards towed out of Wallasey Pool by a steam-boat, and crossed the river in gallant style to the Trafalgar Dock, where she will receive her engines. The company assembled in the yard afterwards partook of refreshments in one of the model rooms. Mr. Laird soon afterwards treated all his men (about 200 in number) with a ticket each to view the exhibition at the Collegiate Institution, and also paid the ferry hire across and back thus affording them a means of gratifying and rational amusement for the remainder of the day.



[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 05 October 1841]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON VESSEL. On Saturday last, about noon, a very fine iron vessel called the Proto, and intended for a schooner, was launched from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird, North Birkenhead. She was built for the Liverpool and London Shipping Company, to run between those ports, is about 150 tons measurement, and from her light draught of water and her build - having a flat floor but uncommonly fine ends - will, we doubt not, be found admirably calculated for the trade, by combining the desiderata of carrying well and sailing fast. Her name, which we do not remember to have seen adopted for a vessel, is that of one of the Nereids, or sea-nymphs. She is 84 feet in length, 20 feet 3 inches in beam, and 12 feet 2 inches in depth of hold. Her hull, beams, floorings, stringers, and fastenings - all indeed but her decks are of iron, of the most substantial dimensions, and put together with all the improvements in the art of iron ship-building, of which the long experience of the builder has enabled him to avail himself. In model she strongly resembles a first-class yacht, and her safety is greatly increased by three water-tight bulkheads, dividing her into four compartments, so that in the event of injury to any of them she can readily be kept free, without damage to the cargo generally, or danger to the crew. She has a neatly cut and appropriate figure head of a sea-nymph; and in her upper-works forward, an improvement is introduced which is altogether novel. She has no cut-water, but her stern [sic stem?] in place of being upright is carried out, so as to form the shape of a cut-water, the deck being carried forward as far as the figure head. In other words, instead of head rails or boards, she is made good from bow to what would otherwise be the top of the head rails. This will give her much additional buoyancy in a sea-way, and ease her very much, without adding to her tonnage by measurement. ....
There is also on the stocks in Mr. Laird's yard, a fine barque of 270 tons, approaching to completion. She is divided into four compartments by water-tight bulkheads. She appears to be more strongly fastened than any iron vessel we have yet seen - and many improvements are introduced not before adopted.
[yard nos 41, 40 respectively]

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 29 November 1841]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON VESSEL. [name John Laird] On Saturday last an iron barque, of about 300 tons measurement, was launched from Mr. John Laird's yard, North Birkenhead. From her model she appears likely to carry a large cargo and sail fast, is very strongly built, and divided into four compartments by three watertight bulkheads, which add materially to her strength and render her much safer in case of accident by grounding or otherwise.

[from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Tuesday 06 May 1851]:
Sale: The very substantially-built and fast-sailing iron Barque JOHN LAIRD. 270 5-10 tons per register built Mr. John Laird, Birkenhead, in 1842, has been constantly employed in the China trade, and has always delivered her cargoes in first-rate condition; is very burthensome vessel, and her stores are abundant. Now lying in the St. Katharine Docks



Honorable East India Company steamers:

[from Halifax Guardian - Saturday 09 December 1843]:
RIVER NAVIGATION IN INDIA. - Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, is now building a number of iron steamers for the East India Company, which are intended to be used on the rivers Indus and Sutlej, and which, when completed, will enable the Indian government to transport troops and supplies to any point of its north-western frontiers, from Hydrabad to Loodianah that is, along a line of many hundred miles with extraordinary ease and rapidity. In order to guard against the two greatest difficulties in the navigation of the Indus and its tributaries, namely, the shallowness of the water, occasioned by the continual moving of the sand hanks, and the rapidity of the stream, produced by the melting of the snows on the Himalaya mountains, the boats are built with flat bottoms, so that those for the Indus only draw two feet water, and those for the Sutlej only eighteen inches; and their whole surface consists of a series of curves, without a single angular point of any description. Further to diminish their draught, without diminishing their power of conveying troops and supplies, each steamer has attached to it an accommodation boat, of equal size with itself, which it will tow after it, so that the steamer, properly so called, will carry nothing but the machinery and coals, whilst the passengers and cargo are carried in the accommodation boat which follows it. By this arrangement, the navigation of these rivers will be kept constantly open, and the dangers arising from the shallowness of the streams and the rapidity of the current will be greatly diminished.

Evidence that Planet, Satellite, Comet and Meteor were in the Indus in late 1842.

[from English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post - Tuesday 10 January 1843]:
Sukkur 27 Oct 1842... The 12th regiment Bombay native infantry remains encamped beyond the lines of her Majesty's 22d regiment, a detachment of which corps; under Lieut. Coote, is expected to arrive to-day in the Satellite. The Planet steamer, on Tuesday last, left this for Ferozepore, or to go up as far as she could upon what business is as yet unknown. The Comet steamer is also daily expected from Tatta, with treasure and stores. The Comet and Satellite go down the river again immediately on arrival, to bring up, with the Meteor, the depot of her Majesty's 40th regiment. The 9th Bengal native cavalry have arrived at Bhawulpoor, and to halt there till further orders. ...

[from The Evening Chronicle - Friday 07 April 1843]:
Residency at Hyderabad: After effectively keeping the enemy at bay for nearly four hours, and after almost the whole of the ammunition was expanded, Major Outram and his brave associates effected their retreat, in the best possible order, to the iron steamers Planet and Satellite, and ultimately formed junction with Major-General Sir Charles Napier. K.C.B., at Hala. The loss sustained in this heroic defence, reflecting so much honour on the defenders, is stated in the margin, whilst that of the enemy was 90 killed, and many wounded.

Iron paddle steamer Napier, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1843, yard no.46, about 200 tons, 160 x 24 ft, draught 1ft 10in, two 45 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool. Assembled in India (Bombay most probably) for East India Company. Initially named Loodhiana [now Ludhiana]. . Listed in 1848. River steamer. Rudder at each end. 2 guns.

[from Fifeshire Journal - Thursday 21 September 1843]:
Trials with no less than three new iron ships have taken place near Liverpool during the past week - the Loodhiana, the Helen McGregor and the Margaret. The former of these is a singular-looking vessel with two funnels, built by Mr Laird, of North Birkenhead, for the East India Company, and is intended to navigate the Indian rivers; she is 160 feet long, with 24 feet breadth of beam, has a pair of engines of 45 horse power each, and her breadth and flatness are such that with engines, coal, and all her stores, her draught of water is only 22.5 inches; she answers the helm with wonderful facility, and can be turned in her length, has a rudder at her bow as well as at the stern; and she is, in fact, totally different from anything yet built, and is likely to lead to considerable improvement in the construction of vessels for shallow waters. ...

[from Monthly Times - Friday 06 October 1843]:
The Hon. East India Company's Iron Steamer Loodhiana, now laying at Liverpool, was built by Mr. Laird, North Birkenhead, and is intended for the navigation of the Indus. Her length is 100 feet, and her beam 24 feet. She has a pair of 45-horse engines, by George Forrester and Co.; and such is her length, width, and flatness, that her draught of water - with her engines, coal, and all stores on board, will be only 1 foot 10 inches! Her speed by log has been found to be 11.5 knots an hour, beating every ferry-boat on the river hollow. With two loaded flats at her tail, she went through it at from 9 to 9.5 knots. Her steering and turning are most remarkable. When going straight, she scarcely requires the helm to be moved, and she will turn in her own length. She is entirely on a new construction, unlike anything that has yet been built; and, from her success, will probably give rise to a new era in the shape of river craft and lead to important improvements and practical discoveries in what may be termed surface-sailing. She has a rudder at her bow as well as aft. The engines will be taken out, and the hull separated in pieces, so that she may be sent to India by ship.

[from Edinburgh Evening Post and Scottish Standard - Saturday 04 April 1846]:
On the 10th he [Sir Charles Napier] quitted Sukkur with his personal staff on board the steamer Napier; he was to leave the river and push on by land from Bahawulpore, and would probably arrive about the 17th, joining the Governor General before his arrival at Lahore. After the above was in type, we learnt that the steamer was fired on at Mithenkote. The Moultanees had also prepared some guns to stop her progress at Bahawulpore, but were baulked by Sir Charles landing near a place called Ooch. He was last heard of at Ahmudpor. It is rumoured that it is intended to place him second in command of the grand army. The Napier returned to Sukkur the morning of the 20th. She could not get within forty miles of Bahawulpore. On her return entrenchment was observed at Mithenkote. A few discharges of round and grape shot were fired on the trenches, which was returned by, without however, doing her any other damage than cutting her awning in a couple of places. Beyond this we have no intelligence from Scinde worthy of notice.

Iron paddle steamer Conqueror, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1844, yard no.48, 271 grt (204 tons); 40 hp engine. Assembled in India (Bombay most probably) for East India Company. Possibly also named Sutlej. Listed in 1848. River steamer. 2 guns.

[from Globe - Monday 03 April 1848]:
The steamer Conqueror, under the command of Lieutenant Christopher, had reached Kalabagh, on the Indus, in the beginning of February, on her way to Attoc.

[from Sun (London) - Monday 20 November 1848]:
On the night of the 29th the commander of the steamer Conqueror received intimation that his vessel was to be attacked. The steamer was immediately pushed into the middle of the stream, and every preparation:made to receive her intended captors, who, however, did not make their appearance.

[from Bombay Gazette - Saturday 24 February 1855]:
SCINDE. Captain Ethersey, Commanding Indus Flotilla, arrived here on Thursday evening by the River Steamer Conqueror; we understand that he is come down to survey the Napier and Meeanee, before sending them down to Bombay, and is also anxious to superintend in person the embarkation and accommodation of the Recruits proceeding to the Provinces. We only trust the Military Authorities at Mooltan will evince half as much interest in their march from thence, as Captain Ethersey has shewn in comfortably stowing them on board.

Iron paddle steamer Meanee, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1844, yard no.49, 271 grt (409 tons); 80 hp engine. Assembled in India (Bombay most probably) for East India Company. Listed in 1848. River steamer. 2 guns.

[from Express (London) - Friday 22 October 1847]:
Till the arrival of the Medusa steamer from Kurrachee, expected on Monday, it cannot, of course, be known what Sir Charles's [Napier] intentions really are - whether he proceeds home or not. Meantime the Moozuffer steamer has been got ready for a start to Kurrachee, should he be determined on quitting India. It is said he intends to accompanying his family to Suez, and then returning to Scinde, to give over charge, prior to proceeding to Bengal. The country generally was healthy. Shikarpore had been visited by the small-pox which, however, was on the decrease. The port of Kurrachee had again become the scene of animation, native boats from the coast having begun to pour in with supplies of all kinds. The Meanee steamer had taken two months on her voyage to Ferozepore [sic Ferozepur/Firozpur on Sutlej river]from Sukkur, native craft accomplishing the distance in half the time; which speaks ill fo the success of river steam navigation; but the Meanee is said to be an inferior class of vessel. Large quantities of salt about being shipped from Kurrachee to the Malabar coast. ...

[from Preston Chronicle - Saturday 11 December 1847]:
The Meanee steamer had proceeded up the river to Ramnuggar [Ramnagar?], but as the water had become too shallow, she was obliged to return to Sukkur. Her presence in the centre of Punjab caused much surprise among the Sikhs.

[from Express (London) - Saturday 15 October 1853]:
The river steamer Meanee had gone up to Hyderabad with treasure, the Planet to Mooltan with cargo and passengers, and the Meteor to Kotree to refit.



Iron paddle steamer Phlox, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1844, yard no.50, 181grt, 95nrt, 132.5 x 16.1 ft. Was serving Bombay - Surat from 1845 to 1854 when for sale.
Note another steamer Phlox, ON 30543, was built of wood at Bombay in 1854.

[from Bombay Gazette - Wednesday 02 January 1850]:
FOR SURAT. The Steamer "PHLOX," Captain P. Duverger, will start for Surat on Wednesday the 2nd instant, at 2 o'clock P.M. For Freight and Passage, address to the Steamer "Phlox" Office, near the Bazaar Gate Street. Bombay, 1st January, 1850.

[from Bombay Gazette - Thursday 22 June 1854]:
TO BE SOLD. THE OLD IRON STEAMER PHLOX. THIS Steamer is in admeasurement 135 feet long, 18 feet broad, and 8 feet deep; and built entirely of Iron. The bottom of the vessel was fastened last year with Iron Plates, fifty in number. and a quarter of an inch in depth; besides being fastened with good many plates on the sides. The vessel also contains Two Wood Cabins large and small, the entire wooden deck, the wooden paddle boxes, and the wooden railings all round. This boat is now lying at the right-hand side of the Mazagon Dock, on dry ground; it will be sold as it is lying there, together with its Iron Chain and one Anchor. ...
[The new steamer Phlox is advertised as plying from September 1854]



Iron paddle steamer Birkenhead, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1845, yard no.51, 1918grt, 210 x 37.5 ft, draught 15.9 ft, two 546hp engines by G Forrester, Liverpool, owned Admiralty. Under construction named Vulcan. Intended as a frigate but since paddle steamers were considered vulnerable, she was commissioned as a troopship. Wrecked 26-2-1852 on rock in Algoa Bay with loss of 438.
More detail and images.

[from Hereford Journal - Wednesday 05 March 1845]:
The iron steam-frigate which has been building at Birkenhead, by Mr. Laird, and is now nearly ready for launching, is to have her name altered from Vulcan to Birkenhead, in honour of the place of her nativity. She is of 556-horse power.

[from Sun (London) - Tuesday 10 March 1846]:
The Birkenhead, iron steam-frigate, recently launched from Mr. Laird's building-yard, at Birkenhead, is ordered round here to be fitted for sea. She is the largest iron steamer in the British navy; her engines being collectively of 560 horse power, and her tonnage, carpenter's measurement, 1,400 tons.

Image of wreck of HMS Troopship Birkenhead at Danger Point, Cape of Good Hope, 1852 - from a later lithograph - from NMM Greenwich.








[from Chester Courant - Tuesday 20 December 1842]:
Launch of two iron vessels: On Saturday week, two iron vessels were launched from Mr. Laird's building-yard, North Birkenhead: the one, a brig of 220 tons measurement (appropriately called the Guide) for the Hon. East India Company, as a pilot vessel for the Bay of Bengal;

and the other, a light ship of 200 tons, named The Prince, for the Liverpool Dock Trust. This is the first application of iron in the construction of vessels for the above purposes. [yard nos. 43 and 44 respectively]

[from City Chronicle - Tuesday 20 June 1843]:
TOTAL WRECK OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S IRON SHIP GUIDE. Intelligence was on Monday last received by the authorities of the marine department at the East India House of the total shipwreck of the Honourable Company's elegant iron brig, the Guide, commanded by Captain Sercombe, while on her passage outward to Calcutta, unattended with loss of human life. The vessel was quite a new one, entirely constructed of iron, and this was her maiden voyage, having only been launched in the early part of the present year at Liverpool, where she was built, under the management of Mr. Laird. She was built expressly for the company's pilot establishment in India, whither she was proceeding, when the unfortunate occurrence took place, possessing far superior sailing qualities than any other vessel in the company's service. Her dimensions were, extreme length from stem to stern, 87 feet 6 inches; extreme breadth of beam, 24 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 16 feet; and tonnage, 237 tons; carrying on her deck three small guns. She left Liverpool on the 14th of February last, under orders to sail direct to Calcutta, and appears to have been wrecked on the 7th of the following month (March) on a dangerous reef of rocks situate on the north side of Bona Vista, one of the Cape de Verd islands; but the circumstances under which it happened are not precisely known, in consequence of the official despatches not having yet been received by the authorities of the India House; they believe, however, the following particulars, extracted from a letter received yesterday at Lloyd's, to be substantially correct:
I regret to state that that beautiful vessel, the Guide, is irrecoverably lost on one of the Cape de Verd islands. The instant she struck efforts were used to float her off, but she remained a fixture, notwithstanding the immense mass of articles, &c., thrown overboard to lighten her. The ship remained in a perfect state on the reef until the 20th of March, when, in consequence of a heavy sea setting in, she broke into three pieces, becoming a total wreck. It was confidently anticipated she would have been preserved. Captain Foote, of her Majesty's frigate Madagascar, offered his valuable assistance, but the sea getting in, as above mentioned, prevented Captain Sercombe availing himself of the liberal offer. To Captain Foote, his officers, and crew, great praise is due for their readiness in coming forward; and, had it not been for the unfortunate state of the weather, there can be no doubt but they would have rendered great assistance in saving the ship. The conduct of Captain Sercombe, his officers, and crew, was beyond all commendation, and I regret that so sad a disaster should have befallen so brave a set of men.
The ship's company consisted of twenty-seven persons, but there were passengers on board, all of whom escaped injury. Most of them were afterwards conveyed on board the Madagascar, where they would remain until the arrival of the next vessel going out to India. Several of the officers are on their return to England, to be tried by court-martial, which will be appointed. The rocks on which the vessel was lost are called Hartwell Reef [after wreck in 1787], and she is the second of the company's ships that has been wrecked on the same spot. The vessel is reported to have been laden with copper and sundry stores, intended for the company's works in India. She is not insured.



Iron screw steamer Dove, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1843, yard no.52, 75 tons burthen, 75 x 15 ft, draught 6ft, engines 20hp by Forrester, Liverpool. For Baptist missionary service to the coast of Africa.

Image and text [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 25 November 1843]:

THE MISSIONARY STEAM SCHOONER DOVE, This fine screw schooner has just been built by Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, for the Baptist Missionary Society for the Civilization of Africa. She was launched at Mr. Laird's works a few days since, the lady of the Rev. Mr. Lancaster naming her. The principal dimensions are: Length between perpendiculars, 75ft; Beam, 15ft; Depth of hold, 9ft 9in; Tonnage, old measurement, 73; with a pair of oscillating engines ?? horse power each, manufactured by Messrs. George Forrester and Co., of Liverpool; the screw fitted (on Mr. Smith's patent principle) in the "Dead Iron". She is modelled to steam or sail, her lines being well hollowed forward and aft, with sufficient bearings to float her, with all fitments, and stores, on 6 feet water; and it is considered by nautical authorities, that a better model for the purposes for which she is intended could not have been designed. Her commander is Capt. W. Walters. Her rendezvous will be Fernando Po, whence she will proceed to different parts of the Western Coast with Missionaries, whose laudable endeavours - with the blessing of God - to establish Christianity amongst the benighted people of Africa will, let us hope, be ultimately successful.

[from Penzance Gazette - Wednesday 22 November 1843]:
Launch of an iron schooner for the Baptist missionaries to Africa. On Saturday last a beautiful iron schooner was launched from the yard of Mr. John Laird, North Birkenhead, built for the use of the missionaries employed by the Baptist Society, with the benevolent view of spreading Christianity and civilization amongst the benighted tribes on the coast of Africa. Shortly before the hour of launching, a number of ladies and gentlemen reached the yard, and an inspection of the vessel, by those who were at all versed in nautical matters, led to the conviction that she was peculiarly calculated, in every point, for the service for which she is intended. We do not remember to have seen a vessel of more beautiful model, or one more likely to be found a good sea-boat in a gale, and a swift sailer under ordinary circumstances. She has a hollow or circumflex bottom, and is very sharp at both extremities, with a fine rotundity of side for bearings. One peculiarity is, that she is calculated both for sailing and steaming, though without paddle-boxes, the admirable principle of the Archimedian screw propeller, perfected by Mr, F. P. Smith, the patentee, being adopted in the dead iron abaft. Her length is seventy-five feet, beam fifteen feet, and burthen about seventy five tons. She will be rigged as a Ballahoo schooner, taut inclining masts, ample spread of canvas; and is altogether one of the most rakish looking craft we have seen. When her steam is not employed, she will, doubtless, be safe under sail alone, as the screw can be thrown out of gear, and will scarcely, if at all, retard her speed. She went off, and plunged into her destined element in fine style, amidst the shouts of the numerous spectators, and looked beautiful when afloat. The Rev. Mr. Birrell, of Liverpool, and a large party of friends were present; and the vessel received her name, The Dove, in the usual form, from the lady of Mr. Birrell. She will draw, when completed, about six feet of water. Her engines (of twenty horse power) are by Messrs. George Forrester and Co., on the oscillating principle, with tubular boilers, brine pumps, and every improvement which the experience and skill of these gentlemen can supply. The object for which she is sent out, is to carry the missionaries from one part of Africa to another, and to ascend the rivers when requisite. The Baptists are the first who have commenced this (it is to be hoped effectual) plan of operations; and they have already an extensive establishment of missionaries at the head quarters, in the Island of Fernando Po. The cabins will be neatly fitted, and with every regard to health and ventilation, The name of the vessel is exceedingly appropriate, and on her flag is represented: The dove, with the branch of olive.



Queen PS, yard no.53.

Prince PS, yard no.54.



Iron paddle steamer Earl of Elgin, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1844, yard no.55, 103 t(om), 43nrt, 105.3 x 14.2 ft, 32 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool, owned Thomas Lundie, Liverpool, for use in Jamaica. Named after Governor of Jamaica. Sailed 7 July 1844.
Some history. Sold to Haiti government in 1847.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 04 July 1844]:
Loading. West Indies. Earl of Elgin, (steamer) Johnston, 42, Jam., Imrie & Tomlinson

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 09 July 1844]:
THE STEAM-SCHOONER "EARL OF ELGIN." We have already noticed the launch (on the 4th ult.) of this beautiful little vessel, from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird; and have now to state that, after being fitted up with highly-finished engines by our experienced townsmen, Messrs. George Forrester and Co., she proceeded, on Sunday morning last, to her destination, the Island of Jamaica. She is one of the smallest. but most finely modelled vessels that ever crossed the Atlantic, and has consequently excited much attention amongst nautical men. Her length is 105 feet, beam 15 feet, depth of hold 7.5 feet, and capacity 115 tons, old measurement. We need scarcely say that she is built in the most approved manner, and finished in every respect with every care and appliance that can conduce to her speed and safety - no expense or exertion being spared by her owner, Mr. Lundie, of this town, to render her a "regular clipper." In model she is peculiarly sharp and elegant, resembling the fastest of the London river steamers, with additional bearings above to adapt her for a sea-way. She has a figure-head of the Earl of Elgin, the present governor of Jamaica, with his coat of arms finely carved on the stern, his lordship's name having been selected for her in respect to his high character as the unwavering friend of the agricultural and other interests of the colony. The engines are of 16-horse power each, (32 in all) with oscillating cylinders, and finished with the nicety of clockwork. The paddle-wheels are 12 feet in diameter, and she has already proved herself remarkably fast. Her rig is that of a schooner without topmasts; she will, no doubt, attain great speed even under canvas alone, and is one of the most insinuating and snake-like little vessels we have yet seen, admirably calculated to obviate the tedium of beating up against the trade winds in her destined station. We may state that two steamers were, some years ago, sent out to Jamaica by a joint-stock company, to run from port to port in the Island with passengers, but from various causes proved unsuccessful. Mr. Lundie, notwithstanding this discouragement, sent out (in pieces) a fine small steamer to the Island about eighteen months ago [iron steamer called Anglesey assembled by Wm James at Kingston - could have been yard no.39?], which (put together there) has been found so serviceable as to be inadequate to the demand for voyaging by steam; and he has, consequently, entered upon this second enterprise to complete the insular passenger navigation.
On Friday week, the Earl of Elgin made a trial trip round the outer Light-ship and back, with a party of upwards of 50 ladies and gentlemen, including Messrs Cater, Hoyes, Hall, Gordon, Chisholm, M'Adam, Dr. Macnaughten and others, from Jamaica, and of the town, who took a warm interest in the success of the undertaking. The vessel, though opposed by wind, and tide nearly the whole way, averaged by steam alone about 10 miles an hour, making the run out and back (about 35 miles) in 3.5 hours, and at one time beating the powerful steam-tug Victoria. Mr. Stubbs's Harmonic Band was on board, and played with great effect favourite airs and overtures throughout the day. The Earl, on her return, steamed up to Eastham, where the party disembarked, and ruralized in the delightful pleasure-grounds attached to the new hotel, concluding with dancing on the green, in which the ladies took an active part, for a couple of hours. The whole then returned on board, and sat down to a sumptuous collation and wines, including every delicacy, provided by the worthy owner of "the little West Indiaman." It being the anniversary of the last coronation, the health of her Majesty Queen Victoria was drunk with great applause. Other loyal and appropriate toasts followed, including "Long life and happiness to the Earl of Elgin, the deservedly popular governor of Jamaica", "Success to the vessel", "The owner, Mr. Lundie," &c. On returning down the river, the steamer, with a slightly favourable tide, ran at the rate of 11.25 knots an hour. On leaving this port for Jamaica, she took with her 60 tons of coals and a quantity of patent fuel, which will carry her into the "trades," when, if short of fuel, she may proceed, westward under sail. She will probably reach Jamaica in about 25 days. So long a voyage is unusual in so small a vessel; but, as she has an experienced captain, we have no doubt but she will reach her haven in safety. Her appearance on the middle of the western ocean will surprise and interest those on board of the large ships she may near or speak. She took with her two engineers, two firemen, seven seamen, and captain and mate.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 24 September 1844]:
THE LITTLE TRANSATLANTIC STEAMER, "EARL OF ELGIN." In our paper of the 9th of July last, we furnished some particulars of the beautiful model and fine machinery of "The Earl of Elgin," a very sharp and elegant iron schooner-rigged steamer, of 115 tons burthen; the hull built by Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, and the engines (of 32 horse power) by our townsmen, Messrs. George Forrester and Co., for Mr. Thomas Lundie, Oldhall-street, and his house in Jamaica. (Messrs. Lundie and Co.) and intended to run from port to port in that colony, with passengers. The length of the voyage, with so comparatively small a vessel, however scientifically constructed, naturally excited considerable interest amongst nautical men, and we partook of the anxiety they expressed; yet aware of her excellent qualities from personal inspection, we ventured an opinion at the time, that, (baring some untoward accident which the largest ships cannot always escape,) we had no doubt but she would reach her destined haven in safety. It will be gratifying to all interested in the progress and achievements of steam, and also of sailing, navigation to learn that our hopes have been fully realised. She made a fine run out; steamed for 8 days only, and sailed the remainder of her passage. She called at the island of Antigua for supplies, and afterwards reached Kingston, from that colony, in five days. Her appearance was hailed with the greatest enthusiasm by all classes, and the colonial journals (before us) unite in praise: of her beautiful form, admirable engines, and extraordinary speed acknowledging, at the same time, the liberality and enterprise of her owners in furnishing them with so delightful a mode of conveyance round their island, and wishing them every possible success in their enterprise. Several of them quote the whole of our article describing her.
She had commenced running, in lieu of another steamer, belonging to the same parties and requiring to be repaired, between Kingston, Port Henderson, and Port Royal, and had given the utmost satisfaction. One paper states her speed to be "eleven (and more) miles an hour," another, that "she performed the passage from Port Royal to Kingston" - a distance, by the five-foot channel, of five miles - "in twenty-three minutes;" and another says, "In these depressed times, when people cannot afford the old, expensive mode of travelling, or conveying their persons and luggage from one part of the country to the other, the facilities afforded for locomotion by a steamer, making a rapid circuit of the island, are gratifying in the extreme, and will doubtless benefit many poor invalids desirous of a cruise, or change of air to recruit their shattered health". We heartily congratulate the owners, and also the builders, on this success of "The Earl of Elgin," and with regard to her safe arrival out - as we thought much of the voyages of "The Royal William," to and from New York, before we had larger vessels on the station - we may surely say of a craft not a fourth of her size, "Well done little one!".

Token issued by Thomas Lundie & Co, Ironmongers, Kingston, 1844 for the Earl of Elgin paddle steamer.

[from Daily News (London) - Friday 06 August 1847]:
Jamaica. ... and that the Earl of Elgin steamer carried on an average 1,248 passengers per annum.



Iron vessels Assam and Sphynx (also Sphinx), yard nos.56, 57, built Laird, Birkenhead, circa 1844. Wirral history states that they were paddle steamers. Sphynx reported as 227grt, launched 9-1844. Possibly for use as river steamboats or barges on the Nile or in India.



Wirrall PS, yard no.60.



Iron paddle steamer Prince Ernest, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1845, yard no.58, 272grt, 172nrt, 156.2 x 21.4 x 10.4 ft, engines 150 hp by Forrester, Liverpool, ON 17305. Built for SE Railway Co to run Folkestone - Boulogne. More history.

[from Herapath's Railway Journal - Saturday 31 May 1845]:
IRON STEAM SHIP. On Saturday last a beautiful iron steam-ship, called the Prince Earnest [sic, Ernest], of about 350 tons measurement and 120 horse power, was launched from the yard of Mr. John Laird, North Birkenhead, in the presence of numerous and delighted assemblage of spectators. She is one of the sharpest vessels ever built on our river, and of a light draught of water. Engines of the most approved construction are being built for her by Messrs. G. Forrester and Co., who have long been celebrated in this department. She is built for the South Eastern Railway Company, to run between Folkestone and Boulogne. The Prince Ernest is of great length, and, on the water, presented a most rakish and pretty appearance.

Iron paddle steamer Princess Clementine, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1846, yard no.61, 252grt, 111nrt, 165.3 x 23.6 x 11.1 ft, 160 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool, ON 17306, owned SE and Continental SP Co., London, for cross channel service. Out of service 1884. More history. Used as a cable laying vessel in a first trial in 1849. Also reported as in use as a transport in the Crimean war.

Iron paddle steamer Princess Helena, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1846, yard no.62, 267grt, 142nrt, 166.2 x 24.3 x 10.9 ft, 160 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool, ON 17303, owned SE and Continental SP Co., London, for cross channel service. Out of service 1881. More history.

[from Evening Mail - Friday 26 February 1847]:
Trial Trip of a New Iron Steamer. The Prince Helena, new iron steam-boat, built by Mr. Laird, of Birkenhead, and the engines by Messrs. George Forrester and Go., of this town [Liverpool], made her first trial trip yesterday. Her time was taken from the Rock Lighthouse to the Bell-buoy, thence to the North-west Lightship, and back to the Rock by the Bell buoy, a distance of 32 miles, which she performed in 2 hours and 2 minutes. When we consider that this the first time that the vessel has been out of dock since launched, and the first trial of the engines, the result may be considered very satisfactory, and there can be no doubt that eventually much greater speed will be obtained. The Princess Helena is a sister vessel to the Princess Clementine, which we so lately noticed having left our port for Folkestone. They are both built for the South-Eastern end Continental Steam-Packet Company.

Iron paddle steamer Lord Warden, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1847, yard no.63, 306grt, 156nrt, 168.0 x 23.3 x 11.0 ft, 160 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool, ON 17308, owned SE and Continental SP Co., London, for cross channel service. Out of service 1881. More history.

Iron paddle steamer St. Columba, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1847, yard no.65, 589grt, 326nrt, 205.3 x 26.4 x 15.1 ft, 375 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool, ON 8778, for the Admiralty who ran the Holyhead - Dublin mail service until 1849. By 1850 owned City of Dublin SP Co., Dublin, for Holyhead - Dublin service. See more detail and comparison of performance. Wrecked 21st June 1873 on Skerries with several lives lost.



Iron paddle steamer, built Lairds. Birkenhead, circa 1848, intended for Odessa, yard no.64. Name not known.



Cambria PS, yard no.67.



Honourable East India Comany steamers - later called Bombay marine - built by Lairds, Birkenhead, iron paddle steamers, completed at Bombay.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 08 January 1850]:
NAVIGATION OF THE INDUS. So far back as August or September 1843, we had occasion to notice the building, by Mr. John Laird, of an iron vessel, for the navigation of the Ganges [sic], called Loodeania [sic], now The Napier, and which has proved herself the best craft for the purpose hitherto produced. Mr. Laird's success in this, and in many other instances, (embracing all kinds of iron vessels) recently procured him an order from the Hon. East India Company for a large steam vessel, for the navigation of the Ganges, of a somewhat new and peculiar form, adapted (of course) for shallow water, and as she is now nearly completed, we obtained a cursory view of her yesterday.
The vessel is upwards of 200 feet long, and 30 feet beam; and will draw, when loaded, about two feet of water. Her model resembles that of the Napier, with such modifications as experience has suggested. The principle, (in form), is that of the canoe, shovel shaped at both extremities, and the bottom, amidships - without keel - forming an inverted gentle segment of an arch; the centre portion, however, or floor, being nearly flat. The rudder is loose, and hung by an iron bar. This is applied at either end as necessity requires, and the lower part of the rudder is level with the under part of the bottom of the vessel, though it is below that part of the turned up extremity under which it hangs. On deck the vessel much resembles the Woodside iron steamers, (also with a rudder at each end), built by the same gentleman, but is of much greater length.
She is divided longitudinally into what may be called three vessels, by water-tight bulkheads, and traversing these, athwart ships, there are other bulkheads, dividing the whole vessel into thirty water-tight compartments, and adding greatly to her strength. Her depth from the spacious flush-deck, varies (from her build) from 11 feet in the middle to 8 feet towards the extremities. The floorings, engine bed, &c., are all of tubular or spout wrought iron, imparting great strength. She is to be propelled by paddle-wheels, to be worked by engines of 160 to 180-horse power, but which may be worked with safety to a much higher pressure. It is expected that the vessel, per se, will attain a good speed, and she will be capable of towing two or three large cargo or luggage boats. The bottom being of the canoe form, should she go upon a sand bank with the current in her behalf, an anchor may be let go at the then stern end, and the water washing under her will clear away the sand and release her from the danger (to which ordinary boats are liable in such navigations) of getting broadside on and being damaged or capsized. Should she take a bank or snig, in running against the tide or current, the anchor may be let go at the then bow, and she will drift back into the deep water. The numerous bulkheads will give her great strength in resisting collisions of any kind, or strains on the shifting sands of the river for which she is destined.
Such is the floating capacity of the vessel, and the extent of her decks and accommodations, that she will carry a full regiment of soldiers at a time. All deck or top lumber is avoided. So far as we can judge, the plan is much more simple, and likely to be more efficient and workable than the composite or united train of boats proposed by Mr. Bourne; but we shall defer all details on this point until a future occasion. The vessel will, when finished, be taken to pieces, and sent in a ship to India, to be finally put together.
[most probably applies to one or more of the following]

Falkland 1159 tons, yard no.69, completed at Bombay April 1851. 230 x 33 ft, engines by Maudsley. Intended for an Indus river steamer. Lost on delivery voyage from Bombay to Karachi on 6 May 1851.
Confusingly the list of Bombay built vessels includes steamer Falkland in 1851, 1159 tons; iron steamer Lady Falkland HCS in 1852, 155 tons and 18 gun corvette Falkland, HCS, 494 tons, in 1853.

[from Bombay Gazette - Saturday 05 April 1851]:
LAUNCH OF THE FALKLAND. Yesterday being the day fixed for the launch of the new iron Steamer intended for the navigation of the Indus betwixt Kotree and Mooltan, the authorities of the Dock Yard were busied all the morning in making the necessary preparations,... pronounced as the name by which she is to be hereafter known, THE FALKLAND.
The Falkland was constructed by Mr. Laird, of Birkenhead, and her Engines were made by Maudsley and Sons, of London. She is provided with a patent Capstan, said to be invented by Lieutenant Ferguson, of the Indian Navy. The Capstan is worked by Cogwheels connected with the main shaft of the Engine. She is 230 feet from stem to stern, and 33 feet beam; she yesterday drew only eighteen inches water, but after being fitted up with all her machinery and engines, and fully laden, she will, it is expected, draw three feet water. The Falkland will, it is said, be in perfect readiness to proceed to her destination in all this month

[from Chester Chronicle - Saturday 31 May 1851]:
Birkenhead Work in East Indies. The iron steamer Falkland, constructed by Mr. Laird, of Birkenhead, and exported in pieces to Bombay, has lately been launched there. She is intended for the navigation of the Indus.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 30 June 1851]:
The iron steamer Falkland, that was launched in Bombay last month, was lost on the 6th ult., about 56 miles from the mouth of the Indus. She broke in two just before the paddleboxes, and sank immediately. The crew had barely time to escape on board the Berenice steamer; one life, that of the quartermaster, was lost. She cost upwards of £15,000.

[from Dublin Evening Mail - Wednesday 02 July 1851]:
LOSS OF THE FALKLAND STEAMER, We have been favoured with the following letter of the 9th instant, from Kurrachee, giving a succinct account of the loss of the Falkland steamer:

Kurrachee, May 9, 1851. Having been on board the Hon. Company's steamer Berenice, I witnessed a very afflicting scene on the evening of the 6th instant, in the total loss of the iron steamer Falkland, about 50 miles from the mouth of the Hajamree [one of the branches of the Indus]. It would appear that this steamer showed evidence of not being a sea-worthy boat shortly after she left Bombay, from her great length and buoyancy; the swells of the ocean used to strike desperately against her bottom, and this soon caused a portion of the iron plate near the larboard sponson to yield to it, which let in a large quantity of sea water into this part the steamer. The pumps could scarcely diminish the quantum which rushed into her. This accident occurred, I believe, about ten clock on the 5th inst. The vessel in this dilemma was permitted to be steamed with all the luggage she had, till ten o'clock the following day, when Mr. Fenner came on board the Berenice to Lieutenant Draper, her commander, to report the fearful condition of the Falkland. I believe this induced Lieut. Draper and Lieut. Balfour to go on board to examine her; Mr. Fenwick also immediately proceeding to his vessel, and taking two of the chief engineers of the Berenice, and materials to make the repairs practicable in such a case. It has been said that on attempting to bring the plates together with new rivets, they broke off as soon they were screwed on by the motion of the vessel. Proving so unsuccessful in this experiment, they secured an iron plate over the broken part by chains round the body of the vessel. Ere all this could be done, the deck over this part gave way, and matters becoming most alarming, Mr. Fenner wisely sent away his wife with Lieut. Draper, on his returning about noon to the Berenice. Shortly after an engineer's wife, a passenger in the Falkland, with two infant children, were brought away by Mr. Craig, head engineer of the Berenice. With these exceptions, nothing was removed from the Falkland. The vessel continued under steam till about three p.m., when the weight of the vessel on either side of the crack proved preponderous, and in ten minutes after, the swells of the ocean consummated the destruction, which gave timely evidence of its fatal issue. All hands but a quartermaster, Thomas Richards, were picked up by our boats, and a very small portion of the luggage. Every mother's soul had to jump overboard, as the vessel gradually began to turn up her fore and aft into the air, both parts coming almost in collision ere the vessel became buried in the element. This unfortunate vessel steamed to and fro along side of the Berenice, her speed being so great, and I feel assured that she would have equalled every expectation entertained at Bombay, if she had been spared to reach the river Indus. ...
The steamer Berenice called at Hajamree, and cast off the steamer Napier to her destination, and she herself coals and starts, perhaps to-morrow evening, for Bushire [Bushehr].
[At a subsequent court-martial, Capt Fenner of the Falkland was exonerated. When the leak was first discovered, he had proposed heading for shore, but was over-ruled by the commanding officer, Lieut Draper.]

Indus, 522 tons, yard no.70, 2 guns

Jhelum, 499 tons, yard no.71, 2 guns

Chenab/Chenaub, 499 tons, yard no.72, 2 guns

In 1851, three bigger Laird steamers were assembled at Bombay. These were 500 ton iron paddle steamers; the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab. Reported in newspaper as 145 x 27 x 7 ft, 420 tons (bm). Engines by Laird of 60hp.

[from Bombay Gazette - Saturday 21 September 1850]:
BOMBAY SHIPPING. We have to announce the following arrival. 20th Sept. Ship Moffat, S. Taylor, Master, from Liverpool 10th June.

[from Bombay Gazette - Monday 23 September 1850]:
IRON STEAMERS FOR THE INDIAN NAVY. Two new Iron Steamers for the river Indus are on board the ship Moffat now in harbour. These vessels were made in England in separate pieces for more easy transport, and will be put together here by men sent out for the purpose. There are two other vessels of the same kind on the way out in another ship.

[from Bombay Gazette - Monday 02 June 1851]:
LAUNCH OF THE JHELUM STEAMER. This Iron Boat, being the third and last of those recently built to ply on the Indus was launched out of the new ground at the Dock Yard at high water on Saturday last at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, when the vessel floated smoothly into her native element amidst the cheers of the spectators. The christening and breaking a bottle of wine upon the bows was performed, in the absence of a fairer representative of the gentle sex, by "Sonabhoye" a young maiden between ten and twelve years old, the daughter of Purshotum Runchoorjee, Head Clerk in the Master Attendant's Office. The young Lady performed her part admirably, and with an ease and freedom of manner, which when contrasted with the general shyness and timidity of the Hindoo female, and ladies in general, can not but be regarded as an improvement in the native character, which it would be as well to see more extensively diffused amongst her countrywomen and the sex in general.
The Jhelum reflects credit on those who have constructed her; she is not such a beautiful model as the unfortunate Falkland, she is 145 feet long, 27 feet broad, and 7 feet deep; by the builder's measurement she was estimated at 420 tons, is calculated to carry only 100 tons of freight of every description. Engines of the Jhelum, constructed by Mr. John Laird of Birkenhead, are of 60 horse power.
The number of spectators at the Launch was very small, consisting principally of the Dock Yard Authorities.



Iron paddle steamer Recreo, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1850, yard no.73. Left Liverpool November 1850, for Cadiz, then Algeciras. Served Gibraltar - Algeciras. Recreo means playtime in Spanish.

[from Evening Mail - Monday 08 March 1858]: The steamboat Recreo, which plies between Algeciras and Gibraltar, while crossing over to Algeciras on the afternoon of the 24th, with upwards of 90 passengers, met with a mishap in the bursting of one of her boilers; but beyond frightening those on board a little, no other accident occurred. It was expected that the damage would be repaired in the course of the day, when she would leave for Algeciras.



[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 29 July 1850]:
DESPATCH IN SHIPBUILDING AT BIRKENHEAD. A remarkable achievement in shipbuilding has been completed at Birkenhead during the past week. On Tuesday, the 9th instant, the keel of the Fidget, an iron yacht of about fifteen tons measurement, was laid at Mr. Laird's building-yard; and on Saturday last the launch took place. To-morrow the yacht will be masted and sparred, and entirely completed for sea: just three weeks from the day on which the keel was laid. [yard no.74]



Iron sectional boat for West Africa, built Lairds, 1850. 45 tons (bm), 68 x 12ft. Does not seem to correspond to any yard number. Built for H M Consul, Fernando Po.

Image and text [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 27 April 1850]:

LAIRD'S PATENT SECTIONAL BOATS. A novel description of Boat has just been completed at Liverpool, for the use of her Majesty's Consul at Fernando Po, on the west coast of Africa. This Boat of which we give a drawing, is the invention of Mr. Macgregor Laird. The peculiarity of construction consists in her being built in sections, which can be put together, and made perfectly secure, without mechanical or skilled labour. The official report from Commander Bevis, R.N., to the Secretary of the Admiralty, dated Liverpool, 7th March, 1850, states her dimensions and efficiency as follows, viz. Length, 68 ft.; beam, 12 ft.; depth amidships, 4 ft.; forward and aft, 6 ft.; tonnage, builder's measurement, 45 tons; total weight of ironwork, 4.5 ditto; ditto with wood-work, masts, sails, rigging, anchors, cables, and all complete, 8 ditto. Displacement at 2 ft. draught of water, 20.89 tons.
There are eight sectional pieces - the heaviest of which is 16 cwt - joined together by angle iron joints, lined with vulcanised India-rubber; the whole being secured by screw bolts and nuts, so that her own crew, of forty-five or fifty men, can carry her over any neck of land and set her up. Her light draught of water is estimated at one foot, with her crew; with provisions, water, &c., for the same, at two feet. She is to pull thirty-eight oars, doublebanked, fitted with three schooner sails and square-sail, having for night protection iron stanchions covered with thin felt. She is also to be fitted with airtight galvanised tubes as a life-boat. From her light draught of water and general lightness, she is particularly well adapted to take the bars on the coast of Africa, where there is a short breaking sea; and for proceeding up the rivers, or to go in chase of slavers, as, from her construction, she must pull and sail very fast.
This Boat has also been surveyed by Lieut. Hodder, R.N., the gallant and experienced Superintendent of Emigration at Liverpool, who reports most favourably on the application of the sectional principle of construction for lifeboats on board emigrant ships.
The appalling accidents that are constantly occurring on board emigrant vessels, make this report an exceedingly interesting testimony, coming as it does from a gentleman who has the greatest transmarine emigration movement the world ever saw going on under his supervision; and we give the Drawing of a Boat, constructing by Mr. Laird for an emigrant vessel, from which our nautical readers will see that in a few minutes an ordinary-sized ship's cutter of 26 feet can be converted into a boat 50 feet long, capable of saving the lives of 150 people. Two such boats would have saved the lives of the hundreds who perished in the Ocean Monarch and Caleb Grimshaw; the one burnt within a few miles of the Welsh coast, the other eighteen days on fire in the middle of the Atlantic.
The preference that emigrants would naturally give to vessels carrying boats capable, in case of need, of saving the lives of the crew and passengers, will probably bring this simple plan of construction into general use; as the cost will amount to a very small percentage on the passage-money, which would be more than compensated by the decided advantage it would give the ship carrying them in the competition for passengers.



Iron paddle steamer Caxiense, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1851, yard no.75, 110 grt, sailed for Maranham [Brazil] but in collision off Skerries. Reported at Maranham August 1851. Used for transport up the river Itapicuru, from Maranham to Caxias, some 200 miles. This required a draught of less than 3 ft.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 14 April 1851]:
Caxiense, (s), Johnson, for Maranham, has put back, having been run into by an outward-bound brig, off the Skerries and received damage; has docked at Birkenhead.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 05 August 1851]:
Caxiense (s), Johnston, hence at Maranham.



Iron paddle steamer Prut (also Pruth), built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1851, yard no.76. 400 tons, 155 x 23 x 11 ft, 80 hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool, two-ender, can carry 8 guns, for Russian Imperial Army - Danube Fleet [The river Prut/Pruth is a tributary of the Danube]. Later (1892) used as a barge (no 34) at Sevastopol. More history.

Report on events building up to Crimean war. ... In early summer [1853] Russian forces entered Moldavia and Wallachia, and, on the Danube, on 11 October, the Turks opened fire on the steamers Prut and Ordinarets [Orderly], and eight Russian gunboats. Eight days later Nicholas I declared war on Turkey.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 07 July 1851]:
LAUNCH OF A RUSSIAN STEAMER AT BIRKENHEAD. -- On Tuesday, an iron steam-vessel, of about 400 tons measurement, named the Janus [sic], built for the Russian Government, was launched by Mr. launched from his yard, Birkenhead being the first launched into the Great Float since it opened in March last. She is fitted as a gun-boat, on Mr. Laird's patent, with a rudder at each end, and constructed so as to combine the qualities of a seagoing and river steamer. She will be driven with engines of 100 horse-power, by Messrs. George Forrester and on their patent plan, which has been successfully tested on board the Fairy and other steam-vessels. Liverpool Mercury - Monday 06 August 1860 ... and as a proof of this, the Pruth, a gunboat I [John Laird] built for the Russian Government, 155feet long, 22 feet beam, carried four 32-pounders with ease, and has proved a most efficient vessel. ...

Iron paddle steamer For Turkey, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1851, yard no.77. 285 tons, launched 10-1851. Reported as 120 x 22 ft when under construction in June 1851 at Lairds. More history.

Iron paddle steamer For Turkey, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1851, yard no.78. 285 tons, launched 11-1851. More history.

Possibly these two paddle steamers?? [from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Tuesday 16 October 1855]:
At Liverpool. TWO PADDLE-WHEEL STEAMERS, each 150 horse-power, Length 164ft; beam 22ft; Depth 9ft; gross tonnage 290 tons; speed 18 miles per hour; draught of water 4ft 6 in; are well suited for the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, or other river navigation. Apply to Wm. LAIRD and Co. 1 Sweeting-street, Liverpool. [also 9 oct]

A private sea transportation company, Sirket-i Hayriye, was founded in 1851, and ordered 6 paddle steamers from England for Bosphorus service. It was reported that it took 3 years to built and transport the steamers to Istanbul. Their earliest paddle steamers were, however, reported as built by J R White of East Cowes in 1853 [but see below]. Newspapers also report that the Turkish authorities wished to restrict the trade to Turkish-flagged vessels only.

[from Morning Herald (London) - Wednesday 29 January 1851]:
TURKEY: CONSTANTINOPLE, JAN. 9. The Steam Navigation Company has decided upon the issue of 500 additional shares, and has given orders for the building of eight large steamers in England for the navigation of the Bosphorus.

[from Bristol Times and Mirror - Saturday 03 July 1852]:
TURKEY. Two new steamers destined for the navigation of the Bosphorus had arrived from London, making the total number employed six. One of them, called the Wonder, immediately began to convey passengers from the city to Kadikoui [Kadiköy], but a crowd assembled and pelted its crew, and the authorities had to interfere to preserve order.

[from Montrose Review - Friday 20 August 1852]:
Steam navigation has lately increased in an incredible manner at Constantinople. More than twenty steamers now ply daily in the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmora. It is said that a Russian company is about to be formed, which will have twenty vessels to run in opposition to those now established.

[from Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper - Sunday 01 June 1851]:
CHESHIRE, SHIPBUILDING AT BIRKENHEAD. - Concurrent with the general progress of Birkenhead, and as an indication of its maturing prosperity, we may notice the shipbuilding operations at present going forward on the other side of the Mersey. The yard of Mr. John Laird, at the north end, is full of activity, there being no fewer than nine iron vessels, of large and small dimensions, in course of construction. A paddle steamer [Prut] for the Russian government, of about 400 tons, will be ready for launching in about three weeks. Her length is about 155 feet, by 23 feet beam, and depth 11 feet. She is to be fitted by Messrs. Forrester and Co. with two engines, of 80-horse power each, on the oscillating principle. She is to be made so as to steer both ways, and will carry eight guns. We believe she will be used as a tug, only to be turned to more active service as occasion may require.
Another vessel, 150 feet by 23 feet, and 11 feet 3 inches deep [Clarence], is intended for a cargo and passenger steamer in South Australia.
Two other steamers, 120 feet by 22 feet, are designed for river service in Turkey.
A small screw steamer, 65 feet by 12 feet, [Weaver] is also in the course of construction for one of the large canals in this country. The other vessels in progress in Mr. Laird's yard are a yacht of 15 tons [Fidget], a schooner of 75 tons [Amatola], and a barge and landing boat for South America.
In Mr. Wilson's yard, in the opposite direction, a large steam-frigate of 1,300 tons is being built for the Brazilian government [Amazonas]. It is expected to be launched in July.

Iron paddle steamer Clarence, built Lards, Birkenhead, 1851, yard no.81. Owned by Clarence River Company to trade between Clarence River and Sydney. ON 32179. Registered Sydney. Advertised for sale in September 1852 and reported as sold for the large sum of £30000. Used for Eastern Australia coasting - wrecked 1-7-1872, off Port MacQuarie. More history.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 01 November 1851]:
Launch of an Iron Vessel. Mr. Laird has just launched, from his building yard, Birkenhead, the Clarence, an iron steam vessel, of about 400 tons measurement, to be fitted by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co., with a pair of 60-horse engines, tubular boilers, and all the recent improvements. The Clarence is intended for the coast of Australia, and will shortly sail for Sidney[sic] under the command of Capt Wiseman, who is well known in that trade, and from his great experience in steam navigation, was sent home to superintend the building of the vessel. The Clarence is constructed of more then usual strength, of superior model, and is expected to combine great capacity with considerable speed.

[from Maitland Mercury - 19 June 1852]: Clarence [arrived Sydney 13 June 1852, after a passage of 122 days]; ... She has a poop deck, and very neat cabin arrangements, both fore and aft, capable of accommodating 40 passengers, and leaving ample room for stowage of cargo. Her precise dimensions are as follows: Length 150 feet. Beam 23 feet. Tonnage 380 tons, old measurement. She is calculated to carry about 250 tons of measurement goods; and with her coals, engine, and cargo, to draw from seven to seven and a half feet. ... The engines have been put in by Messrs Fawcett and Preston, of this town [Liverpool], and do high credit to those well-known makers. In fact, they have on this occasion surpassed all their previous efforts, and produced a model, which we trust will attract to Liverpool once more a trade which, a while ago, we thought with others was deserting us. They are side lever engines, with tubular boilers; the cylinders are 42 inches in diameter. The stroke is four feet six,... nominal power 120 horse....

Iron schooner Amatola, built Laird 1851, yard no.82. For coastal service in South Africa. Launched September 1851. Wrecked 28 May 1852 near mouth of Buffalo River.

[from London Evening Standard - Monday 22 March 1852]:
The Iron Clipper Schooner Amatola. We noticed some time ago the sailing for the Cape of Good Hope of a small schooner of about 70 tons, built by Mr. Laird, of Birkenhead, and described her as carrying a large cargo on six feet draught of water. The following extract of a letter from her commander shows that she has proved a most efficient vessel, more especially in beating to windward and in bad weather - qualities that will render her valuable on the tempestuous coast where she is permanently to be stationed, and may lead to the more general use of vessels of her. ....

[from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Wednesday 11 August 1852]:
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE. July 2: The schooner Amatola has been totally wrecked on the rocks to the westward of the mouth of the Buffalo River. On this her third voyage, after lying nine days at anchorage in the roads on account of boisterous weather which prevailed, on the 28th May, the wind being favourable, the master, after communicating by signal with the shore, approached the entrance, but perceiving swell on the bar, put about, intending to delay the attempt till next day, when the signal for entering was hoisted. The vessel's head was consequently again directed towards the river, but when on the bar, the heavy swell becalmed the lower sails and an unusually strong current drifted her on a reef of rocks called the Blinders. Here she struck heavily, and the sea swept completely over her. The captain directed all hands to take to the rigging; and as the only means of saving their lives was by a communication with the shore, young Mr. Ansdell (a passenger) and a seaman gallantly volunteered to attempt it with the boat. She was soon capsized, precipitating them into the boiling surf, and striking Mr. Ansdell on the head. They, however, reached the shore, and were rescued, exhausted from cold and fatigue, by parties on the beach The boat (to which the line had been attached) drifting ashore, the remainder of the crew were by that means dragged through the surf, Captain Cameron being the last man to leave the vessel. The greater portion of the cargo has since been recovered in a damaged state. The vessel is completely bilged. The vessel was built of iron, and in three compartments, by Laird, of Birkenhead.

Iron screw steamer Forerunner, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1852, yard no.88. For African SS Co. Wrecked on Fora, Madeira, 25 November 1854, with 14 lives lost. More history. Full history with images.

Image of Forerunner [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 27 November 1852]:

Image of wreck of the Forerunner African Mail-Steamer at Point St Lorenzo. [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 18 November 1854]:

WRECK OF THE FORERUNNER AFRICAN MAIL STEAMER. We have been favoured by a Correspondent with the accompanying Sketch and account of the loss of the above vessel, by an eye-witness: After having bumped three times on the Bonig Bar, and narrowly escaped being wrecked on the Argum Bank, we left Madeira on the 26th ult., about four p.m.; and at dusk the ship was on the only rock to be found, about two hundred yards off the east end of the island of Fora, going about nine knots an hour. I was below at the time she struck, with Lieutenant Child, of the Gold Coast Corps. The shock was very severe. We both ran on deck; and I was just in time to hear a report - from the engineer, I think - that the engine room was filling. The Master gave the order to look to the boats, and I saw no more of him until I picked him up, after the ship went down. The nearest boat to me was the gig, on the port quarter; and, well knowing there was no time to be lost, I commenced clearing her away; when in the act of lowering, a heavy surf struck the port side of the ship, and the boat's foremost tackle either unhooked was let go, and the boat, nearly full of water, with four people in her, drifted astern. I was left hanging to the fall, but succeeded in getting on board the ship again. I then saw that nobody was attempting to lower the other boat on the port stde, forward, and I went to her and cleared her away, at the same time endeavouring to keep the people cool. I ought here to mention the good and steady conduct of a seaman called Antonia - a West Indian, I think - who assisted me in getting the boat down safe: he begged the people to listen to my directions and keep quiet, and proved himself a good and steady man in the hour of danger. We succeeded in getting the boat down safe, and immediately got her round on the starboard side, where I found the life-boat nearly full of people. Governor Kennedy was standing aft endeavouring to prevent them from rushing in. Lieutenant Child, of the Gold Coast Corps, was in the act of bending a rope round Mrs. English, to lower her in: her daughter had been safely placed in the boat. The life-boat only waited for the lady; and she was then to have gone to a small coasting vessel that had hove to leeward. Mr. Gregory, master in the merchant service, took charge of her, and she was to have returned. Governor Kennedy assured the people he would not leave the ship until everybody was out of her. At this moment the ship's stern suddenly rose nearly perpendicular, and in an instant she, with everybody on board, disappeared. The boats with difficulty got clear. As soon as possible I pulled in, and picked up as many as we could come across. Mr. Evans, Governor Kennedy, the Master of the ship, and two others, were all we could save out of nineteen who were in the ship when she sunk. We waited until quite certain there were no others floating, and then, with our crowded little boat half full of water, pulled in the direction of the coasting vessel, where we found the crews of the gig and life-boat had both arrived safe. Upon calling over names, fourteen were missing; amongst them poor Child, of the Gold Coast Corps, who it is to be feared, the unfortunate lady clung to, on the vessel sinking; he was a good swimmer, but he never came to the surface; his loss was deeply felt by us all; he behaved nobly; his only thought was for the one female on board, and he had to get her from her cabin. Had she not, in her frightened state, resisted his efforts to put her in the boat, both might have been saved.
We got ashore at the little town of Santa Cruz between ten and eleven, nearly dead with cold. We were most hospitably received by a Portuguese family. Early on the following morning, I got the ship's lifeboat and four hands, and pulled out to the place of the wreck. Nothing was to be seen, with the exception of a door and bulkhead, and the surface of the water covered with palm oil. I observed that the surf broke heavily over the rock about every six or seven minutes. On returning to Santa Cruz, I found we were to start for Funchall immediately. To the kindness and hospitality of H.M.S. Consul and some of the English at Funchall, we are all of us much indebted. I myself am deeply thankful to a good Samaritan of the 92nd, Lieut. Erskine (quite a stranger to me), for a complete fit out, and offers of assistance of every kind as soon as I landed; while Mr. Peters, staying at the same hotel, did the like good office for Mr. Evans. From the agents of the Company we got no assistance whatever.
The Sketch is taken just at the time the vessel's stern began to rise. Her fore part, filled and over-balanced her on the rook; she went down perpendicularly, and consequently her stern receding from the boats, they escaped being drawn down with her. As the life-boat backed out, our oars got foul of each other; but as soon as clear, I pulled in, and was taken out of sight of the life-boat, whose crew thought I had gone down after the vessel. As I have no doubt the conduct of the Master will be inquired into, I have not mentioned anything about him, but shall be ready to give my evidence when called upon.
Norman B Bedingfield, Lieut, R.N.

Iron screw steamer Faith, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1852, yard no.89. For African SS Co. Sold to Turkish Government 1855. Sunk 30 December 1855 off Isle of Wight on delivery voyage. More history. Full history.

Iron screw steamer Hope, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1852, yard no.90. ON 4656. For African SS Co. In 1860 renamed Luxor owned Portuguese African Co. More history. African SS history, with image.

[from Morning Post - Thursday 18 November 1852]:
IRON SHIPBUILDING AT BIRKENHEAD, On Saturday, at half-past twelve o'clock, the Faith, a beautifully-modelled screw-steamer, built for the African Mail Company, was launched from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird, at Birkenhead. She looked splendid on the water; and, judging from her smart appearance, she will tend considerably to increase the already fair fame of Mr. Laird as a builder of iron screw-steamers. She is intended, as our readers are aware, for the station on which the Forerunner is at present placed. Her dimensions are, length, 200 feet; beam, 30 feet; and burthen, about 900 tons. The engines, which are on the direct-action principle, have been manufactured by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., of this town. The Faith will be commanded by our townsman, Captain Parsons, an experienced seaman and a perfect gentleman. The Faith, from her fine model and adequate horse-power, is expected to go very fast. Her stem, which has a beautiful curve, is surmounted by a neatly-carved figure-head of a female, half-length. She has cabin-houses running almost the entire length of her spar-deck, which are fitted with admirable arrangement for securing light and ventilation; the latter so necessary in vessels visiting tropical climates. By this plan may be used either glazed windows or Venetian blinds, or even, if necessary, the orifice may be left quite open. She has a large topgallant forecastle, with accommodation for the seamen. She has an elliptical or round stern, of rather novel construction, the framing and plating being carried for some distance from the stern above the upper deck in the form of an arch, making a spacious wheelhouse and other apartments, the roof of which is planked; the effect of the whole being to give the after part of the vessel a neat and light appearance. The hull of the Faith, we may mention, is coated with two different preparations for preserving the bottom of iron vessels, the lower part having the well-known one of Peacock's, and above that, for some feet, a new preparation, called "Macintosh's patent caoutchouc composition," which is said to be equally applicable to either iron, wood, or coppered ships, having also, according to its proprietor, the peculiar and, if true, very desirable property of "greatly increasing their speed, by its presenting a slippery surface." If found to answer the latter recommendation, we have no doubt it will be eagerly sought after by shipowners in all parts of the world.
Alongside of the Faith there is also another vessel, named the Hope, for the same company, in an advanced state, and expected to be launched in a few weeks; she is of similar mould and dimensions to the Faith, but the engines for her are manufacturing by Messrs. Forrester and Co., so that there is considerable speculation as to which of the two great engineering establishments will make the fastest boat. It is a real pleasure for any one who derives gratification from an inspection of interesting works in a state of progress to pay a visit to Mr. Laird's yard; for, besides the vessels thus briefly alluded to, there are several large orders in the course of execution; and, owing to the great facilities of the establishment, business is despatched with remarkable celerity, giving employment to 500 hands, a larger number, we believe, than has ever been assembled together in one yard in this district.
On a recent visit we observed a fine boat, of 1,300 tons, in course of being framed, to be built for the South American and General Steam Navigation Company and intended for the Brazilian trade. In another part of the yard we saw the keel and portion of the framing of a second boat for the same parties, to be laid down in the place the Faith occupied. Some idea of the large amount of shipbuilding executed by Mr. Laird since his establishment commenced at Birkenhead may be formed when we state that he has now his 95th vessel in hand there, a tolerably large fleet in themselves; and it is to be regretted, for the sake of the prosperity of the neighbourhood, that circumstances should have induced that gentleman to contemplate the removal of an establishment which provides a livelihood for so many men. Mr. Laird's new yard on the Lancashire side of the river is being put into order, and preparations are being made for the erection of several large steamers.

Weaver SS, yard no.83.

Countess of Ellesmere PS, yard no.84.

Iron screw steamer Fosforo [Fósforo meaning a match - for lighting a fire], built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1852, yard no.85. For coasting in South America. Arrived at Valparaiso November 1852. More history. Chilean Naval history (in Spanish)[1868-70 at Toltén].

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 13 July 1852]:
SCREW STEAMING: SOUTH AMERICA. The Fosforo, a small screw steamer, built by Mr. Laird, of Birkenhead, for the coasting and river trade in South America, was tried in our river on Thursday and Friday last, and attained a speed, by actual observation, at a measured distance, of ten knots per hour. The Fosforo is 100 feet long and 17 feet beam, and was constructed to carry thirty tons dead weight of cargo in four feet water, in addition to her machinery and stores; this weight she had on board on her trial trip, the exact draught she was designed for. The engine is a "vertical trunk engine," of 40 horses, nominal working to 120 horses effective power, and was made by Messrs. Nasmyth and Co., of Patricroft, from the designs and under the immediate superintendence of Edward Humphreys, Esq., late chief-engineer of Her Majesty's Dockyard, Woolwich. Some idea may be of the simplicity of this vessel's machinery by the fact that the engine and boiler were sent off from the factory, at Patricroft, on a Thursday, to Birkenhead, put on board the vessel. and at work, going one hundred revolutions per minute on Saturday, being twenty eight hours only from the time the engineers commenced putting them on board. The speed of the engine on the trials last week was 103 to 110 strokes per minute, working spur gearing, giving the propeller (four feet three inches diameter and five feet pitch) 253 revolutions per minute. The Fosforo is rigged as a three masted schooner, has a long rakish appearance in the water, and is an additional proof that iron screw-vessels may by skilful adaption of a suitable model, be equally effective for shallow river and coast navigation as for general seagoing purposes, where draught of water is not a material object.

Images and text [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 30 April 1853]:
A VOYAGE TO VALPARAISO. Early in the summer of last year, a small screw-steamer was built of iron by Mr. Laird, of Birkenhead, for the Maule River, South America. The vessel is named the Fosforo; her register is 43 tons, and 40-horse power (engines by Mr. E. Humphreys) ; depth of hold, 6 feet; length over all, 105 feet. She left Liverpool on July 17, when she was loaded to a foot and a half of the water's edge. She was rigged as a three-masted schooner, and had no keel. The Fosforo's company consisted of commander, two mates, two engineers, two firemen, and six men; and the Fosforo arrived at Valparaiso on the 15th of November, having touched at Madeira, Rio Janeiro, and Monte Video, for the purpose of coaling. The total consumption of coals of various kinds was 160 tons, equal to 138 tons of Welsh coal. The passage occupied 121 days, 46 of which were under steam and sail, and 28 days under sail alone; having averaged six knots an hour all the way out. The remainder of the time was consumed at the various ports touched at, in coaling, and repairing some trifling accidents of machinery, and at anchor through stress of weather in the Straits of Magellan.
The Fosforo is the smallest steamer that ever performed so long a voyage, the following details of which have been communicated by Capt. Walter Hall, the commander of the vessel; a somewhat fuller account appears in the Sailor's Home Journal:
Off the River Plate, we experienced heavy weather, with a high cross sea; the vessel behaved well, but required steam to keep her bow to the sea. We passed along the coast of Patagonia, and entered the Straits of Magellan in the month of October - in these parts, the worst month of the year. The weather was so tempestuous, that we were compelled to steam close in shore, where we found smoother water, and sometimes eddies in our favour; but, in navigating so near the shore, great care was necessary to keep the screw clear of the kelp, which is here so abundant, that the way of the vessel was frequently stopped. The passage through the Straits - entering at Cape Virgins, and quitting them at the Gulf of Penas - occupied eighteen days, thirteen of which were at anchor from stress of weather; the remainder of time (five days and eight hours) the vessel was under steam, and ran about 700 miles.
We passed Port Bulnes - the small Chilian settlement which will, no doubt, eventually become a coaling port for steamers passing through the Strait - anchored at Port Famine, where we fortunately found coal, on the bank of a rocky cove, left there by a ship in distress, which we embarked with considerable risk, from the difficulties of the place, combined with the tempestuous weather, and the smallness of the only boat we had, which was but 14 feet long.
We anchored at Port Gallant, where the steamer was laid on the beach, to unship the screw, and put another collar on the shaft. This is the best anchorage in the Strait; from the stillness of its waters, it is a perfect wet-dock; and, from its position, invaluable; we entered at night, and were caught in a south-west gale, so common in the Strait.
Anchored at Port Tamer, where I found two vessels stranded; these afforded me an ample supply of wood for fuel. After leaving this port, in thick weather, I discovered a channel four or five miles to the westward of Cape Philip, which is not laid down in the chart of the late survey of the Strait. I ran up to its northern extremity, steering N.N.W. by compass, a distance of eight or nine miles, when I anchored in a snug cove, in three or four fathoms, for the night. This inlet is about a mile and half wide, decreasing to half a mile. I have no doubt there are many good anchorages here, and I think the place would be altogether eligible for steamers to stop, being the last good anchorage on the north side of the Strait. I passed through Smyth's and other channels to the northward, and entered the Pacific by the Gulf of Penas, where it blew nearly a hurricane for three days, from S.W. to N.W.
I should have endeavoured to escape these tempests but for our short supply of provisions, by attempting the passage alluded to by Byron, in his interesting narrative of the loss of the Wager, as communicating with the Gulf of San Rafael, through which the Indian guide tried to take the Wager's barge, but was unable to do so by the strength of the current.
On the 15th December we left Valparaiso, in the face of a fresh southerly gale, for the River Maule (appropriately called the Thames of Chili), a distance of 160 miles southward. Our ship's company then consisted of myself, one mate, one engineer, one stoker, two sailors, and a cook. The bar of this river is a great drawback to the success of the port, and the country adjacent. Sailing vessels are sometimes detained for three months here, after they are ready for sea. The river is probably navigable for about 30 miles only, for small steamers drawing 3 or 4 feet of water
Advancing beyond this, great difficulties occur from the shallowness of the water, and quick turnings of the river; when heavy falls of water are met with in the narrow and crooked reaches, and large stones are frequently hurried down by the strength of the current. The banks of the stream are very picturesque, the foliage extending to the water's edge.
I cannot close this imperfect account without mentioning the favourable impression made on the natives by the appearance of the little steamer going full speed up this river, which had never before been navigated by steam; she was crowded with the inhabitants of Constitution, who were much delighted with their trip. Nothing surprised them more than the easy way the steamer turned in the narrow and crooked reaches: we had more the appearance of a pleasure party than an exploring expedition.
I should add that the Fosforo was sent out by Messrs. Brownells and Co., Liverpool, to Joshua Waddington, the enterprising merchant of Valparaiso.

The first of the accompanying Illustrations (from Sketches by Captain Hall), shows the Fosforo coaling at Port Famine, with a little boat, 14 feet long. Next is the Fosforo lying on shore at Port Gallant to unship her screw-propeller. In this Sketch we have a glimpse of the striking coast scenery of Patagonia.

[from Morning Post - Monday 15 September 1856]:
... the Peruvian Minister, Senor Zegarra, having sent from Valparaiso the steamer Fosforo with despatches to his Government, stating that Generals Echenique, Lafuento, and others had sailed to the Peruvian coasts in order to head a reaction which was to take place there.

Iron screw steamer Nubia, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1854, yard no.94, for P & O. Image of SS Nubia. More history, yet more history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 03 March 1854]:
LAUNCH OF THE LARGEST VESSEL EVER BUILT ON THE BANKS OF THE MERSEY. - On Tuesday, about half-past twelve o'clock, a screw steamer of 2200 tons register, and 300 feet long, was launched from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird, North Birkenhead, The vessel is said to be the largest ever built on the Mersey. Her vast proportions, when out of water, were the wonderment of every beholder, and the fact of so large a vessel leaving the stocks drew together thousands of well-dressed persons. The steamer, which was christened the "Nubia" by Mrs. Bailey, is intended for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Her lines fore and aft are fine, and from her length of floor there is no doubt but she will carry a large cargo, as well as prove a quick sailer.

Iron screw steamer Alma (at launch Pera), built Laird, Birkenhead, 1854, yard no.97, for P & O. Calcutta - Suez service. More history. P & O history. Struck reef off Hanish Islands in Red Sea on 12th June 1859, passengers and crew saved by HMS Cyclops from the island. Image of wreck.

Image of sinking - from Illustrated London News - Saturday 20 August 1859.

[from Cheshire Observer - Saturday 15 July 1854]:
On Wednesday Mr. Laird launched from his yard at the Birkenhead Float the magnificent iron screw-steamer Pera, belonging to the Peninsular and Oriental Company. The Pera is a sister ship to the Nubia, lately launched from the same yard, and now nearly completed for sea. The dimensions of these vessels are: - Length between perpendiculars, 285 feet over all, 318 feet; beam, 39 feet; depth, 31 feet; tonnage, 2,200; horse-power, 450. They are built of remarkable strength, the plates being 7/8 of an inch thick at the garboard strake, and the rest of the vessel plated and fastened in proportion. They have flush decks, with a wheelhouse and officer's rooms aft, two cabin entrances amidships, and a topgallant forecastle for the crew. The most approved modern appliances for working the ship are provided in the shape of patent capstans, and other improvements. The Nubia and Pera are three-deckers. On the main deck the passengers are accommodated in first and second class saloons running the entire length of the ship, which are admirably lighted and ventilated, and are 8.5 feet in height. The after saloon is 91 feet long by 15 wide, and has state-rooms on each for sixty-three passengers, 9 feet by 6 feet 2 inches, with accommodation for fifty-two first class passengers. The second-class saloon is 21 feet by 7, and will accommodate twenty-six passengers. All the cabins are ventilated by Robinson's patent panels, and additional perforated work. The decorations are to be white and gold, and between the panels marble Corinthian columns will be placed, and they will be further enriched by the introduction of foliated gilt carving. There are 64 square ports round the sides of the ship, glazed and fitted with dead lights. The Pera is to be rigged as a barque, and her hull is painted black, with a white stripe. Her bow bears a well-carved half-length female figure-head, and on her stern armorial bearings are quartered. These vessels are of a very fine model, and from their power are expected to attain great speed. The engines have 78-inch cylinders, and 5 feet stroke. The screw shaft is driven with intermediate gearing, giving two-and-a-half revolutions of the screw to one revolution of the engines. For the generation of steam there are four large boilers, on Lamb and Sumner's patent flue principle....

[from London Evening Standard - Thursday 06 October 1859]:
THE WRECK OF THE INDIAN MAIL STEAMER ALMA. IMPORTANT OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION. At ten o'clock yesterday morning an official inquiry instituted by the Board of Trade, was held at the Greenwich Police-court, before Mr. Traill, assisted by Captain Robinson, HEICS, nautical assessor, for the purpose of ascertaining the instances attending the wreck of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Company's ship Alma, which was lost on the 12th June last in the Red Sea, whilst conveying the India and China mail, a large number of passengers, and a cargo valued at £200,000., on the homeward voyage. ... She was a British ship, nearly new, of 1300 tons burden, having been built in 1855, and was the property of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. She left Calcutta for Suez on the 18th May last, with Captain Henry, commander; Mr. Davis, first officer; Mr. Baker, second officer; Mr. Carter, third officer; and Mr. Davidson, a sort of supernumerary third officer. The crew consisted of lascars, of whom there were nearly 200 on board. The vessel proceeded from Madras to Point de Galle, and from thence, in due course to Aden, arriving there on the 10th of June. She again started early on Saturday, the 11th June, with her officers, crew, and nearly 200 passengers, several civil and military officers, and a number of ladies and children. She had also the India mail on board and a valuable cargo estimated at £200,000. At Aden, Captain Henry became ill and he delivered up the charge of the ship to Mr. Davis, the chief officer. They proceeded up the Red Sea; the sea was calm and favourable. At midnight it was equally fine, and beautifully moonlit - such as was seldom to be seen. About that time soundings were taken at 28 fathoms, but it does not appear that any reference was made to the chart, as to the approximate position of the ship, and although warnings had been given by the Persian Red Sea pilot, who was perfectly aware of the situation, the vessel still steamed on, literally, to destruction; when, in about three hours, she ran on to a reef or rock, on Sunday, the 12th, during weather most beautiful and clear [reef off Hanish islands in mid Red Sea, off Yemen]. After striking once or twice she heeled on her starboard; the passengers were thrown from their berths, and the greatest terror at once prevailed. By dint of great exertion, however, every life was saved, but intense suffering followed from scanty clothing and insufficient provisions and water. Nothing could exceed the devotedness and courage of the gentlemen on board, and nothing could exceed their admirable attention to the ladies in so trying an emergency, evidencing truly the moral superiority of Englishmen. The lascars, on the other hand, were guilty of pillaging and robbery, and had they not been deprived by the gentlemen on board of the use of firearms they might have resorted to other means. Having there remained in this deplorable state for nearly three weeks they were at length rescued from their suffering. ...
I think that great carelessness has presented itself with regard to this company's ships, inasmuch as within a short period we have the loss of four of their vessels - the Erin, Havre, Alma, and the other day the Northam. In the case of the Alma there appears to have been gross and culpable neglect, which it also appears impossible to qualify. ...



Iron screw steamer Braziliera (also Brazileira), built Laird, Birkenhead, 1853, yard no.91, for South American General SN Co., 1854 sold to Marseilles, owned Messageries Maritimes, renamed Simois. More history. History of Simois (in French).

Image of Brazileira [from Brazil, the River Plate,.. by William Hadfield, 1854]


Iron screw steamer Lusitania, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1853, yard no.93, for South American General SN Co. Sold to Marseilles 1854, owned Messageries maritimes, renamed Hydaspe. Wrecked 25 October 1864 near Singapore. History while serving in Med. Rigging plan of vessel. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 26 April 1853]:
LAUNCH OF THE SCREW STEAMER. BRAZILIERA. On Saturday last, at noon. a splendid screw steamship, called the Braziliera, was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. J. Laird, Canning-street, Birkenhead. The day being remarkably fine, a large number of spectators were drawn together to witness the event. The company included many of the leading merchants of Liverpool, and several gentlemen from Manchester, interested in the South American and General Steam Navigation Company, whose object is to establish a regular communication by steam from the Mersey to Brazil and the River Plate. The steamers are to run monthly from the Birkenhead docks, commencing on the 24th of June next. The company's fleet of vessels will consist of five, namely, the Braziliera, the Lusitania, the Olinda[built Clyde, wrecked Anglesey 1853], the Bahiana, and the Argentine. At a quarter past twelve o'clock, all the arrangements for the launch being complete; the signal was given, and the noble vessel glided slowly and steadily into the water. At first she heeled over a little to the eastward, probably, from the strength of the wind and the number of persons on deck, but she quickly recovered herself, and after settling down in the water was brought up by an anchor. The ceremony of naming the vessel devolved on Mrs Grenfell, the daughter of Admiral Grenfell, the Brazilian consul at this port. The efforts of a band of musicians, stationed in the building yard, tended materially to enliven the proceedings.
The Braziliera is a handsome-looking vessel, having, all the requirements to adapt her for the trade in which she is to be employed. Her dimensions are - Length, 230 feet; beam, 30 feet; depth of hold, 14 feet; height of spar deck, 8 feet; making a total depth of 22 feet; tonnage, old measure, 1014; new rule, about 1300. She has engines of 200-horse power, with very large boilers, by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., something similar in plan to the Faith, one of the new line of African mail steam-ships which are just now attracting so much attention in nautical and mercantile circles. The Braziliera has a spar deck from stem to stern, with excellent accommodation for passengers; having berths for about 90 first-class, and 20 second-class, with good arrangements for the officers and crew, and store-rooms for all sorts of provisions, &c. The saloon, which is at the fore end, is in the form of a T, and is ventilated, as are all the berths, on the most approved plan, adopted in the Peninsular Company's vessels. The mode of ventilation is on Mr. Robinson's new patent, which is invaluable when applied to vessels sailing alternately in hot and variable climates. The panels of the berths are formed something after the plan of Venetian blinds, with the difference that the strips of wood are upright fixtures. In the inner side is a similar construction, fixed on a slide, which moves backwards and forwards, opening or closing the vents at pleasure. There is a small saloon aft, with a double row of state-rooms, and with a well-ventilated passage between, leading up to the stern of the ship, and fitted with sofas as a kind of lounging-room. The passage extending the whole length of the deck, a thorough ventilation can be obtained by opening the windows in the stern. She is more strongly built, both in iron and wood, than any vessel hitherto launched from Mr. Laird's yards. She is subdivided by seven bulkheads, all water-tight; and the engine-rooms, kelson, and engine-bearers are of great strength. The engines and boilers will be placed amidships, with a passage on each side leading to the after sleeping-rooms. The Braziliera is of much greater power, in proportion, than the African vessels, and is expected to be much faster. She will be rigged as a barque, with larger lower masts than usual, the fore and aft sails laced to the booms on the American plan. Captain D. Greene, so well known in the South American trade for many years in connection with the Columbus and Linda, has been appointed to the command of this splendid ship, in which he will have full scope for displaying his nautical ability. We should not forget to mention that the Braziliera is fitted with Brown's patent capstan, riding-bits, and anchor-stopper; and with Honnible's patent anchor, which came off so triumphantly in the recent experiments at Woolwich and in the Downs. The cables, which are of a remarkable strength, are made by Messrs. Henry Wood and Co.
The second vessel for the company, the Lusitania, will be ready for launching in about six weeks. She is of the same dimensions as the Braziliera, but slightly altered in the model. Near the Lusitania, is the new steamer [Manx Fairy] intended for the Isle of Man station. Though her keel was laid only six weeks ago, she is now plated up, her beams are ready to go in, and she will be launched in the latter part of May. She is a smart clipper-looking vessel, generally modelled on the principle of the Countess of Ellesmere, the new Runcorn steamer, which is no less well known for her great speed than for her excellent qualities as a tough sea-boat. She will be 100 tons burthen, with engines of 200-horses power, on the same principle as those of the Countess of Ellesmere, and by the same makers. The Isle of Man Company having this year purchased the Mona's Queen, a new Clyde-built steamer, which they anticipate will be the fastest vessel in the channel. a fair opportunity will be afforded for testing the respective merits of the Mersey and Clyde boats.
In Mr. Laird's Birkenhead yard, two keels of unusual length are being laid down. They are for the Nubia and the Pera, two screw vessels of 2120 tons each, and 450-horse power, which are being built for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Company. Plates of great size, and more than ordinary thickness are lying in various places on the grounds; the stem, frames, and other portions of the work are in progress, and give a faint idea of the stupendous vessels which will first float in the waters of the Mersey. They will be above 300 feet long, and will be the largest ship ever built at his port. The Argentine, a paddle steam vessel, which is being built for the Brazilian Company, will be launched on the 10th of May from Mr. Laird's Liverpool yard, at the same time as the Charity, one of the African Mail Company's vessels. The Bahiana, the fourth vessel for the Brazilian Company, is also in progress at Mr Laird's Liverpool yard and will shortly be in frame. ...

Steel paddle steamer Manx Fairy, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1853, yard no.99. In collision with Mersey ferry Fanny on 19 September 1856. More history. Image of PS Manx Fairy off Ramsey 1853[after Samuel Walters].

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 14 June 1853]:
LAUNCH OF THE RAMSEY (ISLE OF MAN) NEW STEAMER, MANX FAIRY. On Saturday last, there was launched from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird, Birkenhead, a splendid iron steamer for the Ramsey (Isle of Man) Steam-packet Company, recently incorporated in Ramsey, Isle of Man, and intended to sail with goods and passengers between that port and Liverpool. The town of Ramsey lies at the north part of the island, which district is the most fertile and picturesque of any in "Mannin veg Veen".[Dear little Man] Up to this time, however, Ramsey has never had the advantages of regular steam communication with England both in summer and winter. The trade between Ramsey and Liverpool, although at present not very considerable, may, no doubt, be greatly extended, and the regular running of the new steamboat will obviate the vexatious delay and expense incurred in sending goods round by Douglas, or in shipping them in sailing smacks; whilst to the tradesmen and residents of Ramsey the convenience of direct steam communication cannot, perhaps, be correctly estimated. Ramsey is considered to be the most healthy town in the island, and has peculiar facilities for seabathing, having some miles of a beautiful sandy beach, with a magnificent bay. In fact, the beauties of this part of the island only require to be sufficiently known to make it become as favourite a resort as the other ports in Mona for persons in search of pleasure and health.
The launch of the Manx Fairy took place shortly after a ten o'clock in the forenoon, and notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather, the rain falling heavily, a considerable number of persons had assembled. Amongst the company there were several gentlemen from the island, who are not only large shareholders in the company, but are deeply interested in the prosperity of the Isle of Man. Captain Gill, late senior commander of the Liverpool and Douglas steamers, was present at the specific invitation of the builder and directors. Amongst other gentlemen present were William Callister, Esq., (chairman of the board of directors), Mrs. Callister, and Miss Callister, P. Teare, Esq., J. Corlett, Esq., R. Teare, Esq., J. J. Corkhill, Esq., &c., all from Ramsey. Mr. John Laird, the builder, was absent on business at London, but the launch took place under the direction of his son, Mr. W. Laird, and Mr. Morrison, the superintendent of the yard. The interesting ceremony of naming the vessel was performed by Miss Callister, the daughter of the chairman of the board of directors, and, upon the signal being given by Mr. Morrison, the young lady in gallant style dashed a bottle of wine against the prow of the vessel, and the Manx Fairy smoothly and beautifully glided into the great float, amidst the cheers and waving of hats of the multitude. Upon the steamer being safely launched, the cheering was resumed, and continued for some time.
The Manx Fairy is a beautiful specimen of naval architecture, and reflects great credit upon the builder, Mr. Laird. Her bows are sharp, her lines finely drawn, and her whole model is indicative of great swiftness. In shape she resembles the Countess of Ellesmere, but it is expected that her speed will exceed even that of the swiftest river steamer. The Manx Fairy is 160 feet in length and 23 feet wide, and is about 400 tons register. Her engines (of 200-horse power) will be on the oscillating principle, and she will have two funnels, one fore and the other aft. The machinery will be supplied by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co., of this town. The engines, we believe, are nearly completed, and it is expected that in a month or five weeks the new steamer will be ready for sea. Immediately afterwards she will be placed upon the station.

Iron paddle steamer Collaroy, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1853, yard no.98. ON 32279. For Australia. Traded from Newcastle to Sydney. Reported in 1854 list of Liverpool registered steam vessels - 201nrt, owned J Laird. Wrecked 20-1-1881, wreck report, later refloated and used as a sailing vessel. Finally wrecked near Eureka, California, on 7-7-1889. More history.

Image of Collaroy beached in Australia.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 24 September 1853]:
Ship Launch. The Collaroy, a very handsome paddlewheel steamer, of about 400 tons measurement, was launched from Mr. Laird's building yard, Sefton-street, on Monday last. Her engines will be fitted on board by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., and in a few weeks she is to proceed to Australia. The Collaroy is generally, we believe, an improved edition of the steamer Clarence, also built by Mr. Laird, that was sent to Australia about eighteen months ago, and realised by public auction the enormous sum of £30,000, and even at that price, from her superior qualifications, is stated to have proved a profitable investment for her purchaser.


Iron screw steamer Emilie, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1853, yard no.101, 205grt, 135 x 18 ft, 45 hp engines by Fawcett. Owned Easton, Liverpool, for coasting in South America. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 25 July 1853]:
SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. - On Saturday, at noon, a smart little screw-steamer, the Emilie, was launched from the building-yard of Mr. J. Laird, at the Dingle. Her dimensions are, length, 135 feet; breadth of beam, 18 feet; 200 tons burthen, old measurement, 250 new; and 45 horse-power. She will have three masts, and will be fitted with Griffiths's patent screw, the engines being supplied by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., of Liverpool. She is built on beautiful lines, and is expected to sail and steam remarkably fast. The Emilie is owned by Mr. J. E. Eaton, of this town and is intended for the coasting trade of South America. When fitted with her machinery she will make a trial trip to the Isle of Man. ....
Mr. Laird has other vessels on the stocks, which are rapidly approaching completion. The paddle-steamer Collaroy, sister ship to the Clarence, is nearly finished, and will in a short time proceed to Australia. The Northern Light, for the African Company, is also in a forward state, and will be launched in about a month. The Diana[sic - not identified], for the South American Company, is in frame and plated. Besides these he has other works on hand, which give to his yards an unusually animated appearance. In the yard of Messrs. Vernon and Son, at the end of the Brunswick Graving-dock, there is a fine iron steamer of 800 tons burthen for the Londonderry trade, in a forward state. She will be 350 horse-power, and will be ready for launching in about two months.

[excerpt from Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 03 May 1856]:
The "Panama Star" of April 8 publishes the intelligence collected on the coast of Central America by the steamer Emilie, which sailed from Panama on the 1st of March for the ports of Punta Arenas, La Unison, Acajntla, and San Jose de Guatemala, touching Chiriqui, and returned from the same on the 31st of March.



Iron paddle steamer Argentine, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1853, yard no.96. For South American General SN Co. for coastal voyages. Wrecked 1853. More history.

Image of Agentina, on her maiden voyage from Liverpool [from Brazil, the River Plate,.. by William Hadfield, 1854]

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 28 May 1853]:
LAUNCH OF TWO STEAMERS. Two fine steamers were launched, one on Saturday and one on Monday, from the ship building yard of Mr. John Laird, the Dingle [south of Liverpool Docks]. The first was a paddle steamer named the Argentine, which had been built for the South American and General Steam Navigation Company. She is 180 feet long, 21 feet beam, 12 feet deep; draft of water, in light trim for passengers and mail, 6 feet; with cargo 7 feet 6 inches; burthen 400 tons. She is to be propelled by a pair of oscillating engines, each of 60 horse power, manufactured by Messrs. Fawcett and Preston, of this town. She will have two separate boilers of large size, and bunkers for about 60 tons of coal. The Argentine is a fine specimen of naval architecture, and bears considerable resemblance to the steamer Countess of Ellesmere, the fastest boat on the river or sailing from the port, by the same builder, but is upwards of 20 feet longer, and has much greater depth of hold to suit her as a sea-going vessel. She will be fitted with patent feathering wheels, and all practical improvements that experience has suggested. The Argentine, from her free lines and beautiful model, is expected to a very fast boat. The hull of the vessel is very strongly framed and plated, with more iron beams and floorings than usual. Her water-ways are solid masses of timber about 15 inches square, forming extremely strong binding around her upper works. Generally, every care appears to have been taken to render her strong enough to withstand every hardship she may encounter. Shortly after nine o'clock, all the necessary preparations for the launch having been completed, the signal was given, and the Argentine glided into the Mersey, amidst the cheering of the spectators and discharge of cannon. The ceremony of christening was performed by Mrs. Hadfield, the lady of the respected secretary to the company. The Argentine is intended to ply as a mail steamer between Buenos Ayres and Monte Video. Immediately after the launch, the Argentine was taken in tow by a tug, and conveyed into the Sandon dock, where her boilers, which were in readiness, were placed on board her during the day.

[from Brazil, the River Plate,.. by William Hadfield, 1854; recounting maiden voyage from Liverpool to S America]
...seldom had the voyager seen in its course a vessel of dimensions similar to those of the Argentina, paddle-wheel, in which I had embarked, constructed at Birkenhead by Mr. John Laird, to run between Monte Video and Buenos Ayres. She is, (or rather was, for alack, she is now a thing of the past), 185 feet long by 21 feet beam, and with very fine, hollow lines; her engines of 120-horse power, by Fawcett, Preston, and Co. Intended for river work, and of a light draught of water, it was hardly to be expected that in ocean steaming, when compelled to carry coals, provisions, and all the bulky and ponderous requirements of a long voyage, the same results could be obtained as in the comparatively tranquil waters of inland navigation; but under all the disadvantages of being so laden, and having to make way against a strong head-wind and heavy sea, our average speed to Cape Finisterre was nearly 12 knots.

Iron screw steamer Charity, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1853, yard no.92. For African SS Co. Sold to Canadian Steam Navigation Company 1854, used trans-Atlantic and to Crimea, sold when company folded in 1855. In 1859 renamed and owned by Lineas de Vapores Correos Espanoles Transatlanticos, Cadiz, as La Cubana; sold to Hamburg and converted to sail as Palmerston; sold to Genoa as Frederico,.. More history. Full history.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 28 May 1853]:

On Monday, the screw steamship Charity was launched from the same yard. This vessel has been built by Mr. Laird for the African Steam Navigation Company, and will placed on the African station along with the other steamers which have been built by that gentleman. The Charity is 240 feet long, 30 feet beam, and 1,100 tons register; her engines will be supplied by Messrs. Geo. Forrester and Co., of the Vauxhall Foundry. She will have a spardeck, and from the fineness of her lines, it is expected that she will be a remarkably swift vessel. Her masts will be of iron, like those of the other steamers built for this line. She will accommodate about 100 first and second-class passengers and will also carry a large cargo. At half past ten o'clock, a large number of ladies and gentlemen had assembled in the yard to view the launch. Amongst the company were Sir John Campbell, chairman of the company, Mr. Ogleby and Mr. Black, directors, John Ireland Blackburne, Esq. of Hale, and party, Walter M'Gregor, Esq, and party, &c., &c. At a quarter to eleven o'clock. Miss Blackburne, daughter of John Ireland Blackburne Esq., was conducted by Mr. John Laird to a stage close to the vessel, in company with a number of ladies and gentlemen, and shortly afterwards, upon the signal being given, that young lady named the steamer the Charity, and the vessel than glided, in magnificent style, into the Mersey, amidst the cheers of the spectators. The Charity was immediately towed into the Sandon dock. The greatest expedition will used to complete her, in order that she may be shortly placed upon the African station. .....
Mr. Laird is building another steamer for the same company, to be called the Northern Light, which is in an advanced state. The frame, keel, &c, of the Bahiana [built 1854, yard no.102], of 1600 tons, are getting ready, and will be put up immediately. In the same yard there are two or three small vessels on the stocks, which will launched in June and July.

Report of trial trip and departure of Charity.

Iron screw steamer Ottawa (ordered as Northern Light), built Lairds, 1853, yard no.95, intended for the African SS Co, but sold to Canada. ON 9157. Owned P & O from 1857, owned Batavia as Generaal van Swieten from 1873. Sunk 28 April 1881 by gunfire after developing a leak, off Aceh. More history. More history with image.

[from Northern Daily Times - Friday 04 November 1853]:
LAUNCH OF THE "OTTAWA." Yesterday, shortly before one o'clock, the splendid new screw steam-ship, Ottawa, was launched from the building yard of Mr. John Laird, Dingle. This splendid vessel is intended for one of the line of the Canadian Steam Navigation Company's line of screw-steamers, to trade between Liverpool, Quebec and Montreal, during the summer months, whilst the navigation of the St. Lawrence is open; under contract with her majesty's provincial government of Canada, and also in winter in conjunction with the great railway companies of Canada, via Portland. The Ottawa is beautifully modelled, her lines being remarkably fine, and her entire proportions combining capacity and elegance. She is 240 feet in length, with depth and beam in proportion, estimated measurement, 1,200 tons, and burthen upwards of 1,500 tons. She is to be fitted by Messrs. Fawcett and Preston, with engines of the most approved construction, about 300 horse-power; which will be considerably exceeded in working, judging from the beauty of model, fineness of lines, and the skill of her builder, the Ottawa promises to be one of the fastest screw-steamers that has yet crossed the Atlantic.
Mr. Laird is also building for the same Company three other very large screw steamers, to be named the Ontario, Erie, and Huron (after the great Canadian lakes), each of which will be upwards of 2,000 tons burthen, and of proportionate power. It is expected the Ontario will be launched in a few months, and it is the intention of the Company to complete as early as possible this magnificent fleet of screw steamers, which we learn will be under the direction of Messrs. M. Kean, M. Larty, and R. Lamont. A very large company was in attendance to witness the launch, and the noble vessel, on the triggers being drawn, glided majestically into what is become her future element, amidst the discharge of cannon, and the cheers of the parties assembled. We perceive that Mr. Laird is building in the same yard three new steamers for the African Steam Company, also a new steamer to be called the Bahiana, for the Brazilian Steam Company. All those vessels are fast drawing towards completion.

The Canadian Steam Navigation Company mostly chartered vessels - they were short lived, from 1853 - closing in 1855. So the Ontario, Huron and Erie were sold prior to launch - as Barcelona?, Habana, Vigo. They bought Charity in 1854, sold 1856.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 22 December 1856]:
IRON SCREW-STEAMERS UNDER HAMMER, The Canadian Steam Navigation Company, whose chief office is in Orange-court, Liverpool, having wound up the affairs of the company, have brought their screw-steamers into the market. On Thursday Mr. Joseph Cunard submitted for sale, at the Clarendon rooms, the Ottawa, 200 horse-power, lying in the Birkenhead Float, the Cleopatra, 250 horse-power, lying at Plymouth, and the Charity, 140 horse-power. The Ottawa was put up at £15,000, but the bidding only reached £15,400, when the auctioneer intimated that the reserve bid was £25,000. The Cleopatra was started at £15,000, and the bidding ceased at £16,000; the owners' bid was £25,000. The Charity was put up at £15,000; the bidding reached £15,300, when the vessel was withdrawn, the reserve bid being £22,500. The auctioneer intimated to the company that the vessels would be offered for sale by private treaty.




Iron screw steamer Bacchante, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.104, 439grt, 436nrt, 171 x 24.3 ft, engines 150hp by Humphreys & Co, ON 13706, intended for London - Oporto service, owned MacGregor Laird, London, as African SN Co., registered Liverpool. Wrecked on Oporto bar on 28 March 1857. Some history. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 20 January 1854]:
The launch of the Bacchante, screw steamer, 550 tons, from Mr. Laird's yard at the Dingle, will take place on the 28th instant. She is intended for the Oporto and London trade. The Bahiana, screw steamer, 1710 tons, for the South American and General Steam Navigation Company, will be launched on the 1st of February; and the Pomona[sic La Plata?], which is the same size as the Bacchante, will be launched in the month of February.

[from Dublin Daily Express - Tuesday 07 April 1857]:
Loss of the Bacchante Steamer. On Saturday, the total loss of the Bacchante, London and Oporto steamer, was announced at Lloyd's. The vessel was entering Oporto Harbour on the afternoon of Sunday last. She had a pilot on board, and was pursuing her course at full speed across the bay over the bar, when she struck on a reef known the Falgueira Rocks. The force with which she went over the reef rent apart the plates of her hull, and her fore compartment was speedily filled with water. The crew had only time to launch the gig and get into it with the passengers, when the vessel filled and went down in several fathoms of water. The mail bags were afterwards fished up by Captain Younghusband, but the vessel is reported having broken in two and is, therefore, with her cargo of general merchandise, a total loss. The Bacchante was built of iron, and was 400 tons register. She was insured at Lloyd's for many thousand pounds.


Iron screw steamer Bahiana, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.102. 1616grt, 936nrt, 245.5 x 35 x 22.8 ft, 200hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, ON 9156. For South American General SN Co. Registered Liverpool to 1863. In Liverpool Docks May 1863, then advertised, owned Liverpool Western and Spanish America SP Co, renamed Cristobal Colon. Later owned Societe Generale des Transports Maritimes, renamed Savoie. More history

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 03 February 1854]:
LAUNCH OF A SCREW STEAMER. - On Tuesday, at half-past twelve o'clock, a handsome screw steamer, the Bahiania, built for the South American and General Steam Navigation Company, was launched from the yard of Mr. Laird, at the Dingle, Liverpool. The dimensions of the vessel are - Length on the water line, 250 feet; beam, 36 feet; depth, 23 feet; register, old measurement, about 1600 tons. She will be rigged as a barque, and her sailing qualities will be available to their full extent in fair winds, her screw being fitted so as to lift out of the water entirely. The Bahiana, will be commanded by Captain Daniel Green, late of the Brazileira. A large number of ladies and gentlemen assembled to witness the launch. Among the latter were Admiral Grenfell and several Brazilian merchants,

[from Globe - Monday 15 January 1855]:
NAVAL AND MILITARY NEWS. The screw steamer Bahiana, belonging to the South American and General Steam Navigation Company, still remains at anchor in the Mersey (Liverpool) awaiting the arrival at that port of the main body of the 82d Regiment, which halted at Preston, on their way from Edinburgh, in consequence of the outbreak of smallpox. The disease has almost entirely disappeared, and the troops are in a condition to proceed to Liverpool, where they may be expected this week. The Imperador is being fitted at Liverpool for the conveyance of troops;..
[Bahiana still at anchor in Mersey in July 1854, later reported taking troops to India in late 1857, by 1858 trading to China, then 1859 laying cable from Singapore to Batavia ]

[from South London Chronicle - Saturday 11 January 1862]:
Cotton to New York. The demand for steam ships to carry cotton from Liverpool to New York still continues, and the steamer Bahiana, Commander Sharp (lately engaged in the Red Sea Telegraph Company's service), has been taken up for the conveyance of cotton.

[from Londonderry Standard - Thursday 30 January 1862]:
The Bahiana steamer, which Left Liverpool on Monday last with 2000 bales of cotton for New York, came into Queenstown on Saturday in distress. She has lost twenty stanchions, several small boats, bulwarks and rails gone, and decks swept.

[from North British Daily Mail - Tuesday 30 June 1863]:
THE LIVERPOOL, WESTERN AND SPANISH AMERICAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY, Will despatch a Monthly line of steamers to the undermentioned ports, viz. LIVERPOOL to SAINT THOMAS, LAGUIRA, PUERTO CABELLO (Caracas), SANTA MARIA (Carthagena), to COLON, returning from that port by KINGSTON (Jamaica), and PORT-AU-PRINCE to LIVERPOOL.
The following are all A 1 full-powered Iron Screw Steamers:
CRISTOBAL COLON, J Baker, 1530 tons, -
SAINT THOMAS, J Peters, 1210 tons, 20th July
BOLIVA, W W Kiddle, 1200 tons, 20th August
HUMBOLT (building), Gilberry, 1400 tons, ...
Engagements can be made for through rates from ports on the Continent, and over the Panama Railway, to the ports North and South on the West Coast of South America.

[from Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Monday 11 April 1864]:
FOR SALE, The fine first-class Screw Steamer CRISTOBAL COLON; 1598 tons gross, 1100 tons net, 273 feet long, 37 beam, depth 24 feet. This fine steamer was built by Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead, and fitted and furnished in a first-class style. She has a full poop, with accommodation for upwards of fifty cabin passengers; a topgallant forecastle and houses on deck for the officers and crew. She carries a large cargo and is very fast under sail or steam. This vessel has excellent 'tween decks for troops or passengers. Her engines are geared oscillating, by Fawcett, Preston and Co., cylinders 54 inches in diameter, with Lamb's patent boilers, which are in good condition. Consumption of fuel about twenty tons per diem. May be viewed in the Nelson Dock. For further particulars, apply to LEECH, HARRISON and FORWOOD, 11, Dales-street. Liverpool. [advertised until June 1865 - reported bought by Societe Generale des Transports Maritimes in 1867]

[from Shields Daily Gazette - Monday 28 October 1867]:
SAILING OF A LARGE FRENCH PASSENGER STEAMER. On Sunday afternoon, the large passenger steamer, Savoy [sic], 2,500 tons register, and 320 feet in length, belonging to a French Steam Shipping Company, left the Tyne for Marseilles. Her engines are of 300-horse power, and she is fitted to carry 40 first-class passengers, 60 second class, and third-class. [probably Bahiana/Cristobal Colon, lengthened - traded to South America as Savoie from 1869, on, owned Societe Generale des Transports Maritimes; sold by them in 1889 and later scrapped]


Lioness PS, yard no.103.


Iron screw steamer La Plata, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.105. 428grt, 303nrt, 159 x 24.5 x 13.2 ft, 110hp engines, ON 24392, as 253 tons, 50hp. For South American General SN Co. Presumably built as a permanent replacement for Argentine which was wrecked in late 1853, registered Liverpool. [Note Menai had been obtained as a short-term replacement for Argentine]. Registered Goole 1859, Aberdeen 1865. Wrecked 18 August 1868 off Flamborough Head / Leman LV. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 17 February 1854]:
Iron shipbuilders on the Mersey. Yesterday, at noon, a new iron screw steamer, named "La Plata", of 520 tons burthen, old measurement, was launched from Mr. Laird's yard, at the Dingle. The little vessel has been built for the South American Steam Navigation Company, and is intended for a coaster to run between Rio Janeiro and the River Plate, in connection with the line of packets from this port to Rio. Her length is 165 feet, and she is 25.5 feet in beam. She has a full poop for the accommodation of passengers, and every attention has been paid to ventilation. Her engines were made by Messrs. Tarrant and Dykes, of London. The screw shafting and screw are already fixed in the vessel, and it is expected that she will have steam up next week, and be ready to take her departure for the River Plate on the 10th of March.
In the same yard, there are building for the same company two vessels, each of 700 tons burthen, to be called the Emperador and the Emperatrice, which are likely to be ready in a few months. They will be improvements on the Bahiana, the last vessel launched by the South American Company.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 03 March 1854]:
STEAM FROM LIVERPOOL TO BRAZILS AND THE RIVER PLATE. THE SOUTH AMERICAN AND GENERAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY'S New and powerful Steam-ships:
IMPERADOR 1800 tons (New Ships building by Mr. John T Laird,
IMPERATRICE 1800 tons (to be ready in August and September respectively.
BAHIANA 1700 tons D. GREEN.
LUSITANIA 1100 tons JAMES BRDWN
BRAZILEIRA 1100 tons H. T. Cox.
Sail from LIVERPOOL, on the 24th of each Month, to LISBON, MADEIRA, PERNAMBUCO, BAHIA, and RIO DE JANEIRO.
At Rio Janeiro the mails, passengers, and cargo intended for the RIVER PLATE will be forwarded by their new and fast Screw Steamer LA PLATA, which vessel will (after calling at Monte Video) proceed direct up to Buenos Ayres.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 24 May 1855]: For Sale. The fine iron screw steamer La Plata, 428 tons register, only one year old, was built by Mr John Laird of Birkenhead, engines by Messrs Humphreys & Co of Deptford. Has good accommodation for passengers and carries a fair cargo. Both ship and engines have just been throughly overhauled; lying in Sandon Dock. .. apply South American Company.

[from Shields Daily News - Friday 21 August 1868]:
The La Plata (s s), from Middlesborough for Rotterdam, laden with a cargo of pit iron, sunk off Flamborough Head [sic] on the 18th inst.; crew saved, and landed here on the 19th inst.

[from Nottinghamshire Guardian - Friday 28 August 1868]:
The late gale - foundering of a steamer.
The marine department of the Board of Trade have received the annexed reports in reference to the loss of two vessels during the late heavy gale.
Captain Charles Blakey, of the La Plata (ss) of Middlesborough, 180 tons, bound from Middlesborough to Rotterdam, with a cargo of 380 tons of iron. Left Middlesborough on the 16th August, at 9.20 p.m.; weather stormy, wind E. strong. Ship about 20 miles E by N. of the Leman Light [NE of Cromer, beyond Ower Bank], when the vessel began to make water. Set all the pumps on, but it increased, closed the main hold and sluice doors to keep the water out of the engine-room; the engines going at full speed. At 10.20 the engines stopped, the water having extinguished the fires. At eleven o'clock, we all left the ship in the boats, holding on to the vessel with a long line. At 12.45 ship went down stern foremost. We pulled to the S.W., and were picked up by the brig St Michael, of Douarnenney, and taken into the Humber, where we arrived at four a.m. on the 19th inst. In my opinion some of the plates must have been started, either by the cargo or stress of weather. The ship and cargo were worth £5,600.


Iron screw steamer Candace, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.107, 468grt, 379nrt, 205.6 x 25.5 x 12.9, 70 hp engines by Humphreys & Co., ON 23169, owned African SS Co. Sank after collision on 4 May 1858 near Gibraltar with Dutch barque Ida Elizabeth. More history. Full history

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 30 May 1854]:
There was launched, on Saturday last, from the ship-building yard of Mr. John Laird, at the Dingle, a fine screw steamer, of 700 tons burthen and 200 feet in length. She was named the Candace, and is intended for the African Steam Navigation Company. The engines, which are expected to be put on board this week, will be supplied by Messrs. Humphreys and Co., engineers, of London, the makers of the engines for the Steamers Bacchante, La Plata, and the Pleiads[sic]. The new steamer is expected to be completed and ready to leave the Mersey on the 10th of next month. The Ethiope, a sister vessel to the Candace, is in expected to be ready in July. Two other steamers, Imperador and Imperatriz, of 1800 tons burthen each, are building in the same yard and will be launched, the former in July, the latter in August.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 19 June 1854]:
On Wednesday last the beautiful new iron screw-steamer Candace, built by Mr. John Laird for the African mail line, steamed a few miles outside the port for the purpose of testing her machinery. The performance was highly satisfactory.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Friday 22 June 1855]:
The African Steam Company. .... The report stated that the machinery of the new steamers Candace and Ethiope (built by Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, with engines by Messrs. Humphrys, Tennant, and Dyke, of Deptford), having proved inefficient, Mr. Laird had offered to supply them with new engines of increased power, on terms "under consideration".

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 12 October 1858]:
THE LOSS OF THE STEAMER CANDACE:- On the morning of the 4th of May, 1857, the mail steamer Candace, Captain Rolt, commander, was working her way against a strong north-east wind, having left Madeira on the evening of the 2nd, for Plymouth. All were in good spirits, making calculations as to the day on which we expected to be in Plymouth. Captain Rolt, wishing to make as much speed as possible, had given orders for all the boats to be launched inboard, which was accordingly done. The boatfalls were all made snug, as the boats were not expected to be used or wanted again during the passage.
In the evening, every one seemed in better spirits than on any night previously, and very few of the passengers turned in before ten or eleven o'clock. While some of them were in their first sleep, and others dozing off, a few of us were aroused by hearing the Captain's voice on deck saying "Port your helm, for God's sake port your helm".
Now, to those acquainted at all with nautical terms, this was enough to convince us that something was wrong. Out we jumped, some taking time to dress, others making their way on desk, while some were still asleep. The sight on deck to those that had time to see it, was enough to strike terror into the stoutest heart.
The captain was standing by the fore companion, looking over the port beam, and still singing out, "Ship ahoy; Port your helm; for God's sake, port you helm" and then , in the same breath, "My god, has it come to this". He sprung aft, and, in a second, crash came a large vessel right into the steamer, striking us as near amidships as possible, on the port side, just abaft the funnel. The vessel, which afterwards proved to be the Ida Elizabeth, a Dutch barque, from Cardiff for Batavia, with coals, struck us right end on, the bowsprit and jibboom smashing the port lifeboat, and then, as the steamer forged ahead, the engines not having been stopped, carrying away the port main-rigging, and taking the mizenmast clean off by the deck, and smashing the wheel. The captain ran aft, having been standing in the lee waist, and sung out to the barque which was just clear of us, "Heave your ship to, we are full of passengers, and we are sinking"; then, turning forward, he gave orders to clear away the boats. By this time all were on deck, with the exception of one passenger, who was sick below forward, and then followed such a scene of confusion which all present then will never forget or ever want to see again.
The boat falls, as before said, were all racked, and of course could not be undone in the dark without being cut. No one had knives, or those that had could not get them, each trusting to some one else, and it was not till the steamer was half full of water - for it was just making its appearance above the cabin deck - when the first boat was lowered, which was the dingy. The second boat, the starboard life-boat, could not be lowered till one of the passengers had run down into the cabin, where the water already was, and brought up a table knife.
Most miraculously, three boats were lowered, in which 58 were saved out of 65. The captain would not leave the ship as long as any one else remained - indeed, his only thought seemed to be to save the ladies, of whom we had four. I shall never forget him when, as the second boat was leaving and there was still a lady left on board, he was commanding and then entreating the men in the boat to drop aft and to take the lady in. Seeing they would not, he exclaimed - "For shame of yourselves; you call yourselves British sailors". But even this had no effect. The boat was full of the crew and firemen, with four passengers.
When the first two boats got alongside the Ida Elizabeth, which was about one mile distant, the crew refused to go back for the captain and remainder of persons left, and even cut the painters or ropes of the boats as an excuse that they could not. It was not till the last boat came with the chief officer, who returned and pulled about in the direction of the steamer but there was not a trace of her to be seen. From the time the barque first struck us to when the last boat left was not supposed to be over 15 minutes. We were all very kindly treated by the captain and crew of the barque, and arrived in Cadiz on the 8th of May. Such is an account of the loss of the steamer Candace. From what we learned afterwards, the Ida Elizabeth was first seen about two points on the starboard bow of the steamer, and the boatswain, who had charge of the watch on board the steamer, gave orders to port the helm, which to all nautical men will account for the steamer being struck on the port beam.


Iron screw steamer Imperador, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.108, 1699grt, 1315nrt, 263.5 x 35.2 x 24.2 ft, 200 hp engines by Elder, Glasgow, for South American General SN Co. Chartered for transport to Crimea, then used for cable laying off Aden 1854 (with Imperatriz). Bought 1862 by Compagnie Générale Maritime which had been founded in 1855 (later known as Compagnie Générale Transatlantique), renamed Tampico. In 1870 renamed Guadeloupe, and later owned Norway, as Sorrento. Foundered 22nd August 1890 in North Sea. More history

Image of Tampico, when owned by Compagnie Générale Maritime, from here

Imperador and Imperatriz cable laying at Aden [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 09 July 1859]:

[from Illustrated London News - Saturday 17 March 1860]:
LAYING THE SUBMARINE CABLE BETWEEN KURRACHEE[Karachi] AND ADEN. The squadron engaged in laying the submarine cable between Kurrachee and Aden - composed of her Majesty's ships Retribution, Commodore Edgell, Cyclops, Captain Pullen, with the screw steam-ship Imperador, Captain Atkins, having on board Mr. Newall, the contractor, being joined on the 11th of January last by the Imperatriz, Capt. Sharp, from Galle, began their operations. On the 13th of January the Imperador moved in shore, a short distance to the westward of Minora Point, and, with the assistance of the boats from the Retribution and a party of her seamen to haul the telegraph cable up the beach to the station-house, the shore end was landed, and at two p.m. on Friday, notwithstanding the superstition connected with the day, the great undertaking of uniting by almost immediate communication our valuable possessions in the East with England was commenced. The Imperador, with the cable, and Imperatriz, led by the Retribution, left Kurrachee, and steamed along the coast of Beloochistan[sic] to Gurwan, where the vessels anchored on a bank about ten miles off shore, while a consultation was held as to the best route thence to Muscat, on account of the great depth of water. Here the Cyclops joined, having been dispatched from Kurrachee on the 4th to run a second line of soundings to Muscat, the result of which was rather disadvantageous to the laying of the cable, as the greatest depth ascertained this time reached only 1997 fathoms, or two nautical miles; therefore M. Newall, the owner, decided to take his course between the two lines of soundings, and the expedition started again at eight o'clock the following morning. From Ras Gurwan to Muscat the cable was most successfully payed out at the rate of seven miles an hour; and in the deepest water, the strain was so great on the drum wheel, which had five turns of cable on it, that not a single spoke was sound when the Imperador anchored at Muscat noon on the 17th, showing the risks that attend these enormous outlays of money. The shore end of the cable was landed at Jillie Allie, a small cove between two high hills at the west end of the town; and the boats from her Majesty's ships Retribution and Cyclops, and the Indian Navy men-of-war Semiramis, Falkland, and Elphinstone, attended on the occasion, and gave three hearty cheers when the end was safely lodged in the station-house. While at this anchorage the squadron had a strong northerly breeze and a heavy sea running into the harbour, which obliged the Retribution to slip and put to sea. The Imperador, outside, was partly sheltered from the wind and in tolerably smooth water, but, owing to the course of testing the cable to ensure perfection, they had not yet spliced the shore end to the sea part, and the necessary veering of the ship's cable and letting go of stern hawsers in a limited space had drawn the shore end of the wire from the beach: therefore a second procession of the boats of the men-of-war took place at nine o'clock on Sunday evening, the 22nd, and the cable was again placed in position, amidst a shower of rockets and firing of guns and bluelights from the Imperador and Imperatriz.
At an interview with the Imaum of Muscat, his Highness expressed himself well pleased with having the cable landed in his dominions, the benefit that they would derive from being in immediate communication with India, and that he would pay great attention to the safety of the wire, and regard it as part of his own body.
The Cyclops parted company on the 19th, taking Mr. Forde, civil engineer, attached to the Red Sea Company, to Hillani, for the purpose of deciding which part of the island was best suited for landing the cable, and also to erect the huts in readiness for the reception of the instruments and the electricians.
All arrangements having been completed, and the shore end of the cable for the next station landed, the Retribution left Muscat at day-light on the 24th, with the Imperatriz this time paying out the cable. After running about twenty miles close along the land, the Imperairiz stopped on account of some slight defect in the cable, and, after a series of tests and an experiment on eight miles more cable without satisfactory result, it was resolved to cut the cable and return eight miles on the line, when the bad part was cut out and the end passed to the Imperador, which had joined the squadron from Muskat to pick up. When the cable was spliced and the communication pronounced perfect, the Imperador returned to Muscat, and the expedition again started on their course to Hillani, where they anchored on the 29th.
Hillani, one of the Kooria Mooria group, is a barren island, composed of granite and limestone, situated twenty miles south of the coast of Arabia and distant 480 from Muscat, and is a most desolate spot for any European to be stationed at. There are a few natives living on the island, whose only means of subsistence is fish, and who are glad to beg a trifling quantity of bread or biscuit from the crews of the boats who frequently come for water from the merchant-vessels which visit the neighbouring island Jibblia during the guano season. A guard of nine marines was landed from the Cyclops until a detachment of sepoys could be sent from Aden to protect the people belonging to the Red Sea Company from the attacks of any of the Arabs from the mainland, who, it is reported, make an occasional fishing and plundering excursion to these islands.
The cable was landed on the 30th in N. W. Bay, and the Imperador joined the 1st of February from Muscat. The Imperatriz was engaged the 2nd and 3rd in coiling on board from the Imperador sufficient cable to complete the line to the junction of the wire 240 miles east of Aden; and on the morning of the 5th, the servants of the company having been safely established in their new and lonely abode, the squadron commenced to lay the last line of cable, steaming along the shore of Arabia to Ras-el-Haramar at the speed of seven and half knots an hour.
The Imperador proceeded to pick up the Aden end ready for the Imperairiz to receive on board and test, and on her arrival at three p.m. on the 8th it was placed in connection with the batteries, and reply to the signal immediately received from Aden.
The whole of the following day, the testing of the cable was continued, to endeavour to ascertain as near as possible the position of a defect which existed on the Aden line; and early on the morning of the 10th the Imperador left to cut and test the cable at twenty miles distance, within which portion she found the flaw, and at once buoyed the end and picked up the defective part, joining again on the following forenoon. In the evening the vessels weighed, and the Imperador ran the twenty miles of new cable towards Aden, which was tested on each side, and spliced about six o'clock on Sunday evening, the 12th, when the squadron proceeded at once with all dispatch to Aden, where they anchored on the night of the 13th; and the next day, at eight clock, the inhabitants of the point at Aden and the shipping in the harbour saw the vessels of the squadron dress with flags, and, with the battery on shore, as well as his Imperial Majesty's frigate La Cordeliere, pour forth a salutation of twenty one guns in announcement of the successful termination of the great work in these seas.
The distance of the line cable from Kurrachee to Muscat is about 490 miles, from Muscat to Hillani 500, and thence to the junction of the cable at Ras-Khelb 480, making a total of about 1720 miles to Aden, through which a message of forty words can at present be sent, and an answer received in ten minutes.
A message was received from Alexandria on Wednesday reporting that telegraphic communication is now complete between that place and Kurrachee.
[footnote - this cable was unreliable and never successfully operated over the full length from India to Suez.]

Image: landing the Kurrachee - Aden cable at Muscat Cove.

[from Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Thursday 28 August 1890]:
CASUALTIES. LLOYD'S TELEGRAMS. A Thisted [North Denmark] telegram states that information received from newspaper reports, the Norwegian steamer Sorrento, from Bjorneborg to London with battens, sunk in the North Sea. The cargo was heading ashore. There will be considerable salvage.

[from Lloyd's List - Monday 25 August 1890]:
SORRENTO. Christiansund, Aug. 24, 12 45 p.m. Norwegian steamer Sorrento, Bjorneborg, London (deals), foundered at sea; crew landed here by British steamer "Cerenaria".


Iron screw steamer Imperatriz, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.109, for South American General SN Co. ON 25751. Sister ship to Imperador (see image above of Tampico). Chartered by the Government for transport to Crimea, then used for cable-laying (see above). Bought 1862 by Compagnie Générale Maritime which had been founded in 1855 (later known as Compagnie Générale Transatlantique), renamed Vera Cruz. In 1869 renamed Martinique. More history

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 October 1854]:
LIVERPOOL STEAM COMMUNICATION WITH SOUTH AMERICA. Already the beneficial effects of the mail contract entered into by Government with the South American and General Steam Navigation Company are being felt, for boats of a finer class have been put upon the station, with passenger accommodation unsurpassed by that of any vessels afloat either in point of elegance or comfort. The enterprise of the company is developing branch lines of steamers in various directions, and by that means extending and opening out our commercial relations with the rich and extensive, but hitherto, in many instances, unattainable territories of South America. The vast trade that is capable of being carried on with the districts on the shores of the mighty Amazon will receive a great impetus from the establishment of steam navigation on that magnificent river.
The company's new screw-steamer Imperador, Captain Brown, which will take out the Brazil mails of to-morrow, the 24th instant, is one of the improved class of vessels to which we have just alluded. She is of the following dimensions: Length, 265 feet; beam, 36 feet; depth, 25 feet; measurement, 1,800 tons. She has direct-acting engines of nominally 200 horse-power, and has already attained a speed of eleven miles an hour. Besides carrying an immense cargo, the Imperador will accommodate 160 first-class passengers, and has also spacious and comfortable cabins forward for second and third class passengers. Her dining saloon is placed in the forward part of the poop, the whole width of which it occupies. It is furnished in the most luxurious style, and the decorations are elegant and chaste. The panels are formed of decorated glass, bearing rich designs in fruit and flowers, emblazoned and surrounded with tracery. There are also beautifully painted views, representing Lisbon, Madeira, Rio Janeiro, &c., executed in the first style of art. From the dining-saloon a corridor leads aft to the music-saloon and lounging boudoir, staterooms being placed on each side of the passage-way. Robinson's patent panels form the walls of the stateroom, which, besides securing the best means of ventilation, afford scope for very tasteful decorations. Two staircases, one at each end of the poop, lead to a spacious, first-class dormitory below, ventilated in an improved manner, and with several ranges of staterooms. The ladies' cabin adjoins the dining-saloon; and bathroom, washing-rooms, closets, and other sanitary conveniences are attached to the cabins, and placed in various other suitable positions in the ships. Next month the Imperatriz, a sister ship, will be dispatched, and no doubt if the company meet with the support which they deserve, they will speedily add other large ocean boats to their fleet.


Iron screw steamer Jourdain, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.111, 226 x 32.6 ft, 370hp engines, for Marseilles service, owned Messageries Maritimes. Said to have been ordered for Australian service, named Pelican. Wrecked 21-2-1863 when driven ashore at Beyrouth [Beirut]. More history. Detailed history (in French); Image of wreck.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 18 January 1855]:
Fire yesterday at Mr Laird's ship-building yard. About half-part six o'clock yesterday morning, a fire broke out on board the new iron screw steam-ship, Jourdain, of 1200 tons, on the stocks at Mr. Laird's iron ship-building yard, Sefton-street, and intended to be launched on Saturday or Monday, and for the preparation of which, men were working on board her at the time. The alarm was quickly conveyed into town, and the engines from Brunswick Dock and Temple-court soon arrived, in charge of Mr. Hewitt. Mr. Barrett was also speedily on the spot with the West of England engine and brigade. Major Craig, the head constable, was also present. Before the flames could be arrested, they had destroyed the whole of the interior woodwork forward of the ship; and the iron plating was red hot, so that this part of the vessel will have almost to be built over again.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 April 1855]:
IRON SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. During the week, the following iron vessels have been launched on the banks of the Mersey.
On Tuesday, from the yard of Mr. John Laird, Toxteth-park, the screw-steamer Jourdain, 1,260 tons, belonging to the Compagnie des Messageries Imperiales of France. The Jourdain is the first of three steamers in course of construction for the Messageries Imperiales, and will be despatched at once by Messrs. G. H. Fletcher and Co., the agents of the company, to Marseilles, where she will take up her position as one of the steamers carrying the mails for the French Government to the Crimea.


Iron screw steamer Pleiad, launched Laird, Birkenhead, 1854, yard no.110, 117grt, 71nrt, 104.5 x 20.4 x 8.8 ft, 40 hp engines, for expedition to rivers Niger and Chad. ON 24960. From 1858, based Kooria Mooria Islands. In MNL to 1870, registered Liverpool. More history.

Image of Pleiad [from Laird records - based on a Samuel Walters painting, documented by A S Davidson, Samuel Walters - Marine Artist]:

Most probably Pleiad [from Liverpool Albion - Monday 01 May 1854]:
On Saturday Mr. Laird launched, at his yard, at the Birkenhead Float, a beautifully-modelled screw vessel called the Tchadda, intended for the exploring expedition to survey the interior rivers of Western Africa, during the ensuing summer. The Tchadda is, from her style of mould and rig, a great novelty on the iron vessels usually built here. She is, in fact, a schooner-rigged yacht, of about 150 to 200 tons, very much resembling in form the celebrated yacht America, but, of course, having a less depth of hold, to fit her for the shallow waters of the African rivers.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 April 1854]:
[About Niger river exploration]. At the end of this month the Pleiad, a new screw-steamer built in Mr. Laird's yard, at Birkenhead, will make another attempt; those, who are venturing in her, undaunted by so many previous failures. She is of small tonnage, requiring, of course, to be of light draught for the shoal and uncertain channels of the river. Her crew for working up the river will be all native Africans, and, to obviate the influence of malaria upon her officers, fourteen in number, the best arrangements are being made that science, joined with practical experience, can demonstrate.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 19 May 1854]:
SAILING OF THE PLEIAD. - This curious and interesting little steamer, recently launched from the yard of Mr. John Laird, and intended for the African exploring expedition, made what was considered to be a very satisfactory trial trip on Saturday last. On Wednesday, the Pleiad sailed for Dublin, and will proceed thence direct to Fernando Po. Captain Walker will take charge of the Pleiad at Fernando Po, but Captan Johnson (who commanded the Argentina) was master when she left the Mersey. The preliminary arrangements for this expedition have been entrusted to Mr. Macgregor Laird, and three medical gentlemen form part of it. The labours of the exploring party will be confined to the rivers Niger and Tchadda.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 05 February 1855]:
NIGER EXPEDITION: RETURN OF THE STEAMER PLEIAD TO FERNANDO PO. The African mail steamer Bacchante brings accounts of the safe return of the exploring screw-schooner Pleiad, from a most successful voyage up the Niger and Tchadda, having been 350 miles further up than any previous expedition. The Government officers have returned in the Bacchante, and they, as well as Captain Taylor, the commander of the expedition, speak in the highest terms of the vessel, and the arrangements made by Mr. Macgregor Laird for the comfort and health of the officers and crew, as proved by the expedition having returned without the loss of a man, an unusual event in the history of African voyages. The Pleiad may be daily expected, as she was to leave Fernando Po early in December for England.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 27 July 1857]:
The iron screw-steamer Pleiad, recently purchased by Messrs. Ord, Hindson and Hayes, to ply as a tender amongst the harbours and shipping at the Kooria Mooria [now Khuriya Muriya, off the coast of Oman] islands, took her departure from the Mersey, for that station, on Tuesday. One of the owners and a few friends accompanied the Pleiad as far as Llandudno.

[from Greenock Advertiser - Tuesday 09 March 1858]:
The Kooria Mooria Guano Islands. ... The greatest difficulty had been the want of labour, and that was caused at the very commencement of the proceedings by the refusal of the British Commandant at Aden to permit a single labourer to be there embarked on the expedition. How this gentleman took it upon himself to thwart an enterprise sanctioned by the Government (adds Mr Caird), has not yet been explained, but thwart it did, most effectually, and many weeks elapsed before orders reached him from home, directing him to desist from this interference. A further misfortune occurred by the long detention in the voyage out of the steamer Pleiad, which had been despatched by the lessees from England with implements for working the guano, and to serve as means of communication between the islands and Bombay or Aden. Every exertion in the meantime had been made by Messrs Ord & Hayes, two of the lessees who had gone out with the expedition, to remedy those unlooked-for difficulties, Mr Ord having as soon as possible proceeded to Muscat, whence he returned in November with 75 Arab labourers. The long lost Pleiad made her appearance on the 12th of December, and Mr Hayes at once proceeded with her to Bombay, and returned to the islands on the 14th January with provisions for the expedition,...


Iron paddle steamer Tapajoz, built Laird, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.112, for Amazon region. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 30 October 1854]:
On Monday Mr. Laird launched from his yard at the Dingle, the iron paddle-wheel steamer Tapajoz, for the River Amazon Steam Navigation Company. Her dimensions are 210 feet long, 27 feet beam, 10 feet deep, and 7 feet draft of water when loaded. She is to be propelled by engines of 200-horse power, with feathering floats, made by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 22 January 1855]:
NAVIGATION OF THE RIVER AMAZON. ON Tuesday the Tapajoz, a new iron vessel just completed by Mr. Laird for the Amazon Steam Navigation Company, sailed for Oporto to take on board three hundred Portuguese emigrants who are to be located on the banks of the Amazon. After taking them on board she is to sail direct from Oporto to that river. The Tapajoz has been built expressly for the Amazon navigation, and is 210 feet long, 27 feet beam, 12 feet deep, and about 750 tons old measurement. She is fitted by Fawcett and Co. with a pair of engines of 200-horse power, feathering wheels, and all the latest improvements. The river Amazon is like many of the American rivers, troubled with snags, or stumps of large trees, which cause great risk to vessels, unless they are particularly strongly built, great care therefore has been taken in the construction of the Tapajoz to render her proof against accidents from this cause; and she is divided before the engine by three athwart-ship bulkheads and one longitudinal one, thus dividing the fore-body into four separate watertight compartments. To strengthen her amidships the coal-boxes in the engine-room are regularly framed and built in with strong plates as part of the ship, and she has also two athwart-ship watertight bulkheads, abaft the engine -room. Her paddle-guards, like the American river boats, extend to the outside of the paddle-boxes, so that she is nearly fifty feet wide on deck. Her cabin and fore-cabins are also on the American plan, being well ventilated deck-houses; as also is the accommodation for officers, engineers, firemen, &c. The Tapajoz has large carrying accommodation, having room in the holds for 350 tons of cargo, and in the engine-room for eight to ten days' coal. Her draught of water, when loaded, will be about seven to seven and a half feet. On her trial trip, a few days before she sailed, she attained a speed of thirteen knots, or about fifteen statute miles per hour, the engines working remarkably well, with abundance of steam and easy firing. Owing to the great strength of the vessel, and the feathering wheels, there was not the least tremulous motion in the vessel, even going at this great speed. The company for which the Tapajoz has been built has, it is stated, received a grant from the Brazilian Government of £30,000 a year for the regular and efficient navigation of that river. That the work will be efficiently done is certain, from the fact that the Baron de Maua is the principal promoter of the company, and that he has been lately elevated to his title by the Emperor of Brazil, for his great services rendered to that country in the construction of railways, gas-works, steam navigation, &c.

[from Morning Advertiser - Tuesday 05 July 1859]:
LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER MENAOS, FOR THE RIVER AMAZON, The AMAZON STEAM COMPANY AND BARON MAUA. ......
The Tapajoz, sister vessel, sent out in 1855 to the Amazon by the same builder, has been most successful, and a smaller one, the Guagara [sic Guajara, Lard yard no.226], that went out about twelve months ago, equally so.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 13 August 1860]:
Amazon Steam Company .... Amongst their present Steamers are the Tapajoz, the Menaos [Laird yard no.234, as Manaos], and the Inca [Laird yard no.253], all built at Birkenhead, and whose services are recorded by the directors in glowing terms, as we have had occasion to notice before. The Inca - the last boat sent out by Messrs. Laird, destined to keep up the communication with Peru under the new conventional treaty between that country and Brazil, had begun her work by a rapid voyage up the Amazon,..


Iron paddle steamer Ellan Vannin, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1854, yard no.119, 350grt, 130nrt, 170 x 39 ft, engines 00hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON 21945, for Liverpool - Castletown service. Ellan Vannin is Manx for Isle of Man. Sold around 1858 for service in Sardinia, named Archimedes. Details and image. More history.
Note: not the better known Ellan Vannin, built 1860, wrecked 1909.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 01 July 1854]:
On Saturday last, the new Manx steamer Ellan Vannin, which is to run between Liverpool and Castletown, was successfully launched from Mr. Laird's yard at Birkenhead. She is a handsome, and bids fair to be a fast, vessel. Her length is 180 feet, and her tonnage 350. She has much of the appearance of the Countess of Ellesmere, but is longer, and has finer lines.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Saturday 15 May 1858]:
SALE of the Steamer ELLAN VANNIN. TO BE SOLD BY PUBLIC AUCTION BY MR. JAMES THOMPSON, On Thursday, the 20th instant, at Twelve o'clock noon, on the Quay, opposite the steamer's berth, Castletown, Isle of Man (unless previously disposed of by private treaty), The well-known Iron Paddle Steamer, ELLAN VANNIN, 130 73-100 tons register; length, 169 5-10 feet; breadth, 19 1-10 feet; depth, 9 8-10 feet. This vessel was built at Birkenhead by John Laird, in 1854; is divided into five water-tight compartments; engines (oscillating) by Fawcett, Preston, and Co., of 100-horse power nominal, tubular boiler, all in good condition; carries 100 tons weight and 40 tons coal in bunkers on 7.5 feet water, and draws only 5 feet 10 inches light, and is fitted with a donkey engine. Her cabins are beautifully furnished. Certified to carry 91 first and 195 second class passengers; is well found in every respect, and may be sent to sea without any expense. The vessel is now trading between Castletown and Liverpool, where she may be inspected in Trafalgar Dock, from Saturday to Wednesday in each week until the 19th, on which day she returns to Castletown to be sold. For further particulars, apply, in Liverpool, to Owen Caregan, 13, James-street; London - Rogers, Gladstone, and Co., 24. Billiter-street; Castletown - Walter Brown, Steam-packet Office.
[Reserve price not met - but eventually sold a few weeks later].


Iron screw steamer Resolute, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.115, 1800 tons, 400 hp, for government service - transporting cavalry horses. In 1857 renamed Adventure. More history

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 20 February 1855]:
LAUNCH OF A TROOPSHIP. On Saturday, Mr John Laird launched from his shipbuilding-yard, in Sefton-street, Liverpool, the first Admiralty troop-ship constructed in this port, as such. The Resolute, which is the name given to the vessel, is an iron screw seamer of 1800 tons and of 400 horse-power. She is of great strength, more than ordinary care having been exercised to make her an excellent sea-boat. She has comfortable accommodation for from 1,000 to 1,200 men, or 170 horses, besides ample space for water, provisions, stores, &c. The Resolute will be barque rigged, and is in appearance and model similar to the Imperador, Imperatriz, and Bahiana, by the same builder, but is on a larger scale, with more power.

Iron screw steamer Assistance, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.116, 1800 tons, 400 hp, for government service - transporting cavalry horses. Wrecked near Hong Kong 1 June 1860. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 06 April 1855]:
Yesterday, at noon, another large and powerful steamer, named the Assistance, was launched from Mr. Laird's yard, at the Dingle. She is of the same tonnage and power as the vessel above named, and intended as a sister ship to the Resolute, launched on the 17th of July last, from the same yard. The Assistance was built for the government service, and will be fitted up for the conveyance of cavalry horses to the seat of war. She was towed into the Sandon dock to receive her engines, now in course of construction by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., of this town. A large number of persons were drawn together to witness the launch.
Both vessels are considered admirable models, besides being built in the strongest possible manner - in fact, nothing is wanting in their construction which improved mechanical skill and excellent workmanship could accomplish. They are to be ship rigged, and carry sufficient canvas to render them good sailing vessels, independently of their capabilities as first-class steamers. The Resolute is now nearly completed, and will shortly be ready for sea.

Iron screw steamer Ethiope, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1854, yard no.113, 526grt, 416nrt, 206 x 25.6 x 13.4 ft, 120hp engines. for African SS Co. ON 23176. Registered London 1854, for west African trade. Sold 1870 to Sunderland owner, and renamed Alfredo el Grande. Wrecked 14-12-1871 on coast of Jutland, near Lemvig, 9 crew lost. More history. Fuller history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 31 July 1854]:
LAUNCH OF A SCREW-STEAMER. A beautiful new iron screw-steamer was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Laird, at the Dingle, on the Liverpool side of the river, on Saturday. She has been built for the African Mail Company, and is named the Ethiope, being a sister ship to the Candace, formerly launched by Mr. Laird, and has engines by Messrs. Humphreys, Tennant, and Dyke, of Woolwich, who prepared the engines for the Candace. The Ethiope has very fine lines forward and aft, and a good rise of floor amidships. Her principle dimensions are - Length, 210 feet; beam 25 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 14 feet 6 inches; tonnage, 650 tons, om. ; and her engines are 340 horse-power. She will carry 500 tons of cargo, and fourteen days' coal, her consumption of coal being at- the rate of nine tons per twenty-four-hours and, it is calculated, that she will attain a speed of nine knots when loaded. She was christened by Mrs. Frederick Hull; in the presence of a large number of ladies and gentlemen, and the launch, which was a most successful one, was also witnessed by a numerous party on board the new Castletown iron steamer, the Ellan Vannin, also built by Mr. Laird, which was lying off the yard previously to making another trial trip.

[from Newcastle Journal - Saturday 27 January 1872]:
THE LOSS OF THE ALFREDO EL GRANDE. At the Sunderland Police Court yesterday, an inquiry was held, by direction the Board of Trade, into the circumstances attending the loss of the Alfredo el Grande,.... Mr Hines, in opening the case, stated that the Alfredo el Grande was registered at the port of Newcastle, built in 1854 at Liverpool, and owned by Mr Pile of Sunderland. The effective horse power was 160, her gross tonnage 712, and her dimensions were -length, 212 ft.; breadth, 25ft.; and her girth, 61ft. She sailed on the 12th December from South Shields with a cargo of 680 tons coal, bound for Copenhagen. She was manned by crew of 19 hands, in addition to the Captain, Mr Cockerill. The evidence concurred in stating that the vessel was in all respects in a good condition. Her speed during the voyage, according to the log, was eight knots. All went well until about nine p.m. on the 13th. The course the captain was than steering was E. 0.5 N. The captain in his deposition said that he expected that he was about twenty miles N.W. by W of the Helman light [sic Hantsholm?] off the coast of Jutland. He was expecting to see the light every minute, when suddenly breakers were seen below the bows of the steamer, and before the engines could be reversed, the vessel went aground on the coast of Jutland. She appeared then to be actually 25 miles south of the Helman Light. The ship began to leak; the fires were extinguished by the water, and all efforts to get the vessel off failed. While the captain and the chief mate were examining the vessel, nine of the crow, contrary to orders, got into a lifeboat, and left the ship. These men were drowned. The captain and the remainder of the crew stayed by the ship, and were taken off by means of the lifeboat. The vessel became a total wreck. It would be proved in the evidence that the captain never used the lead. ....
Verdict: The captain should have used the lead to verify his dead reckoning, - his certificate was suspended for 3 months.


Iron paddle steamer Grafton, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1854, yard no. 114, for service in Sydney, Australia. ON 32364. Lost 2 June 1898 at Port Macquarie. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 07 August 1854]:
SHIP-LAUNCH. A new iron paddle-wheel steamer, the Grafton was launched from Mr. Laird's building-yard, at Birkenhead, on Tuesday. She is 145 feet long, 23 feet beam, 12 feet deep, and about 350 tons old measurement. She is to be fitted with engines of 100 horse-power, by Messrs. Forrester and Co., the cylinders being 41 inches in diameter, and 44 inches stroke. She will be commanded by Captain Wiseman, a gentleman of great experience in the Australian coast steaming, who superintended and took out the Clarence to Australia about two years ago. The Grafton is rigged as a brig, and was launched with her masts and yards standing, the ceremony of naming being performed by Miss Ellen Laird. Since January last this is the tenth vessel launched by Mr. Laird, the aggregate tonnage amounting to 11,000.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 10 October 1854]:
AUSTRALIAN STEAMERS BUILT IN LIVERPOOL:- The name of Mr. John Laird, our well-known iron shipbuilder, is becoming famous in Sidney. He has built three steamers for parties out there, the Clarence, Collaroy, and Grafton. The Grafton will sail for Sidney to-day, going out under canvas, commanded by Captain Wiseman, who has super-intended the building of the three vessels. The Collaroy, 400 tons and 120-horse power, which left here in July last, also under sail, has arrived out; and on two trial trips under steam, in Sidney harbour, attained a speed of nearly fourteen miles an hour. She was very highly spoken of, and would commence plying on the Hunter river immediately, having been purchased by that company for £20,000. The Clarence continued to give every satisfaction.


Iron paddle steamer Pampero, built Lairds, 1854, yard no.120, 698grt, 431 nrt, 198.3 x 23.7 x 15.8 ft, 120 hp engines by Humphreys & Co, for South American General SN Co. ON25867. In MNL, registered Liverpool, until 1859. Reported as sold foreign 1859. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 October 1854]:
Their new paddle-boat, the Pampero, intended for the branch service between Rio and the River Plate, at present performed by the La Plata, will be sent off the stocks, from Mr. Laird's yard, at Birkenhead, to-day, or to-morrow. Every preparation was made for launching her on Saturday; she was christened by Madame Coulette, wife of M. Coulette, of Paris, (of the Compagnie des Messageries Imperiales), and started on her "passage" to her proper element, but just before reaching the water, she gradually stopped, through the ground having given way at a place under her landing blocks. But she sat as firmly in her cradle as if the daggers had not been struck down, and did not sustain the slightest injury. The Pampero is 200 feet long, 25 feet beam, and 16 feet depth of hold, and will accommodate sixty first-class passengers in an elegant saloon aft, besides a large number of second-class passengers in a commodious cabin forward. Her engines have been made by Messrs. Humphreys, Tennant, and Dyke, of Woolwich, and besides being a very handsome, she will be a very fast boat.
The company have sold their two smaller vessels, the Braziliera and Lusitania, to the Compagnie des Messageries Imperiale of France, for whom Mr. Laird is also building another fine vessel of 1,300 tons and 250-horse power, to be called the Jourdain. The Braziliera is now in port, and the Lusitania, will be handed over to her purchasers on arrival here in a few days. [Braziliera then renamed Simois; Lusitania renamed Hydaspe]

[from Northern Daily Times - Friday 01 December 1854]:
STEAM FROM LIVERPOOL TO BRAZIL AND THE RIVER PLATE, CALLING AT LISBON AND MADEIRA. Carrying Her Majesty's Mails under Contract. The SOUTH AMERICAN and GENERAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY. NOTICE. By desire of the Postmaster-general, the sailing of the Royal Mail Steamer PAMPERO for Brazil and the River Plate is postponed to Sunday, the 10th of December. MILLERS & THOMPSON, Drury-buildings, Water-street, Liverpool

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 19 May 1855]:
Accident to the Brazilian Mail Steamer Pampero. The steamer Pampero, with the Brazil mails of March, is now at St. Vincent [Cape Verde Is]. She arrived there on the 31st March, and quitted again on the night of the 1st of April for England. On the night of the 3d, an accident happened to her paddle-wheels, during heavy weather, which completely disabled one; and Captain Haram, deeming it best to put back to St. Vincent, arrived there with the aid of the remaining paddle on the 7th of April. Here the Pampero will remain until new paddles are sent out from England. Meantime, the mails and passengers have arrived by the Avon, at Southampton. The Pampero is a new vessel, and sailed from Liverpool on her first voyage on the 10th December.

[from Evening Mail - Monday 15 June 1857]:
From Buenos Ayres, we hear little owing to the departure of the steamers Pampero and Menai for England, our communication is very irregular, and the quarantine regulations render it still more difficult....

[from Globe - Thursday 18 March 1858]:
Buenos Ayres, Feb. 1. The Pampero (British iron steamer), from Paraguay to this port, was in contact on the 23d of January with the Success (British brig), bound for Rosario. The anchor of the latter stove one plate in the bows of the steamer, causing the fore compartment to fill with water. She arrived here with 7.5 feet of water in her forehold, and nearly the whole of her cargo (wool and tobacco) damaged.

[from Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 06 August 1859]:
Buenos Ayres: [Argentina attempting to recapture independent state of Buenos Ayres] Since last packet, the whole of the National Guard in the town and country has been mobilized, great additions to the line regiments have been made, an infantry and artillery force has been sent to Martin Garcia, the island commanding the entrance to the rivers Parana and Uraguay, which force, assisted by the Buenos Ayrean squadron, composed of seven vessels, will, it is hoped, effectually prevent the passage of the three steamers Menai, Pampero, and Satto[sic Salto], recently purchased and partially armed by Buschenthal, for the service of Urquiza. Contrary to expectation, the Buenos Ayrean army will most probably be the first to assume the offensive, now that war has been declared by Urquiza. Rosario is said to be the point to be attacked...

[from Evening Mail - Wednesday 07 September 1859]:
From River Plate: .... The steamers Salto, Menai, and Pampero, which were purchased by Urquiza, are still in this bay, and as long as the Buenos Ayreans remain in possession of the island of Martin Garcia, with its present armament, they are not likely to attempt to pass it. They will prove dear vessels to Urquiza. This morning the armed steamer Hercules has arrived from Rio Janeiro, bearing the Argentine flag, and another is shortly expected from the same port. The neutrality, therefore, of the Government of Brazil is no longer problematical....

[from London Evening Standard - Monday 06 May 1861]:
The advices by the Brazil packet of the earthquake at Mendoza are of the most alarming character. The last steamer, Pampero, from Rosario, brought, it was stated, intelligence that confirmed the worst anticipations of this awful event. The official account was published in the National of that place, with black border columns, illustrating the intense grief exhibited at the catastrophe.

Advert, May 1861, for: Salto company of river steam boats, sailing Montevideo - Salto - Parana includes Pampero.


Iron screw steamer Habana, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1855, yard no. 117, 2009grt, 1367nrt, 279.0 x 36.4 x 30.3 ft, engines 400hp by Humphrys, Tennant, ordered by a Canadian company as Erie, but sold before launch to Linea de Vapores Correos Espanoles Trasatlanticos, Spain. Bought by French owners in 1856, named Alma. In 1858 sold to P & O as China, ON 27199. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 06 April 1855]:
LAUNCH BY Mr LAIRD. - On Wednesday last, there was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Laird, at Birkenhead, in the presence of a large concourse of people, a splendid iron screw steamer, of 1800 tons burthen, and 400 horse power. This vessel was originally intended to run between this port and Canada, but she has changed hands, and will, when fitted up, be placed upon a foreign station. She is 270 feet in length, with a beam of 36.5 feet. She will carry a large cargo, and have first-rate accommodation for passengers. The engines are to be supplied by Messrs. Humphreys and Co., London.

[from Northern Whig - Saturday 13 October 1855]:
SPANISH STEAMERS FROM LIVERPOOL TO HAVANA. THE SPANISH TRANSATLANTIC Mail Steam Packet now run their magnificent Screw Steamers:
Habana, Capt Echave 1800 tons; Vigo, Capt Carricarte 1800 tons; Cadiz, 1600 tons; Barcelona, 1600 tons; Liverpool, 1600 tons; Anveres, 1600 tons.
In regular succession from Liverpool to Havana, calling at Vigo and Puerto Rico...
The Vigo, in consequence of derangement of machinery, will not sail until November next, and The Screw Steamer Habana, Capt. Echave, Which has already made a successful voyage, will take her place, and be despatched on the 28th of this month....

[from Morning Herald (London) - Monday 12 November 1855]:
ACCIDENT TO THE SCREW STEAMER HABANA. A letter from Fayal, dated Oct. 27, says: The Spanish war steamer Velasco, from Havannah, put in here on the 22nd instant, having on board 120 passengers taken from the screw steamer Habana, from Havanna to Vigo and Liverpool, on the 11th October - the latter vessel having her engines and rudder damaged, but would continue her voyage under sail.


Iron screw steamer Vigo, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1855, yard no. 118, 1954grt, 272 x 37 ft, engines 400 hp by Humphrey & Co., ordered by a Canadian company as Huron, but sold before launch to Linea de Vapores Correos Espanoles Trasatlanticos, Spain. Sister ship to Habana. Sold 1856 to French owners, then in 1858 to Inman for Liverpool - New York service. ON 10525. In 1861 sold to Antonio Lopez, named Isla de Puerto Rico. History (in Spanish) with image. Scrapped 1885. Shipbuilder's site.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 05 June 1855]:
LAUNCH OF A SCREW STEAMER. - On Saturday last, there was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Laird, at Birkenhead, a splendid iron screw steamer, to be named the Vigo, built, we believe, for a Spanish company, and intended to trade between Spain and Havanna. Her measurement is 1800 tons; length, 270 feet; breadth 36 feet. She will have two engines of 400-horse power, to be supplied by Messrs. Humphreys and Co., of London. The Vigo is a remarkably strong, well-built vessel, and her model is very beautiful. She will have accommodation for 100 first-class, 40 second-class, and about 80 third-class passengers. She will also have berths for a crew of 100 men, besides having room for 204 tons of coal, and 1000 tons of goods. The steamer Havannah [sic], recently launched by Mr. Laird, is now nearly ready for sea.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 July 1855]:
LINE OF MAIL STEAMERS FROM LIVERPOOL TO SPAIN. An influential Spanish company have organised two lines of mail steamers, with exclusive privileges from the Spanish Government, to run from England and France to Havana, and Porto Rico. The company is styled the "Linea de Vapores Correos Espanoles Trasatlanticos", and the pioneer vessel for the Liverpool line will speedily be on her berth. The Habana, a first-class screw steamer, has been constructed by Mr. John Laird, of Liverpool and Birkenhead, who is also building five other vessels for the company, three of whom have already been named: the Vigo, the Cadiz, and the Barcelona. The Vigo, which is a sister ship to the Habana, has been launched some time since, and will be ready for sea in August. The dimensions of the Habana are: Length, 270 feet; beam, 36 feet; measurement, 1,750 tons. She will have engines of 400 horse-power on the direct acting principle, with inverted cylinder. From her fine lines, great engine-power, and the ability and experience of her builder, it only reasonable to anticipate that she will attain a high average rate of speed on her voyages. She has capacity for eighty first-class, forty second-class, and thirty third-class passengers, about 1,000 tons of cargo, and twenty days' consumption of coal. The agents of the line in Liverpool are Messrs. G. H. Fletcher and Co., of Covent-garden, and in Havana, Messrs. Zangroniz Brothers and Co.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Tuesday 07 October 1856]:
COLLISION IN THE MERSEY. On Sunday afternoon, about three o'clock, the schooner Margaret, from Liverpool for plymouth, was run down by the new screw-steamer Vigo, returning from her trial trip. The collision occurred near the Crosby Lightship. Fortunately, the captain and crew of the Margaret were saved. The steamer sustained little or no injury.


Iron screw steamer Barcelona, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1855, yard no.133, 1603grt, 1090nrt, 265 x 36 x 25.5 ft, engines 300hp by Fawcett & Preston, reported as ordered for use in Canada, posibly as Ontario, but first owner in Spain. Later sold to French owners in 1856 - as Barcelone. Owned P & O, named Behar from 1858, ON 26995. Sold to Japan 1874, named Niigata Maru. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 September 1855]:
SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY; The beautiful and large new screw-steamer Barcelona, belonging to the "Linea de Vapores Correos Espanoles Transatlanticos," and intended for their Spanish mail line between this port and Havana, calling at Vigo and Porto Rico, was launched from Mr. John Laird's building-yard, Birkenhead, on Saturday afternoon. The ceremony of christening the noble ship was gracefully performed by Miss Littledale, in the presence of a numerous company of ladies and gentlemen, which the fineness of the weather and the eclat of the occasion, had drawn to the banks of the Great Float. The following are the dimensions of the Barcelona: 260 feet long, 36 feet 6 inches beam, 26 feet deep, 1,650 tons old measurement, or 1,800 tons new measurement, with engines of 300 horse-power, by Messrs. Fawcett and Preston. She has an entire spar deck from end to end, and a deckhouse dining-room aft, similar to those in the Cunard steamers, with a topgallant forecastle for the men. She will be barque rigged, with considerable spread of canvas, so as to avail fully of wind and steam; has accommodation for first, second, and third class passengers, and will carry twenty days' coal, and a thousand tons of measurement goods. Among the company we noticed the Right Rev. the Bishop of Chester; Mr. Harold Littledale and family; Mr. Thomas Bold; Mr. W. Mann, chairman of the Shipowners' Association, and family; M. De Vega, the Spanish consul at this port; Captain Carricati, and the officers of the Vigo, in their uniforms, &c. After the launch, the friends of Mr. Laird went on board the new Woodside Ferry steamer, which had been gaily decorated for the occasion, and drank success to the new ship Barcelona.


Iron screw steamer Cadiz (also Cadix), built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.135, sister to Barcelona, engines 300 hp by Rennie, 1856 owned France named Cadix. 1858 owned P & O. 1859 named Ellora. ON 27200. Sold and reduced to sail 1876. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 September 1855]:
At noon, on Thursday, the Cadiz, sister ship of the Barcelona, and intended for the same company, was launched at Mr. Laird's yard at the Dingle. The Cadiz is 260 feet long, 36 feet 6 inches broad, 26 feet deep, and 1,650 tons burthen, old measurement, or 1,800 tons new measurement, with engines of 300 horse-power, made by Messrs. G. Rennie and Son, of London. Her boilers were made by Mr. J. Laird.



Iron screw steam yacht Hawk, built Lairds, Birkenhead 1855, yard no.123, for Lord Hill. 142grt, 118nrt, 84.8 x 17 x 8 ft, 15hp engines. Registered Liverpool, ON24277. Reported owned Roland Hill, Hawkstone, Salop, until 1866. Sold to Italy 1879. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 16 April 1855]:
An iron yacht, of about 100 tons burthen, is now in course of construction at Mr. Laird's yard, Birkenhead, and she will be launched in about a month, when Lord Hill and a distinguished party are expected to be present.

[from Cheshire Observer - Saturday 07 July 1855]:
...engines made by Mr. Key, of Whitebank Foundry, Kirkcaldy, who constructed the machinery of Lord Hill's screw-yacht the Hawk.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 25 June 1855]:
LORD HILL'S STEAM-YACHT HAWK. This pretty little vessel proceeded on a trial trip on Thursday, with Lord and Lady Hill (of Hawkstone, Salop), and a party of friends on board. The Hawk is an iron screw schooner, 80 feet long, 17 feet beam, and about 100 tons old measurement; built by Mr. John Laird, at Birkenhead. Her model is very fine, and something in the style of the celebrated America, which won such honour for our transatlantic brethren a year or two ago. She has horizontal direct-acting engines, of 15-horse power; only consumes 2.5 tons of fuel in 24 hours; and carries about four days' coal. Her speed, under steam alone, is nearly eight knots per hour. The Hawk, after adjusting compasses, will proceed early this week to the neighbourhood of Lord Hill's estate in the Highlands of Scotland.

[from Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle - Sunday 05 July 1863]:
Royal Mersey Yacht Club Regatta. ... Hawk, steam yacht, J Hamilton jr.

[from Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle - Saturday 04 February 1865]:
Royal Yacht Squadron. ... Hawk, screw steam yacht, 118 tons, J Hamilton, ...

[from Field - Saturday 01 August 1868]:
YACHTS, &c. MR J. B. MAY has instructions to SELL by AUCTION, on Monday, Aug. 5, 1868, at two for three o'clock in the afternoon, at the Glo'ster Hotel, West Cowes, the fast and commodious Screw Steam Yacht HAWK, schooner-rigged, gross tonnage 143 tons, register 118 tons, built for Lord Hill, by Messrs Laird Brothers, of Birkenhead: length 84 8-10 ft; breadth 17ft; depth in hold 8ft; draught of water 9ft 6in; has been lately fitted with a new boiler by Day & Co. The Hawk is constructed of iron, and propelled by two condensing engines nominally 14 horse power, but working up to 40-horse power, consumption of coals about 1.5cwt. per hour. The Hawk has a lifting propeller, so that she can be used as a sailing vessel, and is noted for her sea-going qualities. She is now cruising in the neighbourhood and may be viewed on application to the owner, on board, or the AUCTIONEER, Cowes, of whom further particulars may be obtained.


Iron screw steamer Marquez d'Olinda, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.121, 991 grt, 220 x 30 ft, engines 150 hp by Rennie, London, for South American trade, More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 21 May 1855]:
LAUNCH OF A NEW STEAMER FOR THE SOUTH AMERICAS TRADE. On Thursday a fine new iron screw-steamer, the Marquez d'Olinda, was launched from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird, Sefton-street. Her owner is Mr. Rawsthorne, merchant, of Manchester, and her dimensions are, length, 220 feet; breadth, 30 feet; with a capacity of 1,000 tons; and she will be fitted with two engines, of an aggregate power of 150 horses, supplied by Messrs. G. Rennie and Son, London. The vessel was christened by a daughter of the owner. Mr. Hilliar, of the Monks Ferry Hotel, provided an excellent déjeuner for the company.

[from Northern Daily Times - Monday 01 October 1855]:
STEAM FROM LIVERPOOL TO BRAZIL, CALLING AT LISBON, MADEIRA. The new Screw Steamer MARQUEZ D'OLINDA, Captain GEORGE SHARP, of 1000 tons. The above vessel is unavoidably detained until the 30th September. She will take goods for Pernambuco, Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro. Rate of freight for each port, £5 per ton, with 5 per cent. primage. For rates of passage, which are also reduced, and further particulars, apply to RICHARD ROSTRON, Esq., Manchester, or to JOSEPH TOPLIS & CO., 34, Exchange-alley, North.

[from Morning Herald (London) - Monday 10 December 1855 ]:
Liverpool ships at foreign ports: Marquez d'Olinda (screw steamer), at Rio Janeiro;


Paddle tug, name unknown, reported as owned James Searight, London. Built Lairds circa 1855, yard no.122. James Searight is listed as owing sailing vessels - eg barque Oryx, ON16170, built Dundee 1856 and SV Pintado and SV Llama built Lairds 1857. The Searight family, originally from Northern Ireland, spread out later to New Zealand and Australia,... In 1857 Baty and Searight, Liverpool, are described as wine and spirit merchants and shipowners.

Lighters: yard nos. 126 and 127 also owned by same person as the tug.

Barges: yard nos. 124 and 125 owned Carruthers, De Castro, Manchester. [They seem to have been involved in banking, wine importing and trade with Brazil and Portugal]


Iron paddle steamer Liverpool, built Lairds, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.128, 57grt, 98nrt, 124.5 x 22.2 x 9.1 ft, 70 hp engine by Key, Kirkcaldy, paddles, ON 45924, for Woodside ferry. Described as a double-ended ferry. More history.

[from Cheshire Observer - Saturday 07 July 1855]:
Launch of a Woodside Ferry Steamer. On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Laird launched from his yard, at the Dingle, a new iron ferry-boat, named the Liverpool, and intended to ply between the Landing-stage and Woodside. She is of an improved model, and expected to be faster than any other ferry boat on the river. There is ample room on the deck for an immense number of passengers, and commodious cabins below. She is built on Mr. Laird's patent plan of two bows, by which she is enabled to steer at each end. Each bow curves inwards, so that she will not be liable to what the boatmen call, "knock her nose off", through coming in contact with the pier. She will be fitted with engines of seventy- horse power, the cylinders (oscillating) made by Mr. Key, of Whitebank Foundry, Kirkcaldy, who constructed the machinery of Lord Hill's screw-yacht the Hawk. Mr. Laird is also building a sister vessel for the same service, to be launched in a few weeks.


Sister vessel to Liverpool, yard no. 129. 155grt, 112nrt, 123.2 x 22.4 x 8.9 ft, 80hp engine by builder, paddles. Though launched in October 1855, as Woodside ferry Eugenie, no such ferry entered service. However, HM Thais, a steam tug, is described as a double-ended tug/ferry, built Laird, February 1856, 278 tons, iron, paddle. So, presumably, the "second Mersey Ferry" was repurposed as a tug for Naval use, until 1869, when registered Liverpool 1870, ON 63249; 134 x 22.4 x 8.9ft, 97nrt, 54grt, 80 hp, owned E Bates, then T Readhead. In MNL to 1878. Reported as sold foreign 1871.
More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 September 1855]:
The first of the two river steamers, built by Mr. Laird, for the Woodside Commissioners, has been launched, and will be ready for her station in a few days. The second steamer will be launched in about three weeks; she will then have her boilers on board, and shortly afterwards she will be ready for work. In external appearance the boats will differ from anything on the river, the bow and stern forming segments of a circle.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 16 October 1855]:
LAUNCH FERRY STEAMER. On Thursday, the second steamer built by Mr. John Laird for the Woodside ferry was launched from the iron ship building yard, Sefton-street. She was called the Eugenie, and is a sister ship to the Liverpool. The appearance of these two vessels is quite novel. The principal feature in their build is the fluting of the flooring and their peculiar ends, which are formed like the letter D. By the experimental trip made on Wednesday, of the Liverpool, the shape has been found to answer every expectation, and the speed is much superior to what was anticipated.

[from Morning Post - Tuesday 21 April 1857]:
Malta: ... The steam-frigate Gladiator arrived today from the coast of Syria, and takes home the steam-tug Thais.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 14 January 1862]:
Plymouth: .....Janet Kidaton... The victualling-yard steam tug Thais, the dockyard tug Zephyr, and the merchant tug Wellington came to her assistance and she was towed into Sutton Harbour.

[from London Evening Standard - Monday 11 March 1867]:
Sealark, sailing brig, tender to the Implacable, training ship at Devonport, having had her defects made good, was taken out of dock on Friday, and the steam tug Thais taken in.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 11 October 1870]:
FOR SALE, The Iron Paddle Steamer THAIS, 188 tons gross register. and 118 tons net register. Built at Birkenhead, by Messrs. Laird Brothers, in 1856, and has oscillating engines of 80 horse power, and composite tubes; diameter of cylinders 36 inches, length of stroke 3 feet. Has all appliances for towing, and steers at both ends. Dimensions: Length 123.2 feet, breadth 22.4 feet, depth 8.9 feet. Lying in the West Float, Birkenhead.


Iron screw steamer Siren (also Syren), owned HM Government, built Lairds, yard no. 132. 145grt. Launched October 1855. Not found in RN lists. Registered Hamilton, Bermuda, 1864, as steam, 70 tons, ON 46757. MNL gives owned James Atwood, St George's, Bermuda, 45hp, 1866 to 1868. Appropriation book notes: captured 1865. Also described as a Steam Yacht.
Also reported: Siren was a steam tender built in 1855 for the use of royalty [sic, government] at Bermuda and sold in 1863. Described as uncommissioned.
Governor's report from Bermuda [late 1856]: Forwards a copy of a report by the Board of Survey on the machinery and articles belonging to the steamship Siren which had arrived on 2 July in good order for the use of the Convict Establishment. [Hulks were used as accommodation for the convicts; convicts were primarily used for building the Naval dockyard there]

[from Globe - Saturday 22 September 1855]:
A mail for Rio Janeiro will be made up on the evening on the 25th, to go by H.M. steamer Siren, expected to sail from Devonport on the 26th.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 04 August 1856]:
The screw-steamer Siren, hence, had arrived at Bermuda, having been sent out by our Government to be employed in transporting troops, stores, &c., between the different stations in the colony. The following vessels had arrived from England: - H.M. steam frigate Euryalus, 51 gun., Captain George Ramsay, C.B.; H.M.S. Falcon , Captain Pullen; and on the 26th ult., H.M. steam-tug Kite. Sailed: H.M.S. Malacca, Captain Farquhar, for Halifax; and H.M. line-of-battle ships Pembroke and Cornwallis, for England.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 04 July 1864]:
The British steamer SIREN has been captured off Beaufort, NC., with a cargo of liquors, iron-hoop, paper-cases, kegs, &c, by the U S. steamer KEYSTONE STATE. She is an iron screw-steamer, schooner-rigged, of 87 tons. [a report by crew indicates that they were Bermuda based]
[some records describe the captured vessel as Siren (or Sirene, Cyrene), previously Lady of Lyon, 110 x 17 ft, 87 nrt, captured 5-6-1864]
Note: a much more successful blockade runner, PS Syren, built Greenwich 1863 was eventually captured at Charleston in February 1865

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 18 July 1864]:
THE AMERICAN BLOCKADE. -- NEW YORK, JULY 5. ... The British prize-steamer SIREN, loaded with liquors, Iron, &c., captured off Cape Lookout, has arrived. The British flag still flies at her masthead.


Iron screw steamer Borysthene, built Laird, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.137, owned Messageries Maritimes. Intended to run from Marseilles to Constantinople. Quoted in newspaper as 240 x 33 x 23ft, 220 hp engines by Fawcett & Preston. 15/12/1865 foundered off island of Plane near Oran on passage Marseille for Oran, with 56 lives lost. Details of company (in French). Image of wreck. More history.

Iron screw steamer Meandre, built Laird, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.138, owned Messageries Maritimes. Company history (in French). Image of vessel. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 September 1855]:
Some time this month a new screw-steamer, to be called the Boristhene [Borysthène], will be launched from Mr. Laird's yard, in Liverpool, for the French Messageries Imperiales, and immediately afterwards, a sister vessel, called the Meandre, will be launched for the same company. These vessels are of 1,300 tons register, and 220 horse-power; built with very fine lines to obtain high speed, with comparatively small power. The company commenced operations by the purchase of the Lusitania and Braziliera, then forming part of the line from Liverpool to the Brazils, the names of which were changed, the Lusitania being called the Hydaspes, and the Braziliera, transformed to the Simois. The third vessel of the line was called the Jourdain, and, with the Boristhene and Meandre, the line will consist of five steamers.


Details of Laird's ship-building 1856.

[from Illustrated London News - Saturday 25 October 1856]:

IRON SHIPBUILDING AT LIVERPOOL. This important branch of constructive art is well represented by the annexed drawing of Mr. John Laird's building-yard at Liverpool (from a Sketch by Walters), which he has occupied since 1852, in addition to that at Birkenhead, established by his father, the late Mr. Wm. Laird, in 1824, at which the first iron vessel was launched in 1829. Iron shipbuilding on an extensive scale may be said have originated at this establishment, as the first iron vessels for the United States, the first for the navigation of the important rivers Euphrates, Indus, Nile, Vistula, and Don, were all constructed at these works twenty years ago. Here also were built the first iron vessels carrying heavy guns - the Nimrod, Nitocris, Assyria, Nemesis, Phlegethon, Ariadne, and Medusa, all built for the East India Company; and the Guadalupe, steam-frigate, for the Mexican Goverument. The Admiralty also had their first iron vessel, the Dover, built here; followed by the steam frigate Birkenhead, of 1400 tons. The total number of vessels already completed at the Birkenhead and Liverpool establishments since 1829 is 194; total tonnage, 79,500; total horse-power, 14,500. The presest capabilities of these works are perhaps better shown by the fact that since the 1st of January, 1855, seventy-five vessels have been launched, or are ready for launching; giving a total tonnage 29,000 tons and 4750-horse power. Among those are H.M. screw troop-ships, Resolute and Assistance, each of 1900 tons and 400-horse power; six screw-vessels for the Franco-American Company; aud three for the Messageries Imperiales Company of France; ten wood gun-boats, 233 tons and 60-horse power; four ditto, of 212 tons and 20-horse power; and sixteen iron mortar-vessels, of 100 tons each, for her Majesty's service. Of these thirty gun-boats and mortar-vessels, twenty-nine were launched between the 11th of February and 7th May this year. The war has had the effect of developing the various sources of private enterprise, and enabled the Government, by their aid, to assemble a fleet of all classes of vessels at Spithead last year such the world has never seen before. The two largest vessels constructed Mr. Laird are the Nubia and Alma, of 2200 tons, and 500-horse power, built by him for the Peninsular and Oriental Company, and employed for some time in the transport service. Since they have commenced working on the company's lines with passengers and cargo, these vessels have proved two of the fastest screws afloat, the Nubia having, on her first passage from Calcutta to Suez - a distance of 4500 miles - averaged upwards of eleven knots per hour, the quickest run ever made on that line either by a paddle or screw vessel. In consequence of arrangements connected with the completion of the Birkenhead Docks by the Corporation of Liverpool, Mr. Laird has taken a new yard fronting the river at Birkenhead, where he has had constructed, from the designs of Mr. James Abernethy, C.E., of London, four graving docks, and a grid iron, and extensive workshops of various kinds requisite for carrying on the business of building and repairing ships of iron and wood, and of making boilers and repairing machinery. The largest graving dock will admit vessel about 80 feet longer and 14 feet wider than the Cunard steamer Persia. The workshops are about 600 feet long, and 60 feet wide. These works have been executed in about two years, and are expected to be in full operation by the end of this year. As a private establishment, these works are the most complete of the kind in the country; and, as the Monk's Ferry (from which boats are constantly plying to Liverpool) adjoins the entrance-gate, persons having business here are within ten minutes sail and walk from the Liverpool Exchange.

Laird's Dingle/South Liverpool yard for sale. [from Liverpool Albion - Monday 01 June 1857]:
TO BE LET, a commodious SHIPBUILDING YARD, in Sefton-street, Liverpool, suited for either Iron or Timber Ships, laid out a few years ago with all the improvements then known in the trade, lately in the occupation of Mr. Laird, and contains 12,000 Yards of Land, a 25-horse Engine, and Machinery necessary for Iron-ship Building, and spacious Launching Ground, in which three of the largest ships can be laid down at a time. The Buildings, which are in good condition, consist of very large Smiths' Shops, Shed for Machinery, Furnaces, large Mould Loft; Sawpits, Joiners' Machine Shops, Store-houses, and Suite of Offices. The whole to be Let together, and may be entered immediately. Apply to JOHN BEWLEY and SON, Accountant, 16, Brunswick-buildings, Liverpool.


Iron cargo lighters (4) for Panama Railway Company, built Lairds 1855, yard nos. 139-142.


Iron screw steamer Franc Comtois, built Lairds 1856, yard no.134. 1647grt, 1120nrt, 264.8 x 35.9 x 26.6 ft, engines 1055ihp by Fawcett & Preston. Owned Compagnie Franco-Américaine, serving Havre - America. In 1858 sold to P & O, named Orissa, ON 26996. In 1878 converted to sail, owned Shanghai. More history
Image as Orissa.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Friday 11 January 1856]:
Launches: A fine iron ecrew steamer, built for a Spanish company[sic, possibly Franc Comtois and Lyonnais], was launched from Mr. Laird's ship-building yard at Birkenbead, yesterday, in presence of a large number of spectators. On the previous day, a similar vessel has launched from Mr. Laird's Liverpool yard.


Iron screw steamer Lyonnais, built Lairds 1856, yard no.136. 1665grt. Owned Compagnie Franco-Américaine, serving Havre - America. More history. Sank by collision, 2nd December 1856.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Saturday 06 December 1856]:
THE LOSS OF THE FRENCH STEAMER LE LYONNAIS. The French iron screw steamship Le Lyonnais, which sailed from New York for Havre on the 1st of November, but was run into on the 2nd by a vessel, and abandoned on the next day in a sinking conidition. Only five passengers out of forty in the cabin have been rescued, together with eleven of the crew. The remainder of the ship's company, near one hundred and fifty souls, is supposed to have been lost. The vessel which came in contact with the steamer is the barque Adriatic, bound from Belfast, Maine, for Savannah. She arrived at Gloucester, Massachusetts, on the 4th ultimo, with loss of bowsprit, forward bulwarks &c. ...
The Lyonnais was one of six iron screw steamships, built during the past and present years by Mr. John Laird, of Liverpool, for Messrs. Gauthier, Frères, et Cie [Compagnie Franco-Américaine; Alma (ex-Habana), Barcelone (ex-Barcelona), Cadix (ex-Cadiz), Franc Comtois, Vigo]. Each ship is constructed with watertight compartments, and built in the strongest manner, according to the regulatios of the English Board of Trade, and each is well fitted and found in every respect. The Lyonnais was launched last spring and had made two voyages to Rio Janeiro previous to her trip to New York. She had three compartments, and two of these seem to have been broken in the collision.


Iron paddle steamer Frere, built Laird 1855-6, assembled in Bombay 1857, yard no.143, 610 tons, 120 hp enines, 2 guns, for service on the river Indus [Indus Flotilla]. One of 4 similar vessels ordered by Honorable East India Company [HEIC]. By 1858 described as Indian Navy vessels.
Sister vessels:

Iron paddle steamer Havelock, yard no 144.

Iron paddle steamer Outram, yard no 145.

Iron paddle steamer Sir Henry Lawrence, yard no.146. Struck an obstacle at the mouth of the Indus 10 April 1859, sank, all aboard saved.

[from Homeward Mail from India, China and the East - Saturday 20 March 1858]:
... The H. C. steamer Frere left on the 13th February last, with two companies of H. M.'s 51st Regiment, for Sukkur, ...

[from Glasgow Courier - Tuesday 24 May 1859]:
LOSS OF ONE OF THE INDUS FLOTILLA. By the India mail, which arrived on Saturday, intelligence has been received of the loss of H.M.'s steamer Sir Henry Lawrence, one of the recently built Indus flotilla steamers. She had a number of troops on board, and was proceeding up the mouth of the Indus, when she struck on a snagged sunken wreck and settled down. No lives were lost.

Iron accommodation boats (4) for HEIC - for troop transport. Built Lairds 1845/6, yard nos 147-150. Towed by steamers in rivers, owned HEIC.


Iron Mortar boat HMS Cupid, (Mortar float no 103), built Laird, South Liverpool, 1855, yard no.161, 102 tons, 60 x 20 ft, sail, 1 gun.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Wednesday 14 November 1855]: A Mortar Boat In Mersey. We learn from the Moniteur that the extraordinary gunboats from which balls hopped at Kinburn like rain from a duck's back, were the invention of the Emperor of the French, and that his Majesty communicated the plan, when tried and found efficient, to the British Government. There is reason to fear that his Majesty's invention was, like other people's inventions, neglected; but, since the bombardment at Kinburn, there has been a stir in the dock-yards. Yesterday three weeks, Mr. John Laird received orders to build a mortar-boat of a peculiar construction, and yesterday she was launched at the Dingle Works, and tomorrow she will sail from the Mersey. The expedition with which the order has been executed does infinite honour to Mr. Laird.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 20 November 1855]:
LAUNCH OF A MORTAR-BOAT. On Tuesday, a mortar boat was launched from the iron shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Laird, Sefton-street. She is constructed of iron, and it is said is the first built of that material. Hitherto it has been supposed that iron-built vessels would not stand the immense shock required for mortars, and the one launched on Tuesday therefore is only an experimental craft. She is 60 feet long between perpendiculars, 20 feet beam, and 6 feet depth of hold. She is yacht rigged, and is of great strength. Her deck is built of wood as well as the shell-room and magazine, and she is all complete to receive her mortar and ammunition. The great advantage,, and perhaps the only one, of constructing them of iron, is the facility of building them. In less than three weeks this vessel has been built and equipped, and almost any number could have been constructed in the same time. A large concourse of persons assembled, to witness the launch, in consequence of the novelty of the vessel. She left the Mersey on Wednesday, about three o'clock, in tow of the Uncle Sam, her destination being the arsenal, of Portsmouth.


Wooden screw steam gunboats, built Laird 1855-6. 5 at South Liverpool, 5 at Birkenhead. Albacore class, 232 tons, 60hp engines by Penn, screw, 4 guns, with yard numbers: Beacon (151); Brave (152); Bullfinch (153); Redbreast (154); Rose (155); Blazer (156); Rainbow (157); Brazen (158); Raven (159); Rocket (160).

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 22 November 1855]:
Gunboat builders at this port. Mr. John Laird is building for the Admiralty ten wooden screw gunboats, of 240 tons and 60 horse-power each, the machinery being constructed by Penn and Son, of London. Five them will built at his Liverpool yard and five at the Great Float, Birkenhead. Although the order was only received six weeks ago, nearly 1000 feet of sheds (under which the boats will be built), have been erected at both yards, and fitted with gas, which will enable the men to work night and day. About 130 sawyers are at work preparing timber, and already four of the boats are well advanced in frame. The whole are to be ready by March next, when they will be armed similar to the Arrow, Beagle, Lynx, Viper, and that class of useful vessels. Mr. Laird is also building several mortar-boats, one of which was launched last week, and is now at Portsmouth.

[from Nottingham Journal - Friday 15 February 1856]:
The two first of the gun-boats ordered by government, to be built by Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, were launched from that gentleman's building-yard, on Monday afternoon. They were named successively the Beacon and the Brave. Each of these fine vessels is of 220 tons burthen. and they are furnished with engines of 60 horse-power, made by Messrs. Penn and Son, of Greenwich. They are to be rigged as three masted schooners, and will be each armed with two guns of the largest calibre. Two others are so far advanced, that they will be ready for launching in a few days; and the main timbers and ribs of several more are put together, and are so forward, that a good many more of the vessels may be immediately put into course of construction.

[from Lancaster Guardian - Saturday 19 May 1860]:
THE ROTTEN GUNBOATS. The Times gives list of the gunboats at Haslar, with the names of their builders. With one or two exceptions, these vessels were all launched in 1856, and were hauled up again in the following year, so that they can hardly be said to have seen any service whatever. Twenty-two of them have been repaired, but it is suspected that this hss not been done effectually, the first investigation into the defects was only of limited character. Pitcher, of Northfleet, built eight of these gunboats; Laird, of Birkenhead, 5; Green, of Blackwail, 3; Wigram, of Blackwall, 1; Mare, of Blackwall, 2; Hill, of Bristol, 1; and Patteson, of Bristol, 2. Five are now undergoing repairs, one of which was built by Laird, of Birkenhead; two by Wigram, of Northam; and two by White, of Cowes. ...


Wooden screw gunboats Blossom, Gadfly, Gnat, and Garland, for HMS, 211 tons each, engines 20 hp by Penn, two guns. Built Laird 1856. Cheerful class. More history.

[from Bradford Observer - Thursday 17 January 1856]:
NAVAL & MILITARY INTELLIGENCE. Gunboats and Mortar-Vessels at Liverpool. The following are the names of 14 gunboats, which are being built at the yards of Mr. J. Laird, Birkenhead and Liverpool: 10 gunboats of 253 tons each - Beacon, Brave, Blazer, Brazen, Bullfinch, Redbreast, Rainbow, Rocket, Rose, and Raven. Four gunboats of 211 tons each - Blossom, Gadfly, Gnat, and Garland. Mr. Laird is also building 15 iron mortar-vessels on the same plan as the one built at his Liverpool yard, and successfully tested at Portsmouth a few days ago. During the past year, Mr. Laird has launched about 20 vessels of an aggregate tonnage of upwards of 20,000 tons, including her Majesty's troopships Resolute and Assistance, 1,900 tons each, two ships of 1,800 tons each, four of 1,700 tons each, three of 1,200, and one of 1,000 tons.
Messrs. W. and C. Miller [sic], Liverpool shipbuilders, are constructing four wooden gunboats for the Admiralty, of a similar class to those building by Mr. Laird. [Clown, Kestrel,..]


Iron mortar boats - 15 built by Laird 1856, similar to trial vessel MF103. No engine or sails. Had to be towed into position. 130 tons. For Admiralty. Yard nos 179-193. Known as Mortar float no 136 - no 150. Not named.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Friday 07 March 1856]:
Launch of Mortar Boats, a few weeks ago Mr. Laird launched a mortar-boat, constructed on peculiar principles. This boat was tested by order of the Admiralty, and, having been found to answer admirably the purposes for which she would be used, Mr. Laird received an order to build fifteen similar boats. Yesterday morning two of the new mortar boats were launched from the yard at the Dingle. They are built of iron, and are apparently very strong vessels. They are 130 tons each, and will be fitted each with one mortar, which is to be placed in the centre. After the launch the boats were towed round into the Toxteth Dock, where gangs of men were at once set to werk to complete their fittings.
 In the Toxteth Dock we observed the two gunboats, Blazer and Brazen, which were recently launched by Mr. Laird. They are fast approaching completion, and will be ready to be towed round to Portsmonth early in the week by one of the two war-steamers now in the Mersey. Mr. Laird received originally an order for fourteen of these craft, and he has launched five of them. Two more will be launched on Saturday and next week the other two will be launched.
 In Mr. Miller's yard, adjoining the Toxeth Dock, we observed two gunboats in frame, which we believe will be ready to hand over to the government in April next. Crowds of persons visited these instruments of war yesterday, and we heard many expressions of regret that the probability was they would not be wanted this year in the Baltic.


Iron bucket ladder dredger, for Port Adelaide, build Lairds, yard no. 166.

Iron mud punts (12), for Port Adelaide, build Lairds, yard nos. 167-178. To carry arisings from dredger.


[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 December 1855]:
SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. The various shipbuilding yards on the banks of the Mersey have lately been somewhat inactive, owing to the depression upon commerce caused by the war. A few days ago, however, Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son launched from their yard, at the Brunswick Dock, an iron screw steamship, of nearly 1,000 tons measurement. The christening ceremony was performed, in a most admirable manner, by Miss Vernon, daughter of the junior partner in the firm. The Lota is 210 feet long, 30 feet beam, 19 feet deep, is about 950 tons measurement, and has direct-action engines, by Hawks, Crawshay, and Co., of Newcastle, of the collective power of 110 horses. She is built to the order of Messrs. W. J. Myers and Co., of Liverpool, and will proceed to the west coast of South America with a cargo; but she is built specially for the conveyance of coals on that coast, Valparaiso being her chief port. On the same day a small steamer, of 150 tons, called the Destello, was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. W. C. Miller, Toxteth Dock. She is for a Spanish firm, and is intended to navigate the rivers of Spain; and another vessel was launched from the new shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Laird, Sefton-street. She was christened the Meandria[sic], by Mrs. Bevis, and is a sister ship to the Boresthena, lately launched from the same yard. She is 1,000 tons burthen, 260 feet long, and 32 feet broad, and is intended for a French company. Nearly ready for launching we noticed, in the Messrs. Vernon's yard, a beautiful-looking craft, of 600 tons measurement, fitted with a water bottom for water ballast. She is a screw-steamer, and will have engines of 70 horse-power, constructed by Mr. Jack, of the Victoria Foundry. [Annie Vernon ON 4783] In the same yard there is in course of construction a powerful steamboat, 130 feet long, of 230 tons, and supplied with engines of 80 horsepower. This vessel is for the Liverpool Steam Tug Company. [?] A screw steamship, of 650 tons, with engines of 100 horse-power, for the Channel trade, is about to be built. [Sovereign?]



Iron screw steamer Zealand, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1857, yard no.202. Wrecked 11-9-1863 off Horn Reef, Denmark. More history.

[from Chester Chronicle - Saturday 10 October 1863]:
The Loss a Hull Steamer. The loss the screw steamer Zealand, of Hull, with her captain (William Lewis) and six of her crew, appears now, by the continued absence of any tidings of the ship or her crew, to be confirmed. A fortnight ago the owners, Messrs Bailey and Leetham, received a telegram from Copenhagen to the effect that that portion of the crew who remained by the ship after the passengers had been sent away had been taken off by the Norwegian sloop, and landed in safety. For a time the owners and families of the missing mariners were buoyed with the hope that this news was true; but as the men did not come by any of the numerous steamers from the Baltic to Hull, and did not send either telegraphic or other communication, hopes began to fail. The owners, therefore, telegraphed to Copenhagen to their agent, and at the latter end of last week, Messrs. Bailey and Leetham received further communication, which left no doubt but that the first telegram referred exclusively to that portion of the passengers and crew who were saved and taken to Laurvig by a Norwegian bark. The Zealand was a three-masted vessel, and a steamer with three masts had been discovered sunk about 10 fathoms of water at Thisted, which is near where the Zealand was last seen afloat.



Sailing vessels built Laird's 1856-7. Last vessel built at Liverpool and last vessel built at Wallasey Pool.

Iron ship William Fairbairn, built Laird, Liverpool, 1856, yard no.194, 1321 grt, 202 x 37 ft, ON 17847, owned Potter, Liverpool, registered Liverpool, 1293 tons. In 1880 owned Webster, Scarborough as P F Webster, 1885 owned Bielovucich, Jagnina [now Janjina, Croatia, NW of Dubrovnik] as Ljubirod. By 1890 owned Townsville, registered Brisbane, as a barque, William Fairbairn. In MNL to 1903. Wrecked 1 January 1903 off Goode Island, Torres Strait. More history

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 November 1856]:
On Friday morning a new iron vessel, of upwards of 1,040 tons burthen, was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Laird, Sefton-street. This being the last large vessel to be constructed in this yard by Mr. Laird, in consequence of his removal to his new and extensive premises, Monk's Ferry, an unusual amount of interest was imparted to the event, and a considerable number of persons were present on the occasion. Mr. W. H. Hornby named the vessel the William Fairbairn, after the eminent engineer. The vessel is the property of Messrs. Potter Brothers and Co., and is intended for the East India trade. She is 230 feet long over all, 37 feet beam, and 22 feet depth of hold. Her carrying capacity will exceed slightly 2,000 tons, besides affording ample space in her full poop deck and forecastle for passengers. The between decks of the vessel are lofty and well ventilated, with the view of affording excellent accommodation for emigrants. In the same yard, two other vessels, of between 150 and 200 tons, are nearly completed, and will be launched on an early day.

[from Brisbane Courier - Friday 26 April 1872]:
The William Fairbairn, a former iron clipper ship, of about 1300 tons, M'Kenzie master, from Liverpool bound to Bombay with coal, was towed into Port Louis on February 22, totally dismasted, and with her bulwarks washed away. The ship was caught in a terrible gale on February 11 in latitude 19 degs S, and longitude 64 degs 40 mins E; and in addition to being dismasted, she had her poop deck completely gutted, and her canvas blown to shreds. The captain and several of the crew were also injured.

Iron ship Kirkham, built Laird, Birkenhead, 1856, yard no.195, 1056grt, 201.9 x 34.2 ft, ON 7846, owned Jacob, Liverpool, registered Liverpool. By 1869 registered London, by 1879 registered Aberdeen, by 1880 owned Hamburg as Ceres, barque rigged. 28/08/1888 wrecked on the Pajaros Islands, Chile on passage Hamburg for Carrizal Bay, Chile with coal. More history

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 November 1856]:
SHIP LAUNCHES. On Saturday afternoon Mr. John Laird launched from his old Birkenhead yard the new iron ship Kirkham, of 1,100 tons, 220 feet long, 34 feet beam, and 22 feet depth of hold. She belongs to Mr. W. J. Jacob, of Liverpool, and is intended for the Calcutta trade.
The Kirkham is also the last vessel that Mr. Laird will build at his old Birkenhead yard, the whole of his operations being in future concentrated at his large new works at Monk's Ferry.

Wooden schooners advertised for sale as new by Laird.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 27 July 1857]:
A very superior NEW SCHOONER, 143 87-94 tons. Built by Mr. John Laird, under the special inspection of Lloyd's surveyors and classed A 1 10 years and copper fastened. She is a very hadsome model and is expected to carry about 240 tons dead weight. Is flat in the floor, has cabins and forecastle neatly fitted and can be ready for sea immediately. Length between perpendiculars 85 feet 10 inches, breadth for tonnage 19 feet, breadth extreme 19 feet 3 inches, depth 10 feet 7 inches.
Also a very handy new round-sterned schooner, 73 303-940ths tons; built as above; and classed A 1 9 years and copper fastened. This vessel is admirably adapted for the iron ore or slate trades, being very strong and having large stowage capacity and a light draft of water. Length between perpendiculars 65 feet 3 inches; breadth for tonnage 15 feet 6.75 inches; breadth extreme 16 feet 9 inches; depth 8 feet 6 inches.
Both vessels are fastened and finished in a very superior manner, and have masts, spars, galvanised wire standing-rigging, winch, windlass, and all deck work complete, and were launched this year. Now lying in the large graving dock at Mr John Laird's Birkenhead Building Yard.

Wooden schooner Energy, built Laird 1857, yard no.196, 98 tons, ON 18085 registered Whitehaven from 1858, in MNL to 1870.
Lost after 13-12-1869 on voyage from Huelva.

Most probably round-sterned schooner 73 tons advertised 1857 [above]

[from Shields Daily Gazette - Friday 01 April 1870]:
MISSING SHIPS. The Energy, of Whitehaven, Plaisted, sailed from Pomaron 13th Dec. last, with manganese ore for Dublin, and has not since been heard of. [reported as ON 18085; note: Pomaron: Sao Domingos mine, up Guadiana river, near Spain - Portugal frontier, west of Huelva.]

Wooden schooner Bhatiah, built Laird 1857, yard no.197, 54 tons, ON 19979, registered Liverpool 1857-64, at Bombay from 1865-66 [as steam, 54 tons, no hp given], and at Colombo, sail, 1867 - 1881. Listed as built Liverpool 1857.
Confusingly, Bhatiah, ON 30569, 54 tons, steam, is listed in MNL from 1861-1864 at Bombay, maybe this was the same vessel, since she was known to be at Bombay.

[from Lloyd's List - Wednesday 30 September 1857]:
Liverpool, 28th, Bhatiah, Stratton, sailed for Bombay

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 22 November 1858]:
Bhatiah, Hall, from Kurrachee, at Bombay.

Sailing vessel Pintado, built Laird 1857, yard no. 199, about 100 tons. Launched 11 April 1857 from the new yard at Birkenhead. Owned James Searight. For Cape of Good Hope coasting. Not in MNL. Most probably iron. Wrecked at East London, 27 July 1858, condemned.

[from Lloyd's List - Monday 11 May 1857]:
Liverpool. 9th, Pintado, Scott, Cape of Good Hope. [also quoted as 100 tons, owned Baty & Searight; by December 1857, reported at Algoa Bay]

[from Morning Herald (London) - Wednesday 06 October 1858]:
CAPE TOWN, August 13. The Waldensian (steamer), which arrived in Algoa Bay, August 7, reports that the Pintado (schooner), which left this day for East London, July 27, was ashore inside the bar at that place.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 08 December 1858]:
CAPE TOWN Oct. 9. Pintado, Furness, from hence for East London, and which was reported on shore inside the bar at that place on the 27th July, has been condemned and sold.

Iron ship Llama, built Laird 1857, yard no. 201, 474 tons, ordered Baty, Smith & Searight, Liverpool. ON 19983, by 1860 barque, built Birkenhead 1857. In MNL to 1882. Registered Liverpool. Service to west coast of S America. Leaky and abandoned 10 September 1882 off Pernambuco, crew saved.

[from Northern Daily Times - Monday 10 August 1857]:
Launch. On Saturday last a beautiful new iron ship was launched from the building-yard of Mr. John Laird, at Birkenhead. The vessel is the property of Messrs Baty and Searight, wine and spirit merchants, of Crow Chambers, Redcross-street, of this town. She is called the Llama, and was christened by Mrs. William Searight, the lady of Mr. Searight, one of the owners. She is a fine model, combining, in an eminent degree, quick sailing with large carrying capacity, and is intended for the West Coast trade, under the command of Captain Bartlett. The register tonnage is 473, and she is one of the strongest vessels ever built at this port.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 04 November 1865]:
... For LIMA, The fine Liverpool-built iron Clipper Barque LLAMA, Captain Hayes; A 1 twelve years; in every respect a first-rate conveyance; loading in Salthouse Dock. ...

[from Evening Mail - Wednesday 04 October 1882]:
DISASTERS AT SEA. The Royal Mail Company's steamship Milo, which arrived at Southampton on Monday morning, brought home from Pernambuco the shipwrecked crew of the iron barque Llama, 474 tons, Captain Bastard, bound from Liverpool to Callao, which foundered in about lat. 8 52 S., long. 32 04 N., about 180 miles E. by S. of Pernambuco, on the 10th of September. The mate reports that the vessel started leaking on the 15th of August, to the northward of Cape Verd. On the 17th they spoke the steamer Brunswick, which promised at Lisbon to report the Llama leaking and that they intended to make for the Brazilian coast. The barque, though only making 2in. an hour at first, gradually brought the water in her holds up to 8ft. 9in. on the 9th of September, when the boats were got out and provisioned, and they remained astern. At 3 a.m. on the 10th the ship settled and foundered, and those on board made sail in the longboat, with pinnace in tow, and arrived at Pernambuco at 5 p.m. on the 11th, having been in the boat 38 hours.



Iron screw steam river vessel Dayspring, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1857, yard no. 203, designed MacGregor Laird for Government sponsored exploration of Niger river. 30hp engine. Wrecked about 15 miles above Rabba up the Niger river on 7-10-1857. Crew saved.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 20 April 1857]:
SHIPBUILDING AT BIRKENHEAD. The first launch from Mr. Laird's new docks at Birkenhead took place on the 11th instant, the vessel being the Pentago [sic Pintado?], a handsomely modelled craft of one hundred tons, to be employed in the Cape of Good Hope coasting trade. She is owned by Mr. James Searight, of London. In a few days Mr. Laird will launch a small screw-steamer, the Dayspring, which will be much after the model of the Niger expedition steamer, the Pleiad, but of eight inches less draught of water than that vessel. The Dayspring is intended to take part in the resumed explorations of the rivers Tchadda and Binue, which were so auspiciously commenced by Dr. Bakie in the Pleiad which extended the navigation of the river Niger three hundred miles further than it had ever been accomplished before. The Dayspring will also carry a large spread of canvas, so that under favourable winds she will be able to economize her fuel.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Tuesday 28 April 1857]:
The Expedition To The Niger. Mr Macgregor Laird has a contract under the government for five years to explore the Niger, with a view to determining whether that river is, or can be, rendered navigable for a considerable distance into the interior of Africa. A peculiar class of vessel is required for the exploration, and the construction of a suitable craft was submitted to Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead. Yesterday the vessel was launched from Mr. Laird's yard, near the Monks Ferry. She was christened Dayspring by Mrs. Tollemache, the lady of John Tollemache, Esq., M P. for South Cheshire. Dayspring is 84 feet long, 22 feet broad, 6 feet deep, and measures 170 tons. She is propelled by high-pressure engines, which work a screw that can be lifted out of the water. The vessel was launched with her masts and rigging complete, and steam up. On reaching her native element the machinery was at once put in motion and the little craft steamed away at great speed on her trial trip, and returned in the afternoon, after a very satisfactory cruise. The Dayspring will probably sail for Africa about Saturday next.

[from North Briton - Saturday 01 May 1858]:
WRECK of the DAYSPRING. The medical officer of the Niger Expedition, writing to a friend in Edinburgh, gives the following account of the wreck of the Dayspring on the 7th October last, about fifteen miles above Rabba, and two days below Bousea:-
Although going along at full speed, she was unable to stem the current, and was swept round by it and carried slap against a ledge of rocks that smashed in her starboard side aft. She filled rapidly. Efforts were made to get her off the rocks, but these only increased the rush of water, and it soon became evident that she must be abandoned. During the night she went down by the head in six fathom water. Her stern remained on the rock high and dry, and, as the river sunk, was easily accessible. Since then we have recovered nearly everything from the wreck. We have been living in tents encamped on high land on the left bank of the river, close to where the accident occurred.



Iron paddle steamer Taman, built Lairds 1857, yard no.204, for Russian Steam navigation and trading co. Service as a ferry.

Iron paddle steamer Ackerman (also Akkerman), built Lairds 1857, yard no.205, for Russian Steam navigation and trading co. Service as a ferry.



Iron screw steamer Sunbeam, built Lairds, 1857, yard no.218. 205tons, 150 x 23 ft, 7ft draft, 60hp engines. Built for exploration of the river Niger. Stated as registered London 19-1-1858. In MNL from 1859 as Sun Beam, ON 20594. Rescued the crew of Dayspring. In 1862, owned Henry Lafone, used to run the blockade into Wilmington and captured 28 September 1862 by USS State of Georgia. Transcript of prize court case. Sold as a prize to private use, renamed Moonlight, for sale at Liverpol 1864. Not in MNL as Moonlight. However re-registered at London 1864 as Sun Beam, ON 20594. In 1865 registered Liverpool as Lizzie, owned Jonathan Dorning. In 1874 registered Douglas, owned Laxey Steamship Co. Lost after running aground in Dundrum Bay on 19 October 1875. Crew saved.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 12 October 1857]:
On Saturday, the 3d inst., a clipper three-masted schooner, named the Sunbeam, of about 400 tons measurement, was launched from Mr. Laird's yard, Birkenhead. She is built for Mr. Macgregor Laird, of London, and will be employed on the Coast of Africa, in connexion with the contract he has made with the Government for navigating the rivers Niger and Tchadda. The Sunbeam is fitted with an auxiliary engine of sixty horse-power, a lifting screw, &c. and the ship, engine, and boilers have all been constructed at Mr. Laird's works. She is expected to be ready for sea in two or three weeks.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 04 January 1858]:
A handsome little screw-steamer, of about 400 tons, was also launched, a few days ago, from the same yard. She is named the Sunbeam, and was originally intended to take part in the exploration of the Niger and Tchadda, but it is now suggested that she might be placed by Government at the service of Dr. Livingstone, to enable him the more successfully to explore the Zambesi river, on the southeast coast of Africa. On Tuesday the Sunbeam got up steam and went out of the river on an official trial trip, with the Admiralty authorities on board. ... The vessel remained outside for some hours, and the result of several runs between the Bell-buoy and the Northwest Lightship showed an average speed of nine knots per hour. This result was considered very good, as the vessel is 390 tons measurement, with engines of only sixty horsepower, (on the high-pressure principle,) and she had been purposely loaded in order to test her speed at the greatest draft of water she is likely to be put down to at any time. The engines worked with complete steadiness, while making 140 revolutions per minute, with 40 lbs. per square inch pressure on the boilers. The Sunbeam is the second vessel built and completed entirely at Mr. Laird's works - engine-building and boiler-making having been added to his previous business, since his removal to his present extensive works.

[from Kendal Mercury - Saturday 18 December 1858]:
The Niger Expedition. Letters have been received from the screw steamer Sunbeam, attached to the Niger expedition, dated off Rabba, the 6th October, which place she reached on the 2nd, without any impediment having been thrown in her way by the natives on the Delta or any part of the river. The Sunbeam entered the river on the 30th June, and had lost one European - the cabin steward. Dr. Baikie and the members of the expedition were expected at Fernando at the end of December. They were all in good health, after an encampment of twelve months on the banks of the river, during which time they have not had the slightest disagreement with the natives. [Sunbeam was sent up the Niger to rescue the crew of Dayspring lost late 1857 near Jebba Island, above Rabba - more detail].

[from Liverpool Mercantile Gazette and Myers's Weekly Advertiser - Monday 14 March 1859]:
For SALE. The beautiful three masted iron screw Steamer SUNBEAM. About 225 tons o.m. and 205 tons register; built on October, 1857, by Mr. Laird, at Birkenhead; has non-condensing engines of sixty horse power nominal, with tubular boilers, which are in first rate order; diameter of cylinder 20 inches; length of stroke 18 inches; her screw is fitted with lifting gear and she has a donkey engine; water tanks containing 600 gallons, with condenser, and bunkers holding about twenty tons of coals. Length over all about 150 feet; length 133 feet 6-10ths; breadth 23 feet; depth 9 feet; height between decks 7 feet 6 inches; draft of water loaded 7 feet: lying in Sandon Graving Dock. Apply to Messrs. Laird,...

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Monday 30 May 1859]:
Loading Foreign: [at Liverpool]: Lairdsport, River Niger, Sunbeam (s), Byrne, Laird Fletcher & Co, May 25 Wel [Welington Dock]

[from Lloyd's List - Monday 17 March 1862]:
CADIZ, 16th Mar. The SUNBEAM (s) was at Palma (Coast of Africa) 4th Mar. from Annabon, repairing damages to sails, rigging and bulwarks. [The Sunbeam (s) was at Nun (Coast of Africa) 7th Nov., and about to leave for England.]

[from Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser - Tuesday 24 June 1862]:
Two years ago an expedition was sent out from this country to explore the river Niger for commercial purposes. The arrival of the steamer Sunbeam at Queenstown, on Friday, brings intelligence that the expedition of which the Sunbeam formed a part, proceeded up the river 600 miles, and found the country towards the interior becoming more and more fertile, while the natives were observed to be much more civilized than those near the coast. This latter strange circumstance is attributed to the intercourse between the inland natives and the Arabs. The reports of the trade in palm oil, by the Sunbeam, are unfavourable.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 10 August 1863]:
UNITED STATES PRIZE COURT - In the case of the SUNBEAM, (s.) captured Sept. 2, 1862, the decree below was affirmed.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 15 August 1864]:
Shipwrecks, casualties, &c. The Moonlight (s) from New York is aground on Burbo. [14 Sept Victoria Dock: Moonlight (ss) 253 [also 283], Byrne, S R Graves.]

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 03 September 1864]:
FOR SALE, The fine Iron Screw Steamer MOONLIGHT, 309 tons o.m. and 205 tons register; built at Birkenhead by Messrs. Laird, in 1857, and fitted with engines of 40 horsepower nominal and lifting screw; steams seven to eight knots on a consumption of 4 cwt. per hour, and carries well on a light draft of water. Her main and poop decks are iron and teak. Her engines are in most perfect order, and combine the most recent improvements; and the vessel is in every respect quite ready for employment. Lying on Trafalgar Dock. Apply S R Graves. [advertised Aug, Sept 1864]

[from Isle of Man Times - Saturday 23 October 1875]:
WRECK OF THE LAXEY STEAMER LIZZIE. The following telegrams have been received.
October 19, 11-48 a.m. The Lizzie (s), of Douglas, from Swansea for Belfast, is reported in a dangerous position at Dundrum Bay. A tug will be at once despatched to her assistance.
October 20. A later report from Dundrum Bay states that the steamer Lizzie is afloat off Ballyvesten, and that the crew are ashore. Master wishes for a tug, which will be despatched as soon as weather permits. The Lizzie is riding well.
October 21. The Lizzie is full of water, and likely to become a total wreck. She is striking heavily. The master is on board slipping cables to beach the vessel.
On inquiry yesterday at the office of the Company, we found that the Lizzie left Laxey for Swansea with ore, and that she proceeded from Swansea to Belfast with coals. It was while on this voyage that she got into Dundrum Bay. She is only partially insured.

[from Liverpool Albion - Saturday 20 November 1875]:
ABANDONMENT OF THE LIZZIE. On Saturday last a Board of Trade inquiry as to the recent abandonment and loss of the steamer Lizzie on St. John's Point, near Dundrum Bay, was opened at the Dale-street Police-court. Mr. Raffles, stipendiary magistrate, presided, and with him on the bench as nautical assessors were Admiral Powell and Captain Hight. Mr. Tyndall represented the Board of Trade, and for the master and owners of the vessel, Mr. Maddock appeared. In opening the case, Mr. Tyndall said that the Lizzie was a screw steamer, her registered tonnage being 264 tons, and the strength of her engine 50 horse-power. She was built and engined at Birkenhead in 1867 [sic] by Messrs. Laird Brothers, and her owners were the Laxey Steamship Company, Douglas. She left Swansea on the 16th Oct. last, having 243 tons of coal on board, and the crew consisted of ten hands all told, Mr. James Fixot Chevalier being in command. On the evening of the 18th inst., while the weather was very bad, St. John's Point bore N.N.W. five miles. The captain deemed it prudent to anchor, but his order to reverse the engine was not obeyed quickly enough, and before the anchors dropped the ship struck several times, a hole being made in the ballast tank. The crew thought it advisable to leave the vessel, and did so, but returned next day. Meanwhile a steam tug tried to get to the Lizzie, but failed on account of the stormy weather. The crew were obliged to abandon the vessel a second time, after slipping the anchor and trying to get her ashore in a safe place. Ultimately she was driven ashore and became a total wreck. After further evidence on Tuesday, Mr. Raffles delivered the following judgment:
The Court is of opinion, after mature consideration of the evidence, that the master of this vessel cannot be said to be guilty of any default or wrongful act. Under the circumstances in which he found himself placed at 4 p.m. on the 18th October, he may have imagined that his best chance of safety was to seek shelter in Dundrum Bay, though, as his "Sailing Directions" informed him, a dangerous anchorage ground; but in the course he pursued he acted in concurrence with his officers, and, as they thought, for the best. The court was at first disposed to think that the master was unduly absent from his ship after she anchored in Dundrum Bay, and especially regret that he was not on board on the night of the 20th and morning of the 21st October, when, having got up steam, he might have improved his position; but this is matter of conjecture, and even of doubt, and the master in his statement gives a reason for his absence which the Court accepts as satisfactory. The Court returns to Mr. Chevalier his certificate.


Iron paddle steamer Mazagon, built Lairds 1858, yard no.219, owned P & O as a tug at Bombay. Converted to sail 1865, schooner rig. Reported missing 1880. More history.



Steel paddle steam launch Ma Robert, built Lairds, 1858, yard no.225. 75 x 8 ft, 12 hp engine, constructed in 3 parts for transport to Zambesi River, to be explored by Dr Livingstone. Possibly the first steamship to be constructed of steel plates. Not considered a success - underpowered and with steel plates liable to corrosion - called "old asthmatic" by the crew.
She perished on a sandbank in the Zambesi, near the island of Chimba, on the 21st December, 1860.

Image of Ma Robert [from Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 15 February 1908]:

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Friday 12 February 1858]: DR. LIVINGSTONE'S "LAUNCH." It has been announced that the vessel which is about to take out Dr. Livingstone to the south-east coast of Africa would have on board a launch of very light draught of water, provided by the Government, to enable the veteran traveller to prosecute the importent investigation of the Zambesi river, from the results of which so much is expected. This launch has been built by Mr. John Laird, at his new shipbuilding works at Birkenhead, the material employed being the new homogeneous metal commonly called "steel plates", manufactured by Shortridge, Howell, and Jessop, of Sheffield. The great advantage of using this description of plates is that the same amount of strength is obtained as that found in the best iron plates of double the thickness, so that a vessel of a much lighter draught of water can be built, to the removal of the obstacles which have hitherto been in the way of navigating shallow rivers. After having made a variety of experiments in working this homogeneous metal, Mr. Laird thought it might be made applicable for this purpose in the construction of vessels of adequate strength with light draught of water. The launch has been built with great despatch, the order for its construction having been given only five or six weeks ago. For convenience of transhipment it has been built in three sections on a patent taken out by Mr. Macgregor Laird five or six years ago. The centre section contains the boiler and a single horizontal high-pressure engine of 12 horse power, and the two end sections are fitted up for the accommodation of the persons engaged in the expedition. Each compartment is made secure with watertight bulkheads. In the aft section is a neat deckhouse, which will be comfortably furnished, and will have every necessary appliance for securing ventilation. The vessel is a paddle steamer, her dimensions being - length, 75 feet; breadth, 8 feet; and depth, 3 feet. She will not draw more than 12 or 14 inches, so that she is expected to be able to navigate the shallowest parts of the river. The boilers. as well as the hull, of the launch is made of those steel plates, which are only 3-16ths of an inch thick. The boiler has been proved to 160lb. pressure, though it will only be necessary to work it up to 40lb. This, we believe, is the first application of this cheap steel to boatbuilding purposes. If it should answer, there can be little doubt that not only numerous vessel of a similar class will be built for the navigation of low rivers, but that it will also be applied to the construction of vessels of larger burden. The first trip of the little launch will be made in the Mersey on Saturday or Monday next. The expedition is expected to sail from Liverpool in a few days.

[from Westmorland Gazette - Saturday 13 March 1858]:
African Exploration. Departure of Dr. Livingstone. The Honourable East India Company's steamer Pearl, which is to convey Dr. Livingstone and his party to the Zambesi, left the river Mersey on Wednesday, for her destination. The party were accompanied on board by Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, whose guest Dr. Livingstone has been for several days. The Pearl takes out a launch, built by Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, for the purpose of navigating the shallows of the African rivers, and which was stowed away in three different compartments on the deck of the vessel.



Steel paddle steamer Rainbow, built Lairds 1858, yard no.227, Built to replace Dayspring, lost late 1857, in exploring the Niger river.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 31 May 1858]:
STEEL SHIPS. Steel as a material for the construction of vessels, which, with a light draught of water, require to be of considerable strength, appears to be likely to come into general use. The first to try the experiment is Mr. John Laird, who some time ago built a small steel steam-launch, for the Livingstone expedition up the Zambesi river. On Wednesday the steel steamer Rainbow, 160 tons, built for Mr. Macgregor Laird, for the navigation of the Niger, was launched at Mr. Laird's Birkenhead yard. This vessel is the first of any size built of steel plates, which, on this occasion, were made by Mr. W. Clay, of the Mersey Steel and Iron Works, Liverpool. The engine and boilers, as well as the ship, were constructed by Mr. Laird, and the boilers, like the ship, are made of Mr. Clay's steel plates.

[fro John Bull - Monday 18 July 1859]:
The native chiefs on the Bonny Biver had just inaugurated another civil war, and the Niger exploring steamer Rainbow had to leave the river in consequence of the unsettled state of the native population.

[from Morning Herald (London) - Saturday 13 October 1860]:
Vessels at different ports: Off the Nun. The steamer Sunbeam. In the river, the steamer Rainbow. [also November 1861]



Iron paddle steamer Guajara, built Lairds 1858, yard no.226,

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 31 May 1858]:
LAUNCH. On Saturday last was launched, from the yard of Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, a beautiful small paddle steamer, intended for the navigation of one of the numerous affluents of the River Amazon. She was launched fully rigged and equipped, with engines and boilers on board, after being gracefully named Guajara, by the wife of Mr. S. W. Chaddock, of the firm of Messrs. Duarte, Potter, and Co., the representatives in this town of the owner. She will, we understand, be commanded, as far as Para, her port of destination, by Captain Toovey, formerly of the Shark,

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 05 July 1858]:
Guajara, Toovey, hence at Lisbon. .. for Para.

[from Greenock Advertiser - Saturday 22 June 1861]:
Guajara (ss) at Maranham from Liverpool, 19th ult.



Iron paddle steamer Iphigenia, built Lairds, 1858, yard no.221, for Russian Steam Trading and Navigation Co.

Iron screw steamer Emperor Alexander, built Lairds, 1858, yard no.220, for Russian Steam Trading and Navigation Co. More history. Renamed Transport no 28 in Russian Navy and sunk off Trabzon on 14-8-1916 by collision with Transport no 43 (Oxus). 160 lives lost.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 04 January 1858]:
LAUNCHES. - On Thursday last, Mr. John Laird launched, from his Birkenhead yard, a small iron steamer, which he has built for the Russian Trade and Navigation Company, intended for the coasting trade between Odessa and other ports in the Black Sea. She is christened the Iphigenia. She is of light draught of water, is of great strength. and her model is not unlike that of the gunboat Pruth, built by Mr. Laird for the Russian Government, eight or ten years ago. Her dimensions are - length, 165 feet; beam, 25 feet; and her tonnage (builder's measurement) is 500 tons.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 31 May 1858]:
NEW STEAMERS FOR THE RUSSIAN MERCANTILE MARINE. The Emperor Alexander, a new screw steamship of 1100 tons, and 350 horse power, made her first trial trip on Saturday last, and attained a speed at the measured distance of upwards of thirteen knots per hour. The Emperor Alexander has been constructed by Mr. Laird for the Russian Steam Trading and Navigation Company, and is to sail for her destination destination in a few days. The Iphegenia, a paddle wheel steamer, for the same company, and constructed by the same builder, sailed for Odessa on Saturday last.



Iron screw steamer Jeddo, built Lairds 1858, yard no.222. More history. Wrecked 2nd February 1866 off Bombay.

[from Northern Daily Times - Thursday 23 December 1858]:
LAUNCH OF A SCREW STEAMER, YESTERDAY, AT BIRKENHEAD. About half past eleven o'clock, yesterday, another screw-steamer was launched from the extensive yard, of Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead amidst great cheering. The vessel is a handsome frigate-built screw steamship, and is intended for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. The ship, which is one of the builder's finest models, was christened the Jeddo, and is of the following dimensions: Length, 275 feet; beam, 36 feet; tonnage, 1,750 teas, carpenters' measurement; engines, 450 horse-power. The Jeddo has a shield figure-head, bearing the arms of the company for whom she has been built, and carved quartergalleries and stern. The engines, which are direct action, are by Mr. Napier, of Glasgow. The boilers are on Lamb and Summer's plan, and are being constructed by Mr. Laird. The Jeddo will probably form one of the steamers for the new Australian contract line. She has large side windows and side-ports all round, to ensure ventilation in the warmer latitudes. The vessel, which is far advanced internally, will be fitted up chiefly for passengers. She will be rigged as a barque, and will be ready for her station in February next. A high rate of speed is expected from this steamer.

[from Illustrated London News - Saturday 17 March 1866]:

WRECK OF THE STEAMER JEDDO NEAR BOMBAY.
The Bombay mail which arrived last week brought us the news, already noticed, of the disaster which had befallen the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's screw-steamer Jeddo, that vessel being stranded, on the 2nd ult,, on the Choul Keeder reef, about twenty miles from Bombay Harbour. She was carrying mails and passengers from China. The passengers, mails, and specie were safely brought into Bombay on the 4th by the Salsette, another vessel belonging to the company, A Bombay correspondent, Mr. John Key, has sent a hasty pencil sketch, made by him on board the Salsette, within half mile of the wreck, about thirty-six hours after she (the Jeddo) stranded, at nearly low water. There was little hope of saving either the vessel or her cargo, the rocks having pierced her through, and the machinery of her engines being quite disabled. She lay turned over on one side, at a distance of two miles and a half from the shore. The Jeddo was built of iron, by Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead, in 1859; her engines were made by Messrs. R. Napier, of Glasgow. Her dimensions were: Length, 277 ft.; breadth, 36 ft.; depth, 26 ft.; with 450 nominal horse-power for her engines.


Deerhound SY;, yard no.231.



Iron steamers Volga and Don, built Laird 1859, yard nos.235-6. For river service in Russia,

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 09 May 1859]:
On Monday last Mr. John Laird launched from his shipbuilding yard, at Birkenhead, an iron steamer for the Russian Government, being the first of three boats which he is building for river service. The second boat will be launched in about a fortnight, and the third immediately afterwards. These boats are capable of being turned into gunboats at pleasure. The new Holyhead steamers are in rapid progress.



Iron paddle steamer Manaos, built Lairds 1859, yard no.234, also 2 iron barges - probably yard nos 232, 233. For river Amazon service.

[from Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 12 November 1859]:
STEAM NAVIGATION ON THE RIVER AMAZON. Mr. Laird, of Birkenhead, has just completed a vessel for company formed under the auspices of the Baron de Maua, of Rio Janeiro, for the navigation of the River Amazon. This vessel is named the Manaos, she is 226 ft. long and 25ft. beam. Her tonnage, old measure, is 681, and she is intended to combine great carrying capacity with speed. She is arranged something on the plan of the American river boats, the decks being carried out to the extreme width of the paddleboxes, and the whole of the accommodation for first and second clsss passengers is in large deck houses, leaving the holds entirely free for cargo and coals. Her engines, also constructed by Mr. Laird, are of 180-horse power nominal, but worked on the trial to between 950 and 1,000 indicated horse power. The paddle-wheels are on the feathering plan, and the boilers are fitted with superheating apparatus and other modern improvements. In order to test this vessel's capabilities for speed and sea going qualities, she was despatched from Liverpool to Beaumaris on Monday last, and made the passage from the Rock Light (a distance of 48 statute miles) in three hours, giving an average speed of 16 miles per hour. She returned from Beaumaris to Liverpool Wednesday in 2h. 50min., being an average speed of 17 miles per hour. The Manaos was partially loaded, and had on board two large iron barges shipped in pieces, to be rivetted together on arrival at Para, besides a considerable quantity of coal. The distance between Liverpool and Beaumaris has never been accomplished in so short a time before. The vessel and machinery have been constructed, and the above trial of speed made, under the superintendence of Commodore Hoffsmith, distinguished officer the Brazilian navy, who was sent over by the company for that purpose, and also to superintend another vessel now being constructed by Mr. Laird for the same owners.



Laird built paddle steamers, 1859. possibly yard nos 237-8 or 247-8.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Saturday 13 August 1859]:
BIRKENHEAD Dock: Aohb (new paddle steamer) 400 - - Laird & Co. [later in Laird no 1 Graving Dock]

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 14 September 1859]:
Birkenhead Graving Docks: Lairds No 1: New screw steamer.
Laird's no 2: New paddle steamer 500 Henderson.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 25 October 1859]:
Birkenhead Graving Docks. Lairds no 1: New screw steamer Vesuvio (s) 201 Ramalho, Duarte, Potter & co. Lairds no 2: New paddle steamer 500 Henderson. [in early 1860 new paddle steamers Munster and Ulster are recorded] [SV Vesuvio ON 28191 280t possible to mid 1860]

Not yet identified:

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 28 March 1859]:
FOR SALE. A New Screw STEAMER, ready for sea. Length 171 feet 6 inches; breadth 25 feet 6 inches; draft 12 feet; 542 tons o.m.; carries 350 tons of dead-weight on 10 feet draft; speed 10 to 11 knots. Has good cabin accommodation, and is fitted with a lifting screw. For Particulars, apply John Laird, Birkenhead.
ON SALE, BY PRIVATE CONTRACT, An excellent IRON PADDLE-STEAMER, of the following dimensions, viz: Length, 113 feet 3-10ths; beam 17 feet 9-10ths; double-ended, and fitted with Laird's patent rudders; is propelled by a single side lever engine of 45 horse-power, and is in every respect a first-rate ferry steamer For particulars, apply to George Sanderson...



Iron paddle steamer Urara, built Lairds, 1859, yard no.244. owned Grafton Steam Navigation Co. In MNL as Wrava, ON 36848, 120hp, 241grt, registered Sydney 1860, in MNL until 1866. Lost 3-5-1866 on Clarence River Heads. 382 grt, 241nrt, 168 ft long. Voyage Sydney to Grafton.

[from Cork Constitution - Friday 13 January 1860]:
Liverpool. Sailed. The Urara steamer for Sydney.

[from Lyttelton Times - Tuesday 05 June 1866]:
Wreck of the Urara. On Wednesday, the 2nd instant, as the Clarence and Richmond Steam Navigation Company's steamship Urara, bound from Sydney to Grafton, was entering the Clarence River Heads, and when in the act of rounding the buoy, her bows caught the ebb tide which was running out very strongly, and the vessel swung round on the reef, and struck heavily amidships, making a great hole under her boiler, and in a short time her engine-room and forward compartments became filled with water. Steps were at once taken to provide for the safety of the passengers and crew, and a boat was despatched to Grafton for assistanoe. A number of horses which were on deck were put adrift, and succeeded in reaching the shore. The vessel remained in the position in which she struck (her stern compartmenta being free from water) until ten o'clock that night, when a heavy swell set in from the eastward. She then filled aft, and her stern settled down in five fathoms of water; both funnels were in a short time washed away, and when the company's steam-drogher Uloom [a barge-like vessel] arrived at the wreck, only the Urara's bows and masts were discernible above water. The cargo, an unusually large one, is an entire loss, and no hopes are entertained of raising the vessel, which was totally uninsured, and, therefore, a serious loss to the company.

[from Tenby Observer - Thursday 29 April 1875]:
The Mikado steamer had arrived with advices from Melbourne to March 13, and from Auckland to March 19. She brings the intelligence that the Helen M'Gregor steamer, from Grafton Sydney, struck the reef which the Urara steamer was lost. She remained for an hour, and then floated off and sank in deep water. The passengers and crew were saved in the boats, except one boat load consisting of eight persons.



Iron paddle steamers Ulster, Munster, Connaught, built Lairds, Birkenhead, 1860, yard nos. 228, 229, 230, owned City of Dublin SP Co, for Holyhead - Dublin (Kingstown / Dun Laoghaire) service. Originally 4-funnelled but refitted as 2 funnels in 1886. Capable of 18 knots. Retired in 1896. More history
[The fourth steamer was Leinster, built Poplar, London 1860.]

Images of these paddle steamers here.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 21 April 1860]:
Interesting Double Launch at Birkenhead. This morning, at half-past ten, the launching of the splendid steam-ships Munster and Connaught will come off at Birkenhead, from the iron shipbuilding yard of Messrs John Laird, Sons, and Company, and there will be a déjeuner afterwards in the adjoining Monks' Ferry hotel. The invited guests and visitors should be in the Works early, is the former steamer, the Ulster, was launched precisely at the appointed hour, and the same characteristic punctuality may be expected in this double treat. The Munster has been built on elevated land, and will be launched in the ordinary way; the Connaught has been built in an adjoining graving-dock, and will be floated and launched, but will not leave her dock. Mrs. Herbert, of Mucross Abbey, is, most appropriately, to name the Munster. Thus three out of the four new steamers for expediting Postal and Passenger communication between Holyhead and Ireland will have been built at Messrs. Laird's world-renowned Iron Shipbuilding Works. Both the Munster and Connaught the are of the same dimensiosn:- length over all, 350 feet; beam, 35 feet; tonnage, 2,000 tons; engines 750 horsepower. And, from the skill and science of the builders, it cannot be doubted but that these new steamers will inaugurate quite a new era in Steam Navigation as regards almost fabulous speed in Ocean and Channel Steaming.


Iron paddle steamer Denbigh, built Lairds 1860, yard no. 268. Owned Robert Gardner, ON 28647. Launched as Agnes Napier. On Liverpool - Rhyl service as Denbigh. Owned by Confederate interests 1863-5. More history. Also here. Wrecked 24-5-1865, while running the blockade into Galveston.

[from Northern Daily Times - Monday 20 August 1860]:
LAUNCH OF THE AGNES NAPIER. On Saturday morning last, at the yard of the eminent ship-builders, Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead, the Agnes Napier, a beautiful steamer, intended for the Liverpool and Rhyl trade, in connection with the Vale of Clwyd Railway, was launched in the presence of a large number of ladies and gentlemen from the principality. The steamer has been named after the daughter of the owner, Mr. Napier. The ceremony of christening was performed by Mrs. Napier, amidst much rejoicing, despite the torrents of rain which fell at the time. Erected from the model of the Countess of Ellesmere - whose astonishingly quick passages between Liverpool and Runcorn claimed for her the fame of being the fastest vessel entering the Mersey, and induced the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia to make her his yacht - the Agnes Napier has the further advantage of having been formed on the plan of a steamer built by Messrs. Laird for North America, and called the Inca, which has accomplished passages at an average rate of twelve knots an hour, burning only eight tons of coal in twenty four hours. She is 180 feet long, 22 feet beam, draws, 4 feet of water; measures 400 tons, and her engine made at the same yard, is of 100 horse power. Taking all things into consideration, there can be no doubt that she will fully realise the ardent expectations of her builders and owner. ...


Iron paddle steamer King Eyo Honesty 2nd, built Lairds 1860, 73grt, 52nrt, 103 x 14 ft, 30hp engines, owned Horsfall, Liverpool. ON 28612. Arrived Fernando Po by late 1860, then to Bonny. In MNL to 1878. More history.

[from Manchester Courier - Tuesday 27 February 1866]:
WEST AFRICAN COMPANY LIMITED. The annual meeting of the shareholders of the West African company was held yesterday at the offices of the company, No. 17, Dickinson-street, Manchester...
Your directors have to report that the steamer King Eyo Honesty, having been found unsuitable for the Niger trade, has been sold to the colonial government.


Iron steam tugs for Bengal. Built Lairds 1859-60. Shipped to India, along with 8 barges.

[from Friend of India and Statesman - Thursday 26 January 1860]:
The Hurharu mentions that four steam boats [possibly yard nos. 237, 238, 247, 248] and eight flats [possibly yard nos. 239, 240, 241, 242, 249, 250, 251, 252] have been built by Mr. J. Laird of Liverpool for the Government of Bengal. They have all left England, and two Engineers have arrived to put them together. They ought all to be placed upon the Eastern rivers, the communication on which is wretchedly neglected.



Iron paddle steamer Inca, built Lairds 1860, yard no. 253, 412 tons bm, 167 x 23 ft, 100 hp engines by Lairds, ordered Carruthers, de Castro, Manchester. For service on river Amazon.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Wednesday 14 March 1860]:
THE RIVER AMAZON. PERU. LAUNCH OF THE "INCA". We have frequently alluded to the progress of steam navigation on this mighty river, under the enterprise of a Brazilian company subsidised by that governmentt, the whole credit of which is due to the Baron Maua, a man who is an honour to any country. The Tapajoz and Manaos (two vessels previously sent out by Mr Laird for this company) are running for 1,500 miles up the Amazon, on Tuesday last a third boat, called the Inca, was launched from Mr. Laird's yard - intended to carry on the trade above that point right into Peru, under a convention between the Brazilian and Peruvian Governments. Her dimensions are as follows: length, extreme 167 feet. Breadth between paddle-boxes, 23 feet. Depth of hold 10 ft. 3 inches. Tonnage, builders' measurement, 4l2 tons. Her draft of water when launched was only about 3 feet 2 inches, and when completed with a full complement of passengers, cargo, and coal, will not exceed 6 feet to 6 feet 6 inches. She is to be propelled a pair of direct-acting diagonal engines, made by Messrs. Laird and Co., of the collective power of 100 horses, with feathering wheels supplied with steam by tubular boilers, with an apparatus for superheating steam, which, in connection with steam jackets to the cylinder, and other improvements, are expected to insure a very small consumption of fuel.
The opening out of these great rivers of South America must be attended with most important results to commerce. These three boats have been superintended by Commodore Hoffsmith, of the Brazilian Navy - a very intelligent, able man, who has earned golden opinions at Birkenhead.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 13 August 1860]:
Amazon Steam Company .... The Inca - the last boat sent out by Messrs. Laird, destined to keep up the communication with Peru under the new conventional treaty between that country and Brazil, had begun her work by a rapid voyage up the Amazon,..

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 31 December 1860]:
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE GALLANTRY OF SAILORS. On Wednesday a meeting of the members of the Local Marine Board was held in the Sailors Home, for the purpose of presenting two testimonials, which had been forwarded in acknowledgment of the gallant and disinterested conduct of two members of our mercantile marine. The presentations were made by Mr. W. J. Tomlinson, chairman of the board. The first was a silver medal. from the Emperor of Brazil, to John Miles, a sailor belonging to the steamer Inca, for his gallant and persevering attempts to save the life of one of the firemen, who was going ashore in a boat, at Para, and fell overboard. On witnessing the accident, Miles jumped overboard and made most courageous exertions to save the man's life, unfortunately without success. The Chairman, in presenting the medal, complimented him highly on his brave and heroic conduct. [another report adds: The Inca is a vessel built by Mr. John Laird for the Brailian Government.]



Pioneer shipbuilders at Birkenhead, with their yard situated on the south side of Wallasey Pool, were William Seddon & Co., later Seddon & Leadley. They launched in July, 1826, the Nora Creina, a wooden paddle vessel of 202 tons register, 120 H.P., for the Waterford-Bristol trade, and the firm continued in business for about ten years.
Steam vessels built by them:


Nora Creina 1826
Ballinasloe 1829
Quorra 1832
Water Witch 1832
El Balear 1833
Newcastle 1834
City of Carlisle 1834
Niteroiense 1835
Praia Grandense 1835
Especuladora 1835
Monk 1837

Sailing vessels built by Seddon:
[Imogen SV 1832], [Litherland SV 1834], [Lancashire Witch SV 1835],
[Unknown SV 1835], [Heyes SV 1836], [Mary Imrie SV 1838]

Wooden paddle steamer Nora Creina, built Wm Seddon, Birkenhead, 1826, 400grt, 202nrt, 137.10 x 22.4 ft, 120 hp engines, for Waterford & Bristol SN Co. More detail. [Nora Creina is a character mentioned in a poem by Thomas Moore, from Irish Melodies, 1808]

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 28 July 1826]:
On Saturday, a fine new steam-vessel of 350 tons burthen. called the Nora Creina, was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Wm. Seddon and Co. North Birkenhead. She is intended to sail betwixt Waterford and Bristol.


Wooden paddle steamer Ballinasloe, built Seddon & Leadley, Birkenhead, 1829, 300grt, 171nrt, 138.2 x 24.2 x 7.2 ft, engines 175hp by Fawcett & Preston, Liverpool, ON 8779, owned City of Dublin SP Co., as a cattle carrier. She was fitted with special ventilation for the holds. Launched as Town of Liverpool, since the previous vessel of that name had been lost in 1828, but then named Ballinasloe by 1830. Broken up 1864. More detail.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 09 March 1829]:
On Saturday was launched, from the building-yard of Messrs. Seddon and Leadley, a fine steam-boat, called The Town of Liverpool, for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. Her engine (making by Fawcett and Co.) is to be one hundred and seventy-five horses' power.


Wooden paddle steamer Quorra, built Seddon & Leadley, Birkenhead, 1832, 82grt, 103.8 x 16.1 x 7.2ft, for the exploration of the Niger river. Vessel also described as of 150 tons. Fawcett & Preston records state that they provided the engine of 40hp for Quorra. The expedition involved Quorra, the small iron steamer Alburkah, and a conventional sailing brig of 176 tons, Columbine. All vessels were armed. Quorra got aground on a sandbank - for 4 months - only getting off when the river flooded.
One of the members of the expedition, and ship designer was MacGregor Laird, son of John Laird.

Image (from report of Niger expedition) of Quorra aground below the junction of the Shary and Niger rivers.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 04 June 1832]: LAUNCH OF A STEAMER. On Saturday last the steamer, intended for an expedition, the object of which has already excited so deep an interest, in the trading and scientific world, was launched at Woodside, from the yard of Seddon and Leadley, the builders. This vessel was contracted for early in May, and has been launched with unexampled expedition. She is, in every respect, well adapted for the object which the spirited proprietors have in view, viz., exploring the immense resources of the interior of Africa, under the suggestion of those intelligent and celebrated travellers, the Messrs. Lander. The fitting up of the engines of this vessel, which has been called The Quorra, after the name of that river destined, we trust, to be the scene of new disclosures which will add to the science, the power, and the wealth of Britain, will occupy about three weeks or a month. Until this vessel shall have sailed, we must refrain from further observation, contenting ourselves, in the mean time, by saying, that we feel proud in an enterprise undertaken by Britons at the suggestion of Englishmen, - a pride by no means diminished in consequence of our own townsmen having, in all probability, through the medium of this undertaking, laid the foundation of new channels of trade and new sources of science, which, we sincerely trust, will add to the prosperity of the one and the honour of the other.

[from Morning Post - Thursday 06 September 1832]:
The Quorra is 115 feet in length over all; breadth of beam 16 feet; depth of hold, 8 feet; draught of water, with everything on board for ascending the Niger, 4 feet 2 inches; tonnage, 146, including the engine-room. One engine of 40 horse power, to be used only in calms, or ascending rivers. Constructed to burn either coal or wood as may be required. [armed with one 24-pounder swivel gun, one 18-pounder swivel gun, 8 4-pounder swivel guns]


Wooden paddle steamer El Balear, built Seddon & Leadley, Birkenhead, 1833, 200 tons burthen, engines 80hp, owned Vilardaga & Co, Barcelona, for service around the coast of Spain, registered Spain. Balear is the Spanish for the Balearic Islands. El Balear is reported as the first steamer visiting the Balearic islands. More detail

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 21 October 1833]:
Launch. On Thursday was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Seddon and Leadley, a new steam-boat, El Balear, of 200 tons burthen and 80 horse power. She had, when launched, the most part of her engines on board, and will be ready for sea on the 7th of November, which will be three months from the day the keel was laid.


Wooden paddle steamer Nictheroy[Niteroiense], built Seddon & Leadley, Birkenhead, 1835, 48nrt, 74.6 x 14.9 x 6.6ft, first owner Charles Schwind, Liverpool, for Rio Steam Company, Rio de Janeiro. [Nictheroy means water hidden in Tupi-Guarani]

Wooden paddle steamer Praiagrandense[Praia Grandense], built Seddon & Leadley, Birkenhead, 1835, 48nrt, 74.6 x 14.9 x 6.6ft, first owner Charles Schwind, Liverpool, for Rio Steam Company, Rio de Janeiro.

Wooden paddle steamer Especulador[Especuladora], built Seddon & Leadley, Birkenhead, 1835, 48nrt, 74.6 x 14.9 x 6.6ft, first owner Charles Schwind, Liverpool, for Rio Steam Company, Rio de Janeiro. Fawcett & Preston records state that they provided engines for Especuladora, so presumably for the other two also.

British register closed 1837 for all 3 steam ferries.

[From Brazilian sources]:
On October 14, 1835, a regular steam boat service began, finally, between Rio and the other side of the bay [Niteroi], with three English vessels, from the Niteroi Navigation Company, called Praia Grandense, Niteroiense and Especuladora. They had accommodation for 200/250 people and travelled every hour, from 6 am to 6 pm, making the crossing in 30 minutes.

On May 23, 1844, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the boilers of the boat Especuladora exploded shortly after leaving Rio, with around 70 people perishing in the accident. After the catastrophe, the Government ordered monthly inspections of the machinery on all boats.






Steam vessels built Russell & Sons shipyard, Birkenhead,
On the south side of Wallasey Pool, after Seddons; the next yard was Robert Russell & Co., launching in October, 1834, the wooden paddler Mermaid, 420 tons register, 180 H.P., also for the Waterford-Bristol trade. This yard turned out vessels of up to 600 tons.
Ann 1834.
Mermaid 1834.
Clonmel 1836.
Vulture 1837.
Elizabeth 1840?.

Sailing vessels built by them:
[Castries SV 1836]; [8 barges 1836]; [Woodstock SV 1837]; [Providence SV 1839];
[Creole SV 1839]; [Governor SV 1840]; [Unknown SV 1840]


Wooden paddle steamer Clonmel, built Russell, Birkenhead, 1836, 298grt, length 155ft, engines 220hp by Forrester, Liverpool, for service at Waterford. First steamship to Australia, intended by her Australian owners to run between Sydney, Melbourne and Launceston. On only her second such run from Sydney, she was wrecked on what is now known as Clonmel Island in Corner Inlet, Victoria, on 2/3 January 1841. More about voyage to Australia and service there.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 01 September 1836]:
LAUNCH OF a STEAMER. On Saturday last, The Clonmel, a splendid steam vessel of 450 tons measurement, was launched from the building-yard Messrs. Robert Russell and Sons, North Birkenhead. She belongs, we understand, to the Waterford and London Steam Navigation Company, and is to fitted with engines of 250 horse power, from the manufactory of Messrs. George Forrester and Company, of this town.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 05 May 1837]:
For WATERFORD, The Steam-packet MERMAID, Capt. HEARN, Will sail for Waterford, from Clarence Dock, Tomorrow (Saturday,). the 6th instant, at Ten o'clock in the morning. ...
The new Steamer CLONMEL, Captain POND; the MERMAID, Captain HEARN, Will continue to sail regularly every TUESDAY and SATURDAY, with Goods and Passengers.

[from Northern Whig - Saturday 28 March 1840]:
Steam to Sydney. The large steamer Clonmel is on berth in the West India Docks, London, for Sydney, New South Wales, being the first emigrant steamer yet started from England for that distant colony.

[from Sun (London) - Tuesday 01 June 1841]:
Loss of the steamer Clonmel, she had gone ashore on Ninetymile Beach; all the passengers, about ninety, have been safely landed.

Wooden paddle steamer Vulture, built Russell, Birkenhead, 1837, 335nrt, 153 x 24 ft, two engines of 150 hp each by Forrester, Liverpool, for St George Steam Packet Co., Dublin. Initial service Cork - London.
08/05/1840 struck rock and sank off Arensburg on Ösel island [now Kuressaare on Saaremaa island, Estonia], London for St. Petersburg - passengers rescued.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 10 March 1837]:
On Wednesday was launched from the ship-building yard of Messrs. R. Russell and Sons, of this port, for the St. George Steam Packet Company, a splendid new steamer of nearly 600 tons measurement, named the Vulture. This beautiful and highly-finished vessel is to be impelled by two engines of 150 horses' power each, from the Manufactory of Messrs. G. Forrester and Co., of this town, she is, we understand, to be commanded by Capt. Wilson, late of the Hercules, and to be employed on the Cork and London station. Those experienced in craft of this description, pronounce the Vulture to be a first rate ship, not only in point of model, but also in strength and excellence of workmanship.

[from Western Times - Saturday 30 September 1837]:
REGULAR STEAM COMMUNICATION Between Plymouth, London, and Cork. St. GEORGE STEAM PACKET COMPANY, have established a line of First Class Powerful STEAM PACKETS between London and Cork, calling with Passengers and Goods at Plymouth and Falmouth.
HERALD, Captain Waters.
The Vulture, Captain Wilson
The Ocean, Captain Pile.
The SIRIUS, Captain Langland.
(fitted with Hall's patent safety engines)
FIRST SHIP FOR LONDON DIRECT. The splendid steamer VULTURE, Captain Wilson, will leave Catwater on Saturday, September 03th.
FOR FALMOUTH, CORK, AND LIVERPOOL. The speedy and unrivalled steam ship SIRIUS, of 800 tons and 350 horse power, Captain Langland, Monday, October 2nd, .. Passengers intending for Liverpool are forwarded from Cork by the HERALD, on Wednesdays.
BRISTOL to PLYMOUTH. The Company's Steamers sail from Bristol for Cork & Plymouth, every Tuesday and Friday; and Glasgow for Plymouth (at very reduced freights) every Saturday and London for Plymouth and Devonport, every Saturday Morning, ... and do not carry pigs. ...

[from South Eastern Gazette - Tuesday 02 June 1840]:
The Loss of the Vulture. From an extract of a letter written by Captain Wylde, the commander of the Vulture, received at Lloyd's on Thursday, it appears that nearly 400 chests of indigo were on shore, besides other cases of hardware, &c., also the box of gold (and the bonds value £5,000). The vessel is given up with cargo to the agents at Lloyd's. The account of the striking of the vessel is thus described: "On Friday morning we saw Osterganisholm [sic] W. by S., 12 miles at twelve, we had good observation, and then altered our course from N.E. by E., thick foggy weather. At eight o'clock in the evening I kept her N.E. by E.; half-past ten, she struck. I wish you would get some old Petersburg captains, have a chart before you, and hear their opinions. Captain Dwyer, who has been some years in the St. Petersburg trade, thought I was keeping too much to the the north above Dagerort [Kalana]. There must be a very extraordinary current setting more than usual to the S.E.; to this I attribute the loss of the unfortunate Vulture, and the ruin of myself, for I have lost everything, money, clothes, and all, but I am happy to say the passengers have not lost much".
[Another report: The loss of the Vulture steamer off Arensburg [now Kuressaare, Estonia] (Island of Ösel[Saaremaa]), bound London to St. Petersburg.]

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 02 June 1840]:
[Comparing wooden with iron vessels] The wood steamer, Vulture, while running in the night about nine knots an hour, on her first continental voyage this year (as stated in our last), struck on a rock on the island Oesel, and had a hole driven into her bow. The water she took in rushed to the stern, which sunk many feet on the retiring of the tide, the vessel still sticking on the rock, so that she became a wreck. The passengers with difficulty escaped.

Wooden paddle steamer Elizabeth, built Russell, Birkenhead, 1840?, 97 grt, 51 nrt, 88.6 x 15.3 x 7.8 ft, engines 40hp, registered Liverpool, ON 6010. In MNL until 1867, latterly owned Wallasey Local Board, 51 tons, 36 hp. West Coast Steamers gives built 1840; Shipbuilders site gives built 1836. Liverpool register for 1854 gives built 1840. Wallasey fleet gives built 1840 - used as a luggage boat. See also.



Steam Tug Company vessels built at Birkenhead.
From history of the LIVERPOOL STEAM Tug COMPANY, formed in 1836. To commence operations, they bought three wooden paddle tugs, Druid, Ormrod and Hero, and at their own shipbuilding yard at Birkenhead they built the wooden paddle tugs Queen[?] and Victoria in 1837, President in 1839, and Albert in 1840, and others, all about 200 tons gross, and 120 h.p.; later they constructed iron paddlers [eg Liver]. [from Liverpool Tugs and their owners, LNRS Transactions 1944].
The builder is sometimes described as Thomas Raffield.
Victoria 1837
President 1839
Albert 1840
Liver 1846
Tartar 1849



Peto, Brassey & Co, Canada Works, Birkenhead. Initially on south side of Great Float, then moved to shore at Tranmere. [iron, screw unless noted]. Sir Morton Peto, Thomas Brassey and Edward Betts were involved. The main activity was railway construction: bridges, locomotives, etc. Mr Harrison is named as manager of the Canada Works with Mr Byrne in charge of ship-building operations. History of Thomas Brassey.
Victoria 1855
Unknown PS 1856 (launched as Elizabeth Jackson)
Midge 1857 (launched as Quoile/Coyne)
[Elizabeth Byrne SV 1857]
[Mayflower SV 1857]
Agenoria 1857
Minnow 1857 innovative paddles - later replaced.
[Simla SV 1858]


Iron screw steamer Victoria, built Peto, Canada Works, Birkenhead [Thomas Brassey & Co], 1855, 86grt, 92.3 x 16.1 x 7.6ft, 24 hp screw, ON 12587, registered London 1875; owned and registered Goole 1871. In MNL to 1883. Intended for London bridge building, but sent as a water tanker to Constantinople. More history.

[from Northern Daily Times - Monday 03 September 1855]:
SHIP LAUNCH. A pretty little steamer, of upwards of 100 tons burthen, named the Victoria, was launched from the yard of the Canada Works on Wednesday last, in the presence of about 2000 persons, and in an hour and a half afterwards had steam up and under weigh in the Birkenhead float. We believe she is intended for London river work, unless sent to the Crimea.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 02 October 1855]:
A SCREW, invented by Mr. Scott, of the Tranmere Foundry was on Friday successfully tried in a new steam barge, the Victoria, built at the Canada Works, by Messrs. Peto and Co. The Victoria is to be employed in the Thames, in the building of the new bridge at Westminster.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 19 November 1855]:
Mr. H. K. Aspinall, of Birkenhead, has purchased the small screw-steamer Victoria, which was recently built at the Canada Works, Birkenhead, to convey goods to and from vessels in the London Docks. The steamer has been fitted up by her new owner as a tank, and she is to go out to Constantinople to supply ships with water, which she will pump into their reservoirs to any extent required in a few hours.



Iron paddle steamer Elizabeth Jackson, built Peto, Brassey & Co, Canada Works, Birkenhead, 1856. 143 x 20 x 9.6ft, two 40 hp engines, for sale until September 1857 - not named in advert. Not in MNL - possibly renamed or sold foreign.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Wednesday 17 September 1856]:
LAUNCH OF A NEW STEAMER - Yesterday, at noon, there was launched from the yard at the Canada Works, on the margin of the Birkenhead Great Float, a very fine new iron paddle-steamer, called the Elizabeth Jackson, after the eldest daughter of Mr. W. Jackson, M.P. There was a large number of persons in attendance to witness the event, amongst whom were Mr. W. Jackson and family; Mr. Golborne, of Egremont; Mr. T. Brassey, jun.; Mrs. Seacome and family, of Chester; Mrs. Byrne, &c. The interesting ceremony of naming the vessel was performed by Miss Elizabeth Jackson, after which the new steamer glided from the stocks in a beautiful and easy manner into the wet dock connected with those extensive works. The Elizabeth Jackson is a very handsome and strongly built vessel, and was modelled by Mr. St. Clair J. Byrne. She is 143 feet long, 20 feet beam, 9 feet 6 inches in depth, and will have two engines of 40-horse power each. She will carry 60 tons of cargo and 40 tons of coal on a draft of 5 feet 6 inches. Upon being launched she drew 2 feet. The entire vessel was manufactured on the premises, and the boilers and cylinders were placed on board on the same afternoon that she was launched, under the direction of Mr. Alexander. This shows the facilities that are offered for shipbuilding at the Canada Works. The Elizabeth Jackson has been built for sale, but if a purchaser be not quickly met with she will be despatched to London by her builders. She is well adapted for any port where a light draught of water is required, and doubtless, from her superior model, she will be an exceedingly swift vessel. We may state that Messrs. Brassey, Peto, and Co. have orders for the construction of an iron ship of 800 tons burthen, and a screw steamer of 500 tons, The company, however, in consequence of the corporation being about to run the Great Float dry for a period of 18 months, will build these vessels on the margin of the river, at Tranmere.

[from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Monday 18 May 1857]:
A beautiful new iron Paddle STEAMER, of the following dimensions, viz. Length over all, 143 feet; breadth, 20 feet; depth, 9 feet 6 inches; measurement tonnage, 263 tons. This vessel is propelled by a pair of side lever condensing steam-engines of 90 horse power, with ample boiler space fore and aft, and her bunkers will contain 40 tons of coals; she will have excellent accommodation for both cabin and deck passengers, and when fully laden will not draw more than 5 feet 6 inches of water. Lying in Birkenhead Docks. For further particulars apply: G. S. SANDERSON, 15, James-street, Liverpool.
[advert from August 1856 to September 1857]

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Monday 22 June 1857]:
Birkenhead Dock:
Coyne (ss) new screw steamer, Canada Works Co;
Elizabeth Jackson - ;
[Elizabeth Jackson not listed after 29 June]



Iron screw steamer Midge (launched as Quoile/Coyne), built Peto, Brassey & Co. Canada Works, Birkenhead 1857, 100 x 18 x 10.5ft, 30 hp engines, owned John Hastings, Downpatrick, for service from Stangford Lough to Liverpool. ON 16214. Stranded and lost, 27 April 1860, Cape St Roque, NE Brazil, voyage Liverpool - Bombay, 8 crew saved, owned E Bates, 83 nrt, 122 grt, 20hp, iron [info from RCUS].

[from Liverpool Mercury - Monday 27 April 1857]:
LAUNCH AT THE CANADA WORKS, BIRKENHEAD. - On Saturday last, there was launched from the new yard, situated between Woodside and Monks' Ferries, belonging to Messrs. Brassey, Peto, and Co., known as the "Canada Works", a very fine new iron steamer, of 160 tons measurement, built for Mr. John Hastie [sic, Hastings in other reports], of Downpatrick. The new vessel, which is strongly built and finely modelled, went off the stocks in splendid style, amidst the cheers of a large number of persons who had assembled to witness the event. Miss Fanny Batty, daughter of Dr. Batty, of Liverpool, performed the interesting ceremony of naming the new steamer the Coyne (the ancient method of spelling "coin"), [sic, called Quoile, the river at Downpatrick, in another, more local, report] in a graceful manner. The Coyne is 100 feet long, 18 feet beam, and 10.5 feet deep, and will be 30-horse power. She is intended to ply between Strangford Lough and Liverpool. After the launch, a number of ladies and gentlemen who had been invited, partook of refreshments in the office attached to the shipbuilding yard, where Mr. Sanderson, civil engineer, proposed "Success to the Canada Works", coupling with the toast the name of Mr. Harrison, the manager. The compliment to the company was drunk with applause. We may state that the shipbuilding operations of Messrs. Brassey, Peto, and Co. have been removed to the new premises abutting the river, in consequence of the Birkenhead Great Float having been run dry to permit of its being deepened by the Messrs. Thomson. In this yard there are now building a fine iron ship of 700 tons, intended for the cotton trade [Simla], a screw steamer [Agenoria], and a yacht of eight tons, for the Birkenhead Model Yacht Club [Mayflower]. There are about 320 men employed at the Canada Works.

[from Downpatrick Recorder - Saturday 13 June 1857]:
Steam Communication between the Quoile and Liverpool. It is gratifying to find that at length an effort has been made to give the inhabitants of this district an opportunity of having communication with Liverpool by steam-power. On Thursday last, we had the pleasure of witnessing the approach to the Quoile Quay of a small steamer, called the Midge, the property, we understand, of Mr. Hastings, grain merchant, of this town: and intended, we believe, to ply between this town and Liverpool. This boat is on the principle of the screw; draws little water; and, if of sufficient horse-power to buffet the waves in winter, seems in every respect well fitted for the Quoile River. The Midge was laden, on her first trip, with Indian corn and flour for some of the millers and corn-factors of the neighbourhood. We are rejoiced to see this beginning made in the right direction. As to the success of a steamer on this station, we never entertained a doubt. We trust soon to see the channel deepened, and another steamer plying between this port and Glasgow.

[from Newry Telegraph - Tuesday 23 February 1858]:
NEWRY AND LIVERPOOL SCREW STEAMER "MIDGE". Captain James Armstrong, is intended to Sail between NEWRY and LIVERPOOL, FEBRUARY, 1858, as under (Casualties excepted): NEWRY TO LIVERPOOL, Sailing from Newry Canal....

[from Belfast Morning News - Monday 24 January 1859]:
A Man Washed Overboard. On Friday, the screw-steamer Midge, of and from Liverpool, bound for Oban, Scotland, put into Belfast in a disabled condition, short of coals. She left Liverpool on Wednesday morning. During the whole of that day and Thursday she encountered a series of violent gales, which tore her sails to pieces, carrying them off. On the night of Thursday, when off the Point of Ayr, a terrific storm set in, the sea raging with great fury. Captain M'Kay was pacing the deck at the time, when the sea broke over the vessel, carrying him overboard. The man at the helm saw the occurrence, and informed the remainder the crew; but the unfortunate man was never seen afterwards, although the vessel was stopped, and every exertion made to save him.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 30 January 1860]:
The fine Iron Screw-steamer, MIDGE, 122 tons builder's measurement, 83 tons per register; built at the Canada Works, Birkenhead, for private use, in July, 1857; works to 35 horse-power, at a consumption of 3.5 cwt of coal per hour; carrying capacity, 150 tons of dead weight, on 8 feet 6 inches draft of water. Length, 106 feet 7-10ths; breadth, 18 feet 2-10ths; depth, 10 feet 2-10ths. Is well found in stores, and ready for sea. Now lying in Clarence Dock Basin. For further particulars apply to TONGE and Co.,

[from London Evening Standard - Tuesday 16 October 1860]:
Total Wreck of the Steamer Midge. Some few months ago much interest was excited by the departure of the steamer Midge from Liverpool to Bombay, in consequence of the size of the vessel and her general capacity for a long voyage. The Midge was a screw propeller of about 80 tons burden, and commanded by Captain Jones. She was owned in Liverpool by Messrs. Bates and Co,, and was going out to Bombay as a river steamer in conjunction with the interests of her owners, who are extensive East India traders in Liverpool. The ill-fated steamer left Liverpool the 20th of last June, and by the arrival of the barque Velocidade, Captain Boyd, at Liverpool yesterday, from Ceara, we learn that the Midge was totally lost on the 27th August, in lat. 5 S, long. 33 W. The Velocidade brought home the captain, mate, and two seamen belonging to the Midge from Ceara. How the vessel was wrecked the brief notice in the Liverpool rooms does not state.



Iron screw steamer Agenoria, built Peto, Brassey & Co. Canada Works, Birkenhead 1857. More history. Wrecked near Gothenburg, 13-2-1864.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 27 July 1857]:
LAUNCH OF A SCREW-STEAMER: BUILDING OPERATIONS AT THE CANADA WORKS. On Saturday afternoon, the Agenoria, a screw-steamer of 350 tons, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Peto, Brassey, and Co., Birkenhead. The Agenoria is an iron vessel, measuring 145 feet in the load line, 32 feet beam, and 13 feet in depth. She has been built for Messrs. John Jones and Sons, of William-street, Liverpool, and is a trim and handsome vessel. The launch took place stern foremost, and the vessel glided into the water with great steadiness and celerity, amidst the cheers of a considerable number of spectators. Miss Jones, a daughter of the owners, performed the ceremony of christening. The Agenoria is to be supplied with vertical engines of forty horse-power.
At the same works there is being constructed a screw-steamer yacht of very fine lines for a French gentleman resident in Manchester. Her length is 135 feet, and she is of iron [Minnow].
There is also building here for Mr. Harrison, an iron sailing-yacht of 32 tons, the keel of which was only laid down five weeks ago, and which is now not far from completion [Mayflower]. She is to be launched on the 6th of August next, with her sails bent all ready for starting,
Messrs. Peto, Brassey, and Co. are also laying down the keel of a new iron ship of 1,600 tons [Simla].

[from Hull and Eastern Counties Herald - Thursday 25 February 1864]:
Intelligence was received in Hull last week that two fine screw steamers which sailed from this port have been totally lost near to Gothenburg. One of these vessels is the Agenoria, Capt. Marshall, and the other the Oder, Capt. Clark. The Agenoria left Hull on Tuesday, the 9th instant, for Pillau. She had on board a large and valuable general cargo. All went well with her until Saturday last, when she reached within a short distance of Gothenburg. There she was overtaken by the gale on that day, and having become disabled was driven on shore. Unfortunately two of the stokers were drowned, but it is not known how these poor fellows met with their fate. Part of the cargo was washed out of the vessel, and as she was likely soon to become a total wreck, the captain and crew have been busily engaged in saving as much of the cargo and stores of the vessel as it was possible. The place where the Agenoria went on shore is off Walda[sic Vallda], not far from the main land [other reports say Ärteskär]. The vessel is the property of Messrs Bailey and Leetham, and she had undergone considerable repairs before leaving Hull. On Tuesday evening Messrs Bailey and Leetham received a letter from the captain, who stated that the vessel had partly broken up, that a great portion of the cargo had been saved, and that the wreck was now in charge of the Customs authorities.


Iron ship Elizabeth Byrne and iron yacht Mayflower, built Canada Works, 1857. Elizabeth Byrne: not found in MNL or newspapers - perhaps renamed or sold foreign.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 30 May 1857]:
Ship Launches BIRKENHEAD. - On Saturday morning last, two launches look place from the yard of the Canada Works Company, at Monks' Ferry, the one being a new iron ship, the Edith Byrne, and the other a model yacht, the Mayflower. The Edith Byrne has been built for Messrs. A. and E. Byrne, of Liverpool, who intend her for the Calcutta trade. Her dimensions are as follows: Length of keel, 160 feet; width, 30 feet 2 inches; depth, 20 feet 9 inches; and she is expected to carry 1300 tons upon a draught of 15 feet of water. She will be commanded by Captain Flannery. The Edith Byrne was modelled by, and constructed under the direction of Mr. Sinclair Byrne, (brother to the owners) who has the management of the iron shipbuilding department of the premises of Messrs. Brassey and Co. The new vessel was christened by Mrs. Byrne, the mother of the owners, who performed the interesting ceremony in a graceful manner, and amidst the cheers of the company.
Immediately after the Edith Byrne was knocked off the stocks, a very beautiful iron-built yacht, called the Mayflower, was launched from the same yard. She was named by Miss Harrison, daughter Mr. George Harrison, owner of the vessel, and general manager for Messrs. Brassey, Peto, and Co. The new yacht will form one of the squadron of the Royal Mersey Yacht Club. ...


Iron SV Simla, built Peto, Brassey & Co, 1858, 1444nrt, 222.4 x 36.8 x 25 ft. Owned Charles Moore, Liverpool. ON 22047. By 1870 owned Carlyle, registered London. In MNL to 1871. Sold foreign 1871. More history. Described as an iron screw steamer in Northern Daily Times - Wednesday 11 August 1858, but MNL lists her as sail.



Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere.
Conqueror 1856, Readhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere
Elizabeth 1856, Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere
Chieftain 1856, Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere
Teazer 1857, Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere

Re: Readhead, Harland & Brown. [from Liverpool Albion - Monday 10 March 1856]:

Two more [extra to Conqueror] paddle-steamers are in course of construction in the same yard, one a tugboat of 70 horse-power, the other a handsome steam-yacht, of 100 tons and 40 horse-power, which will be launched next springs. It is being built for some English merchants at Constantinople, to carry them about on the Golden Horn and Bosphorus.

Wooden paddle steam yacht Elizabeth, built Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere, 1856, 90 x 16 ft, schooner rigged, 40 hp engine, paddles.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 24 March 1856]:
LAUNCH OF THE STEAM YACHT ELIZABETH AT TRANMERE. Tranmere Pool is becoming quite a busy ship-building place, for it is only a fortnight since we announced the launch of a steamer there, the first vessel for a period of nearly twenty years, and to-day we have to record that of another, which took place at noon on Saturday, from the building yard of Messrs. Harland, Redhead, and Brown. The vessel in question is a handsomely modelled wooden paddle-steamer, 90 feet long, 16 feet beam, (32 feet across the paddle boxes), 9 feet deep, and 100 tons measurement. Painted all white and dressed in gay flags from bow to stern, the smart craft looked very well on the stocks, and the "ways" being very steep, she went down into the water, as a spectator observed, "like lightning." A salute of six guns was fired in honour of the occasion. The vessel was gracefully named the Elizabeth, by Miss Galloway, of Manchester, whose father has manufactured the side-lever engines of forty horse-power, which propel the Elizabeth very fast. The vessel will come over to Liverpool to receive her machinery, and afterwards go back to Tranmere, to be coppered and finished. Her bow will be ornamented with a half-length female figure head, her quarters enriched with gilt carvings, and the stern, which is elliptical, will also bear an appropriate ornament. She is to be lightly rigged as a schooner. This pretty little vessel, which will be luxuriously fitted, has been built for M. Dementina, a wealthy Maltese merchant, who resides at Constantinople, and who intends to use her as a yacht for pleasure excursions on the Bosphorus and Golden Horn.

Wooden paddle tug Chieftain, built Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere, 1856, 140 tons (bm), 60 hp engines by Galloway, Manchester, ON 14633, sold foreign 1867.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 22 September 1856]:
LAUNCHES. On Tuesday the new steam-tug Chieftain, belonging to Messrs. Redhead, Harland, and Brown, was launched from the yard, Tranmere Pool. She is about 140 tons builders' measurement, with side lever engines of sixty horse-power, by Mr. Galloway, of Manchester. In the same yard a schooner of about 160 tons is building [possibly the repair of 150 ton brigantine Isabel].

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 02 December 1861]:
THE SMOKE NUISANCE. ... Mr. THOMAS REDHEAD, owner of the steam tug CHIEFTAIN, for permitting volumes of smoke to issue from the funnel of that vessel, on the 25th October, whilst she was towing a vessel into the river. Fined 20s. and costs.


Steamer Teazer (also Teaser), built Redhead, Harland & Brown, Tranmere 1857, 127 tons, 120hp, ON 20548, owned Redhead as a steam tug, registered Liverpool to 1864, when sold foreign. Presumably a wooden paddle steamer.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Monday 25 May 1857]:
A very handsome steamer, called the Teaser, about 20 [sic, presumably 120] feet in length, was launched on Saturday from the ship-building yard of Messrs Redhead, Harland and Brown, at Tranmere.

[from Cork Examiner - Friday 29 May 1857]:
Ship News. Queenstown. Arrived. Teaser, steam tug.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Friday 05 June 1857]:
Tranmere graving dock: Teaser (s) 300 - T[Thomas] Redhead.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Thursday 30 October 1862]:
THE STEAMER IRISHMAN. - The Teaser, steam-tug, belonging to Mr. Redhead, of this port, left the Mersey last night with a number of men, pumps, and other appliances, for the Isle of Skye, to endeavour, if possible, to float the steamer Irlshman, which grounded and stuck fast on a sunken reek, near that coast, a few weeks ago.



[from Perry's Bankrupt Gazette - Saturday 19 November 1859]:
Partnerships dissolved: Redhead Thomas, William George Watson, Thomas Brown, and James Harland, ship builders and carpenters, Tranmere, as regards Redhead, 31st July.



Other Birkenhead built steam vessels:
Steam Tug Lioness is described as built Birkenhead - with some date uncertainty: 1836 or 1854.
Abbey 1822 Grayson & Leadley, Birkenhead
Lomax & Wilson had shipyards both at Liverpool and Tranmere, Birkenhead. More information.
Francis 1825 Lomax & Wilson, Tranmere, Birkenhead
Hero 1826 Lomax & Wilson, Tranmere, Birkenhead
Martha 1834 Lomax & Wilson, Tranmere, Birkenhead
Egerton 1834 Williams, Woodside, Birkenhead
Prince of Wales 1843 Daniel Campbell, Tranmere

Sailing vessels built Birkenhead.
[
Julia SV 1825] Lomax & Wilson, Tranmere, Birkenhead
[Trafalgar SV 1836] Lomax & Wilson, Birkenhead ?
[Mexican packet SV 1840] Unknown, Birkenhead
[3 wooden vessels SV 1843,4] Adamson, Birkenhead
[Equator SV 1845] Adamson, Birkenhead



Wooden paddle steamer Prince of Wales, built Daniel Campbell, Tranmere, 1843, 86grt, 78.5 x 16.5 x 8.4ft. A Rock Ferry steam vessel of this name was reported as rebuilt in Liverpool 1843, with engines of 40hp by Rigby. More history.



[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 23 October 1855]:
SHIPBUILDING AT TRANMERE. A portion of land on the margin of Tranmere Pool, at the top of the slip, has been boarded off, and Mr. Mackenzie, of this town, has already commenced shipbuilding operations upon it. Already a wooden tug steamer of about 120 tons measurement is in frame, and the keel of another of similar dimensions is laid down. The site is most eligible, for there is still water in the pool to launch in, and an excellent graving dock alongside for fitting vessels out. Some years ago, several large ships were built in this locality.

Wallasey built steam vessel: [later Seacome/Wallasey shipbuilding].
Wallasey 1847

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Steam vessels built at Runcorn:
Duke of Wellington 1816
Prince Regent 1816
Manchester 1825
Rival 1834
Tower 1836
Duke 1839
Pilot 1844??
Favourite 1856 (later Contest)

Wooden paddle tug Favourite (also Favorite), built Mason, Runcorn, 1856, 68nrt, 90 x 19ft, 60hp, ON 16193. Registered Liverpool 1856. Owned Mersey Steam Tug Company. In MNL to 1864. For sale on Tranmere beach 1864. Renamed Contest, sunk 16-9-1865 in Mersey after collision with Seacombe ferry Wild Rose [built Jones Quiggin 1862, ON 45383, iron PS, 155grt].
  Builder: Samuel Mason, Belvedere Yard, Runcorn, which was advertized for sale 1857 when he died. John Mason & George Craggs operated there until 1859, then Blundell & Mason until 1879.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Friday 06 June 1856]:
LAUNCHES. LAUNCHED from the building-yard of Messrs. Mason, Runcorn, on Wednesday, 4th inst., a beautiful steamer called the Favorite, built for Messrs. Cragg and Co., of the Mersey Steam-tug Company. The ceremony of christening was performed by Mrs. Cragg, wife of the owner. The whole went off with great eclat, being the first steamer built at Runcorn.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 12 January 1864]:
By order of the Mortgagees. .. The Steam-tug FAVOURITE, 68 tons register; built at Runcorn in 1856, of the very best materials. Her cylinders are 42 inches diameter, and length of stroke 4 feet. Dimensions: Length of keel, 90 feet; beam, 19 feet; draft of water 5 feet. Lying on Tranmere Beach. ...

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 18 September 1865]:
COLLISION ON THE RIVER. On Saturday night the steam-tug Contest and the New Brighton boat Wild Rose, came into collision on the river. The tug received such injuries that the captain made all speed for the Prince's Landing-stage, but ran alongside the City of Petersburgh, which was just starting for Dublin. The crew of the Contest had only time to get on board the City of Petersburgh when their vessel ran against the stage, rebounded, and sank. The crew of the tug were taken away to Dublin.

[from Rochdale Observer - Saturday 23 September 1865]:
Serious Collision in the River Mersey. On Saturday evening a collision took place between the Wild Rose, one of the Wallasey steamers, and the tug Contest, which resulted in the latter vessel sinking, but fortunately no lives were lost. The Wild Rose left the George's Landing stage at nine o'clock, and proceeded towards Seacombe. In passing the south end of the Prince's stage, she struck the Contest, which was backing from the stage, somewhere about the stern, cutting her, it supposed, below the water's edge. The Wild Rose was uninjured, and, after clearing away from the steam tug, started for the Cheshire side. Finding that the Contest was seriously injured. Captain Clare made for the stage, when, unfortunately, his vessel met with a second accident, this time coming into collision with the steamer Old Dominion, which was just moving from the stage to proceed to Dublin. The Contest then began to sink rapidly, and the crew, five or six in number, succeeded in getting on board the Old Dominion, and were carried off to Dublin. The steam tug immediately went down, and her position has since been buoyed. She will be removed as soon as possible. The Contest was old boat, and was formerly known by the name of the Favourite.

[from London Evening Standard - Thursday 21 September 1865]:
Liverpool, Sept 20. The Contest, steam tug, sunk near Prince's Landing stage, was lifted yesterday and taken up the river.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Tuesday 03 October 1865]:
Sale: The Steam tug CONTEST, as she now lies stranded alongside the Albert Pierhead, and dry at low water, She has engines of 90 horse power, with tubular boilers only newly put into the vessel, and will be sold with all faults and defects. ...



Bridge Foundry; Vulcan Foundry; Tayleur & Sanderson; Bank Quay, Warrington,

Canal steamer 1837, iron, built Jones, Viaduct Foundry, Newton.

Warrington 1840
Iron Steam yacht 1844
Wassernixe 1844
Die Schöne Mainzem 1845
Invincible 1852
La Perlita 1853
Retriever 1855 SV
For information on iron sailing vessels built at Warrington.

Iron canal steam tug, built Jones, Viaduct Foundry, Newton=le-Willows, 1837, for Old Quay Canal Co. 70 tons burthen, 14 hp.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 28 April 1837]:
Launch of an iron Steamn vessel at Newton. - A numerous and highly respectable assemblage of ladies and gentlemen witnessed a a novel and pleasing sight at Newton-le-Willows, on Tuesday sennight, in the launching of an iron steam-vessel, of 70 tons burthen, from the Viaduct Foundry, be-longing to Mr. Jones. This beautifully modelled vessel was raised on lorrys, and conveyed across the railway from the stocks on which she was built to the incline leading to Sankey Canal, and from thence launched in beautiful style, to the gratification of the beholders. The steamer is to be propelled by a fourteen horse-power engine, and is built for the Old Quay Company, and intended to ply betwveen Runcorn and Manchester. We congratulate Mr. Jones on his being the first to build a steam-boat in the once ancient borough of Newton.



Iron paddle steamer Wassernixe[and other spellings], built Tayleur & Sanderson, Warrington, 1844, for use on the upper Rhine. 150 x 11 ft [15 ft with paddle boxes], 50 hp engines by builders.

[from Chester Chronicle - Friday 20 September 1844]:
A iron steamer was launched from the works of Messrs. Tayleure and Sanderson, Bank Quay. Warrington. Her length is 150 feet, and her breadth, exclusive of the paddle boxes, 11 feet; the engines are of 50 horses' power. This the largest vessel ever built in Warrington, and the first that has been launched from the works of Messrs. Tayleure and Sanderson. The steamer, which is intended to ply on the Upper Rhine, was christened the Wassernize [also reported as Wassernixe or Wassernisce, meaning water-witch]

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 18 October 1844]:
IRON STEAMER FOR THE NAVIGATION OF THE RHINE - A long iron boat, of rather singular appearance, has, within the last few days, been brought down here from Warrington. She is, at present, lying in Trafalgar deck, and has attracted much attention. She was built at Warrington by Messrs. Tayleure, Anderson [sic], and Co., of the Vulcan Foundry, (who also supplied the engines,) and launched, during the last week, at Bank Quay. The name of the vessel is the Wassernisce, [sic] (Waterwitch.), and it is intended to employ her as a passenger boat on the Upper Rhine. Her length, which to the eye of the spectator appears very much disproportioned to her width, is 150 feet, while the breadth of beam is only 15 feet; there are two engines of 25-horse power each, constructed on the most improved principle, so as to occupy the smallest possible space; and the funnel, or chimney, which is the only prominent object on deck - there being neither masts, rigging, nor sails - is so fixed that, by a very simple contrivance, it can be lowered and elevated at pleasure, with the greatest facility, which is rendered necessary in consequence of the various bridges that intersect the river which the vessel is destined to navigate. At present she draws scarcely two feet of water, and will never sink below two and a half feet. There are three cabins for passengers, with all the requisite accommodation, fitted up in a handsome style, with mahogany tables, sofas, &c., and lighted by a number of small oval windows, placed in the side of the vessel, which can be opened or shut by means of belts or straps, after the manner of those used in coaches. The cabinet work, which is extremely neat, is being done by Messrs T. and D. Service of this town. There are no deck lights, consequently the upper part of the vessel is left perfectly clear as a promenade for passengers. Besides the cabins spoken of above, there are other smaller apartments appropriated for store-houses, cooking, and other purposes. We understand she will remain here for a short time until her arrangements are completed. It is expected that her sailing qualities will be of a very high order - eighteen or nineteen miles an hour having been mentioned. Several trials, for the purpose of testing her at speed, will, however, be made previously to her leaving the port, when the result will prove the correctness or otherwise of the expectations that have been formed as to her speed.




Iron paddle steamer Die Schöne Mainzem [various spellings], built Tayleur and Sanderson, Warrington, 1845, 143grt, 109nrt, 163.4 x 13.1 x 7.0 ft, listed as Liverpool registered in 1854, built 1845, Warrington, owned Edward Tayleur, and with Captain Nicholas Murphy - who had commanded vessels trading to Wexford, SE Ireland, such as Town of Wexford. Not, however, listed as Liverpool registered in 1851, or as certified for passenger use in 1850-53. Die Schöne Mainzerin is the name of a famous painting used as an altar-piece. No newspaper reports of this vessel found. More history.


Iron [screw steamer?] Retriever, built Bank Quay, Warrington, 1855, 500tons, 156 x 25 x 16ft. Reported in some newspapers as intended to have engines fitted - but no evidence that they were. Advertised as a sailing ship in 1855 intended to sail for Valparaiso. Capsized in the Mersey - refloated, and reported in Liverpool Docks until October 1855. Then not traced - possibly renamed. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 April 1855]:
IRON SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. During the week, the following iron vessels have been launched on the banks of the Mersey. ...
Also, about the same time, a finely-modelled screw-steamer, of about 500 tons, arrived here from Warrington on Tuesday, where she was built by the Bank Quay Foundry Company, from a design by Mr. Jonathan Grinrod[sic], of this town. The Retriever was taken into the Sandon Dock, where she will receive her machinery.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 10 May 1855]:
For SALE. The fine new Ship RETRIEVER, About 510 tons o.m. Length, 156 feet; breadth 26 feet; depth, 16 feet. Built of iron, at Warrington, this year, and classed A1 at Lloyd's. This superior vessel combines large capacity with fast sailing qualities; she has a flush deck with cabin house aft, her rails, &c. are teak, her masts and principal spars pitch pine. Her linings are ample and of the best manufacture, and in point of finish she cannot surpassed, no pains or expense having been spared either in her construction or equipments. Lying in Sandon Dock. For further particulars apply CUNARD, MUNN and Co.

[from Liverpool Mercantile Gazette and Myers's Weekly Advertiser - Monday 06 August 1855]:
To follow the Daleamin and will have despatch. For VALPARAISO, beautiful new clipper Ship RETRIEVER, Captain J. Heron; Constructed and equipped with special reference to fast sailing, and as she will take only a limited quantity of weight, is in all respects a choice conveyance for fine goods.

[from Chester Courant - Wednesday 08 August 1855]:
CAPSIZING OF A NEW IRON VESSEL IN THE MERSEY. Loss of Life. At half-past two o'clock, on Friday afternoon, the Retriever, a new iron vessel recently launched at Warrington, was proceeding from the Sandon in the direction of the Prince's dock, at Liverpool in tow of the steam-tug British Queen, when she unfortunately capsized, and the sailors and others on board, of course, were precipitated into the water, two being drowned. The vessel was being towed round the stern of the James Baines, to come into the George's Basin, and when broadside on a heavy squall came on; the vessel heeled over so much that the ballast (upwards of sixty tons) shifted, and fourteen persons, including the captain, riggers, painters, two boys, and a pilot, were thrown into the river. By the aid of the steam-tug and boats they were picked up as soon as possible, though, unfortunately, a man, a rigger, was drowned, and another man so hurt that he is scarcely expected to recover. The Pilot (No. 8) was severely injured. Before leaving the Sandon Dock the ship had, as is usual in such cases, been made as snug as possible with regard to the rigging, and the accident is attributed to the wind acting upon her at the top, and the tide at the bottom.
[She was comparatively a new ship, and was to have sailed for Valparaiso on the 25th of this month. The owners are Messrs. Leech, Harrison, and Forwood, of this town. Amongst those on board were Captain Heron ... ]

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Saturday 04 August 1855]:
CAPSIZING OF THE RETRIEVER IN THE RIVER. This splendid new iron ship. built by the well known Bank Quay Foundry Company, has only lately been towed down from Warrington, capsized in the river yesterday afternoon whilst shifting from the Sandon Dock to the Prince's, and sank. Unfortunately one of the poor fellows on board was drowned and a boy is missing. Probably he has shared the same fate. Every exertion is being used to get her afloat, which we doubt not will be speedily accomplished. It is a singular fact and well worthy of notice that a strange fatality seems to attend most of the vessels lately built at Warrington. The Liverpooliana capsized in the George's Dock, owing to being top heavy like the Retriever, another ran aground whilst entering the port and became almost a total wreck, the Deerslayer capsized in one of the Brazilian harbours, and it is well known the unfortunate Tayleur was built at the same place. This is the more to be regretted since no blame is in any way attached to the builders and against whose interests we hope these accidents will not mitigate. The ships built by the Bank Quay Foundry Company are perfect specimens of naval architecture, symmetrical and faultless, so that any accident that may occur to any of the ships they build, the fault lies not in their construction but to some other cause.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Monday 22 October 1855]:
in Clarence Dock: Retriever, 500, Heron, Leech & co or Imrie & Co.

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Steam vessels built by William Fairbairn, Manchester. Fairbairn also built iron vessels at Millwall.
William Fairbairn; Speaking in 1859, he said that he built upwards of a hundred-and-twenty iron vessels, of which nine were built in sections at Manchester.

Lord Dundas 1831, iron centre-wheeeler.
Reine des Belges 1833, iron

Iron centre-wheel steamboat Lord Dundas, built William Fairbairn, Manchester, 1831. 68 x 11.6 x 4.6 ft. More details with plans.

[from Preston Chronicle - Saturday 05 March 1831]:
..... In consequence of these results (which are fully detailed in a work just published by Mr. Fairburn [sic] on the subject), the proprietors of the Forth and Clyde canal resolved to try the effect of steam navigation on their canal, and, with this view, ordered two steam boats to be constructed by Messrs Fairbairn and Lillie, of Manchester, one intended as a packet-boat and the other for the conveyance of merchandize. The former of these was launched on the river Irwell, the week before last, and some trials were made of her powers on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, - of which trials the following particulars have been communicated to us by one of the parties interested in their result: The twin passage boat, Lord Dundas, built for the Forth and Clyde Canal Company by Mesars. Fairbairn and Lillie, of this town, was launched last week on the Irwell for trial, previous to being sent to Scotland. The dimensions of this boat are as follows:- Whole length, 68 feet; breadth, 11 feet six inches; depth, four feet six inhees; width of tunnel or wheel trough, three feet ten inches; diameter of paddle wheel, eight feet six inches; and propelled by a engine, on the locomotive principle, of ten horses' power. The entire weight of the hull of the boat is under two tons fifteen hundred weight, while the weight of the boiler, (which, for security, was made nearly double the strength of those used in similar engines on the railway), with the engine, wheel, fittings, water in boiler, &c., is upwards of six tons; making a total weight of from nine to ten tons. When floating without the engine and machinery, the average draught of water was eight and a half inches; with the boiler filled, and her engine, coals, and machinery, the average draught was increased to nineteen inches and a half; but, unluckily, from the machinery being placed a litle too far forward, she hung about five inches by the head. Notwithstanding this great disadvantage, the Lord Dundas was propelled at the rate of six miles and a quarter through the water. To remedy, in part, this defect, the float plates of the paddle wheel were drawn in nearer the centre, thereby reducing the diameter from eight feet six inches to seven feet six inches, two tons of coal and coke were placed near the stern for the purpose of trimming: her speed was then increased upwards of a mile and a half; or within a fraction of eight miles per hour. During no part of these trials was the engine of the Lord Dundas working at one half her power, from a deficient supply of steam, occasioned by a want of draft under the boiler, which, however, can be easily rectified. When this is done, and the paddle wheel increased to its original diameter, and some slight alterations effected so as to give her engine full power, there is no doubt but the Lord Dundas will realize the intentions of the builders, and fully answer the purpose for which she was intended by the Forth and Clyde canal company. All new undertakings of this description are surrounded with difficulties, and many unforeseen obstacles will present themselves which can only be demonstrated by experiment. The first trial with the Lord Dundas, however, gave every satisfaction, as she sailed through the narrowest parts of the cuts, on the line of the Mersey and Irwell navigation, at a rate of seven miles an hour, without any sensible surge, or the least wash on the banks; in fact, the Lord Dundas is admirably calculated for navigating canals, as the whole action of her paddle wheel is in the middle or deep part of the canal, and the water is perfectly free from agitation at the banks on either side. In one particular, and that of the greatest importance, the Lord Dundas exceeds all expectation: she has little or none of that tremulous motion so common to all other steam boats; and there is not the least noise except what is occasioned by the discharge of the steam into the chimney, and this, it is expected, will not be heard by the passengers in the cabins, when her fittings are completed. Another remarkable feature in this boat is the great economy in the consumption of fuel; during a period of six hours and upwards of constant work on Saturday, the whole quantity of coal and coke consumed by the Lord Dundas did not amount to eight cwts.; and coal was found to answer better that coke. In the course of eight or ten days, when the proposed alterations are effected, the Lord Dundas will again make a few experimental voyages on the Irwell and the canal; when it is expected she will perform the full amount of her required speed, and fully realize the expectations of the projectors, by a force that will send her through the water at a rate of nine to ten miles an hour.

Iron river/canal steam stern-wheeler Reine des Belges, built Fairbairn, Manchester, 1833. 73 x 14 x 9ft. To be delivered by sea.

[from Morning Post - Saturday 16 March 1833]:
IRON STEAM-BOATS. On Tuesday last was launched from the premises of Mr. Fairbairn, engineer, in Manchester, a most beautiful iron steam-boat, intended for the navigation of the canal from Ostend to Bruges, in Belgium, named La Reine des Belges. A company has been formed in that country for the purpose of navigating its fine canals and interior rivers, at the head of which is his Majesty Leopold. This is the first boat which has been built for the purpose; she is seventy-three feet long, fourteen wide, and rather more than nine deep, and is intended to be sent by sea round the Land's End. She is to be propelled by a paddle, placed at the stern, in the centre for the purpose of preventing any injury to the banks ofthe canal, and is well worth the attention of the English canal proprietors, indeed of everyone interested in canal navigatiqn, which by this means, is likely to become much more valuable. Similar boats, built by Mr. Fairbairn have been successfully at work, for more than two years upon some of the Scotch canals.

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Steam vessels built by Dawson at Liverpool:
Etna 1817
Mersey 1819
St George 1822
City of Dublin 1823
Hibernia 1823
Britannia 1825
Sheffield 1826
Manchester 1826
Nottingham 1827


Wooden paddle steamer Hibernia, built Dawson & Pearson, Liverpool, 1823, 244nrt, 140.5 x 23.6 x 14.2ft, 140hp engines, for St Patrick SP Co. Service Bristol - Dublin. Registered Liverpool. Re-engined by 4/1824 after a failure in 8/1823. 1825 sold to Brazil. More history. Note another Hibernia was built 1825 at Liverpool, for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co.

[from Dublin Evening Post - Saturday 07 June 1823]:
THE SAINT PATRICK STEAM-PACKET COMPANY respectfully inform the Public, that having completed the fitting and equipment of their magnificent New Packet, The Hibernia, of 400 tons, and 140 horse power, she will leave KINGSTOWN HARBOUR, at Nine on the morning of TUESDAY next, and will continue to sail in conjunction with the ST. PATRICK, between Dublin & Bristol, every Tuesday and Friday during season. The HIBERNIA is fitted in the most superb and commodious manner. Her Engines possess all the late improvements, and she is furnished with resources against any kind of accident. She is, without doubt, the most complete and magnificent Steam Ship ever built in Great Britain. The ST. PATRICK is well known from her rapid passages and excellent accommodation last season.

[from Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser - Monday 01 September 1823]:
Steam Vessel. On Friday the 22d ult., the Hibernia steam packet, left Bristol for Dublin, with about fifty passengers, among whom were the Marquis of Bath, and two Noble Lords, whose names we have not heard, in the course of the night the wind being fresh, one of the cranks of the engine broke, which compelled the Master to put into Tenby, where she remained until Saturday evening. On Sunday morning parts of both her engines broke, and forced up the planks of the deck; her situation was then alarming, and guns of distress were fired. Fortunately, the Palmerston, War Office steam packet, hove in sight, and shortly came up to her assistance, took her in tow, and made Milford Haven, to the no small gratification of the passengers and crew.

[from Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current - Monday 22 March 1824]:
DUBLIN AND BRISTOL. THE HIBERNIA Steam Packet, with new Engines, on the most approved construction, will resume her line on FRIDAY, the 2d of APRIL, when she will leave KINGSTOWN HARBOUR for BRISTOL, & return from BRISTOL to KINGSTOWN on TUESDAY, the 6th of APRIL, calling at TENBY each way. She will thus continue to sail from Kingston every Friday, and from Bristol every Tuesday, during the Season. Births secured by application (post-paid) directed the SAINT PATRICK STEAM PACKET COMPANY, at the DUBLIN COFFEE-HOUSE, 4, SACKVILLE-STREET. 18th March, 1824.

[from Morning Advertiser - Tuesday 05 April 1825]:
STEAM PACKET TO THE BRAZILS. The following Notice was yesterday posted at Lloyd's: Letters sent to Falmouth by to-morrow's (this day) post will be in time for the Hibernia steam-boat, bound to Para, Maranham, Pernambuco, Bahia, and Rio Janeiro.

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Edward Grayson was a pioneer shipbuilder at Liverpool, who died in 1804. His son Charles continued the tradition, in partnership with Leadley from 1824. Steam vessels built by Grayson & Leadley at Liverpool [note Grayson had premises in Birkenhead in 1822 - so some vessels may have been built there]:
Abbey 1822 [built Birkenhead]
Mersey 1824
Liberator 1825
Commerce 1825
Hibernia 1825
Magdalena 1825


Wooden paddle steamer Mersey, built Grayson & Leadley, Liverpool, 1824, 300grt, 196nrt, 129.3 x 12.1 x 12.4 ft, 120hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, ON 8780. First owner Dublin & Liverpool SP Co. then City of Dublin SP Co, by 1831, registered Dublin. Chartered for Drogheda - Liverpool service in 1829. Broken up 1859. More history

[from Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser - Tuesday 25 October 1825]:
[letter in response to an article about Mersey vs Lord Blayney] ... The Mersey and the Lord Blaney are about the same tonnage, the Mersey has engines of 80 horse power[sic], made by Fawcett and Co., and had, at the time the Lord Blaney sailed after her, a full Cargo; the Lord Blaney has 120 horse power engines, made by Clegg and Co. and was, at the time alluded to, in her best sailing trim; the Lord Blaney sailed after her for an hour and a half, and was never nearer her than when she started. A few days after, on the Mersey's return from Dublin, she fell in with the Lord Blaney in the river, and beat her with the greatest ease, although she had then a heavy cargo on board. ... And with respect to the superior arrangement of the flues in the boiler of the Lord Blaney, it would have been well for Messrs. Clegg and Co., if the owners had been as well pleased with them as your anonymous correspondent; it happens, however, that they are of a different opinion, and have ordered other boilers to replace them.


Wooden paddle steamer Liberator, built Liverpool 1825, sailed for Cartagena (Colombia) from Liverpool, via Caernarfon, arriving 21st December 1825 after 38 days voyage. The name Liberator was used of Simon Bolivar who lead the independence movements of several South American countries against the Spanish. Thus the launch name Bolivar is most probably this vessel - so built Grayson & Leadley.

[from Sun (London) - Friday 22 July 1825]:
The Bolivar, a fine vessel, intended for the coast of Colombia will be launched from the yard of Messrs Grayson & Leadley to-morrow.

[from Liverpool Mercantile Gazette and Myers's Weekly Advertiser - Monday 08 August 1825]:
Vessels entered for loading. South America. Liberator, A Barnes, 56 Carthagena, J Birch & Co.

[from Liverpool Mercantile Gazette and Myers's Weekly Advertiser - Monday 26 September 1825]:
Liberator (steamer) for Carthagena; put into Carnarvon; all well

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 16 March 1826]:
The Liberator (steam vessel) hence and Carnarvon at Carthagena de Colombia 21st Dec in 38 days

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Michael Humble had a shipbuilding business in Liverpool. As Humble & Hurry, they were the largest shipbuilding business in the early 1800s. About 1829, Thomas Milcrest became a partner. Later they traded as Humble & Milcrest.
Paquete Lusitano 1822
St David 1824
James Watt 1824
Telica 1824
City of Norwich 1825??
Comet 1825 (later HMS Lucifer)
Aetna 1825 (later HMS Kite)
Victory 1826
Harriet 1826
John Rigby 1831
William Penn 1833
St Patrick 1833
Margaret 1835.
Alexander 1835
Liverpool 1837 (later Great Liverpool)
Abbey 1838
Bahiana 1838


Wooden paddle steamer James Watt, built Humble & Hurry, Liverpool, 1824, 116nrt, 110 x 19.6 x 11.7 ft, engines by Fawcett & Preston. First owner Mersey & Clyde SN Co, registered Liverpool. Registered Stockton 1831. 1836-40 converted to sail and in Australia. Then steam powered again based New South Wales. More history.

[from Perthshire Courier - Friday 07 May 1824]:
SPEEDY CONVEYANCE FOR GOODS AND PASSENGERS BETWEEN LIVERPOOL AND GLASGOW. THE MERSEY and CLYDE STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY beg leave to announce that early in May, in addition to the Steam Packet HENRY BELL (which has successfully plyed all the winter, and weathered many severe gales with great safety), the JAMES WATT, a vessel of superior construction and a very powerful engine, will be added to the establishment, when they will continue to sail between Liverpool and Glasgow, regularly twice a-week. ...


Wooden paddle steamer Telica, built Humble & Hurry, Liverpool, 1824, 81 tons, 92.10 x 17.6 ft, 50hp engine by Fawcett & Preston, initially sent to West coast of South America. Voyaged there under sail with paddles fitted on arrival. On 10th October 1825, damaged by explosion - but later repaired. Service Callao - Valparaiso was found to be not profitable, so sent 1827 under sail to Calcutta, arriving in April. Tug on the Hooghly for a spell, then sold to Bombay Govt. Ended her life as the governor's sailing yacht.
More details, [from LNRS, Vol 41, no 4, pg 117, 1998]

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 26 November 1824]:
For passengers only. FOR VALPARAISO AND LIMA. The Steam-Boat TELICA. She is a remarkably strong well-built vessel; has a excellent accommodations for passengers, and is intended to sail on the 25th of December. - Apply to J. BROTHERSTON and Co.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 11 November 1825]:
Telica, M'Clune [sic, also M'Clure], hence at Ancon, Peru.

[from Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 11 February 1826]:
LIVERPOOL, Feb. 9. Guyaquil, Oct.31. The owner of the steam-boat Telica, Gibbs, master, on her passage from hence to Chorillos when off Guarmay on the 10th inst., set fire to the magazine, and a tremendous explosion took place. The owner (Mr Metrovick [sic, also Mitrovitch, Mahetrovich]), the master, and five passengers, were killed; three wounded, and one missing. The machinery of the vessel was missing. [possible suicide by owner, since operation was loosing money]


Wooden paddle steamer City of Norwich, built Humble & Hurry, Liverpool, 1825, 155.3 x 22.7 x 14.1 ft, engines 190hp. First owner London, Yarmouth & Norwich SP Co, More history.
Advertised as intended to start service in January 1825, but no newspaper evidence of any service by a vessel of this name. Instead Albion and Cambria were acquired.

One possibility is that completion was delayed - the LYN SP Co decided to stick with Albion and Cambria - so Humble & Hurry renamed City of Norwich as Comet - launched July 1825 with the same size and engine horse power.

[from Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 18 December 1824]:
THE DIRECTORS OF THE LONDON, YARMOUTH, AND NORWICH STEAM PACKET COMPANY BEG TO INFORM THE MERCHANTS, TRADERS, AND THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL, THAT NEW STEAM PACKET, THE CITY OF NORWICH, Will load for London at Yarmouth early in January, between which Ports she will regularly ply for GOODS AND PASSENGERS. The Directors are in treaty for a Steam Packet, to load immediately, for the accommodation the Public, until the City of Norwich and other Packets are completed.

[from Norwich Mercury - Saturday 15 January 1825]:
London, Yarmouth & Norwich STEAM PACKET COMPANY, Have pleasure in announcing that the CAMBRIA STEAM PACKET Will leave COX and HAMMOND'S QUAY, London, this day, with Goods and Passengers, for Yarmouth; and that the ALBION Will leave the same place on Wednesday next, the 18th inst. The ALBION will start from the Company's Wharf, Yarmouth, every Saturday, and the CAMBRIA every Wednesday in each week, that the Public may be assured of two cheap and expeditious Conveyances to and from London weekly. The Directors hope in a short time to complete their arrangements to have Steam Packets leave London and Yarmouth every other day.
[Cambria and Albion were for sale from July 1824 and were obtained by the LYN SP Co, and registered by them in early 1826; in March 1825 Hero and Victory were added to their fleet.]

In February 1826, the premises of the LYN SP Co at Yarmouth and their steam vessel Albion were for sale.


Wooden paddle steamer William Penn, built Humble & Hurry, Liverpool, 1833, 550grt, 301nrt, 160.3 x 25.3 x 6.8 ft, engines 160hp, owned Waterford Commercial S N Co., registered Waterford 1837. ON 14217. More detail.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 17 September 1833]:
OF THE FINE NEW STEAM-PACKET WILLIAM PENN. This beautiful vessel was launched at noon, yesterday, from Messrs. Humble, Hurry and Co.'s yard. She is the property of John Tobin, the owner of the Gypsey and St. Patrick vessels, in the trade between this port and Waterford, but we are not aware of the particular line which she is destined to take up. Every preparation being made, she went off the stocks in good style, a few minutes after twelve, amidst the clamations of a crowd of spectators, including many of the fair sex, without the slightest accident. The William Penn is a beautiful model, of 512 tons burthen, measuring 161 feet in keel, her extreme length being upwards of 171 feet. She is 25 feet 9 inches in the beam and with her paddle boxes, which are 19 feet feet, her entire breadth is 44 feet 9 inches, which proves to much for the graving docks here, and she will, consequently, be sent to Holyhead to be coppered. She is fitted up with two engines of 85 horse power each, made by Messrs. George Forrester and Co., of Vauxhall-road, on the newest and most approved principle.


Wooden paddle steamer Margaret, built Humble & Milcrest, Liverpool, 1835, 632grt, 370nrt, 185.0 x 26.1 x 18.0, engines 230hp by G Forrester, Liverpool. ON 1306. First owner J. Tobin, Liverpool, then H Littledale, Liverpool. Registered Liverpool 1835. Owned British & N American SP Co, Glasgow from 1842. Reduced to sail only 1856. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 13 December 1836]:
Margaret, (steamer), from Waterford, at this port, with loss of head, cutwater, and other damage, having been in contact with a barque.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 04 January 1838]:
SALE, The fine Steam-boat, MARGARET, 370 25-94 tons register; fastened throughout with composition bolts, instead of treenails, has two engines of 112-horse power each, and consumes about one ton of coals per hour; cylinders 56 inches, with five feet stroke, made by Messrs. George Forrester and Co. Vauxhall Foundry. She was built by Messrs. Humble and Milcrest, the latter end 1835; sails remarkably fast, and carries large cargo on a small draft water. Length 185 feet o inches, Breadth 26 feet 1.5 inches, Depth 18 feet. For further particulars, apply to BOLD and STARKEY.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 02 July 1838]:
For CORK, The powerful Steamer MARGARET, Captain RICHARD GOSSEN, is intended to sail from Clarence Dock Basin, Tomorrow, (Tuesday,) the 3d July, at six o'Clock in the Evening. For freight or passage apply to J. A. and R. FORSHAW, 6, Goree-plazzas. N.B. Shippers are respectfully requested to give particular instructions respecting Goods intended for the above conveyance, as they have been received and forwarded by other vessels to Cork, although the shipping notes expressly stated to go by the Margaret.


Wooden paddle steamer Liverpool, built Humble & Milcrest, Liverpool, 1837, 1140grt, 559nrt, 213.7 x 25.5 x 19.0, engines 468ihp by G Forrester, Liverpool. ON 1306. First vessel built specifically for transatlantic steam service - owned Transatlantic Steamship Co. Was second steamer to cross - after Royal William which had been chartered for that voyage. Made 6 voyages Liverpool - New York. Then owned by combined company, P & O S N Co, 1840, for Southampton - Alexandria service, renamed Great Liverpool. P&O history, More history. Wrecked 24-2-1846 off Finisterre.

Image of P&O steamship Liverpool at Malta, from NMM, Greenwich.

[from Liverpool Telegraph - Wednesday 18 October 1837]:
Saturday forenoon, at eleven o'clock, a large steam-ship, the property of Sir John Tobin, was launched from the yard of Messrs. Humble and Milcrest, Trentham-street, Salthouse Dock. This fine vessel was built in a sort of dock constructed for the purpose, and the men were employed, for several days previously to the launch, in clearing all away for the operation. The morning was beautifully fine, and the ship-yards in the vicinity were occupied by immense crowds of all classes of people, amongst whom were numbers of ladies. Shortly after eleven o'clock, the huge hull was set in motion, and was smoothly and safely launched to the bosom of that element where, we hope, she is destined long and safely to glide, and to be a source of wealth for her enterprising owner. On her way she snapped the stay rope, and an another was instantly lowered, which she dragged for a considerable distance before she was held in check. A small brig, which was crossing her course, was caught by the bowsprit. The latter was slewed round as though she had been a chip on the face of the water. The vessel as she lay on the stocks, was an object of general admiration. She is, we understand, to be called the Liverpool, but what trade she is intended for we have not been able to learn. She is 240 feet in length, from stem to taffrail, 57 feet from paddle to paddle, and 20 feet in depth. Her burden by measurement, is 1,042 tons, but she is capable of carrying 1,500 tons. Her engines are in course of manufacture, at the foundry of Messrs. Forrest and Co., Vauxhall Road, and will be of 460 horsepower. She will cost, it is estimated, when complete, upwards of £45,000.

Image of Liverpool making a trans-Atlantic crossing, after Samuel Walters:

[Another image of her crossing Atlantic, after Samuel Walters].

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 December 1838]:
PASSAGE OF THE STEAMER LIVERPOOL. -- Mr. Shaw, the Marine Manager to the Transatlantic Steam-ship Company, who, it will be recollected, joined the Liverpool, steam-ship, at Cork, has published, in the New York papers, the following account of the passage from Cove:
New York, November 23, 1838. So much kind anxiety having been shown by the American community for the absence of the Liverpool, steam-ship, so long after her first departure from Europe, it is due from me to state explicitly the cause of her non-arrival before this morning; and, in going into the circumstances, I shall be excused if I compress them into the smallest compass consistent with a knowledge of facts. That vessel left Liverpool at one o'clock, p.m., of the 20th ult[Oct]., and with a sufficiency of fuel to navigate her across the Atlantic under unfavourable circumstances..... [excerpts]: .. problems with adjusting engine after leaving Cove during gales - so put back for repairs ... Left Cove again 6th inst [Nov], arrived New York pilot ground in 16 days 17.5 hours ..... average speed 8 miles....arrived with 6 days coal still on board ...consumption of coal less than 3cwt per mile ..

Image of Liverpool when wrecked [From Illustrated London News - 14 March 1846]



Wooden paddle steamer Bahiana, built Humble and Milcrest, Liverpool, 1838, launch 10 July, 250 tons, engines by Rigby, Hawarden, for Brazilian Steam Navigation Company. Arrived Brazil 1839.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 13 July 1838]:
LAUNCH OF THE BAHIANA. The second vessel for the line of steam-packets on the coast of Brazil, was launched on the 10th instant by Messrs. Humble and Milcrest, and is called the Bahiana, from the port of Bahia being the first at which the packets are to touch after leaving Rio de Janeiro. The Bahiana will proceed in a few days to join the St. Sebastian, at Hawarden, on the River Dee, to take her engines on board.

[from Chester Courant - Tuesday 02 April 1839]:
THE SAINT SEBASTIAO AND THE BAHIANA STEAMERS. The Saint Sebastian steamer, of which we spoke on her arrival from Liverpool, made, on Sunday, an excursion outside the bar, having on board, besides a great number of shareholders of the Brazilian Steam Navigation Company, his excellency the minister of finances, Capt. Nicholson, commander of the U. S. naval division, Capt. Herbert, commander of H. B. M. sloop of war Calliope, and many other persons invited by the directors of the company. After twelve o'clock, his excellency Sr. Cahoon, went below, where an elegant breakfast had been prepared, and during which toasts to the health of H. M. the Emperor of the Brasil. H. M. the Queen of Great Britain, the President of the U. S., and H. M. the King of the French, were drunk, and received with great cheers, the respective national airs being performed by the excellent band - from the United States frigate Independence. After a short cruise outside the bar the steamer returned, and from the fort of Santa Cruz to the anchorage she took only took twelve minutes. The Saint Sebastiao steamer is of 250 tons burden and 100-horse power. Her machinery is the most perfect ever seen in this part of the world, and her appearance is in every respect that of a mail packet, both as regards good order and cleanliness. The accommodations of the main cabin and the ladies and gentlemen's cabin must be seen in order to be duly appreciated. they are fitted up with great elegance, and contain all desirable comforts. To all these good qualities, the Saint Sebastiao joins others no less important; the vibration is scarcely felt, and the machinery works so easy as not to cause any noise. The captain and engineers of the Saint Sebastian report most favourably on the efficient state of the boat and engines, both of which were severely tried by the gales they encountered on their voyage out. The Bahiana, which by the last accounts had arrived at Bahia, is also spoken of in high terms by her captain and engineers. The engines, during the passage of the two boats, performed their work, so well, that no part of them was ever out of order; in fact there was not even a single screw loose. From the Journal de Commercio of January 22. (We understand the above machinery was supplied from the manufactory of our respected neighbours, Messrs. Rigby and Son, of Hawarden.)




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Clarke (also Clark) & Nickson (also Nixon), Liverpool; later Clarke, Liverpool. All wooden.
Druid 1823
St Patrick 1825
Sailing Vessels:
[Pacific SV 1821]; [Grace SV 1826]?; [Isabel SV 1828]; [Theodosia SV 1830]; [Denison SV 1830];
[Mary Hartley SV 1836 ]; [Jamaica SV 1838]; [Manilla SV 1839]; [Urgent SV 1840]; [Lydia SV 1841];
[Winifred SV 1842]; [Jaeger SV 1843]; [Bellairs SV 1845];
[Shand SV 1851]; [Liverpool 1852]Powder Barge.

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From 1803 as Mottershead & Hutchinson, then when Edward Hutchinson died around 1813, Christopher Hayes became a partner with John Mottershead. Later Hayes's son (also Christopher) joined and in 1834 John Mottershead (sen) died. His son (also John) carried on until 1843. Sailing vessels they built.
Princess Charlotte 1816
Conde de Palmella 1820
Britannia 1821
Cambria 1821
Lady Stanley 1821
Duke of Lancaster 1822
St Patrick 1822 later Restorador Lusitano
Seacombe 1822
St David 1822
Albion 1822 later Xiase Xavery
Emerald Isle 1823
Lady Rodney 1823
Alice 1824
Maria 1824
Mona 1825
Innisfail 1825
Conde de Cea 1826
Gypsey 1828
Ribble 1829
William Fawcett 1829
Liverpool 1830
Eleanor 1833
Admiral 1835
Windermere 1835
Hercules 1835
Emerald Isle 1835
Sailing vessels:
[Baffin SV whaler 1820], [Huskisson SV 1820], [Boode SV 1823], [Arabian SV 1825], [Sandbach SV 1828],
[Johnstone SV 1832], [Glanmaleire SV 1832], [Otterspool SV 1834], [Cora SV 1834]. [Earl Powis SV 1838]

Wooden paddle steamer St David, built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1822, 58nrt, 78.11 x 15.6 x 7.4 ft, ON 3899, first owner Lunell et al, Bristol, for Bristol - Newport service. Converted to sail 1840. Capsized near Flat-holm 22-8-1877 on passage Cardiff to Highbridge [near Burnham]. More history - which gives builder J James, whereas Liverpool newspapers quote Mottershead & Hayes..
Note that another St David was built in 1824 - by Mulvey at Chester.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 11 October 1822]:
on Thursday was launched, from the building yard of Messrs of Mottershead and Hayes, a schooner-rigged steam-packet, named St. David, intended as a regular packet to ply on the Severn, from Bristol to Newport, Chepstow, &c.

Advert for intended sailing from Bristol to Newport, 1822.

[from Bristol Mirror - Saturday 20 March 1824]:
CHEPSTOW AND NEWPORT steam packets. The DUKE OF BEAUFORT will sail between BRISTOL and CHEPSTOW next Week as follows.... The LADY RODNEY and ST. DAVID will sail between BRISTOL and NEWPORT next Week as follows....

[from Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Friday 24 August 1877]:
BRIDGEWATER, Aug. 22: The ketch Saint David, of Bristol, from Cardiff to this port, with esparto, capsized to-day, between the Holmes; the crew took to their boat.

Wooden paddle steamer Emerald Isle, built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1823, 251nrt, 145.9 x 23.2 ft, 140 hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, first owned at Liverpool, as St Patrick SP Co., for Liverpool - Kingstown service. Sold 1835. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 16 May 1823]:
On Saturday last, a beautiful new steam-packet, called the Emerald Isle, was launched from Messrs Mottershead and Heyes's yard, Trentham-street. This vessel belongs to the St. George Steam-packet Company, and is the largest and most powerful steam-vessel on this river. She is intended, we believe, to ply between this port and Dublin. [later reported to have been re-engined by Fawcett & Preston]

[from Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal - Tuesday 30 August 1825]:
ACCIDENT TO THE EMERALD ISLE STEAM-PACKET. At one clock on Monday, an accident occurred to the Emerald Isle steam-packet, on her voyage to Bristol, when about 200 yards from Kingstown Harbour, by the breaking of the principal lever of the wheels. We are happy, however, to ascertain, that neither the passengers nor the crew suffered any injury, the former of whom were landed in safety on the vessel putting back.

Wooden paddle steamer Lady Rodney, built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1823, 100grt, 58nrt, 80.2 x 15.1 ft, 28 hp engines by Fawcett & Littledale, first owned at Newport (S Wales), registered Newport 1823, for Newport - Bristol service. By 1835 owned Bristol General S N Co. More history.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 29 May 1823]:
A beautiful steam-packet, called the Lady Rodney intended to ply between Bristol and Newport, in Monmouthshire, having a superior double engine of 28-horse power, by Messrs. Fawcett and Littledales, was Saturday launched from the yard of Messrs. Mottershead and Heyes. There is not any vessel of her size, either as regards external appearance or interior accommodation, that has so justly excited the admiration of the public; and, from the extreme facility with which she performed her various evolutions on her first trial the same afternoon, she may considered a first-rate packet of her class.

[from Bristol Mirror - Saturday 24 May 1823]:
Newport and Bristol Steam Packet, LADY RODNEY. The Public are respectfully informed, that the New Packet, THE LADY RODNEY, built expressly for the station (agreeably to the announcement in the newspapers in October last), will commence plying between NEWPORT and BRISTOL, in a few days.
The Lady Rodney is a beautiful and very superior Vessel of her class, she has a double Engine, of the power of 28 Horses, and her accommodations are of the best description. Passengers going by her, may be assured of receiving every attention. To facilitate the embarkation and landing at Newport, the Proprietors have purchased a piece of ground, adjoining the Bridge, which is the principal entrance to the town and have formed a good and commodious Gravel Slip, from which the communication to the Packet, which will lie alongside, will be, at all states of the tide, safe and easy. ... J. & W. JONES, Agents.
[personal note: my first experience of a paddle steamer excursion was from Rodney parade in Newport to Bristol and back - in late 1940s]

Wooden paddle steamer Mona, built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1825, 142nrt, 124.8 x 20.4 x 10.0 ft 100 hp engines by Fawcett & Co, first owned Liverpool S P Co, then Dublin & Liverpool SN Co, then (1826) City of Dublin SP Co. Registered Dublin 1831. Broken up 1847. More history.

[from Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Monday 18 July 1825]:
FOR LIVERPOOL, THE NEW AND ELEGANT STEAM-PACKET SHAMROCK, SAMUEL MONTGOMERY, Commander, Will Sail with GOODS and Passengers, on SUNDAY next, 24th July, at Half-past FIVE o'Clock, Evening. THE SUBSCRIBERS beg to inform their Friends and the Public that the New Steam-Packet MONA, is now getting in her engines, and will be ready for Sea about the 1st of August, when they will be able to dispatch TWO VESSELS from each Port every week, affording thereby an additional accommodation to the Importers and Shippers of Goods. LINENS received and forwarded free of any Shipping charge, by SLOAN, CHARLEY,& SLOAN. 28, James's-street. In Liverpool, please apply to Mr. JOHN M'CAMMON, 33, Brunswick-street.

Wooden paddle steamer Innisfail, built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1826, 169nrt, 128.6 x 22.2 x 14.5 ft 200 hp engines, first owned Dublin & Cork SN Co, registered Cork. By 1835 St George S P Co. By 1843 at London. More history.

[from Cork Constitution - Saturday 07 July 1827]:
FOR DUBLIN DIRECT. The St. GEORGE STEAM-PACKET COMPANY'S BEAUTIFUL NEW steam-packet, INNISFAIL, HUGH ROCHE, Commander; 350 Tons Burthen, and 120 Horse Power; BUILT expressly for the Dublin and Cork line - is intended to sail for Dublin direct, on WEDNESDAY the 11th of July at Five o'clock in the Afternoon precisely, with Passengers and Goods. Cabin Fare,. ..15s. 0d. Deck 7s 6d. Her accommodations are elegant and extensive, and every attention will he given to tender the passage safe and expeditious.

Wooden paddle steamer Gypsey (also Gipsey), built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1828, 210grt, 139.3 x 22.6 ft, 150 hp engines, first owned Liverpool, then Waterford from 1838. More history. Note that a sailing ship, Gipsey, was built by Mottershead and Hayes, for Tobin, in 1826.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 12 May 1828]:
A TRIAL OF A POWER. A short time since, the steamer Gipsy, belonging to Sir John Tobin, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Mottershead and Heyes. On Monday last, her apparatus being in a sufficient state of forwardness, an experiment to ascertain her rate of sailing was determined on. Various speculations as to her powers and properties had been indulged in by those who had seen her in the process of building, and a considerable difference of opinion existed, as to her form and model, amongst those professing to be critics in naval architecture. About two o'clock she was under weigh in the river, and cruised about in search of an opponent, but, finding none but cargo boats, with which a competition would not be considered a fair test, she sought higher game. The starting of one of the Government Post-office packets afforded the desired opportunity. At five o'clock the Thetis, a very fine and swift boat, of one hundred and forty horse power, commanded by Captain Townley, passed down the river, and the Gipsy was laid on alongside. As far as the Rock Point the Thetis had the advantage. To place the Gipsy more on an equality in point of ease and trim, the fore and maintop masts and gaffs were sent down, and having taken in her bunting, with which she had been decorated, she presented less resistance to the wind, and, shooting forward, soon regained the ground she had lost. The Thetis, in her turn, underwent all the trimming of which she was susceptible, by sending down her main gaff, &c. The struggle was then kept up with little advantage to either, except that which was alternately derived from the circumstance of each in turn coming within the influence of the sea and current, which was created by the working of the other boat. Thus, like two mighty leviathans of the deep putting forth all their gigantic energies, they strove for the mastery, but in vain, on a line of thirteen miles from the Rock Point to the Floating Light, being a distance, from the pierhead, of sixteen miles, which was run, against a head-wind, blowing fresh, in one hour and a half. The Thetis, being then about a ship's length in advance, the Gipsy was put about, agreeable to design, and, passing round the Floating Light, proceeded homeward. The Gipsy is designed for the Irish trade, commanded by Captain William Corlett, about three hundred tons burthen, and upwards of one hundred and forty feet in length, propelled by engines of one hundred and thirty horse power, from the celebrated manufactory of Messrs. Fawcett and Preston, of this town, whose skill was never more clearly proved than by the ease, freedom, and power with which the engines acted on the present occasion. The result of the trip was considered highly satisfactory, having ascertained the fast-sailing powers and other good qualities of the boat; and the party who had been invited to witness her performance, returned not less pleased with the trip than with the urbanity and attention they had received from the worthy and spirited proprietor of the steamer. The experiment, we understand, was repeated on Tuesday evening, by running against the Etna, Government Post-office steamer. The Gipsy's position, at starting, half-length in advance of the Etna, was maintained during a run as far as the Northeast Buoy.

[from Lloyd's List - Friday 13 November 1829]:
Waterford, 10th Nov. The Gipsey (Steamer) from Liverpool, arrived 7th instant, with damage, and leaky, having struck on a rock inside Tuskar, where she lay some time.

[Waterford Mail - Saturday 02 September 1843]:
Arrived. Gipsey (steamer) Burgess, Bristol, g.c.

Wooden paddle steamer Conde de Cea, built Liverpool, 1826, 75 tons, for Portuguese owner, Da Costa. In LR (Underwriters) 1829, as intended for coastal service at Lisbon - presumably as a Tagus estuary ferry. Since previous vessels bought by Da Costa had been built by Mottershead & Hayes, it is plausible that so was this one. She sailed from Liverpool, 22 July 1826 and arrived Lisbon 13 August 1826. Conde de Cea was a Portuguese noble title. Some history of early Portuguese steam vessels, in Portuguese. See also wrecks of early Portuguese steam vessels.

[from Morning Herald (London) - Monday 24 July 1826]:
Liverpool. Vessels cleared outwards. Saturday, July 22. Conde de Cea, - , for Lisbon (steam-vessel).

[from Lloyd's List - Tuesday 29 August 1826]:
Lisbon. 13 [Aug, arrived] Conde de Cea (steam vessel) Liverpool.

Wooden paddle steamer Hercules, built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1835, 265nrt, 147.6 x 24.8 x 15.1 ft, 40 hp engines, first owned St George SP Co. registered Dublin. By 1844 registered Liverpool, and by 1853 registered Chester. Broken up 1862. More history.
For launch information.

Wooden paddle steamer Emerald Isle, built Mottershead, Liverpool, 1835, 248nrt, 139.3 x 24.4 x 14.6 ft, 150 hp engines, ON 5318, first owned St George S P Co, registered Dublin, owned Hull from 1852. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 16 February 1835]:
LAUNCHES. On Saturday forenoon there was launched, from the building-yard of Messrs. Mottershead, Heyes, and Son, Trentham-street, a fine steam-ship, of large dimensions, belonging to the St. George Steam-packet Company. The Directors intend placing her, when ready for sea, under the command of Captain Wilson, who, for some years, commanded the Lord Blayney steamer out of this port.

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Caleb & James Smith, Liverpool. List including sailing vessels.
John o'Gaunt 1825
Earl of Roden 1826
William Fawcett 1828

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Thomas Bland & Peter Chaloner, Liverpool. After 1830, when Bland retired, known as Peter Chaloner, Sons & Co; then as Peter Chaloner, Sons, & Cato. In 1838, Peter Cato left to set up independently, so named Peter Chaloner, Son & Co again. They also built a number of sailing vessels. All wooden.
Royal Mail 1822
Shamrock 1824
Thunderer 1841

Sailing vessels built by them.
[Un-named SVs]; [Lalla Rookh or Marmion SV 1823]; [Nandi 1827]; [Bland SV 1829]; [Reindeer SV 1832];
[Isis SV 1835]; [Dorothea SV 1835]; [Elizabeth Wood SV 1839]? ; [Mary Ellen SV 1839]; [St Vincent SV 1840]; [Albert (Lightship) 1840]; [Panope SV 1841]; [Achilles SV 1844];
[Favourite SV 1845]; [Georgina SV 1846]; [Endymion SV 1847]; [Empress SV 1847]; [Monarchy SV 1851];
[Eclipse SV 1851]; [Lancashire SV 1853]; [West Derby SV 1855] ....


Wooden steamer Thunderer , built P Chaloner, Liverpool, 1841. Launched as Jupiter. Sailed to Rio de Janeiro 1842. SBS records screw - but newspapers do not confirm that.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 20 September 1841]:
LAUNCH OF A STEAMER. On Friday at noon, a handsome well-built steamer, of about 300 tons burthen, intended for the Brazilian Mail service, was launched from the yard of Messrs. Challoner, Son, and Co. It is called the "Jupiter", and has a well-executed figure head of "The Thunderer", armed with his "bolts."

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 15 April 1842]:
On 5th Feb., in lat. 14 20 S., long. 34 W, spoke the Thunderer, (steamer) hence to Rio Janeiro.
[Reported Thunderer (steamer), sailed 16 Dec 1841, capt Covey, 158 tons, for Rio de Janeiro.]

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 02 May 1842]:
Thunderer (steamer) hence at Rio de Janeiro.

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William & Richard Haselden, Liverpool & Ellesmere Port.
[Hellespont SV 1824]
Britannia 1825 (later Correio Brazilero)
George IV 1826 (later Enrique)
City of Londonderry 1826


Wooden paddle steamer Britannia, built William & Richard Haselden, Liverpool, 1825, 350nrt, 123 x 23 x 6 ft, engines 130 hp by Fawcett & Co, for service in Brazil. In 1845 named Correio Brazilero. More history.

[from Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Monday 29 August 1825]:
Liverpool, August 25. - The steam-boat Britannia, was launched from Messrs. W. and R. Haselden's building-yard on Wednesday, the 17th inst., she appears to be a remarkably strong vessel, and went off in very fine style, to the admiration of a great concourse of people. She is for Messrs. Cropper, Benson and Co. and intended for the Brazilian Government.

[from Liverpool Saturday's Advertiser - Saturday 14 January 1826]:
The Britannia (steamer) sailed from Cork for Rio de Janeiro, 8th inst.


Wooden paddle steamer George IV (also George the Fourth), built William & Richard Haselden, Liverpool, 1826, engines 130 hp by Fawcett & Co, owned Liverpool & Newry SP Co., and later by St George SP Co.
Converted to a sailing vessel (barque) by Talbot, Liverpool, 1838, owned Pim. Sailed to Australia and around the world. For sale 1848 renamed as barque Enrique, 126 x 30 x 13 ft, 273 tons, of Montevideo.
Note another vessel of the same name was built by Evans, Rotherhithe, for use from Southampton in 1826; and in 1822 yet another was built at Bristol for the Bristol - Cork service.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 19 May 1826]:
The beautiful steam-packet, George IV, belonging to the Liverpool and Newry Steam Navigation Company, will be launched from Messrs. Haselden's yard, west side of the Salthouse Dock, on Monday next. She is of the first class, and intended to ply between this port and Newry, and to be impelled by Mr. Fawcett's engines of 130-horse power.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 26 May 1826]:
On Monday last, a fine steam-vessel, the George IV, to carry engines of 130-horse power, and intended to run between this port and Newry, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Haselden. She went off in fine style, amidst the shouts and gratulations of numerous spectators

[from Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser - Tuesday 17 October 1826]:
On Saturday morning week, on board the George the Fourth steam vessel, on the passage from Liverpool to Newry, during a violent gale, the Lady of Robert Power, Esq. was safely delivered of a son. It happened, unfortunately, that no medical attendant was on board. The fortitude and presence of mind of the lady, under such critical circumstances, were, we are informed, truly astonishing. She and her infant, we are happy to learn, are doing well.

[from Liverpool Mercantile Gazette and Myers's Weekly Advertiser - Monday 03 September 1827]:
NEWRY STEAM PACKET. The GEORGE THE FOURTH, G. S. PARSONS, RN, Will take in goods this day in the Brunswick Dock and will sail for NEWRY, from George's Dock Pier as usual. GIBSON & BRACKENRIDGE, Agents, No. 2, John-street, Liverpool, JEFFERSON & GODFREY, Agents, Newry.

[from Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser - Tuesday 18 December 1827]:
There have been few instances the superiority of steam navigation more striking than one which occurred last week between Liverpool and Newry. The George the Fourth was in the river on Thursday morning with her inward cargo; she docked, discharged, took in her outward cargo, and sailed before Friday noon; arrived at Newry (in the face of a heavy gale from the westward) Saturday; took large cargo, and sailed for Liverpool the same night (the weather being still very unfavourable), and landed her cargo at Liverpool, on Monday morning; only five days having been consumed in making the three voyages, and loading and discharging three cargoes.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 11 January 1836]:
For NEWRY, The well-known Steamer GEORGE THE FOURTH, - G. S. Parsons, R. N., Commander. This Packet, having completed her repairs, will resume her Station, and Sail for NEWRY TO-MORROW, ...

[from Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser - Saturday 09 June 1838]:
THE SAINT GEORGE STEAM PACKET COMPANY'S POWERFUL STEAMERS will leave WARREN POINT this week as follows: GEORGE THE FOURTH, ... HERALD ....

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 19 June 1838]:
The author, then, of "Nelsonian Reminiscences" is Lieutenant Parsons, R. N., who, after serving his King and his country in the navy, and principally in the scenes which his pen so cleverly depicted, commanded, for several years, the George the Fourth, steamer, between Liverpool and Newry. Mr. Parsons is a perfect gentleman as well as a gallant officer, and we feel great pleasure in adding, that the author of "Nelsonian Reminiscences" is a resident of the good old town of Liverpool. May he continue to enjoy life, health, and prosperity, and delight the world by "fighting his battles o'er again".
[Sept 1838 reported Lt Parsons RN appointed commander of Leeds steamer, on Liverpool - Havre service]

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 28 February 1840]:
THE "GEORGE THE FOURTH". It will be in the recollection of our readers that a steam-ship of this name was converted into a sailing vessel, and most successfully, under the superintendence of Mr. R. Talbot, shipbuilder, who has since also reconstructed the "Cumberland" in the same manner. Both ships have turned out to be "clippers". The "George the Fourth", Capt. Brownless, has made a voyage to Sydney, and thence to Rio de la Plata and home, in rapid style, beating, in her homeward passage, no fewer than four of the crack ships of this port, by from 10 to 21 days. She is of extraordinary beam, and will carry any weight of canvas. She is, we learn, the private property of Mr. Pinn [sic Pim?], of the St. George's Steam Packet Company. She sails this day, we learn, for New Zealand, with a valuable cargo.

[from Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Monday 24 January 1848]:
Sale: On TUESDAY, February 7, at Two precisely, THE Montevidean Barque ENRIQUE, 273 tons, British measurement, originally a steamer (George the Fourth); built at Liverpool in 1825, and partially copper-fastened; has solid timbers amidships, and was sheathed with heavy yellow metal about 1845; is well found in stores, and adapted either for a coal hulk or steam pier, or for employment in the Montevidean trade, under which flag she is at present registered. Her dimensions are: Length on deck, 126 ft.; breadth on deck amidships, 30ft.; depth of hold, 13ft. Now lying in the London Dock. The sails are at Messrs. H. Spike and Co.'s Sail Loft, Wapping. ...


Wooden paddle steamer City of Londonderry, built William & Richard Haselden, Ellesmere Port, 1826, 308grt, 231nrt, 139.6 x 24.8 x 14.6 ft, engines 160hp by Clegg, Liverpool, owned Liverpool & Londonderry SP Co., registered Liverpool. By 1830 owned City of Dublin SP Co, registered Dublin. By 1838 registered London and lengthened, trading to Spain and Portugal. Broken up 1845. More history.

[from Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Wednesday 15 November 1826]:
The neighbourhood of Whitby Locks [now called Ellesmere Port] presented a most animated scene on Wednesday week, an immense number people having assembled to witness the launch of a magnificent steam-vessel for the Liverpool and Londonderry Company, from the yard of the Messrs Haselden. This remarkably fine vessel entered her destined element in a most majestic manner, and much to the gratification of the assembled multitude. She is called the City of Londonderry, and is intended to sail between that port and Liverpool. She is upwards of 400 tons, very lengthy, built in most substantial manner, and is, in every respect, highly creditable to the builders, Messrs. W. and R. Haselden. - Liverpool Mercury.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 26 March 1827]:
Liverpool and Londonderry Steam Navigation Company. The New Vessel, CITY OF LONDONDERRY, will be ready to sail from hence for Londonderry on Saturday next, the 21st instant. The strength, capacity, and superior Steam-power of this Vessel are such as enable the Company to say, that there is every reasonable prospect of a safe, regular, and expeditious communication being opened and established between this Port, Londonderry, and the more distant districts of the North and Northwest of Ireland.
The Company have selected a steady, careful, and experienced Commander in Captain Alexander Keay, who, from his intimate knowledge of the Navigation, proved steadiness and proper conduct during many years, in his former capacity as Commander of one of the sailing Traders, appeared to the Company as a person well qualified for such an important trust.
The Ladies' and Gentlemen's Cabins of the City of Londonderry are spacious and most comfortably furnished. The Berths lofty, wide, and well ventilated. The Stabling and Houses on Deck suitable for horses, etc. have been erected on the most improved construction; the Vessel is in every respect inferior to none yet launched. The accommodations for Goods are very capacious, no exertions shall be wanting on the part of the Company to afford the Shippers and Importers every possible facility and despatch.

[from Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Saturday 14 April 1827]:
City of Londonderry Steam Vessel. The fine vessel, the City of Londonderry, built expressly for the purpose of plying between this port and Liverpool, arrived here on Thursday last. She is a fine substantial vessel, built of the best British oak, and finished throughout in the very best manner. Her keel is 139 feet long; length over all 150 ft; width, 40 feet over all, including paddle-boxes. She is schooner-rigged. Her admeasurement, by builder's register is 403 tons, by Custom-house register, 308 tons, of which 77 tons are deducted for machinery. She is capable of carrying about 300 tons of goods, besides affording the most abundant and comfortable accommodation to passengers. She has two cabins fitted up most superbly - one for ladies, another for gentlemen, with separate state-rooms, and water closets. The cabins are lofty, well ventilated, and elegantly lighted. There is a fine steam cooking apparatus, and there are stalls for upwards of twenty horses. The machinery is really beautiful, combining all the improvements which science and experience have been able to devise. The paddles are worked by two engines, of 75 horse power each, and the weight of the machinery is upwards of 100 tons.




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J Rathbone, Liverpool.
Eclipse 1823
Liffey 1824
Lord Blaney 1825
Satellite 1826
Erin 1826

Wooden paddle steamer Liffey, built J Rathbone, Liverpool, 1824, 202nrt, 131.7 x 22.1 x 12.3 ft, 120hp engines by Fawcett & Co, owned Dublin & Liverpool SN Co., registered Liverpool. By 1843 owned City of Dublin SN Co, registered Dublin. Broken up 1846. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 04 November 1825]:
THE DUBLIN AND LIVERPOOL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY'S VESSELS, sail, as under, from the Prince's Dock basin. - FOR DUBLIN, MONA, Monday Evening, at 6 o'clock; MERSEY, Wednesday Morning, 11 ditto; FOR BELFAST, The LIFFEY, sails for Belfast every Monday and returns every Thursday. She will be ready to receive Goods to-morrow morning, and will sail on Monday evening at 7 o'clock. A Person is always in attendance at the Company's Store, on the north side of the Prince's Dock Basin, to receive Goods intended for shipment by any of the above vessels. WILLIAM LAIRD, Agent, 10, Water-street.

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John Wilson was a Liverpool shipbuilder from 1807; the 950 ton frigate HMS Havannah was a memorable launch in 1811. He died in 1835 (aged 64) and his sons William and Thomas took control. William died around 1840, leaving Thomas in charge. They relocated to Birkenhead in 1850 until closing in 1853.
[note a shipbuilder Wilson was active at Chester 1822-7]
Prince Llewellyn 1822
Henry Bell 1823
Town of Liverpool 1824
Severn 1825
Leeds 1826
Express 1832
St George 1832
Victory 1832
Thomas Stanley 1834
City of Limerick 1835
Athlone 1835
Ocean 1836
Royal William 1836
Queen Victoria 1837
William Stanley 1837
Royal Victoria 1837
Duchess of Kent 1838?
Royal Adelaide 1838
Reindeer 1838
St. Sebastião 1838
Prince 1838
Princess 1839
Ethiope 1839
Paraense 1839
Oriental 1840
Duke of Cornwall 1841
Lady Mary Wood 1841 (later Oenarang)
Hindostan 1842
Bentinck 1843
Iron Duke 1844
Queen 1844
Albert 1845
Thomas Wilson 1845
Amazonas (Brazilian steam frigate) 1851, built Birkenhead

Sailing vessels built by Wilsom,..

[Duke of Lancaster 1820]
[Lalla Rookh / Marmion SV 1823[
[
Euphrates SV 1834]
[John O'Gaunt SV 1835]
[Duke of Lancaster SV 1844]

Wooden paddle steamer Henry Bell, built Wilson & Gladstone, Liverpool, 1823, 112nrt, 111.9 x 18.1 x 11.4 ft, two 30hp engines by Fawcett & Littledale, owned Mersey & Clyde SN Co, registered Liverpool. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 11 July 1823]:

[Lalla Rookh / Marmion SV 1823] Yesterday was launched, from Messrs. Wilson and Co.'s yard, amidst the cheers of an immense assemblage, the steam vessel Henry Bell. We understand this vessel has been built with a view to facilitate still more the carriage of goods between this Port and Glasgow, being intended, to discharge and load at the Bromilow; and will, therefore, from the punctuality and speed attending a vessel of that description, be an important acquisition to the manufacturing and other interests. accommodations for a few passengers are very superior.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 23 July 1829]:
On Monday, the 3rd of August, twelve o'clock, at the office of Buchanan and Browne, Chapel-street. The well known Steam Packet HENRY BELL, Burthen 112 42-94 tons per register, fitted with two Engines by Fawcett and Co. of thirty horse power each; now one of the packets employed by the Mersey and Clyde Steam Navigation Company, and fitted for the conveyance of goods and passengers; is a very strong-built fast-sailing vessel, well-found, and in complete repair. For inventory and further particulars, apply to James Allan, Agent to the Company, 10, Water-street, or to BUCHANAN and BROWNE, Brokers.


Wooden paddle steamer Severn, built J Wilson, Liverpool, 1825, 201nrt, 130.11 x 22.1 x 13.6 ft, two 60hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, owned Cork & Bristol SN Co, registered Dublin. More history Some more details of Severn around 1845.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 08 July 1825]:
On Saturday last, at twelve o'clock, a beautiful steam-packet was launched from Mr. John Watson's yard [sic, John Wilson]. She is of the burthen of 300 tons, will be propelled by engines of 120 horses' power, and is intended for the Cork Trade.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 15 December 1845]:
SALE OF THE STEAMER SEVERN. By J. T. GREGSON, On the 23d instant, at twelve o'clock, at the Trafalgar Dock, Liverpool, on board, where she now lays, and subject to conditions of sale then to be produced, under order of the Mortgagee. The well-known and substantial Steamer SEVERN, built by Wilson, engines by Fawcett, 216 tons register. Length 143 feet; Breadth 23 feet 1 inches; Depth 13 feet 6 inches; 140 horse-power, with all her Stores and Materials. The Vessel underwent a thorough repair in 1843. For further particulars apply to Messrs. KEIGHTLEY and BANNING, 3, Fenwick-street; to Mr. GEORGE JOBLING, 10, Oil-street; or to J. T. GREGSON, Broker, 4, North End Queen's Dock. May be viewed every day after Tomorrow, the 16th instant.


Wooden paddle steamer Express, built J Wilson, Liverpool, 1832, 169nrt, 134.9 x 20.8 ft, 110hp engines by Mather, Dixon, Liverpool, owned St George SP Co., registered Dublin. Launched as Courier. Eventually sold to Vietnam 1844. More history.

[from Liverpool Saturday's Advertiser - Saturday 09 June 1832]:
Launch. On Wednesday morning next, about half-past ten, will be launched from the building-yard of Messrs Wilson & Sons, Trentham-street, a splendid new steam-packet of 350 tons burthen belonging to the St George steam-packet company. This vessel which is to be called the Courier [sic], and to be commanded by Lieut. Chapman RN, of the war-office packet Lee, is intended for the Dublin and Bristol station and is expected to commence plying early in August. She will be fitted with beautiful engines of 70 horse power from the manufactory of Messrs Mather & Dixon Co of this town.

[from Bristol Mercury - Saturday 19 October 1833]:
IRISH PIGS. - No less than 2574 pigs have been imported into this city, from Ireland, since our last publication. Of this number, 839 were brought by the Nora Creina, 592 by the City of Bristol, 546 by the Water Witch, and the remainder by the Victory, Albion, and Express, Steam packets.

Bought by British businessman Robert Hunter on behalf of the King of Siam as a potential warship. Sailed from Liverpool August 1843. The King of Siam declined to purchase the steamer, so Hunter eventually sold her to their enemies, Vietnam (Cochinchina), but at a loss.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 19 September 1845]:
DEAR SIR, - I hereby certify to the utility of the application of your Smoke-Consuming Apparatus, of which I had a good opportunity of testing the merits in the steamer Express, while under my command, from August, 1843 to July, 1844, during a voyage from Liverpool to Singapore, Siam, and Calcutta; and I strongly recommend its general adoption, being convinced it fully answers the purposes intended, I am, dear Sir, Your most obedient servant, P. Brown


Wooden paddle steamer St George, built J Wilson, Liverpool, 1832, 164nrt, 135.1 x 20.1 ft, 55hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, owned St George SP Co., registered Dublin. By 1841 owned Prince Edward Island SN Co, arrived 1842, registered in Canada. By 1845 owned Quebec, then 1850 used as a tug in Newfoundland. Left St Johns for Cork and Liverpool on 15 January 1852 and posted missing with all 20 aboard lost. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 08 November 1831]:
NEW STEAMER. We understand that a splendid new steam. packet, to be called the St. George, belonging to the War-office Steam Packet Company, will be launched from the shipyard of those experienced builders, Messrs. Wilson and Sons, Trentham-street, on Monday, the 21st instant. She is intended for the Liverpool and Dublin station, and will be fitted with engines of 120 horse power, from the unrivalled manufactory of Messrs. Fawcett, Prestons, and Co., of this town.

[from Sun (London) - Monday 19 January 1852 ]:
The steamer St. George had been bought at New York, to ply between Liverpool, Cork, and St. John's, New Brunswick.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 17 April 1852]:
Missing Steamer. The steamer, St. George, Captain Husband, sailed from St. John's, Newfoundland, for Cork and this port, on the 15th of January, and has not since been heard of. She was a vessel of about 300 tons, with two engines of fifty horse power each. It is supposed that there were about twenty persons on board. She was built for the St George Steam-packet Company, at this port, and is now owned by a firm at Bristol, by whom she is insured at Lloyd's.


Wooden paddle steamer City of Limerick, built Wilson, Liverpool, 1835, 459grt, 269nrt, 143.0 x 22.5 x 15.9 ft, engine 190 hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON 5675. Built for British & Irish SPCo., founded 1836, which was closely related to the City of Dublin SP Co. 1859 broken up. More history

[from Dublin Evening Post - Saturday 29 August 1835]:
LAUNCH. CITY OF LIMERICK. On Wednesday, shortly after mid-day, was launched, from Messrs. Wilsons building-yard, the first of two steam packets built for the service of the Dublin Steam Packet Company. This splendid vessel, as she glided into her proper, although not her native, element, received the name The City of Limerick, amidst a general shout from the company assembled to witness her embarkation, all of whom repeated this expression when the City of Limerick was seen safely floating in the Mersey.
The architecture of the Limerick has been examined by a great number of scientific and other persons desirous of inspecting a vessel embracing all the improvements which the experience of this enterprising company has suggested or adopted in the construction of their craft. By these persons she has been pronounced the strongest and best fastened vessel ever launched in this port. The entire of her deck beams are lined with arched plates of iron, which not only effectually bind the sides of the vessel, but prevent the deck from ever yielding under the heat to which steam vessels are exposed. The peculiar mode of fastening those beams is well worthy of inspection. The entire planking of the vessel is effected without the aid of what are called treenails, instead of which the whole is attached by copper composition bolts, screwed inside, and which the possibility any of them starting is effectually prevented.
This vessel, on the plan of the iron steamers built by this company, will be divided into compartments by several iron plate bulkheads, which not only impart additional strength and stiffness, but, in a great degree, increase the security against accidents from either fire or water.
In addition to these peculiarities, every timber and plank throughout the vessel has been prepared and seasoned on the principle of Kyan's patent, which has already been satisfactorily proved in his Majesty's yard, Woolwich, to be a preventive against decay or dry rot. Probably, it will remembered, that a report, recommending its general adoption, has been presented to the House of Commons.
The Dublin Steam Packet Company have, by their coasting steam navigation, connected the Shannon with the Mersey, and their newly launched vessel received the name of the City of Limerick in compliment to that important and improving seaport. Both the City of Limerick and the Athlone, the name to be given to the second vessel, which will shortly be ready, are of larger dimensions than any ship hitherto built by the Dublin Company, the first which had sufficient courage and enterprise to undertake steam trading across the channel. The Limerick and the Athlone will be propelled by engines each of 200 horses power, made by Messrs. Fawcett and Co.
... The City of Limerick is the first vessel launched from the Corporation Ground to the north of Clarence Dock.

Wooden paddle steamer Athlone, built Wilson, Liverpool, 1835, 434grt, 264nrt, 145.4 x 14.6 x 10.5 ft[?], engine 190 hp by Fawcett & Preston. Owned City of Dublin SP Co. Mainly on Belfast - Liverpool service. Some more info.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 09 July 1847]:
Steamers Ashore. On Sunday morning last, the Sea-King steamer, which left Liverpool on Saturday for Belfast, ran on one of the Copeland Islands, during dense fog, and is expected to become a total wreck. The passengers were landed in safety, and a good deal of the cargo has been recovered. Not the slightest blame attaches to Captain Gowan.
On the same morning, and nearly at the same spot, a similar accident happened to the Athlone steamer, from Dublin to Belfast, but the latter vessel was got off, and sailed again for Dublin on Monday.


Wooden paddle steamer Ocean, built W & T Wilson, Liverpool, 1836, 507grt, 300 nrt, also 300 tons burthen, 154.7 x 22.6 ft, engine 240hp by Scott Sinclair & Co, for St George SP Co. More history.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 22 March 1836]:
STEAM BOAT LAUNCH. On Saturday, a steam packet, built for the St. George's Steam Navigation Company, was launched from the new building-yard, north of the Clarence Dock. The vessel, as she went off the stocks, was named by Mr. Drury, one of the proprietors, "The Ocean."

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 18 June 1838]:
For CORK, The St. George Steam-Packet Company's superior fast-sailing Steamer OCEAN, Captain Pile, with Goods and Passengers, from Clarence Dock, To-morrow, the 19th instant, at Seven o'Clock Evening. [first reported sailing Liverpool - Cork, 28 March 1838]


Wooden paddle steamer Royal William, built Wilson, Liverpool, 1836, launched June 1836, 564grt, 251nrt, 172.5 x 24.6 x 16.6 ft, engines 270 hp by Fawcett & Co, ON 8781, for City of Dublin SP Co. Also quoted as of tonnage 617. First trans-Atlantic steam vessel to depart from Liverpool. More history.

Image of Royal William from print, after painting by Samuel Walters, showing first trans-Atlantic voyage 14th July 1838 - NMMG.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 07 June 1836]:
LAUNCH OF A STEAMER. On Tuesday last, the Royal William, a steamer built for the City of Dublin Company, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Wilson, at the north end of the town. As she glided almost imperceptibly upon the bosom of Neptune, she exhibited a splendid specimen of the present style of naval architecture, which reflects great credit on the talented builders. Her burthen, we understand, is 570 tons; and she will be propelled by two engines of 130 horse power each, from the well known manufactory of Messrs. Fawcett and Preston. Mrs. W. E. Preston performed the baptismal ceremony; after which, a select number of ladies and gentlemen who had been invited to witness the launch, retired and partook of a cold collation, when success to the Royal William was drunk with applause. The Royal William is the first of a series of four steamers, which are now in progress of building for the City of Dublin Company.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 10 March 1837]:
Extraordinary speed. The splendid new steam packet Royal William, the property of the City of Dublin Company, made her trial of speed to Beaumaris on Saturday last, and arrived there in four hours and fifteen minutes from the time she left the Clarence Dock. Her return voyage was still more remarkable, as she performed the distance in three hours and fifty minutes, without any assistance from the wind, and very little from the tide, as it was neap. Taking into consideration that the trial was being made under the disadvantageous circumstance of the machinery being new, consequently stiff in its working parts, and the bottom of the vessel not coppered, we are under the impression that no other steamer afloat is a match for the Royal William. Her power is 270 horses, by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., and the hull was moulded and built by our clever townsman, Mr. Thomas Wilson.

[from Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier - Tuesday 10 July 1838]:
DEPARTURE OF THE ROYAL WILLIAM STEAMER, FOR NEW YORK. (From the Liverpool Mercury of Friday). We are at length enabled to announce the departure of this noble specimen of our Liverpool steamers, for New York, accompanied by the best wishes of all classes in this great commercial community. The event forms a prominent and brilliant epoch in the annals of Liverpool, as well as in the history of steam navigation. As the Sirius was the representative of Liverpool capital, so is the Royal William of the mechanical skill of the Engineers and Shipbuilders of this port; and there is every probability that she will be able to perform her voyage in less time than that in which it has been accomplished. The Royal William was built two years ago by the Messrs. Wilson, of this town, under the inspection and directions of Mr. J. C. Shaw, the marine manager to the City of Dublin Company, and in her construction were embodied all the improvements which the long experience of the Company found to be advisable, including four iron bulk-heads, or divisions, reaching from the kelson to the deck, introduced into the Company's boats at the instance of C. W. Williams, Esq., which are effectual preventives against the passage of fire or water, beyond the compartment in which either might prevail. Her burthen is 617 tons, and she is propelled by engines of 276 horse power which, as well as her boilers, are the workmanship of Messrs. Fawcett and Preston, gentlemen whose engines are celebrated in every quarter of the globe into which mechanical science has travelled.

Contemporary comment: Although she carried no cargo on that voyage, she was so deeply laden with coal for fuel - coal that filled her bunkers, her holds, and even her well-deck - that her paddles were buried six feet, her sponsons were submerged, and it was possible by leaning over the bulwarks to wash one's hands in the water that surged at the vessel's sides.


No PS Roscommon found at this date - Possibly renamed on registration?

[from Liverpool Mail - Thursday 15 September 1836]:
Launch of a steamer. In pursuance of the professions of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, when they were first established, in keeping up a supply of the most efficient vessels that could possibly be constructed, they yesterday added to their already numerous fleet of steamers, by the launch of the Roscommon, from the building yard of Messrs. Wilson, of the burthen of 490 tons, to be supplied with engines of 270 horse power, by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston and Co., the whole of her timber and planks being seasoned by the adoption of Kyan's patent; she has solid floorings and her hull is divided into five sections by iron bulwarks, so that an accident to one section will not endanger the remainder. This vessel is the fourth of a series of first class steamers now in progress by the same experienced builders for the above enterprising company.

Note that adverts in the Irish papers quote the City of Dublin's fleet as containing Royal William, Roscommon, Royal Victoria and Roscrea until October 1837; after which the list instead includes Royal William, Royal Adelaide, Queen Victoria and Duchess of Kent.
This relisting confuses the details, but suggests that the vessel launched as Roscommon may have been later renamed on registration. Since specified as having engines by Fawcett & Co, this suggests she was later called Duchess of Kent. If so, the delay between launching (Sept 1836), and first voyage (March 1838) is surprisingly large.


Wooden paddle steamer Queen Victoria, built August 1837 Wilson Liverpool, 337 tons register.
Side lever engines 280 hp by Mather, Dixon & Co., Liverpool
Some advertisements pre June 1837 - when Victoria became Queen - call her Royal Victoria.
Owned City of Dublin Steam Packet company, registered Dublin.
[Connell of Belfast also launched a PS Queen Victoria in July 1837 - later known as Victoria - for the Down & Liverpool Co.]
Wrecked Howth Head 15 February 1853 near Bailey Lighthouse.
More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 22 August 1837]:
LAUNCH OF A LARGE STEAMER. On Saturday was launched, from the yard of Messrs. Wilson, a first-class steamer, belonging to the City of Dublin Company. She was expected to have gone off the stocks on the morning's tide, but the extreme heat of the day is supposed to have dried up the greasing of the ways, and she did not go off until the night's tide, The launch was considered a very fine one.
This splendid vessel was named after her present Majesty, the Queen Victoria; and is in size, power of engines, and appointment, the same as the Company's new steamer Royal William, which has been proved equal to any in the port, and is supposed to be the fastest vessel afloat.
Both steamers, the Royal William and Queen Victoria, together with their two new ones, the Roscommon and the Roscrea [possibly later named Royal Adelaide and Duchess of Kent], now nearly ready for service, will all be shortly on the line between Liverpool and Dublin; the Dublin Company being released from the obligations of their agreement with the Post-office which prohibited them from having steamers with superior cabin accommodation for first-class passengers running to Dublin. The change is considered preparatory to a contract being adopted for the conveyance of the mails from Liverpool, and in contemplation of which, the Royal William and Victoria were built. The engines have the power 280 horses, and are built by Messrs. Mather, Dixon and Co., of Liverpool.
This new steamer will not have that gorgeous display of eastern magnificence in the cabins, of which some of the new steamers in our port are boasting; but is furnished with what will be much more satisfactory to the public, and valuable to the owners, namely great improvements in the build and fastenings and such as will give security to those embarking in her, and prevent the risk of foundering, in case of being run on board by other vessels.
The Dublin Company have contracted two additional steamers, of same size as the Victoria, [possibly Royal Adelaide and Duchess of Kent] and thus will be enabled to afford ample accommodation, of the first order, to travellers, a great increase of whom is expected on the opening of the London and Liverpool Railroad.



Listing of City of Dublin fleet. [from Dublin Evening Post - Thursday 18 August 1836]:
CITY OF DUBLIN STEAM PACKET COMPANY. INCORPORATED BT ACT OF PARLIAMENT. The present Establishment of the Company consists of the following Vessels: CITY OF DUBLIN, HIBERNIA, SHAMROCK, COMMERCE, BRITANNIA, LIFFEY, LEEDS, BIRMINGHAM, MERSEY, NOTTINGHAM, BALLINASLOE, HUSKISSON,
Launched in 1835 CITY OF LIMERICK, ATHLONE,
Now building, of 530 tons and engines of 250 horses power: ROSCOMMON, ROSCREA, ROYAL WILLIAM, ROYAL ADELAIDE
KINGSTOWN, MARS, Cattle Tender
Plying on the Shannon: GARRYOWEN, CLARENCE, LANSDOWNE, WELLESEY, DUNALLY, CLANRICARDE, AVONMORE.
[Roscommon & Roscrea seem to have been launched with different names; more history of City of Dublin SP Co.]

Their fleet as advertised in [Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current - Monday 07 May 1838] includes Royal William, Royal Adelaide, Queen Victoria, Duchess of Kent, Thames, Duke of Cambridge and Mars - but not City of Limerick.

Wooden paddle steamer Duchess of Kent, built Liverpool, 1838, 482grt, 268nrt, 155.2 x 23.0 x 15.0 ft, engines by Fawcett & Co, ON 8786, for City of Dublin SP Co. Described as of same mould as Queen Victoria - so presumably built by Wilson. More history.

[from Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current - Monday 05 March 1838]:
The City Dublin Company's new vessel, the Duchess of Kent, arrived Thursday at the quay, on her first voyage. She is a beautiful vessel, of the same power and mould as the Queen Victoria. The Duchess of Kent arrived at Kingstown in ten hours and forty-two minutes from the docks at Liverpool. This fine vessel will, on being registered, continue to ply between Dublin and Liverpool. The Company's next new steamer, the Royal Adelaide, is expected at Dublin during the ensuing week, when she will take up the line between this port and London. The Royal Adelaide is equal in every respect to the Royal William. Two new steamers (already far advanced in building) will succeed the Adelaide, and are expected to be ready for sea in the ensuing summer.

Collision of Duchess of Kent with schooner Byron, December 1839.


Wooden paddle steamer Royal Adelaide, built T and W Wilson, Liverpool, 1838, 641grt, 364nrt, 171.7 x 24.4 ft, engines 280 hp by Mather & Dixon, Liverpool. Owned City of Dublin SP Co. More history. Wrecked, 30 March 1850, on Tongue Sands, near Margate, with all aboard (206) lost.

Painting by Rowson in Mersey Maritime Museum. Not positively identified, but possibly of Royal Adelaide.

[from Liverpool Albion - Wednesday 07 March 1838]:
A NEW STEAM VESSEL. The City of Dublin Company have made another addition to their numerous fleet by a splendid new vessel called the Royal Adelaide, which was tried in the river on Friday last, previous to her first voyage to Dublin this day, (Monday), in company with the Mail packet. The Royal Adelaide was built by Messrs. Wilson, with magnificent engines, of 280 horse power, by Messrs. Mather, Dixon, and Co., and is, in every respect, of the very first order. She is the fourth of a new series of vessels built by the City of Dublin Company, comprising the Royal William and two others, and promises to be at least equal to any of her predecessors.

[from Blackburn Standard - Wednesday 10 April 1850]:
The City of Dublin Steam-packet Company's ship Royal Adelaide, plying between the ports of Cork and London, left the former city on Wednesday afternoon week with a full cargo of goods and about 240 passengers, touched off Plymouth on the following Thursday evening, left that port for London on Friday morning at three o'clock, and was totally lost on the Tongue Sand, off Margate, at eleven o'clock on Saturday night, when every soul on board perished. The Royal Adelaide was between 400 and 500 tons burden, and had two engines of 140 horse power each. She was commanded by Captain John Batty, of Cork, who had been in the service of the Dublin Steam-packet Company upwards of twenty years, during a great portion of which time he had commanded steamers on the London and Dublin and London and Cork stations. He was considered one of the most experienced sailors in the service, and was besides a man of no ordinary attainments; but the hurricane blowing hard at the time, defeated alike his skill and exertions. The following return, furnished by the company's secretaries, shows the number who perished: 144 adults from Cork; 23 children from Cork; 14 passengers from Plymouth; 25 crew, including captain, Mr. J. Batty; total, 206.

[from Illustrated London News - Saturday 06 April 1850]:
OFFICIAL RETURN OF THE CREW DROWNED. From the owner's return of the unfortunate crew of the Royal Adelaide, it appears that many of them have left large families to mourn their melancholy fate. Their names are William Gowler, chief mate; George North, second mate; William Scott, third mate; William Reilly, chief engineer; William Crook, second engineer; Charles Cockland, fireman; John Delaney, do.; Thomas Williams, do; John Doyle, do.; William Bellis, do.; James Moore, do.; Patrick Carey, coal trimmer; Michael Wolfe, do.; W. Seagen, sailor; James Nelco, do.; John Stamper, do.; Robert Tozer, do.; Joseph Morgan, do.; Ambrose Turner, carpenter; Thomas Butler, boy; H. Hillier, steward; Sarah Garetty, stewardess. The Royal Adelaide steamer was insured in several offices. Her loss and cargo are reported to exceed £30,000. [Captain John Batty]

Images and text [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 13 April 1850]:


THE WRECK OF THE ROYAL ADELAIDE. The above Sketch of the present actual position of all that remains of this ill-fated vessel, taken from personal observation, as well as the detail of the facts and circumstances which led to the catastrophe, will serve to set the public mind right upon the subject, now that so many contradictory and almost incomprehensible statements have been published.
The first intimation the agents in London, of the Company to whom the vessel belonged, had of the wreck, was made on Sunday evening, March 31st, by the pilot Gillman, who arrived at Gravesend on that evening, with a barque he had in charge. He saw signals of distress from the Royal Adelaide at 7.30 p.m. the previous evening, about an hour after she had passed him, and after he had come to anchor for the night. She was then ashore on the Tongue Sands, about a mile west of the Tongue Light Ship; but the vessel Gillman had in charge was totally unable to render any assistance, for she had no boat that could live a minute in such a sea, with the whole force of the German Ocean, and a S.E. wind blowing a hurricane at the time.
The gale continued with such unabated violence the whole of Sunday and Monday, that it was not until late in the afternoon of the latter day that any official notification of the wreck was made at Margate, and that by a diver who had gone out on Sunday night.
On Wednesday, April 3, Mr. James Guttler, the Receiver of Admiralty Droits at Ramsgate and Margate, went on board the Tongue light-ship, to ascertain what her crew knew of the wreck; and, from the officer in charge of the vessel at that time, he received a report, the substance of which is, that the Royal Adelaide passed up the North Foreland and the Light at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday evening, and that in about an hour after she appeared to be ashore on the Tongue Sands, opposite the Shingles (where the Channel is but three-quarters of a mile wide); that she appeared to have lost her funnel, as her fires appeared coming up through the deck; and that thereupon the light-ship fired one gun and no more, and that they threw up no rockets, for they had none. The next morning, at daylight, they saw the total wreck, and then fired another gun.
On the two following days the wind blew so strong from the S.W., that it was useless for the divers to attempt any operations on the wreck, the sea-swell over her was so heavy.
On Saturday morning the weather cleared up, the wind abated, and out went the divers, four in number, accompanied by a Government cutter, to protect them in their operations from the adventurers who followed in search of stray portions of the cargo, and whose boats numbered no fewer than sixteen craft.
We arrived very soon after the divers, and found it was then low water at the sands; yet at that moment the depth was nine feet, and the only portion of the wreck visible above the surface was about one-half the starboard paddle-wheel. On descending, we found the position of the wreck to be very different from that which has been generally presented. The Tongue Sand lies due east and west, and the wreck is represented as lying parallel with it and the Channel, while in fact she lies in a position the very contrary - that is to say nearly due north and south, or right athwart the Sands, with her bow to Margate. The whole of her stem and starboard quarter are completely gone and she lies almost broadside on her larboard. The spokes of the two paddles still adhere, as well as a great portion of the engines and machinery; but the whole of the timbers that remain are loose and quivering, which renders the operations of the divers extremely perilous; while the sand has accumulated in enormous mounds in every part of the wreck, greatly impeding the recovery of such portions of the cargo as were stowed in the fore-part of the vessel. Many of the bodies of the poor people who were steerage passengers are lying about embedded in the sand.
The Company to whom this ill-fated vessel belonged have now in course of preparation a memorial to the Lords of the Admiralty and the Trinity Board, praying for an inquiry into the conduct of the officer in charge of the Tongue light-ship, on the night the wreck took place. The memorial is grounded on the following facts: Mr. James Cuttler, the Receiver of Admiralty Droits at Ramsgate and Margate, did not receive any communication officially upon the subject of the wreck until about three o'clock on Monday afternoon, April 1st; the vessel having been wrecked on the Saturday previous at half-past seven within a mile of the above-named light. The communication then received by Mr. Cuttler, was made by Mr. Fruin, the diver, who had been twice down in the wreck during Sunday night and Monday, and this communication Mr. Cutler reduced to the form of a regular deposition, to which Mr Fruin was sworn. Mr. Cuttler then wrote to Mr. Charlewood, the Superintending Commandant of the Coast Guard Service of that district, requesting to know whether any, and what, signals of distress had been seen by the Coast Guard of the Margate station from the wreck or the light-ship on the might of Saturday. The reply of Mr. Charlewood is to the effect that at the Westgate station only one signal of distress was seen and one gun heard from the Tongue light-ship. and that having seen and heard only one, it was presumed that the vessel had got off; that the night was dark and hazy, the wind blowing very hard from S.E. Mr. Charlewood then goes on to say that he had ordered a cutter to attend the wreck and protect the divers in their operations.
On Wednesday, the 3rd inst., Mr. Cuttler went out to the Tongue light-ship, for the purpose of ascertaining from the officer in charge of that vessel on the night of the wreck, what he knew of the circumstances attending it; and the statement of that individual, as taken down in writing by Mr. Cuttler, in these words:
  On Saturday evening, the 30th ult., a large steamer, with a black hull, passed the Light towards the Prince's Channel, at about 6. P.M. At about 7:30 P.M., same evening, saw a steamer ashore on the Tongue Sands, and saw a flare from her deck, as if her funnel was gone. Soon after, saw another flare, and then one gun was tired from the lightship. It was then blowing very hard from S. E., and the sea very heavy. Did not send up any rockets, as the light-ship is not supplied with any. On Sunday mornIng, at daylight, saw the steamer a total wreck on the sands, and then tired another gun.
This is the statement upon which the memorial is founded, and which the Company consider sufficient to call for an immediate investigation. A subscription has also been set in foot for the relief of the widows and orphans created by the disaster.
The crew of the light-ship consists of a master and mate, who relieve each other, and five men.
The body of a woman was found on the Maplin Sands, in the parish of Foulness Wand, Essex, last week. In the pocket of her gown were several letters, two of which were dated respectively the 7th and 10th of March, 1850, from Warley Barracks, commencing - "My dear wife," and signed "John Harrington"; also a pair of child's socks and a string of beads. The unfortunate person seemed, from appearance, to have been one of the passengers of the Royal Adelaide. A coroner's inquest returned a "Found dead." Other bodies had been more recently washed up, namely, that of a man with a cork jacket, at Harwich; a woman, at Great Holland; a child at Little Holland; and a child at Frinton; but as there could be no reasonable doubt that they were the bodies of parties drowned at sea, and probably belonging to the Royal Adelaide, Mr. Codd, the coroner of the district, declined holding inquests upon the bodies.

Wooden paddle steamer Reindeer, built T and W Wilson, Liverpool, 1838, 554grt, 330nrt, 155.4 x 23.1 x 15.3 ft, engines 260hp, for G Langtry & Co, Belfast, registered Belfast. Sold to Royal Mail Steam Packet Company of London for service as an inter-island packet in the West Indies 1845. Not in MNL. More history.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 01 February 1838]:
On Saturday last, a very fine steam vessel of 500 tons, called the Reindeer, was launched from the building yard of Messrs. T. and W. Wilson of this town. She belongs to Messrs Langtrys and Co. and is intended for the Belfast and Liverpool station.

[from Northern Whig - Thursday 20 November 1845]:
Arrived: The steamer Reindeer, formerly of this port [Belfast], May, master, arrived at Barbadoes on the 8th ult.

1846 - Described as RMC [Royal Mail Steam Packet Company] steamer Reindeer, trading within West Indies.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 September 1849]:
The royal mail steamer Reindeer arrived at Southampton from the West Indies on Thursday morning for repairs.


Wooden paddle steamer São Sebastião, built T & W Wilson, Liverpool, 1838. for service on coast of Brazil. 250 tons, engines 100hp by Rigby, Hawarden. Information on trial run.

[from Northern Whig - Thursday 21 June 1838]:
Steam Navigation. On Saturday last, a new steam vessel was launched, from the dock-yard of Messrs. Thomas and William Wilson, the builders of most of the boats employed by the City of Dublin Company, and well known for the perfection of their work. This vessel is the first of a line of packets which are to leave Rio de Janeiro, twice in a month, with mails and passengers, for the ports of Bahia, Jaragua, Pernambuco, Ceara, Maranham, and Para, and is called the Saint Sebastian, in compliment to the city Saint Sebastian, of Rio de Janeiro.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 13 November 1838]:
San Sebastian (steamer) hence at Holyhead with loss of jib-boom and stern-boat stove, bound to Rio Janeiro. [reported 25 March 1839 as having arrived at Rio]

[from Morning Advertiser - Thursday 03 June 1841]:
PERNAMBUCO. April 16. The St. Sebastian steamer is lying at Maceio, her boiler having burst. [Sao Sebastiao in Portuguese]


Wooden paddle steamer Prince, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1838, 626grt, 393nrt, 164,9 x 23.6 x 16.2 ft, engines 270hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON8788, for City of Dublin SP Co. registered Dublin. In 1851 sold to Dublin & Liverpool SS Co. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 15 October 1838]:
On Saturday week a fine steamer, named the Prince, belonging to the City of Dublin Company, of about 700 tons burden, was launched from Messrs. Wilson's yard, north of the Clarence Dock.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 16 April 1839]:
NEW DUBLIN STEAMERS. The City of Dublin Steam Company have two large and powerful steamers now fitting up in the Trafalgar Dock. They are named The Prince and The Princess, and are intended for the Dublin Post-office line of packets. The Prince is so nearly finished that she will, to-day, at noon, proceed to sea on an experimental trip. On the first of next month she will be ready to convey the evening mail to Dublin.

Prince ran ashore in 1846 on Howth Head - but was backed off without major daage or any loss of life.


Wooden paddle steamer Princess, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1839, 637grt, 410nrt, 165.9 x 23.7 x 16.0 ft, engines 270hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON8789, for City of Dublin SP Co. In 1851 owned Dublin & Liverpool SS CO. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 September 1839]:
NEW STEAM SHIP PRINCESS. A splendid new steamer, called the Princess, has lately been put upon the Liverpool and Dublin line by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, for the conveyance of her Majesty's mails between Kingstown Harbour and Liverpool. This vessel promises to be a favourite with passengers, as her speed (even on her first trial) has been proved to be equal to anything afloat, and her accommodations are of the first order.


Wooden paddle steamer Ethiope, built Wilson, Liverpool, 1839, 126grt, 81nrt, 95.5 x 16.6 ft, 30 hp engine by Fawcett & Co, for service in Africa, owned Jamieson. For sale at Liverpool 1843. Revisited Africa 1846. Laid up in Liverpool/Birkenhead Docks 1847-53. Still registered Liverpool in 1851 and 1854, 80nrt, owned Robert Jamieson. For sale 1853 and converted to sail: 159 tons, schooner, ON 6999. In MNL to 1858. In LR 169 tons, 1855 owned Brown; to 1858, captain Kennett, owned Singlehurst.
More history.
A steel screw steamer Ethiope was built by Lairds in 1854 for trade to Africa.

PS Ethiope from a painting by Samuel Walters (Merseyside Maritime Museum)[since shown as armed, this is the 1843 Ethiope]

[from Lloyd's List - Monday 23 December 1839]:
Gibraltar. Sailed for: Dec 11. Ethiope(s) Becroft, W Coast Africa.

[from Morning Chronicle - Tuesday 08 September 1840]:
THE NIGER EXPEDITION. ... I am very sorry Mr. Jameson has risked his small steamer, the Ethiope, up that unknown and dangerous mouth or branch of the Niger, called the Benin. If he loses his vessel, property, and the lives of the crew, the fault will rest entirely with himself, and some of his obstinate, ill-informed advisers. I warned him and them against that way of proceeding. He ought to have patiently waited for the expedition, and have added to its strength and appearance his steamer and small craft; he could then have traded in security under the shadow of its protection.

[excerpts from Birmingham Journal - Saturday 29 January 1842]:
[Niger Expedition - Albert ascended Chadda - but crew suffered greatly from fever.]
Mr. Jamieson, of Liverpool, the owner of several vessels trading on the western coast of Africa, had sent out instructions to the shipmasters in his employ to render all the assistance in their power to the officers and crews of the Niger expedition. Accordingly, on the 6th of October, the Ethiope steamer, one of the vessels alluded to, made her appearance at Fernando Po; and her commander, Mr. Becroft, at the solicitation of Captain William Allen, instantly turned his vessel's head towards the Niger, with an intent to ascend in search of the Albert, and render her any assistance she might appear to require. ...
Thus far the Albert had made her way in safety, through the merciful providence of God; but her poor suffering inmates could not forget the dangerous bar which was still to be passed before they could leave the region of pestilence and death behind them. Happily their anxieties on this head were destined to a speedy termination, for the afternoon of the 13th their eyes were gladdened with the sight of the Ethiope's smoke as she steamed rapidly up the water of the Delta. Captain Becroft at once put his first engineer on board the unfortunate Albert, and by incessant exertions both vessels crossed the bar soon after sunrise on the 16th, and cast anchor in Clarence Cove late in the evening of the following day. Next morning twenty eight patients were taken ashore, and kindly received into various private houses.

[from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Wednesday 20 September 1843]:
THE three-masted Steamer ETHIOPE, she now lies in the Trafalgar Dock: burthen per register 160 tons O.M. Dimensions: Length aloft, 95 feet 5-10ths; breadth amidships within the paddle-boxes, 16 feet 9-10ths; depth of hold, 9 feet 4-10ths. This handsome little vessel was built by Mr. Thos. Wilson, of this town, of the best materials, and launched June, 1839; coppered and thoroughly copper-fastened; fitted with condensing engine of the first class, thirty horse-power, by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., which is now in excellent working order, and her furnaces are so constructed to burn either coal or wood; besides her bunkers full of coals, she can carry about eighty tons of measurement goods, on a very light draught of water. On her voyage to and from Africa, she has proved herself a first-rate seaboat, and a very fast sailer under canvas as well as when propelled by steam. Has unusually airy and spacious cabin accommodation, rendering her eligible for a pleasure yacht, a packet, or a trading vessel in tropical climates. Is armed with nine-pound swivel and other smaller guns.

[from Weekly Freeman's Journal - Saturday 21 November 1846]:
ASCENT OF NIGER. THE FAILURE OF THE ETHIOPE. We regret to say that unfavourable intelligence has just been received of the Ethiope steamer, and of the consequent relinquishment of her attempt to re-ascend the Niger - a circumstance which will not only be deplored by the commercial interests of this country, and by every sympathiser with bold and persevering efforts to extend our knowledge of and trade with the interior of Africa, but which must prove a heavy blow and a great discouragement to Mr. Robert Jamieson, who has worked long and made large pecuniary sacrifices for the accomplishment of this important object. Mr. Jamieson, in a circular addressed to the gentlemen who aided him in fitting out the last expedition, states that he had received from Captain Becroft and Dr. King, the information that when the steamer was upon the Gaboon River, her boilers suddenly gave way, and that, although the engineer succeeded in repairing them so as to complete the exploration of that river, they afterwards burst so frequently as to render it altogether unsafe to hazard another ascent of the Niger with them. The vessel had accordingly been laid up at Fernando Po, under the care of Captain Becroft, and Dr. King is on his way to England.

Ethiope (s) 80 Garrett, Jamieson is reported as laid up in Liverpool/Birkenhead Docks from 1847 to 1853

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 18 October 1853]:
On FRIDAY next, the 21st instant, at One o'clock, at the BROKERS' Sale-Room, Derby Buildings, Fenwick-street. The Paddle Steamer, ETHIOPE, 159 66-94ths tons, per builders' measurement; built at Liverpool, by Mr. Wilson, in 1839, of the best materials; is copper fastened and sheathed with heavy copper; is propelled by a single side lever engine, by Fawcett and Co., of 45 horse-power; she sails very fast under canvas alone, and at a small outlay could be converted into a first-rate sailing vessel, as she is a handsome model, and of exceedingly light draft of water. Dimensions: Length 100 feet 4 inches; breadth 18 feet 4 inches; depth 8 feet: now lying in the Great Float, Birkenhead Dock. For further particulars and inventories, apply to TONGE, CURRY & CO., Brokers.

[from Northern Daily Times - Friday 09 November 1855]:
FOR SALE, the fine A 1 Liverpool built Schooner ETHIOPE; 169 tons per register; built at Liverpool by the celebrated builder, Mr. Thomas Wilson, in 1839, for private use; had very large repairs in 1854, when she was restored A 1 for eight years, and re-sheathed with yellow metal, is copper-fastened, sails fast, well found in stores, and is a most desirable vessel for any trade her size may suit. Dimensions: Length, 98 feet; breadth, 16 feet 9-10ths; depth, 12 feet. Daily expected to arrive. Apply to CURRY and Co., Brokers for the Sale of Ships.

Newspaper report found: Liverpool 26 May 1857, Ethiope, Kennett, arrived here from Parnaiba [Brazil], having left 29 March. [later in Prince's dock at Liverpool - owned Singlehurst]

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Friday 14 August 1857]: In river, outward bound: Ethiope 153 - E Edwards, Africa [last report]


Wooden paddle steamer Paraense, built Wilson, Liverpool, 1839, engines (probably) by Rigby, Hawarden, for Brazilian Steam Packet Company. Listed as 150 tons when lying in Liverpool Docks.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 08 January 1839]:
STEAM-PACKETS IN BRAZIL. The last steamer destined for the line of Brazilian packets from Rio de Janeiro to Para was launched on Tuesday, by Messrs. William and Thomas Wilson, and is named the Paraense. Two have already sailed, and the remaining three will follow as soon as their engines can be obtained from the contractors.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 07 September 1839]:
To sail on the 14th September - With Passengers only. For RIO DE JANEIRO. The fine new Steamer PARAENSE, Captain Hood. Apply to TODD NAYLOR and Co.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 01 October 1839]:
Paraense, steamer, for Rio de Janeiro has put back.


Wooden paddle steamer Oriental, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1840, 1673grt, 888nrt, 202.0 x 33.5 x 28.5 ft, engines 450hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON 30714, for Peninsula & Oriental SN Co. Launched as United States, but renamed when completed. The Peninsula SN Co was renamed Peninsula & Oriental SN Co in 1840 on being awarded the Mail contract to Alexandria in Egypt. Until the Suez canal was built, the mails and passengers then travelled by river/canal/road to Suez. In 1842 they were awarded the mail contract from Egypt to India [using Hindostan - see below]. Oriental was initially used on the England - Egypt route, Later used on Suez - Calcutta route. More history, Yet more history. Image of Oriental.

[from Liverpool Mail - Tuesday 10 March 1840]:
LAUNCH OF THE UNITED STATES [sic see above]. Saturday last was appointed for the launch of this splendid steam-ship, from the building-yard of Messrs. Thomas Wilson and Co., at the north of the Clarence Dock. The day was remarkably fine, and the crowd assembled to witness the ceremony immense. Terra firma, from every spot whence a view of the launch could obtained, was studded with spectators, whilst steam-boats and other craft, crowded with passengers, plied on the river opposite to the yard of the builders. A commodious stage was placed before the bow of the vessel, on which stood John Wright, Esq., and his daughter, the lady who had been chosen for the high honour of christening the United States. On the same platform stood Robertson Gladstone, Esq. and lady, John Myers, Esq., and other gentlemen, accompanied by several elegantly-dressed ladies. Mr. J. C. Shaw, the Marine Surveyor in the Transatlantic Steam Navigation Company, was present: he held the bottle of wine with which Miss Wright was to perform the christening ceremony. It was high water, the tide rising to twenty feet, at seventeen minutes past one o'clock. Everything being in readiness, precisely twenty three minutes after that hour the magnificent fabric began to move, and, amidst the hearty cheering of the multitude, glided majestically and safely into the bosom of old father Neptune. It was one of the most beautiful launches ever beheld, and many have been seen in our time, and gave the greatest pleasure to the countless thousands who beheld it. A steamer was in attendance to take the vessel in tow and assist to dock her. The ebb tide, however, was found to run so strongly as to prevent her from docking on Saturday, and she was towed to the Sloyne, where she was made fast the Liverpool's moorings. Yesterday she was brought down by two steamers, and placed safely in the Trafalgar Dock, in which the President also lies. Thousands of spectators lined the seawall see her come down the river and enter the dock.

[from Friend of India and Statesman - Thursday 05 February 1852]:
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2. The P. and 0. Co's. Steamer Oriental arrived in Calcutta on the 1st instant, bringing letters to the 24th December. She has not much improved her reputation as a fast traveller by the trip.

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Wooden paddle steamer Duke of Cornwall built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1841, 706grt, 425nrt, 170.8 x 26.4 x 17.0, engines 360hp by Fawcett & Co, ON 523, owned British & Irish SP Co., Dublin. Named Prince Albert in newspapers when launched (see below).
First advertised service Dublin - London in September 1842. In MNL until 1870, owned Dublin, still advertised on London-Dublin service for B & I until February 1871. More history.


Wooden paddle steamer Lady Mary Wood, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1841, 553grt, 96nrt, 160.8 x 25.5 x 16.6 ft, engines 250hp by Fawcett & Preston, for Peninsula & Oriental SN Co. Renamed Oenarang in 1859. More history. Image of Lady Mary Wood off Gibraltar. Yet more history.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 17 September 1841]:
LAUNCH OF TWO STEAM-SHIPS. Two splendid vessels were launched, on Thursday, from the yard of Mr. Thomas Wilson, the eminent builder, at the north end of the town. They both were sent afloat in splendid style, at an interval of about five minutes, amidst the cheers of thousands who were present to enjoy this truly English sight. The first vessel that passed away from the platform on which the godmother was standing was the "Prince Albert"[sic]. She is the property of the British and Irish Company, and is intended to ply between Dublin and London, in conjunction with the other splendid steamers belonging to that company. She was named by Miss Jamieson.
The second vessel was named the "Lady Mary Wood", by Mrs. J. C. Shaw, the lovely wife of the City of Dublin Company's Marine Manager. The Lady Mary Wood is the property of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam-ship Company, and she will be employed carrying the Peninsular mails, thus adding another to the numerous fleet running from Southampton and Falmouth to Oporto, Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar. It may be remembered, that the Oriental, steamship, belongs to the same company, and that most perfect vessel, was built by Mr. Wilson, and launched in March, 1840. Messrs. Fawcett and Preston's services are secured to manufacture the machinery of both vessels named above, and we have no doubt that Liverpool will be again triumphant by producing two steamers unequalled in their class.


Wooden paddle steamer Hindostan, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1842, 2019grt, 971nrt, 217.6 x 35.8 x 30.1 ft, engines 520hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON 30719, for Peninsula & Oriental SN Co. For Suez - Calcutta service. More history. Image of Hindostan. Yet more history. Wreck of store ship in 1864.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 26 April 1842]:
"THE HINDOSTAN" STEAM-SHIP. This vessel, which we have before occasionally noticed during her progress towards completion, will be launched this day, from the yard of the builders, Messrs. Wilson, North Shore; and as she is the largest, and certainly one of the finest, ships that was ever constructed at our port, which has turned out many splendid craft, a brief description, founded on authentic information, and personal observation, will, we trust, be acceptable not only to the nautical community, but to the public at large.
The Hindostan was built for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam-ship Company, a branch of the City of Dublin Steampacket Company, and whose splendid ships, the Oriental (also built by Messrs. Wilson) and the Great Liverpool are now running as mail-ships between this country and Egypt, touching at Malta and Gibraltar; but we believe the present vessel, which is much larger than either of those named, will probably be employed in the Indian Seas, nearer the eastern terminus of the route to our possessions in the east. She is calculated to carry heavy metal, should she be required for the purposes of warfare, (though this is not anticipated in the first instance) and may, in the terms of the contract with the government, be taken up, as well as the others, for that service, at any moment, should an emergency arise. When armed, she will carry guns of large calibre - 64-pounders, besides others; and when so equipped, having great steampower, as well as capacity for carrying a large breadth of canvas, she would prove a "smasher" even with foes far more formidable than the Chinese, whose weak minds would be more than astonished by a taste of her quality.
The following are her dimensions and steam-power: Length of keel 220 feet; Length over all (including taffrail and head) 250ft; Beam of the ship, exclusive of the paddle-houses, 39 feet; Depth of hold from the spar deck 30.5 feet; Burthen, about 2000 tons; Engines 560hp.
The Hindostan is built of the very best materials attainable, whether in wood or metal; and of these both Europe, Africa, and Asia have contributed their respective quota. No expense has been spared, either as regards adequate size or dimensions of the several pieces composing the whole, or the manner in which they are put together; in which last particular have been elicited the utmost skill and greatest fidelity which long experience and the pride of former excellence can supply. Her timbers are of English "heart of oak" and African oak; the latter a remarkably hard and durable not perhaps inferior for many purposes to our national and royal tree. The flooring timbers are perfectly solid (or close together) up to the bilges; dowelled, and caulked, inside and out, before the vessel is planked, so that she would not leak even were a plank or any number of planks in that quarter stripped off. These timbers are 16.5 inches square in the smallest part amidships, and the quantity of fine choice "monarchs of the wood" that must have fallen beneath the axe to supply them must have been very great. The same principle has been adopted in our navy. but in no vessel yet forming the "wooden walls" has it been more faithfully carried out than in the Hindostan.
She is further secured by diagonals in the interior of the frames or timbers; first by iron straps 5.5 inches broad and of an inch thick, in one direction, and countersunk into the timbers, and over these, as riders, in reverse position, fastenings of English oak, 10 feet by 6 in dimension - all bolted through the sides, and forming a trellis or net work binding all the frame of the ship together in a manner that would seem impregnable to the rudest buffeting of the ocean wave. The ceiling is also diagonal, between each compartment formed by the oak diagonals, which, with the iron diagonals, form, from the paddle-boxes towards the stem and the stern, what may be considered analogous to arch-work in ordinary architecture, supporting the vessel in every point, and preventing all tendency to "hog", or droop at the extremities. The other fastenings are of corresponding strength. There are six streaks of heavy oak clamps, and abundance of very strong lodging and hanging iron knees. The planking is of great thickness, and, with the exception of the lower planks, (which are of elm,) of the choicest English and African oak. The beams are of the same materials, and the two paddlebeams are immense balks of African oak, 26 inches square. The vessel has a fine flush spar-deck, the height from the main-deck to which is 8 feet. The paddle-houses will be covered in with life-boats on the principle of Captain Smith, R.N., which was adopted in the vessels employed in the late African expedition, and which has been found to be highly advantageous.
In model, and outward appearance the Hindostan is all that can be wished by the veriest fancier of the beautiful and symmetrical. She has a delicacy of entrance and run, which, without being over fine, give the greatest promise of speed and safety at sea. She is now seen, in this respect, to some disadvantage, being somewhat in the rough; but when she is finally coppered and equipped, we have no doubt but she will be one of the handsomest vessels afloat, and prove herself on trial, to be a first-rater. Her sides are formed precisely similar to those of a sailing ship - without the sponsoring, or flanching, that prevailed universally in the earlier periods of steam navigation; and which is still - and we think erroneously - adhered to in the construction of some steamvessels. She will have a handsome figure-head of an Indian Princess, and her stern and quarter galleries, in the former of which there are nine windows, will be richly and emblematically carved to correspond.
The engines, now ready to be put on board, are by our townsmen, Messrs. Fawcett and Preston, whose fame as constructors of marine steam machinery has spread over the world. They are, we are informed, wonderful pieces of mechanism, designed on the most approved principle for seawork, and finished in a manner highly creditable to their taste and judgment.
The cabins of the Hindostan will be fitted up in a style at once chaste and elegant. Of this we have a sufficient guarantee in Mr. J. C. Shaw, the marine superintendent of the company, who has had much experience in the outfitting department, and who was so highly successful in designing and completing the cabins of the Oriental and other vessels. That gentleman, we learn, submitted his plans to the Directors in London, who obtained the opinions of eminent men, nautical and otherwise, connected with India, to aid them in coming to a decision; and after mature deliberation, the whole of his suggestions were approved of, and he was empowered to see them carried out in the entire outfit of the ship. Nothing, therefore, will be wanting that can conduce to the comfort or enjoyment of all on board, whether passengers, officers, or crew.
The Hindostan, in fine, is a specimen of naval architecture, equally creditable to the liberality and enterprise of her owners, and to the science and perseverance of her builders. She is in no point inferior to our best ships of war, "The Havanna" frigate, built by the late Mr. Wilson (father of the builders of the present ship), was little more than half the size. She is considerably larger than the Oriental, and was constructed on the same site. Her weight is estimated to be about 1300 tons; and the launch of so large a vessel will form a beautiful - we may add, a sublime spectacle. It is customary in the navy to build ships even under her bulk in a sort of dock, into which the tide is permitted to flow to a depth of 8 or 9 feet, when they are completed, so that a great portion of their weight is reduced by the immersion of so much of the hull. In this case, the vessel must take her chance in the usual way, and the launch will, consequently, be more interesting. A scaffold is erected for the accommodation of the ladies and their friends, and the concourse of spectators will doubtless be immense. Mrs. Robertson Gladstone has, we learn, kindly undertaken to "christen" the Hindostan, and we heartily wish the vessel every success. We shall probably furnish a brief notice of the launch in our second edition.


Wooden paddle steamer Bentinck, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1843, 975grt, 217.5 x 36.0 x 30.5 ft, engines 520hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON 31146, for Peninsula & Oriental SN Co. Bentick was the name of the first Governor of India. More history. Yet more history.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 20 January 1843]:
LAUNCH OF "THE BENTINCK" STEAM-SHIP, This magnificent vessel (the sister-ship of "The Hindostan," now in India) was yesterday launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Thomas Wilson and Co., at the north end of the town.

Image and text [from Illustrated London News - Saturday 12 August 1843]:

THE BENTINCK. This magnificent steam-ship is now moored in the river, off Blackwall, and a more glorious burthen has never been borne by our Thames. She is the property the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, whose patriotic efforts to shorten the distance between Europe and the East so thoroughly deserve the success that has attended them. The vast benefit conferred upon Great Britain and her Oriental possessions by the establishment of the mails to the Levant, and thence to India, has been most materially extended by the formation of the new packet stations at Ceylon, Madras, and Calcutta, and we have little doubt that ere long the commercial necessities of Great Britain will induce this company to extend the line to Hong-Kong. The advantages of the new route have been now sufficiently felt to obviate any necessity for commentary. By the old mode of transmission a letter or passenger seldom reached any of the presidencies in less time than four or five months, making an interval of from eight to ten months before interchange of communication could be effected between Great Britain and the Indian possessions; whereas now Calcutta has been brought within less than forty, and Madras within about thirty-five days' post of London.
The Bentinck is intended to ply between Calcutta and Suez, touching at Madras, Ceylon, and Aden; she is admirably adapted for this voyage, being as compact as she is colossal, and every contrivance which art and arrangement could suggest having been adopted to create and continue the ventilation of the vessel. The length of the ship from the head to the taffrail is 250 feet; her breadth is 40 feet; her depth 31 feet; and she admeasures - including the spar-deck - 2020 tons. Like all the other larger class vessels of this company, the Bentinck is fitted with water-tight iron bulkheads, by which her hold is divided into a number of water-tight compartments. The advantages of this arrangement are of a most important nature. The bulkheads materially strengthen the vessel, and effectually prevent her from sinking in case of springing a leak, as no more water can enter her in such case than would be sufficient to fill to the water-line the particular compartment in which the leak may occur. Had such means been adopted on board some of the steam-boats which have recently been lost - the Pegasus, for instance - the immense and fearful sacrifice of human life might have been prevented. Besides this important protection, the Bentinck is fitted with the patent paddle-box life-boats, and has a complete apparatus, including a powerful force-pump, for extinguishing fire instantaneously in any part of the ship. She also is fined with Mr. William's smoke consumers, which prevent the issue of smoke from the funnels.
The interior arrangements of the Bentinck are especially elegant, commodious and complete. She possesses accommodation for 102 cabin passengers, having 20 single cabins, 22 double cabins, and 12 family and general cabins. They are fitted up with every attention to comfort and convenience; and, above all, light and ventilation, so desirable.in tropical climates, have been abundantly provided. Each has its marble-covered basin-stand, mirrors, drawers, writing apparatus, &c. Venetian blinds are inserted in the upper part of the doors, and, wherever possible, in the sides of the cabins also; and plates of perforated zinc, and all manner of contrivances, are introduced to ensure a constant circulation of wholesome and refreshing drafts of air. The spar-deck forms a magnificent walk, the full length, of the ship, with convenient seats abaft. The main-deck, below, is also comparatively open and airy, and forms, with the houses on each side, a spacious and well-lighted arcade, which may be resorted to in showery or boisterous weather. The principal cabin or saloon, under the quarter-deck, is a large square apartment, well lighted from the deck, and from the stern and side windows. It affords room for 100 persons to be seated commodiously at the tables; is lofty, and differs somewhat from those usually constructed, being, nearly square; and free from the inconvenience of the several berths, entering immediately into it, as it occupies the whole width of the vessel in the stern, and is upwards of 30 feet each way, having, besides large stern windows, spacious ports on each side, thus giving abundance of light and air, and a full view of the sea in nearly every direction. The decorations of the saloon consist of several interesting views of Cabul, Ghuznee, &c., painted, or rather enamelled, on slate. The gildings are gorgeous, and and the fittings are correspondingly superb. The ladies'saloon is quite an unique apartment. It is entered by the side of the staircase, and presents a quiet, pleasing contrast to the more brilliant decorations of the grand saloon. This room, and the range of cabins adjoining it, are appropriated to the use of ladies exclusively.
A wide passage communicates with the state cabins, and terminates with a good flight of stairs, spreading each way, at the top, to the upper deck. Amongst the other contrivances for ministering to the health, comforts, or luxury of oriental voyagers, are cold, hot, and shower baths; and, for their intellectual recreation, a well-selected library has been provided for the saloon.
The engines of the Bentinck, two in number, were manufactured by Fawcett, Preston, and Co., of Liverpool. The power, 540 horse, having cylinders of 78inches diameter, and 8 feet stroke, which are fitted and cased over. The side beams are about 8 tons weight each; and the framings, which are of a very handsome pattern, are of the same patterns as the late President steam-ship's engines; and have, fitted in a case, to match the general appearance ot the engine, on the starboard side, a counter, for showing the number of revolutions of the engines, which corresponds with a timepiece, fitted in Gothic cases - the style of the framings.
The condensors are of no novel description, but their action is very satisfactory, the exhaustion, as shown by the vacuum gauges, being 28lbs. The air pumps contain nothing novel.
The boilers, four in number; two forward and two aft, are felted and cased in iron; and have four furnaces in each, with patent smoke-burners. The steam pipes run close to the deck, and are 18 inches in diameter, felted and cased with canvas, with stop valves, by which one or more boilers may be kept from working, in case of repair or accident. Working steam 5lb. per square inch, and consuming 6.5lb. of ordinary coal per horse power per hour.
The engine-room is divided into two compartments by a perforated platform, on which the engineers stand while working the engines, having the starting bars, throttle, injection, and expansion-valve handles within reach.
The engines were first tried in the Coburg Dock, Liverpool, June 25th, since which time they have increased two revolutions per minute, then making but 14, at present 16.5 nearly.
The Bentinck is commanded by Captain Kellock, an officer of great experience, who has made many voyages to India, and whose skill as a seaman is equalled only his eminent social qualities. She will proceed from Southampton on the 24th of August, for Calcutta, via the Cape of Good Hope, touching at Gibraltar, Cape de Verde Islands, the Cape, Mauritius, Ceylon, and Madras, and will start from Calcutta on her first trip for Madras, Ceylon, and Suez, on the 15 December next, and will thenceforward continue to ply on the line between India and Suez, in conjunction with her sister vessel, the Hindostan, which has already been for some time on that station. The brief period of time in which her voyage is likely to be accomplished may be calculated from the fact that her average speed on her passage from Dublin to Southampton was 13 miles an hour, and occasionally she ran 14 miles per hour.


Iron paddle steamer Iron Duke, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1844, 629grt, 312nrt, 177.5 x 26.8 x 17.2 ft, engines 320hp by Fawcett & Preston, ON 8809, for City of Dublin SP Co. Sold to Dublin & Liverpool SS Co 1851. !870-90 owned Watson, Dublin. More history.

[from Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Saturday 20 April 1844]:
The Iron Duke. New Mail Steam Packet. This beautiful first-rate iron steamer, the property of the City of Dublin Company, made her first trial trip round the Floating Light and back, yesterday morning. She was launched about Christmas last, from the yard of Mr. Thomas Wilson, a gentleman well known in the marine world for having built some of the finest vessels belonging to the port, and since that period, she has been fitting and taking on board two fine engines, of 320 horses power, made by the Messrs. Fawcett and Preston, of this town. The trip gave the utmost satisfaction to the commander of the boat, and several other nautical gentlemen who were on board. The engines maintained the celebrity of the establishment in which they had been made; and the vessel glided through the water at the rate of fourteen and a half knots per hour, although her keel and bottom had not been entirely cleared of the remnants of her launch. In a few days, the Iron Duke will take her station on the evening line of mail packets which ply between this port and Dublin; and her saloon and sleeping apartments are fitted up in first-rate style. She is one of the largest and handsomest iron steamers built in the port, being 700 tons burthen; and ornamented with a fine figure-head likeness of the Iron Duke, in his Field Marshall's uniform. This morning she sails on her second trial trip to Beaumaris, when it is expected she will run more than fifteen knots per hour.
Whilst on this subject, we may take the opportunity to mention that the Messrs. Fawcett and Preston have lately invented an engine which promises to supersede those at present in use. Next to the invention of the steam engine itself, it may be regarded one of the greatest improvements in modern science. The engine, made upon the improved principle, scarcely occupies half the space of the ordinary engine of similar power; and when the great saving of space effected by this engine is taken into consideration, there can be no doubt that it will shortly be very generally introduced into steamboats. An engine on this principle is now at work at the establishment of the Messrs. Fawcett and Preston, who are also engaged in constructing two engines of considerable magnitude, on the same principle, for a new steam vessel.


Iron paddle steamer Queen, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1844, 330grt, 140.0 x 22.0 x 13.5 ft, engines 140hp by Parry, Liverpool, owned J Hartley, for London - Exeter service. By 1857 [LR] owned M Bremer, for Hull - Oporto service, 160hp, 344 tons. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 10 June 1844]:
LAUNCH OF THE IRON SHIP QUEEN. On Monday a fine iron vessel, built by Messrs. Thomas Wilson and Co., North-shore, was launched, from their building-yard, amidst a large concourse of spectators. She is for James Hartley, Esq., London, and is intended for the London and Exeter line, for which she appears to be admirably adapted. She is 140 feet in length, 22 feet in breadth, (or beam,) feet in depth of hold, and admeasures about 330 tons. Her model was much admired by the nautical gentlemen present. The ceremony of christening was gracefully performed by Miss Wilson Green.

[from Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 07 September 1844]:
THE NEW IRON STEAMER "THE QUEEN". TRIP TO SEA. ... The Queen is new iron steam-ship of 400 tons burthen, built by Mr. Wilson of Liverpool; her engines of 160 horse power, by Mr. Parry, also of Liverpool; and her enterprising owners are the well-known firm James Hartley and Co., of London, who carry on nearly the whole of the steam communication between London, Ireland, and the south-west coast of England; and who have lately placed her on the station to facilitate the trade between Exeter and the metropolis. She is of truly noble proportions, being 140 feet in length, and 30 feet breadth, exclusive of the paddleboxes; of immense power and speed, doing the voyage to London in 36 hours; and what is of the greatest consequence, her frame is so firmly put together, that nothing whatever is felt of that ceaseless jar which in ordinary steamboats proves so disagreeable to passengers; indeed, so easy is her progress, that it is difficult when in smooth water to tell whether she is moving at all, without observing distant objects. Her cabin fittings are of the most complete description, elegant but substantial, with every convenience for the comfort and accommodation of those on board, leaving nothing to be wished for....


Iron paddle steamer Albert, built T Wilson, Liverpool, 1845, 493grt, 353nrt, 146.5 x 23.0 x 13.6 ft, engines 160hp by Maudslay & Co, ON 8783, for City of Dublin SP Co., for Dublin - Holyhead service. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 September 1844]:
IRON STEAM-SHIPS. The progress of iron-built steamships is as great in the port of Liverpool as in any other part of the kingdom. The Dublin Steam Company have just contracted with Messrs. Bury and Co. for the building of two first-rate iron steam-ships for the Dublin trade, in addition to the one, the Albert, now building by Messrs. Wilson. of this town. The Cork Company have also just contracted for the building an iron steamer to match their fine vessel, the Nimrod. The Whitehaven Company have also a large iron steamer on the stocks; and it has been stated, that Government have proposed to an eminent builder, in Liverpool, to construct two large class iron frigates. The Dock Trustees are about appropriating suitable new premises for the ship-builders, in place of those to be taken for the new docks.


Last ship launched from Thomas Wilson's North Shore Yard - a sailing vessel Duke of Lancaster.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 11 January 1845]:
Ship Launch. Thursday at noon, a fine new ship, called the Duke of Lancaster, was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Wilson, North Shore, the last that will be launched from that site, in consequence of the yard being required for dock purposes. The Duke is 124 feet long, 30 broad, and deep, 600 tons burthen, and intended for the China trade. She belongs to Messrs. Stringer and Mann, and will be commanded by Capt. Bulley, late of the Thos Lowrey. The ceremony of christening was performed by Mrs. Thomas Wilson, and after the launch the invited partook of a cold collation, served up by Mr. Parry of Seacombe.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 13 May 1845]:
For HONG KONG and WHAMPOA - The new Ship DUKE OF LANCASTER, (Built by Messrs. Wilson,) JOHN BULLEY, Commander; (Late of the Thomas Lowry); 510 tons per register. For terms, &c. apply to Messrs. STRINGER and MANN; to J. AIKIN, SON and CO., Or BOLDS and CO.



Wilson re-established at Birkenhead:

Wooden paddle steamer Amazonas (Brazilian frigate), built Wilson, Birkenhead, 1851, 950 tons (carpenters measure), 192 x 32 x 19.25 ft, 300 hp engines by Hick, Bolton. More history.

Image of Amazonas in 1863.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 26 September 1851]: LAUNCH OF A STEAM FRIGATE. - Yesterday forenoon a splendid steam frigate was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Messrs. Wilson & Co, Birkenhead, for the service of the Emperor of the Brazils. Notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather, the rain pouring in torrents during the whole forenoon, the interesting event occasioned a large congregation of ladies and gentlemen to witness the launch of the first vessel that has been was built by Mr. Wilson on the other side of the Mersey. Amongst the company were Miss Grenfell (daughter of Admiral Grenfell, of the Brazilian navy), Mr. Froes (the sub Brazilian acting consul), Lieut. Torreas (of the Brazilian navy), ...
There was no name given to the the steamer, other than the Brazilian steam-frigate. This vessel is of the following dimensions: Length 192 feet; breadth, 32 feet; and depth 19 feet 3 inches. She will be of the tonnage of 950 tons, carpenter's measurement, and will be propelled by two engines, of the collective capacity of 300-horse power. The engines will be made by Mr. Hick, Bolton. The materials used throughout the ship are East India teak and English oak. Her framing is remarkably strong, the ship being strengthened by diagonal braces of timber and iron combined, and the materials are more strongly bound together than is the custom of the royal navy. The ship has a round stern, and she is in every way constructed with a view to strength. Her sides are pierced for an armament of six sixty-eight pounders. She has flat paddle-boxes, for carrying life-boats, and her arrangements throughout are of the most approved kind. There has been more attention paid to strength than speed in the construction of this ship, but it is expected that she will attain a speed of from ten to eleven knots per hour. ...

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 29 March 1852]:
On Saturday the trial trip of the, new Brazilian steam-frigate, Amazonas, built by Mr. Thos. Wilson, of this town, was made, with a select party on board, including the friends of the builder, the Brazilian Consul General at this port, Mr. Braga, and the officers of the Brazilian Government who are to take charge of the vessel...



Davenport, Grindrod & Patrick, Liverpool.[iron vessels - from the Caledonian Iron Foundry]
Blanche 1841
Fire Queen 1843



Iron paddle steamer Fire Queen, built Davenport, Grindrod & Patrick, Liverpool, 1843, 370grt, 156.2 x 25.4 ft, 180hp engines. Owned MacKay for Singapore - Calcutta service. Possibly ON 40974, registered Calcutta 1861, steam, 370 tons, owned Union Steam Tug Co, Calcutta. Listed MNL to 1866. There was a cylcone at Calcutta on 5 Oct 1864 that wrecked many vessels, including steam tug Fire Queen. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 29 September 1843]:
LAUNCH OF THE FIRE QUEEN. - On Tuesday last, about half-past twelve o'clock, a splendid new iron steamer, called the Fire Queen, was launched from the yard of Messrs. Davenport, Grindrod, and Patrick, south side of the Queen's Basin. The vessel, which is intended to carry passengers and cargo between Calcutta and Singapore, is about 500 tons burthen, and will have engines of about 200-horse power. She went off the stocks beautifully, gliding with a slow and steady motion into the river, amid the acclamations of the multitudes, who had assembled in the adjacent shipbuilding yards to witness the exciting spectacle. Just as she went off, a slight accident occurred, which was not, however, attended by any very serious consequences. Several men had climbed to the roof of a wooden shed in Messrs. Davenport and Grindrod's yard. At the very monent when the vessel was set in motion, the planks of the roof gave way, and most of those who had gained this advantageous position, were suddenly plunged into the dark interior of the shed, where they not only missed seeing the launch, but a few of them sustained rather severe bruises.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 29 February 1844]:
For CALCUTTA, Direct, The new iron Steam-ship FIRE QUEEN, Captain Thos Scallan, 580 tons, 200-horse power, for parcels, letters, or specie only. To be despatched 10th March. Apply to W. H. Whitehead, Britannia-buildings, Fenwick-street.

[from Daily News (London) - Saturday 03 December 1864]:
THE HURRICANE AT CALCUTTA. ... Log of officer of ship C.N. ..... 5th October ... Directly, after stranding, the steam-tug Fire Queen drove down upon us, and hooked our starboard anchor, tearing it away from the cathead. Coming under our forechains she tore up the channels and cut up our starboard side. In a few moments, she sunk alongside.



Page & Grantham, Liverpool [iron vessels]
Cleveland 1836
Alice 1839
Erin-go-Bragh 1840
Brigand 1840
Mersey 1842
Liverpool Screw / Clara 1842



Hodgson, Liverpool [all iron vessels, yard for sale Oct 1847]
[Barque Richard Cobden 1844]
Iron Prince 1845 screw
Flecha 1846 screw (later Norwich)
Antelope 1846 screw (later Coral Queen)
Sarah Sands 1846 screw
Unknown 1846,
Dwarka 1846
Britannia 1847
Lord Morpeth 1847




[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 22 September 1845]:
THE SCREW AS AN AUXILIARY. On Wednesday last a large party of gentlemen connected with the town assembled at the building-yard of Messrs. James Hodgson and Co., Toxteth Dock, to witness the commencement of the building of a New York liner, of upwards of 1,300 tons, to be propelled by the screw. Amongst those present on the interesting occasion we noticed Messrs. Thomas Sands, William Rathbone, Harold Littledale, Thos. Ripley, Thomas M`Tear, Charles Holland, Richard Rathbone, Jun., John Grantham, Bennitt Woodcroft, and Joseph Ewart, Esq, Amongst others, we inspected the different furnaces, smiths' shops, mould-room all of which are considered ample for carrying on a very large trade in iron ship-building; the ground, together with all the facilities, being sufficient for the building at the same time of no less than seven iron screw steamers of seven hundred tons burthen each, the premises having a ninety yards front to the river, and the river being about a mile wide and 24 feet deep at high water - sufficient for launching a man-of-war of the largest class. Nor are we surprised at Messrs. Hodgson and Co. laying themselves out on so extensive a scale for the building of iron ships when we consider the great advantages possessed by Liverpool over all other ports, not only in Great Britain, but in the world, in this respect. First, iron is cheaper than at any other port in the universe; timber, of the kind used for iron ship-building, is cheaper than in any port in Europe; Liverpool, being in the centre of the three kingdoms, is cheaper and better supplied with labour of all while coal is, or will be, as cheaply supplied as at any port in the three kingdoms. And, when we take into account that Liverpool imported half as much more produce in tons as London last year, there is reason to hope great things of Liverpool as a place for the building and equipping of iron ships. Among other subjects of attention was the new iron steamers now in progress for the South Australian trade, and which are in a considerable state of forwardness. The ceremony of the day then commenced. A portion of the keel being laid, the operation of raising one of the frames of the vessel, namely, the midship's frame, was performed by a number of workmen, its elevation being followed by a round of cheers from all present.
The principal owners of the ship are Mr. T. Sands, Captain Thompson, of the packet-ship Stephen Whitney, and Messrs. M'Tear and Hadfield. Her dimensions are, length of keel, 188 feet; beam, 32 feet; depth to main deck, 20 feet; ditto to spar deck, 7 feet 3 inches; tonnage, old measurement, 984 tons, new measurement, 1,317 tons; her engines will be of 180 horse-power, on Grantham's patent direct action principle; and the screw to be employed is that patented by Mr. Woodcroft, in which the pitch can be increased or diminished, as may be desired. After providing requisite space for the engines, about twenty-one days' coals, and ample state cabins for sixty passengers, she will have space for upwards of 1000 tons measurement. The form of the vessel is very well adapted for the object intended, and is expected to steam seven or eight knots without sails, and, though lightly sparred, she will, no doubt, be a very fast sailer. The average rate of sailing will not, therefore, be far, if at all, short of the regular steamers, besides having the advantage of carrying large cargoes at a light expense. The company then proceeded to the model-room; and, after examining the plans and models of the vessels alluded to, and also a beautiful plan of the screw-propeller, discussed with infinite relish a handsome and substantial lunch, provided by Messrs. James Hodgson and Co., and over which, in the absence of Mr. Blain, Mr. T. Sands presided.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 03 October 1845]:
Messrs. James Hodgson and Co's yard, adjoining, four iron vessels are in the course of building. The first is a steamer of 600 tons burthen [Antelope], to ply between Liverpool and Rio de Janeiro, the first of a new line of seven, to be propelled by means of the screw, with 100-horse power engines, by Fawcett and Co.; the second, is a vessel of 150 tons, for Buenos Ayres, to be fitted with a screw propeller [see Flecha below]; the third is a steam-ship of 1200 tons burthen, the first of a new line [Sarah Sands] between Liverpool and New York, to be propelled by means of the screw, with 190-horse power engines; the two last are to have Grantham's patent direct action engines; the fourth is an iron steamer for Woodside Ferry [Britannia], constructed upon the same principle as the two new boats now plying, with rudder fore and aft, but with ten feet more keel. The engine will be fitted by Fawcett and Co.

[Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 27 January 1846]:
At Messrs. Hodgson and Co.'s works, Brunswick Dock, five iron vessels are now building. That nearest to completion is about 250 tons, and is to be worked by a screw. She is intended for Buenos Ayres. [see Flecha below] The next is the Antelope...


Iron screw steamer Flecha, built Liverpool 1846, 132grt, 102nrt, 116.3 x 16.2 ft, 40 hp engine, owned John Nicholson of Liverpool & Ghent. Seems to have traded from Ghent. This matches the iron screw steamer of 150 tons reported as launched by Hodgson in late 1846, intended for service in Buenos Ayres. Buenos Ayres was under a naval blockade at that date - so plans to deliver the vessel may have been delayed.
By 1869, named Norwich, 83nrt, 121grt, 121.3 x 17.2 x 8.6 ft, 30hp, registered London 1869, registered Swansea 1871, ex-Flecha, ON 63515 [though MNL gives date of construction wrongly as 1849]. Foundered 11 May 1872 [built Liverpool 1846] on voyage Liverpool to Lagos, near 25N, 20W, crew [12] saved. See also.

[from Saunders's News-Letter - Monday 02 February 1846]:
We understand that yesterday a beautifully modelled steam vessel, to be propelled by the screw, was launched from Messrs. James Hodgson and Co's yard.

[from Liverpool Albion Monday 11 May 1846]:
The screw-vessel Flecha sailed hence for the River Plate yesterday afternoon week.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 11 January 1847]:
The screw steamer Flecha, despatched hence several months ago to the River Plate, is now in successful operation on that stream.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 13 June 1872]:
Steamer Norwich of Swansea hence for Lagos foundered on 11 May. Crew saved and proceeded to England in HMS Euphrates


Iron screw steamer Antelope, built Hodgson. Liverpool, 1846, 457nrt, 185.7 x 24.7 x 16.7 ft, engines 100hp by Fawcett & Co., registered Liverpool August 1846. ON 1159. Owned McTear et al, Liverpool, registered Liverpool, service to Brazil. In 1852 lengthened (to 236.9 ft) and fitted with new engines by Forrester. Traded to Australia. For sale 1855 at Liverpool, advertised sailing Liverpool- London in 1856, bought at Hull in 1857. Converted to sail 1859-62. Renamed Coral Queen 1862, later re-engined. Sank 18th February 1890 off Hartlepool after collision with SS Brinio (Dutch). More history.
LNRS artice about Antelope.

Image of Antelope when she visited Australia in 1854.

Image of Antelope from a painting by Samuel Walters.

[from Manchester Courier - Wednesday 01 April 1846]:
Launch of a Large Iron Steamer. On Saturday last, shortly after eleven o'clock, a beautiful large iron steamer was launched from the building yard of Messrs. James Hodgson and Co., south end of the Brunswick Dock, Liverpool. The ceremony of christening was performed by Mrs. Samuel Johnson, of Pernambuco. The noble fabric having received from her fair sponsor the designation of the Antelope, the usual preparations were made for consigning her to the bosom of the waters. She went off in admirable style, amid the cheers of numerous spectators who had assembled to witness the interesting event. The Antelope is the first of a line of eight steamers, on the screw principle, intended to ply between this port and Brazil. She is 609 tons burthen, and considered by competent judges very fine model. She is 175 feet long, 26 feet 4 inches in beam, and 17 feet deep. Her propeller will be worked by a pair of engines of 100 horse power, or 50 horse power each. She will be rigged as a ship, with very heavy masts and rigging, and consigned to the command of Captain O'Brien, who has had very extensive experience in iron ships.

[from Liverpool Mercantile Gazette and Myers's Weekly Advertiser - Monday 24 August 1846]:
STEAM from LIVERPOOL to RIO DE JANEIRO, calling at Pernambuco and Bahia, to land and receive passengers and Mails. The splendid new iron auxiliary Steam Ship ANTELOPE, H. H. O'Bryen, Commander: Of 600 tons register, and 120 horses' power, is intended to sail on the 10th of September. This vessel is divided into six compartments by five water-tight bulkheads. She is fitted up with every convenience, including bedding, linen, &c. for about thirty five cabin passengers. .... McTear & Hadfield.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 01 November 1847]:
THE STEAM-SHIP ANTELOPE. The Antelope sailed on Wednesday for Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, with the unusually large number of forty-three passengers.

[from Lloyd's List - Monday 31 March 1890]:
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE. ADMIRALTY DIVISION. COLLISION. THE CORAL QUEEN (s) V. THE BRINIO (s). This was an action arising out of a collision between the steamships Coral Queen and Brinio, in the North Sea, on Feb. 18 last. According to the statement of claim, the Coral Queen is of 468 tons nett, and 738 tons gross register, and was on a voyage from Gothenburg to West Hartlepool, laden with a general cargo, and manned by a crew of 18 hands. At about 3 a.m. on the day in question she had arrived off the Heugh Light, Hartlepool, and was steering south, making about five and a half knots an hour. The weather was clear but dark, with a strong south-east breeze, and a heavy sea. The tide was first quarter ebb, slack. In these circumstances the masthead and green lights of the steamer Brinio were observed right ahead, and distant about one and a half to two miles. The Coral Queen was kept on her course, and the lights of the Brinio came on the starboard bow. When they were about one and a half to two points on that bow, and rapidly broadening, and the vessels were well clear, the helm of the Coral Queen was starboarded to bring her head to sea, to wait the tide to go into Hartlepool, and her whistle was blown two short blasts. When the Coral Queen had answered her helm about two points, and the green light of the Brinio had got nearly abeam and about a ship's length off, the Brinio suddenly opened her red tight, and coming on at great speed, with all her lights open, with her stem and the bluff of her port bow struck the Coral Queen amidships, cutting her down below the water's edge. Rebounding, she struck her again in the way of the main rigging. The Coral Queen almost immediately sank, and five of her crew were drowned. After the collision the Brinio steamed away without rendering assistance, and did not give her name.
The Brinio, according to the statement of defence and counter-claim, is a Dutch steamship belonging to Rotterdam. She is of 418 tons register, and, manned by a crew of 15 hands, was on a voyage from Middlesbrough to Grangemouth, with a cargo of 800 tons of pig iron. On the morning in question she was steering N. by E., making between seven end eight knots an hour. In these circumstances the masthead and red lights of the Coral Queen were seen about three miles off, from three to four points on the starboard bow of the Brinio, and crossing her course from starboard to port. As the vessels drew nearer, the helm of the Brinio was ported, bringing the lights on to the port bow, and the helm was then steadied. After a short time the red light was lost sight of, but the white light continued to keep in view, instead of also disappearing, as it was expected it would do. The Coral Queen also appeared to be getting nearer to the Brinio. The helm of the latter was therefore put hard a-port. Almost immediately afterwards the starboard side of the Coral Queen was seen to be open, with no green light exhibited. The engines of the Brinio were at once ordered to be reversed full speed astern, but the Coral Queen, coming on at great speed, and showing her masthead light only. with her starboard side about amidships struck the bluff of the port bow of the Brinio, doing the latter great damage, so that her forepeak at once filled with water. After the collision the Brinio went astern for a few minutes, and then proceeded to search for the Coral Queen, but finding neither vessel nor boats, she proceeded to Middlesborough, it being feared that the collision bulkhead would give way, and cause her to founder.

Judgement[excerpt]: Two of the men of the crew of the Coral Queen got on board the Brinio after the collision, and were saved by that means. Eleven others of the officers and crew took to the only boat which appears to have been left available, and that, I think, was the jolly boat, not a boat of any great size. There were 11 of them in that boat, and they had only one pair of oars. That accounts for all the crew of this vessel but five. These five were most unfortunately lost. The case is one in which the evidence on the one side and the other is wholly irreconcilable. ..... The result is, therefore, that I must hold the Brinio alone to blame.



Iron screw steamer Sarah Sands, built J Hodgson, Liverpool, 1846, 1300grt, 931nrt, 207.6 x 35 x 27.5 ft, 150hp screw, ON23921, owned Sands, registered Liverpool. More history. Chartered to Canadian Steam Navigation Co 1853-5. Caught fire 11 November 1857 off Mauritius conveying troops to India. Crew and passengers saved. Vessel limped home under sail. Account by Rudyard Kipling. Later repaired and used under sail. Owned E Bates, Liverpool.
Wrecked 1869 off Laccadive Islands.

Image of Sarah Sands circa 1845, from NMM Greenwich.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 12 August 1846]:
LAUNCH OF THE IRON STEAM-SHIP SARAH SANDS. The launch of this beautiful iron vessel, constructed on the screw principle, by the spirited and enterprising firm, Messrs. Hodgson & Co., took place yesterday at 1 p.m. The number attracted to witness the ceremony of the induction of the gallant vessel was very considerable, amongst whom we noticed many of the leading merchants of this large commercial town, especially those in the export trade. The Sarah Sands, is a beautiful model of Naval Architecture; her proportions being, length of keel, 190 feet, deck 225 feet, beam 32.5 feet, depth of main hold, 21 feet, depth of spar deck, 7 feet 3 inches, with a measurement of 1200 tons; her form and appearance are exceedingly symmetrical, and when fully completed with her engines of 180 horse power, she cannot fail to realise the anticipations entertained of her clipping qualities. The day being fine, thousands of spectators were assembled, who seemed to enjoy the scene, and cheered loudly and enthusiastically as this noble vessel took to the water in capital style. She is, we understand, intended for the New York trade, and is to be commanded by Captain Thompson. After the launch, upwards of 500 ladies and gentlemen, sat down to a splendid collation provided by Mr. Lynn, of the Waterloo Hotel; Thomas Sands, Esq., in the chair. [launch S end of Brunswick Dock, designed John Grantham]
... Lately, vessels had gone from that yard to navigate the China seas [Richard Cobden?], in parts where iron vessels were never seen before. Vessels [a screw steamer] had also gone to navigate large rivers in South America, 1500 miles beyond Buenos Ayres [Flecha?], and they had lately constructed a vessel which was to bring the newly emancipated trade of Brazil [Antelope?] close to the door of Liverpool.
Messrs. James Hodgson and Co. have now on the stocks two iron vessels intended for Russia, and another smaller vessel.

[from Dublin Evening Post - Thursday 31 December 1857]:
THE BURNING OF THE SARAH SANDS, The following additional particulars of the burning of the Sarah Sands (of which an account appeared in our last) have been published:-
The Sarah Sands was an iron ship, upwards of 2,000 tons burden, and was formerly employed in running from Liverpool to America. She was chartered by the East India Company for the conveyance of troops to India, and on the 16th of last August she left Portsmouth for Calcutta, under the command of Captain J. S. Castle, with portion of the 54th Regiment on board, comprising Lieutenant-Colonel Moffatt, Captains Brett, Thomson, and Gillum: Lieutenants Galbraith, Hughes, and Crowpe; Ensign Wood; Lieutenant and Adjutant Houston, Surgeon Grant, Assistant Surgeon Donovan; Quartermaster Hipkin; Paymaster Daniel, 21 sergeants, 15 corporals, 11 drummers 306 rank and file, 8 women, 7 children, and a number of ladies, relatives of the officers. The voyage appears to have been favourable until the 11th of November when the ship had reached lat. 14 S., long. 56 E. (upwards of 400 miles from the Mauritius). About 3 o'clock in the afternoon of that day, the troops berthed on the after orlop deck, noticed a smell of burning, which apparently proceeded from beneath them in the hold. It rapidly increasing, the alarm was given to Captain Castle, who at once ordered the after-hold to be examined, and, to the astonishment and horror of all, the cargo stowed there proved to be on fire. It is stated that the bulk of the cargo there consisted of Government stores. Bale after bale was hauled up in the hope of getting at the seat of the fire; but in a short time the smoke became so dense to defy any of the crew getting further into the hold. There was no confusion, however, every order was obeyed by the men with coolness and courage. The course of the ship was stopped. Colonel Moffatt was seen in earnest consultation with Captain Castle deciding upon measures for suppressing the flames, while the crew were actively employed in taking all sail in and bringing the ship before the wind. Others ran out lengths of hose from the fire-engines, which were passed down to hands below, while hose was also put on to the donkey-engine. It soon became apparent that all these exertions failed in checking the progress of the fire. Colonel Moffatt, at the suggestion of the commander, directed his men to at once cast overboard all their ammunition, and in a short time they succeeded in clearing out the starboard magazine. The remainder of the powder in the port magazine, however, excited great apprehensions. Already had the after part of the ship become almost unapproachable from the dense smoke and heat which filled every portion of it. The colonel appealed to his men for volunteers to attempt to rescue the contents of the magazine now so threatened. Several brave fellows instantly came forward and heroically succeeded in reaching the magazine and clearing it with the exception, it is supposed, of one or two barrels. It was a truly hazardous work, several nearly lost their lives, they became overpowered with the smoke and heat and fell, and when hauled up by ropes to the deck they were senseless. The flames soon afterwards burnt up through the deck, and running along the various cabins speedily set the whole on fire. There was a heavy gale blowing at the time, and Captain Castle, perceiving the critical position of the ship, at once took measures for the safe lowering of the boats. They were launched without the least accident, the troops were mustered on deck, there was no rush to the boats, and the men obeyed the word of command with as much order as on parade. Colonel Moffatt informed them that Captain Castle did not despair of saving the ship, but for their own preservation it had been deemed advisable to keep the boats off so to act in case of emergency. The ladies, women, and children were lowered into the port life-boat, and she was directed to stand off until further orders. All hands then turned to constructing rafts of spare spars. In a short time three were put together, which would have been capable of saving a large portion of those on board. Captain Castle succeeded in launching two overboard, and the third was left across the deck, to be lowered at a moment's notice. In the meanwhile, the flames had made terrible progress; the whole of the cabins, saloon, &c., were one body of fire, and about 9 o'clock the flames burst through the upper deck and ignited the mizen rigging. Through the forethought of Captain Castle in bringing the ship to the wind, the fire and smoke were swept sternways, but serious anxiety was felt lest the ship should pay off, and so render her destruction inevitable. During this fearful suspense, a dreadful explosion took place - no doubt arising from one or two barrels left in the port magazine, which blew out the port quarter. The ship from the main rigging to her stern was in one general body of fire. Captain Castle still had hope, although be expressed his fears to the commanding officer of the troops that the ship would be lost. Providentially the bulkhead of the after part of the ship withstood the action of the flames. Here all efforts were concentrated to keep it cool. Party after party of the troops volunteered for the work, and so endeavoured to prevent the fire making its way forward. For hours did this state of affairs continue. Although the men kept the fire at bay below, it gained the main rigging. Mr. Welch, the chief officer, with several of the soldiers, at once went aloft with wet blankets, and after considerable peril and risk succeeded in extinguishing the flames. As it was, however, some of the yards were destroyed. Towards two o'clock the following morning, the men had the satisfaction of seeing the fire diminishing. The flames were gradually beaten back, and by daylight were entirely extinguished. It was not till then that the fearful havoc made by the fire was clearly ascertained. The after part of the ship was burnt out - merely its shell remaining, and now another fate threatened her. The gale still prevailed and the ship was rolling and pitching in a heavy sea, constantly shipping water at the port quarter, which had been blown out by the explosion. She had 15 feet of water in her hold, and active steps were necessary to prevent her foundering. All the men were set to the pumps and baling water out of the hold. Captain Castle, fearing the stern would fall out, got two hawsers under the bottom and made them taut. The next difficulty was to stop the water which was pouring in through the quarter. Spare sails and blankets were placed over the opening and the leak was partially stopped. There was no abatement in the gale during the morning, and in every heave of the ship, the water tanks in the hold which had got loose were dashed from one side to the other. The state of the ship and the continued severity of the weather rendered the constant working of the pumps and the baling imperative. It was not till two o'clock in the afternoon that the boats containing the women and children could be got alongside. They were got on board, and the other boats, which had been ordered off during the raging of the fire, returned with the exception of the gig, which had been swamped during the night; the officer in charge of her, however, Mr. Wood, and the hands were picked by another boat, During the remainder of the day, the following night, and succeeding day, the whole of the hands and troops were engaged working the pumps and clearing the ship of the water. By the evening of the 13th the crew succeeded in securing the stern and getting steerage-way on the ship. She had then drifted as far as longitude 13.12 south. Captain Castle then set all sail and bore up in the hope of making Mauritius, and, to the joy of all on board, made that port in eight days, where her arrival and marvellous escape excited considerable sensation. The officers in command of the troops speak in the highest terms of the conduct of Captain Castle during the trying occasion.
By the latest arrivals: the head-quarters and men of the 54th Regiment continued at the Mauritius, awaiting the arrival of a ship to take them on to their destination. The Sarah Sands was heavily insured at Lloyd's.

[from Manchester Daily Examiner & Times - Thursday 31 December 1857]:
BURNING OF THE "SARAH SANDS." A letter has been received from Captain J. S. Castle, the commander of the Sarah Sands, in which he describes the fire on board his ship in much the same manner as we have already already fully related. After describing the launching of the lifeboats with the ladies, and the destruction of rafts, Captain Castle says:-
"At about 8 30 p.m. flames burst through the upper deck, and shortly after the mizen rigging took fire. I was then fearful of the ship paying off, but fortunately the after braces were burnt through and the mainyard swung round. About nine p.m., a fearful explosion took place in the port magazine. By this time the ship was one body of flame from the stern to the main and thinking it scarcely possible to save her, I called Major Brett (in command of the troops) forward, and told him my opinion, requesting him to endeavour to keep order among the troops till the last, but at the same time to use every exertion to check the fire. No person can describe the manner in which the men worked to keep the fire back; one party were below keeping the bulkhead cool, several of whom were dragged up senseless, and fresh volunteers took their place, but were soon in the same state. At eleven p.m. the maintopsailyard took fire. Mr. Welch, one quartermaster, and four or soldiers went aloft with wet blankets, and succeeded in extinguishing it, but not until the yard and mast were nearly burnt through. About midnight we appeared to have made some impression on the fire, and after that, drove it back inch by inch until daylight, when it had been completely got under. The ship now appeared in a fearful plight; merely a shell remaining, the port quarter blown out by the explosion, fifteen feet of water in the hold, and the ship rolling heavily and taking in large quantities of water aft. As soon as the smoke was partially cleared away, I got spare sails and blankets aft to stop the leak, passing two hawsers round the stern and setting them up. The troops were employed baling and pumping, the ship rolling and the tanks rolling from side to side in the hold. About ten a.m. the ladies joined the ship. I then ordered all the boats alongside, but found the sea too heavy for them to remain there; the gig, however, had been abandoned during the night, and the crew, under Mr. Ward, fourth officer, got into another of the boats. The troops were deployed during the remainder of the day baling and pumping, and the crew in securing the stern. Throughout the night all hands were engaged in baling and pumping. The boats were secured fore and aft, but several were severely damaged. At daylight on the 13th, the crew were employed hoisting in the boats, the troops working manfully in baling and pumping. Latitude at noon 13 12 S. At five pm. set foresail and foretopsail, and bore for the Mauritius. On Thursday the 19th, sighted the island Roderigues, and arrived at Mauritius on Monday the 23rd".

Image of burnt our stern of Sarah Sands - based on a photograph of her on arrival at Mauritius - from Illustrated London News - Saturday 22 January 1859:

[from Liverpool Mercury - Monday 24 May 1869]:
WRECK OF A LIVERPOOL SHIP. The Bombay Gazette of May 1st states that telegrams were received at that port, on the previous Tuesday, reporting the total loss of the ship Sarah Sands on the Kulpeny reef, Laccadive islands. The crew were saved, and were at Calicut. The Sarah Sands was an iron ship 1150 tons burthen, and was on her passage to Bombay with coals from Liverpool, whence she sailed on 7th December.


Iron paddle steamer Unknown, built Hodgson, Liverpool, 1846, circa 200 tons burthen, two engines of 30 hp.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 26 September 1846]:
Launch. On Wednesday, a beautiful iron steamer, 200 tons burthen, was launched from the building yard of Messrs. James Hodgson and Co., iron ship builders. She is for the East India trade, and will be propelled by two thirty horse engines and paddle-wheels. Messrs. Hodgson and Co. have three other iron steamers on hand for different places.
[Dwarka plus 2 others? - possibly for Russia - although Hodgson ceased trading soon afterwards].


Iron steamer Dwarka, built Hodgson, Liverpool, 1846, 300 tons burthen, 150 x 20 x 9.5 ft, two engines of 60 hp, owned Bombay SN C. Sailed to Bombay 1847.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 04 October 1845]:
A new company, called the Bombay Steam Navigation Company, has been established for running steamers down the coast. [newspapers mention steamers Victoria, Surat, Bombay and Dwarka, the latter 3 being Liverpool built].

[from Morning Herald (London) - Tuesday 30 December 1845]:
INDIA. THE BOMBAY STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY. We have lately seen advertisements regarding this infant company which characterise it as prepared to commence operations. The Victoria, one of the new company's steam vessels, is expected to arrive here about the 3rd or 4th proximo, when the line of communication between this and Point de Galle will be fairly opened. Our attention has been drawn to an omission of a grave nature, which, however, we feel persuaded is the result more of accident than design; we allude to the fact that no mention whatever is made of an intention to have a medical man attached to the vessels of the company. The passage to or from Point de Galle, including stoppages, will occupy about eight days, and as it may reasonably be expected that parties in infirm health, invalids, &c., will form no mean proportion of the passengers of these vessels, it of course can never be contemplated to send them to sea without the advantage of medical aid; indeed we think that the company will find it very much to their interest to make some arrangement of this sort.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Saturday 28 November 1846]:
LAUNCH OF THE DWARKA. A new iron steamer, built for the Bombay Steam Navigation Company by Messrs. James Hodgson and Co., of this town. called the Dwarka, was launched on Saturday. She is about 300 tons burden, 150 feet length on the keel, 20 ft. beam, and 9 feet 6 inches in depth of hold, with a beautiful figurehead of a Lascar. She is built from the design of our townsman Mr. John Grantham, and is considered a beautiful specimen of naval architecture. She is to be fitted with a pair of engines of 60 horse power, and is intended to proceed to India.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 07 December 1847]:
Dwarka,(steamer),... hence at Bombay 20th October.

[Morning Herald (London) - Monday 15 November 1852]:
Bombay: Arrivals Oct 2. Bombay Steam Navigation Company's Steamer Dwarka, Woolley, from Surat. yesterday, Oct 3, Bombay Steam Navigation Company's Steamer Bombay, Haslewood, from Kurrachee. Oct 2 Steamer Phlox, Ellis, from Surat.


[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 12 October 1847]:
TO IRONFOUNDERS AND OTHERS. EXTENSIVE SALE OF MACHINERY, IMPLEMENTS, STOCK BUILDING MATERIALS, &c, NEAR BRUNSWICK GRAVING DOCK. BY MESSRS. THOS WINSTANLEY A SONS. Tomorrow, (Wednesday,) 13th, and Thursday. the 14th instant, at Eleven o'clock precisely each day, at the Foundry, west side of Brunswick Graving Dock. THE whole of the MACHINERY, IMPLEMENTS, and UTENSILS in TRADE, the Property of Messrs. James Hodgson and Co., IRON SHIPBUILDERS, who are declining business. The Machinery consists of a valuable fourteen-horse power High-pressure Steam Engine. with Shafting and a 4.5 feet Fan; a large Weighing Machine, for 7.5 tons; Seven powerful Punching and Sheering Machines; Seven Perforated Plates, for bending Angle Iron; solid Levelling Blocks; Boiler-makers' and Planed Ditto; a Set of large bending Rollers, ten feet wide; several Drilling Machines; a Portable Ditto, Planing Machine, Six Iron Cranes, Thirty Smiths' Hearths, Twenty-two Anvils, Rivet Blocks with Dies, Cast Swage and other Blocks, &c.; also a variety of Tools, Stores, &c. Together with the Erection of the Extensive SHEDS and other MATERIALS contained in the BUILDINGS occupying a large portion of the Yard; a large quantity of TIMBER, some Patterns, ten Joiner's benches, and a variety of other articles belonging to the Establishment. ...

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Thomas Royden was apprenticed to Charles Grayson in 1808, and by 1824 was in business under his own name. He built in wood until 1862. History of Thomas Royden.
Yard numbers: mostly sailing vessels - all wooden - some sailing pilot vessels - from 1824 on
Mersey 2; Rocket 3; Alecto 4;
Dyson 7; Chatham 8; Robert Finnie 9; Judith 10;
Charles Eyes 11; Sir John Beresford 12; Annie Baldwin 13; John Brooks 14; William Rushton 15;
Mary Worrall 16; Frederick Huth 17; Tapley 18; Eliza Sanders 19; Ranger 20;
Argentina 21; Agnes 22; Isabella 23; Hermes 24; Earl of Liverpool 25;
Town of Liverpool 26; Jane 27; John Bull 28; PS Thomas Royden 29; PS Pernambucana 30;
Abbots Reading 31; Creamore 32; Devon 33; Seagull 34; Chimbrazo 35;
James Graham 36; Perseverance 37; The Duke 38; Joshua Waddington 39; PS Dreadnought 40;
Barkhill 41; Lima 42; Mary Woods 43; Albert Edward Prince of Wales 44; Seraphina 45;
Countess of Sefton 46; Mersey 47; PS Affonso 48; Lancastrian 49; Auspicious 50;
Geraldine 51; Ismyr 52; Annie Worrall 53; Trojan 54; Mersey 55;
Thomas Royden 56; Rosamond 57; PS Cisne 58; Chilena 59; Netherton 60;
Anne Royden 61; Frankby 62; Chili 63; Sir John Lawrence 64; Japanese 65;
Our Queen 66; La Zingara 67; Pride of Liverpool 68; Ceara 69; Inca 70;...
Thomas Royden 1837
Pernambucana 1838
Dreadnought 1844
Affonso 1848
Cisne 1853

Wooden paddle steamer Pernambucana, built Thomas Royden Liverpool, 1838, 120 tons, for Brazil SP Co. Lost off coast of Brazil reported November 1853.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 10 September 1838]:
STEAM NAVIGATION. The launch of the Pernambucana, the fourth vessel for the service of the Brazilian Steam-packet Company, took place on Thursday, from Mr. Thomas Royden's yard in Baffin-street; and the fifth and last boat for this undertaking will soon be completed. [trials trip reported February 1839]

[from Morning Herald (London) - Monday 09 January 1854]:
LOSS OF THE STEAMER PERNAMBUCANA. The following particulars are extracted from a letter received by a commercial house in this town, dated Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Nov. 1:
The loss of the unfortunate steamer Pernambucana has cast a gloom over this town, and created a sensation which can scarcely be described. Amongst those who perished were several friends and acquaintances of mine, and amongst those who were saved was Signor Joaquim Jose Medez Ribeiro, who was the first to reach Porto Alegre (overland) from the wreck with the intelligence. Mr. Aveline (the British vice consul in Porto Alegre) also escaped, but lost one of his daughters. He had two with him. He had with him about 40 contos (upwards of £4000), of which two contos only were saved. It is said he has lost his senses. The steamer got ashore, after she had weathered a gale of three days' duration, at eleven o'clock in the morning, when the weather had become comparatively calm owing, the report says, to the crew being drunk. They had, I suppose, been plying themselves with spirits to keep up the small amount of natural courage they were possessed of; and these cowardly souls were the first to abandon the wreck, without making an effort to save either passengers or cargo. But what is worse still, the savage brutes were guilty of the most atrocious outrages after getting on shore. One poor fellow, a friend of mine, and a native of this place, was barbarously murdered by them the moment he got ashore, for the purpose of plundering him; and poor Mr. Aveline was asked a conto de reis to have a hole dug on the beach for a grave for his daughter, and not satisfied with the loose money he had in his pocket (300 or 400 reis), the infernal villains cut off the fingers and ears from the corpse to despoil them of the rings. There was ample time to have saved everything, upwards of 48 hours having elapsed before the vessel went to pieces, and the distance between her and the shore being only about 40 yards. A number of passengers, principally women and children, who had been clinging to the lee paddle-box upwards of 24 hours, were got ashore by a brave negro, by means of a rope. The part of the coast where the steamer was lost was the Morro de Santa Marta, about 100 miles from Porto Alegre. [now Cabo de Santa Marta Grande]


Wooden paddle steamer Affonso(Dom Afonso, also Alfonso), built Thomas Royden, Liverpool, 1848, 880grt, 178 x 31.10 ft, engines 300hp by Rigby, Hawarden, armed, for Brazilian Navy. Assisted in rescue of passengers when Ocean Monarch caught fire on 28 August 1848 in Liverpool Bay. More detail of vessel with image [there called Dom Afonso, and with different engine builder - see clarification]. Wrecked 10 Jan 1853, near Cabo Frio. Report of naval service (in Portuguese), describes location of wreck as Massambaba, between Ponta do Frances and Ponta da Salina, NW of Cabo Frio, 3 lives lost.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 27 December 1847]:
LAUNCH OF THE BRAZILIAN FRIGATE AFFONSO. The launch of this frigate, which has been built here by Mr. Thomas Royden of Baffin-street, for his Majesty the Emperor of Brazil, took Place on Thursday. ...
The vessel has been built under the personal superintendence of Admiral Grenfell, and is a splendid specimen of workmanship. Her materials are of the choicest description, with English oak framing, solid bottom; American elm planking below, and teakwood above. She is copper-bolted throughout, and her knees and other strengthenings are of the most approved principles in wood and metal. Her sides are also strengthened - by interior iron and wooden trusses. She is provided with Dalton's air-pumps, and will carry two large boats on the top of the paddle-boxes, to be used in case of necessity. She has a cherub as a figure-head, and her stern is ornamented with rich carvings. Her dimensions are as follows: Length of keel, 178 feet; length of deck, 200 feet; beam, 31 feet 10 inches; depth of hold, 19 feet; burthen, 880 tons (builders measurement). Her engines are 300 horse-power, by Rigby. She will be fitted up in every point as a vessel of war, and being intended for the use of the Emperor of Brazil, in coasting along the shores and running on the rivers of that country, her draught will not exceed twelve feet, with engines, fuel, &c. She drew under six feet at the time she was launched.

Image (from painting by Samuel Walters) of PS Affonso assisting when Ocean Monarch was on fire, 1848..

[from Illustrated London News - Saturday 04 December 1852]:

Battle of Tonelero, Affonso steamer, Admiral Grenfell.
In 1851, when the war with the Platina States broke out, Admiral Grenfell was recalled to Brazil, and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the squadron in the River Plate. At the head of one of its divisions, in the month of December last, after a sharp action, he forced the passage of the River Parana, defended by the forces of General Rosas, and, cooperating with the allied army under General Urquiza, materially contributed to the overthrow of the Argentine ruler. We give an Illustration of the forcing of the pass of Tonelero, in which our readers may recognise the Admiral standing on the larboard paddle-box, exposed to the full fire of the enemy.
For his brilliant services. Admiral Grenfell has been raised to rank of Vice-Admiral of the Brazilian Navy, made a Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Rose, a Dignitary of the Order of the Southern Cross, and decorated with two gold medals for the wars of the Independence and the River Plate. He also enjoys a well-earned pension from the Government. He was married in 1829 to Donna Dolores Masini of Monte Video, and has a numerous family.
His fine manly form, and handsome but weather-beaten countenance, were distinguished during the late solemnity in St. Paul's, among the Foreign Ambassadors.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 22 February 1853]:
THE DON AFFONSO. We learn by the Severn that the Brazilian steam frigate Don Affonso struck on a sand bank whilst in pursuit of a slaver, and became a total wreck. One officer and some sailors were drowned. This vessel was built in England, at a cost of £80,000, and will be remembered as having saved the passengers of the burning emigrant ship Ocean Monarch, of Liverpool. She was the finest vessel of war in the Brazilian navy.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 22 February 1853]:
RIO JANEIRO, Jan. 13. The Brazilian steam frigate Affonso, while in pursuit of a slaver, was stranded during the night of the 9th on the Mossambaba Coast [Massambaba beach, to west of Cabo Frio], near Cape Frio, and it is feared will be a total loss. The vessel is buried in the sand.

Wooden paddle steamer Cisne (also Cysne), built Thomas Royden, Liverpool, 1853, yard no.58, 402tons (bm), engines 180hp by Fawcett & Preston, owned Lisbon, for Oporto - Lisbon service, more history. Reported in Portuguese press as, Cysne, sailing Lisbon - Oporto with 89 passengers on 9 June 1854.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 05 December 1853]:
TRIAL TRIP OF THE CISNE. The Cisne (Swan) steamer, built by Mr. Royden, for a Portuguese company, whose representatives here are Messrs. Duarte Brothers and Co., made a short trial trip on the river on Tuesday. The Cisne is a paddle-wheel steamer of 402 tons, builders measurement, with oscillating engines of 180 horse power, by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co. She has two boilers and two chimneys on the same principle as the Manx Fairy, so that one boiler can be used in winter and both boilers in the summer time. The vessel is to trade between Oporto and Lisbon, and as Oporto is a barred harbour, it was necessary to have the vessel of a light draft of water. During her trip the log was thrown once, giving a speed of 11.5 knots. She will make another trial day or two.

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Thomas Vernon learnt his trade as a boiler-maker with Bury & Co. He commenced in business on his own around 1840. Later, around 1854, moved to a site south of Tranmere Ferry on the Wirral shore. [all iron]
Assam 1840
Troubador 1841
Nimrod 1843
Queen 1844
Sabrina 1844
Preussischer Adler 1845
Vladimir 1845
Haddington 1846
Ajax 1846
Windsor 1846
Fenella 1846
Surat 1846
Hibernia 1847
Minerva 1847
Guadalquivir 1847 (later Leo)
Whitehaven 1848
Sylph 1849
Fairy 1849
Vernon 1849
Nymph 1851
Hunwick 1852 screw
Haggerston 1852 screw
Eagle 1852 screw
10 Danube river vessels 1852?
San Guisto 1853 screw
San Marco 1853 screw
San Carlo 1853 screw
Enniskillen 1853
[Istria SV 1854]
Black Prince 1854 screw
Firefly 1854 screw
Loire 1854 screw
[Harvest Home SV 1855]
Prince Patrick 1855
Lota 1855 screw
Annie Vernon 1856 screw
Sovereign 1856 screw
Unknown tug 1855/6
Plynlymon 1856 screw (later Troubador)
Bridgewater 1857 tug
James Kennedy 1857 screw
Brackley 1857 tug
Cognac 1860 screw

Sailing vessels built
[Tobin Lightship 1850]
[Philosopher SV 1857]
[Slieve Donard SV 1859]
[Astronomer SV 1860]
[Sarah & Emma SV 1860]

Iron steamer Assam, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1840, 140 x 26 ft, draught 5 ft, for service in Ganges river.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 08 June 1840]:
IRON STEAM-BOATS IN THE EAST. We would recommend to the curious in shipbuilding a visit to Messrs. Thos. Vernon and Co.'s yard, north end of the Clarence Dock, and close to the Battery, where they may have an opportunity of seeing a very fine specimen of the art. It is a vessel 140 feet on the keel and 26 feet beam, and capable of carrying a cargo of 400 tons, besides engines, boilers, and two days' fuel, with a draught of only five feet water, and, consequently, well adapted for the navigation of the shallow rivers in our Eastern territories, for which it is intended.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 10 March 1862]:
[Article about Vernon, Iron shipbuilder]: They constructed the two first of Mr. Bourne's steam-train of barges for the navigation of the Indus. Each of these trains was 700 feet in length, and connected by joints to accommodate them to the tortuous channels of the Indian rivers. They also constructed barges for the navigation of the Ganges and of the Danube; and likewise built the iron steamer Assam, about twenty-five years ago, for navigating the Ganges. This vessel, after having worn out one pair of engines, is being, or has been, fitted with new engines, her hull being still in perfectly good order.

[from Glasgow Courier - Tuesday 22 October 1844]:
The Assam steamer went from Calcutta to Allahabad [now Prayagraj] and back in seventeen days, including stoppages, and the voyage gave a profit of nearly 8000 rupees.

[from Herapath's Railway Journal - Saturday 05 April 1845]:
.... At the end of 1834 Lord William Bentinck completed his plan for a regular communication between Allahabad and Calcutta by means of steam-vessels adapted to the river. These boats have regularly plied on the routes since that time, but without competition, and the consequence has been just that which might have been expected. The cost of freight has increased, and the speed and conveniences of the vessels have been diminished; while the steamers last imported have been found inferior to the first. A proposal was made at the beginning of the past year to establish an Inland Steam Navigation Company, which promised a reduced rate of freight and passage-money to the public, and a large dividend to the Shareholders. The Company has been formed, a portion of the capital has been paid up, and a commencement has, we hear, been made with the building of vessels in England. Meanwhile, the little Assam steamer, belonging to the Company of that name, was placed on this line, and in five voyages realised a very handsome profit. Before the year closed, another Company with a large capital was started in the interior of the country, with the intention of employing, before the end of the present year, 37 larger steamers than any now in use. With these various steamers, and those belonging to Government already in the country, we have the prospect of seeing our rivers covered at an early period with a sufficient number of vessels to transport by steam the vast traffic which is now conveyed from Calcutta to the marts in the interior, and from thence to Calcutta.



Iron paddle steamer Troubador, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1841 409nrt, 616grt, 172.6 x 24.2 x 13.5 ft, engines by G Forrester 240hp (or 180hp), ON23922. Owned John Redmond, registered Liverpool, for Wexford SS Co. More history.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 23 July 1841]:
LAUNCH OF THE TROUBADOUR. The launch of this superb vessel, the largest iron steam-ship yet built in Liverpool, took place on Wednesday last. Great interest has been created by the building of the Troubadour, in the minds of those interested in the introduction of iron as a substitute for wood in the construction of ships; and, notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather, a great concourse of spectators congregated together, on the morning appointed for the launch, in the yard of Messrs. Vernon, Hodgson and Co., the spirited and enterprising builders of this beautiful specimen of the art of ship-building. A few minutes before one o'clock, just at the top of the tide, the last props or stays were knocked away, and she glided off the stocks into the broad bosom of the Mersey with the most perfect smoothness; not a vibration to the right or the left was discoverable; and, when fairly floating on her destined element, the was as true in her trim as the most fastidious skipper could desire - a gratifying proof of the correctness of her lines, and of the truth of the principles upon which she has been constructed. After the launch, a cold collation was given to the chief of the company present, in the moulding-room of the establishment, at which the utmost conviviality prevailed. The healths of Messrs. Vernon and Co., Messrs. Redmond and Co. (the owners), Mr. John Vernon, the lovely sponsor of the vessel, together with success to steam, iron ships, &c., &c., were given with enthusiasm, and called forth from appropriate parties some pertinent and well-timed observations. Previous to the ship quitting the stocks, we inspected her carefully, and feel justified in asserting that for compactness of jointing, excellence of finish, and for skill in so disposing the berths that each one shall contribute its quotum of service to, and at the same time assist, its neighbour, think her equal exists - certainly not her superior. This noble steamer is intended for the Irish and Bristol line, and is the property of Messrs. Redmond and Co. Captain Hunt, a gentleman distinguished for his lectures on marine law, and in whom are combined the sturdy, undaunted British sailor with the man of education and polished manners, is chosen for her commander; and we predict for the Troubadour a career of renown to her builders, of credit to her commanders, and of profit to her owners.

Iron paddle steamer Nimrod, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1843, 662grt, 494,nrt, 177.6 x 25.3 x 15.4 ft, 300hp engines by Bury et al, ON8478, for Cork SS Co. Wrecked 8-2-1860 off St David's Head.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 29 September 1843]:
LAUNCH OF THE IRON STEAM-SHIP NIMROD. in On Tuesday last, about noon, the splendid new steam-packet, called the Nimrod, built for the City of Cork Steam-packet Company, and intended to sail between this port and Cork, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Co., Barrack-street.
The following are the dimensions sh of the vessel:- Length from figure head to taffrail, 200 feet, Length between perpendiculars 180 feet; Length of keel 175 feet; Beam 26 feet; Width over paddle-boxes 46 feet; Depth of hold 16 feet; Admeasurement, old mode, 591 tons. She is the thirtieth iron vessel which has been constructed at Messrs. Vernon and Co.'s establishment, and many improvements have been introduced, which experience alone can discover. She Is adapted to carry a large cargo at a very light draught of water, and, by her beautiful lines and model, she is possessed of the qualities of an excellent sea-boat and fast sailer; the hull, rudder, paddle-beams, and deck-beams are made entirely of Iron, and are of extraordinary strength. She is clinker-built to light-water line, and double riveted on the longitudinal joints; above this line the plates are all flush. She has four water-tight bulkheads, and divided into five water-tight compartments, the absence of which in other vessels has often to be deplored. The Pegasus, Solway, and Queen, which have so lately gone down, would, no doubt, have been saved had they possessed this improvement. The frames of this vessel are of strong angle iron, with sleepers 10 inches deep across the bottom; the length of the fore-hold is 50ft. 10in, inclusive of a portion of the bow fore chain lockers, and use of the crew, and length of after-hold 63 feet 6 inches, between which and the stern-post is placed a tank to contain water; the quarter deck, 55 feet long, from which the cabins are entered by a spiral staircase, the principal saloon is 41 feet long and 8 feet high; it is ornamented by Bielefelde's papier maché gilded mouldings, and though not of the most splendid order, presents an appearance exceedingly neat and elegant; it is lighted from the deck by a skylight of considerable size and in very chaste design; there is a separate cabin for the ladies, and one for the gentlemen - both neatly fitted up, with every convenience for the comfort of passengers; the entrance-hall is pleasant and airy, and the steward's pantry compact and conveniently situated; the number of berths which can be made up is fifty. She is intended to have three masts, rigged with Smith's patent wire rope, and is expected to be ready for sea in November next. The keel was laid on the 6th of May last, so that the vessel has been built in the short space of four months and twenty days.
The engines, manufactured by Messrs. Bury, Curtis, and Kennedy, are of 300-horse power; they are on the direct action plan, with a much longer connecting-rod than is generally obtained in direct engines, though they do not reach a greater height above the deck than that of an ordinary crank scuttle; they also occupy a very small portion of the vessel, the length of the engines alone being nine feet, and width twenty feet six inches, and the whole space occupied in the length of the vessel, including engine, boilers, firing-room, &c, only thirty-five feet ten inches; the engine-room is thus so much reduced that the capacity of the hold is increased at least 1000 cubic feet for stowage above that which is generally obtained when engines of the side lever construction are used; they are of the following dimensions, namely:- Diameter of cylinders 66 inches; Length of stroke 5ft 3in; Diameter of paddle-wheel over the floats 24ft 6in; Breadth of paddle-floats 8 ft 6in; Depth of ditto 2ft 7in. The air-pump which is double-acting and placed between the cylinders, is 37 inches diameter, and 2 feet 7 inches stroke. The vessel will also be fitted with Messrs. Haselden and Williams's hot air smoke consuming apparatus. She will be commanded by Captain Pile, (hitherto of the Ocean), who took charge of the vessel after the launch, ...

Iron paddle steamer Sabrina, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1844, 449grt, 314nrt, 151.8 x 24.5 x 14.1 ft, engines 240hp, boilers by Bury & Co, ON8483. Owned Cork SS Co. More history.

[from Cork Examiner - Wednesday 02 October 1844]:
LAUNCH OF THE "SABRINA." IRON STEAMER. (From Third Edition of the Liverpool Journal of Saturday). This superb vessel, built for the Cork Company, and intended to ply between that port and Bristol, was launched this day at twelve o'clock from the yard of Messrs Thomas Vernon and Company, Barrack-street, North Shore, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators. The weather was delightful, and the tide being at the full, and all the attendant circumstances most propitious, the sight was beautiful in the extreme. At the signal given, all the supports were knocked away simultaneously, and the Sabrina rushed into the flood with an impetuosity that carried her within a few hundred yards of the opposite shore - the Troubador and other steamers, as well as several merchantmen that were passing down close along the Cheshire coast, had to get out of her way with much more speed than they had anticipated would have been necessary. A more beautiful launch was perhaps never seen on the Mersey, and the spectacle, as witnessed from a boat on the river, was full of interest and excitement. As soon as the noble vessel had ceased to make head way, she was taken in tow by a small steamer, and carried into the Clarence Dock, where she will be fitted up in the course of a month, and, between this and Christmas, will no doubt have made several voyages between the two ports, in a manner amply to justify all the expectations formed of her from the long-known reputation of her builders and engine and boiler makers.
The Sabrina was christened, with all the usual observances, by Miss Harriet Anne Curtis, daughter of the second parter in the firm of Bury and Co., the eminent engineers, by whom the vessel's boilers were constructed, on the tubular principle, recently introduced in marine engines, and likely to become of universal application, from the great success which appears to have hitherto attended their employment in steamers. We have lately stated that the Sabrina is an iron boat of tons 524 burthen and 240 horse power, and will have accommodation for sixty passengers. The length of her keel is 164 feet; between perpendiculars, 175 feet; breadth of beam, 25 feet 3 inches; depth of hold 15 feet. The fittings up, will, we understand, be on a scale of great magnificence and beauty. We heartily congratulate the enterprising company to whom she belongs, on the accession of so fine a vessel to their line, and hope that the success which must attend her will fully compensate for the liberality and spirit evinced in her entire construction.
After the launch, Messrs. Vernon invited a select number of friends to partake of a déjeune, in the rooms over their offices, at the entrance to the yard, and the numerous hands employed at these vast works were afforded a holiday, and supplied with the wherewithal to help to its enjoyment.
Among those present at the launch, we observed that the proceedings were watched with much apparent interest by some of the foreigners connected with the iron war steamers - the Wladimer and the Der Preussiche Adler - now in the course of being built by the Messrs. Vernon for the Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia, and intended to carry the mails between Stettin and St. Petersburg.

[from Clare Journal, and Ennis Advertiser - Monday 22 January 1855]:
It is understood that Erin's Queen, of this port [Ulster], that lately came in contact with the steamer Sabrina, is a complete wreck.

[from Irish Times - Tuesday 05 July 1870]:
YACHT RACE. CORK. .... at this point, a thick mist set in, which covered the yachts, and the greater portion of the other yachts were obliged to bear harbour, together with the Cork Steamship Company's paddle steamer Sabrina, on board of which the band the 23rd Regiment performed throughout the day before a large party.

Iron paddle steamer Preussischer Adler, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1845, 809grt, 564nrt, 185.5 x 28.2 x 17.6 ft, engines 400 hp by Bury, Curtis, ON8321. Name means Prussian Eagle. Initially owned Prussia for mail service between Stettin and St Petersburg. As originally designed her paddle-boxes were so constructed as to be capable of being turned down over her sides, in order that two large swivel guns which she carried on deck, might have a free range all round. However, found unsuitable, and registered Cork 1846 and owned Cork SS Co. Lengthened by 40 ft at Cork in 1857. In LR 1887. More history.
Another Preussicher Adler was built in 1846 by Ditchburn & Mare, Backwall, and delivered to Stettin in her place.

Image of Preussicher Adler at Cork around 1856.

[from Morning Chronicle - Monday 25 August 1845]:
Liverpool. Ships Sailed: ... Preussischer Adler, steamer, for Stettin,... Wladimir, steamer, for St. Petersburg,

[from Hull Packet - Friday 28 November 1845]:
HULL. Nov. 20.-The Prussicher Adler (s), Galway, Stettin, ballast for Liverpool, has come into our roads for a supply of coals.

[from Cork Examiner - Wednesday 13 May 1846]:
CORK STEAM SHIP COMPANY.
FOR BRISTOL, EVERY TUESDAY AND FRIDAY, The SABRINA, Capt. PARKER, The ROSE, Captain GILMORE.
FOR LIVERPOOL, EVERY SATURDAY, The NIMROD, Captain PILE.
FOR LONDON, CALLING at PLYMOUTH, every THURSDAY, The SIRIUS, Captain MOFFETT. The TIGER, Captain CALDBECK. The AJAX, Captain MOWLE. The PREUSSISCHER ADLER, Capt. TUCKER.
FOR DUBLIN, GREENOCK, AND GLASGOW, The MINERVA (now building), Captain HIRST. The JUPITER, Captain HIRST.

[from Cork Examiner - Friday 06 February 1857]:
THE PREUSSISCHER ADLER. The fleet of commercial steamers now sailing from our port is one that reflects the highest credit upon its trade and enterprise. Amongst these, decidedly the finest - at least to a non-professional eye - is the Preussischer Adler. This noble vessel, was, it was well known, built originally for the King of Prussia, to be used as a royal yacht, but having proved somewhat too large for that purpose, she was purchased from the builder by the Cork Steam Ship Company for their London trade. It was then a decidedly handsome ship, but owing to its shortness compared with its great breadth of beam, it presented rather too bluff appearance, and did not possess the carrying accommodation which her large steam power would have been capable of. It was determined therefore to add to her length, and accordingly having been placed on the slips, Mr. Wheeler's Queenstown dock, she was drawn asunder, and forty feet added to her keel. After the work done at the dock yard was completed, the vessel was floated up to the company's yard, and underwent a complete overhauling. Her engines were rearranged, and though nothing was added to the nominal horse power of her boilers, still by the new disposition of her cylinders, and other matters, too tedious to enter into the minutiae of, much greater efficiency was given to the engines. The increased length, too, afforded space for cabins on deck, which were made and fitted up with great splendour. The addition to carrying power, now, in consequence of her increased length, and enlargement of her hold by the removal of the cabins, amounts to about four hundred tons, in itself the burden of a very good sized vessel. The addition, too, has been effected without the slightest diminution of her speed, which makes her model one of the most beautiful have ever seen.
It is we believe the first time that an operation of such magnitude as the lengthening of a large steamer has been performed at our port, and the complete success with which it has been accomplished affords a satisfactory indication of the steady and progressive improvement we are making in nautical architecture. Cork is emphatically a seaport, and standing as it does, in the highway of nations, its prosperity is intimately connected with its advance in all things which make it a useful shipping station. We look therefore with especial satisfaction on all events indicative of such an advance.

Iron paddle steamer Vladimir (also Wladimir, ВЛАДИМИР), built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1845, 1251 tons displ, 183.0 x 30 ft, engines 400 hp by Bury, Curtis. Initially owned Russia for mail service between Stettin and St Petersburg. Later Russian navy. More history.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 26 April 1845]:
Launch of Two Iron Steam Frigates. On Wednesday, two iron steam frigates, the Wladimir and the Preussicher Adler, were launched from the iron shipbuilding-yard of Messrs. Thos. Vernon and Co., North Shore, by whom they have been recently constructed - one for the Emperor of Russia, the other for the King of Prussia. The concourse of spectators was unusually great, and all were highly gratified. The Preussicher Adler was the first launched and went off in gallant style; she was christened by Mrs. Bury, lady of Mr. Bury, of the firm of Bury, Curtis and Co. The Wladimir was launched immediately afterwards, and was named, with the usual formality, by Miss Curtis, daughter of one of the firm of Thomas Vernon and Co. Both these vessels are of the same measurement, and are in model almost similar - the dimensions are breadth of beam, 29 feet; length, 185 feet; depth of hold 17 feet 6 inches; tonnage, 749. The whole of the side frames and deck beams are of Kennedy and Vernon's patent iron. After the launch, about 300 ladies and gentlemen partook of excellent cold collation, supplied by Mr. Fisk, in the extensive model-room, where everything was most tastefully laid out, Mr. T. A. Vernon was the chair, and in a neat and appropriate address proposed the health of the ladies who had christened the vessels. Dr. Beaumont proposed the health of Messrs Thomas Vernon and Co. Mr. T. A. Vernon replied. He said that iron shipbuilding presented many difficulties not ordinarily seen; it was a business in its infancy and one requiring a fine amalgamation of scientific and practical knowledge. He had never known a good shipbuilder whose knowledge was solely scientific, nor, on the other hand, one whose knowledge was solely practical, for want of a combination of scientific and practical knowledge, many inferior vessels had at first been produced, but they were now going on and improving rapidly. He concluded by giving the health of Mr. Curtis, which was ably responded to by that gentleman. The health of the commanders of the two vessels launched was most enthusiastically given, and after several other toasts the company separated about one o'clock.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 03 October 1845]:
Messrs Thomas Vernon and Co., Sefton-street, Potteries, have three iron steamers in course of construction: one, for the City of Dublin Company, to be called the Windsor, to ply between Liverpool and Dublin, of 760 tons burthen, to be fitted-up with a side-beam engine of 325 horse power, constructed by Messrs. Bury, Curtis, and Kennedy; the second is for the City of Cork Company [Ajax] to ply between Liverpool and Cork. She is 760 tons burthen and will have direct-action engines of 325 horse power by Messrs Bury, Curtis and Co.; the third [Haddington] is intended for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, is 1303 tons burthen, and will be fitted-up at with a 450 horse power engine, constructed by Messrs. Bury, Curtis, and Co. The two first-named in this yard will be launched in November, when the keel of another for the City of Cork Company will be laid. She will be 600 tons burthen, and fitted with engines of 400 horse power [Minerva?]. We understand that Messrs. Vernon and Co, and Mr. Cato, have been compelled to refuse further orders - not being able to obtain hands, and not having room to build more than those now in progress.

Iron paddle steamer Haddington, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1846, 1648grt, 167nrt, 217.3 x 33.4 x 20.0 ft, engines 450 hp by Bury, Curtis, ON26365. Owned Peninsular & Oriental SN Co, London. Converted to sail, as a barque, 1854. More history. 09/02/1888 destroyed by fire at sea in 20N - 91E, Bay of Bengal, on passage Chittagong for New York with jute.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 13 August 1846]:
Launch of the large steam ship Haddington. On Saturday forenoon, a large steam-ship of this name, built for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, was launched from the yard Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, South Shore, and the sight afforded the highest gratification to many hundreds our most respectable townsmen and fair townswomen, the fame of her great size and admirable construction having previously gone abroad, and excited more than usual interest. The following are the dimensions, &c. of the vessel, which will propelled by paddle-wheels: Length between perpendiculars, 221 feet; length over all, 240 feet; breadth beam, 35 feet; depth in engine-room, 21 feet, 3 inches; tonnage, o.m. 1303 18-94ths; tonnage, n.m. nearly 2000 tons; engines, (direct acting) collectively, 450 horse power. She has a spar deck about seven feet six inches above the main deck.

Iron paddle steamer Ajax, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1846, 846grt, 591nrt, 206.4 x 27.4 ft, 325 hp engines by Bury, Curtis. Owned Cork SS Co. More history. 13/10/1854 wrecked on Mewstone off Plymouth.

[from Illustrated London News - Saturday 07 February 1846]:

Image of Launch:

DOUBLE LAUNCH AT LIVERPOOL. The animated and unusual spectacle of the launch, at the same time, of two splendid first-class iron steamers, took place on Wednesday week, at the ship-building works of Messrs. Sefton [sic Vernon] and Co., Sefton-street, Liverpool. The dimensions of these two fine vessels are, as near as possible, the same: their burden, 763 tons; length between perpendiculars, 200 feet; depth, 17.5 feet; beam, 28 feet; and their engines of 325 horse power. The Windsor, which is to ply between Liverpool and Belfast, is clinker built, and has very fine lines; her engines are constructed on the side lever principle. The Ajax, for the London and Cork trade, is carvel built, and not so fine, with direct levers. About half-past ten o'clock, it then being nearly high tide, and all the preparations being perfected, Mrs. Grantham christened the Windsor, and Mrs. Hazleden the Ajax; the ceremony being hailed by the cheers of all present; and the stages being knocked away, the two noble vessels, one after the other, glided gracefully and majestically into the river, amid the reiterated plaudits of the spectators.
According to the Liverpool Mail, iron ship-building is rapidly progressing at this port. Messrs. Vernon and Co. have another large steamer, 1800 tons burden, now in course of construction, for the Peninsular and Oriental Company. They have orders also for two others from the plans of Mr. Grantham, one about 700 tons, for the Cork Company, and the other about 300, for Fleetwood. At Messrs. Hodgson and Co's works, Brunswick Dock, there are no fewer than five now building, three of which are to be propelled by the screw, on the patent direct principle of Mr. Grantham; the fourth is about 300 tons, for the Bombay trade; and the fifth a ferry-boat, for Woodside. Mr. Cato has four not yet completed, also from the models of Mr. Grantham, two of which are to be fitted with the screw. Mr. J. Laird, of Birkenhead, has five iron steamers in the course of construction. The Government frigate, the Birkenhead, (engraved in No. 195 of the Illustrated London News), 1400 tons, is now receiving her engines at the Trafalgar Dock. The others are intended for the Folkstone station, and are to be built after the model of a steamer lately completed for the same line, called the Prince Ernest. A Contemporary, in proof of the durability of iron vessels, states that the first iron steamer ever built on the Mersey was constructed by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co., in 1829; that it has since been in constant work in the home navigation of Ireland, and that it is even yet in good and serviceable condition. Co.

Iron paddle steamer Windsor, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1846, 727grt, 454nrt, 204.7 x 26.9 x 16.0 ft, engines 325hp by Bury, Curtis, ON8800. Owned City of Dublin SP Co. In LR 1887. In 1851 owned Liverpool & Dublin Steam Shipbuilding co. More history
See image of launch above (joint with Ajax).

Iron paddle steamer Surat, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1846, 304 tons; 150 x 20 x 8.5 ft, engines 60hp by Boulton & Watt. Three-masted schooner rig. Intended for service in India.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 29 September 1846]:
LAUNCH OF "THE SURAT". On Thursday, there was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, a fine iron sailing and steam vessel, called the Surat, the property of the Bombay Steam Navigation Company, and the first of a series of similar ships to be built for them, to navigate - chiefly, we believe, with passengers - the Seabord and large rivers of India, for which they will be admirably adapted. The following are the dimensions of the ship: Length of keel 150ft; Length between perpendiculars 155ft; Beam 20ft; Depth of hold 8.5ft; Tonnage 304 4-94ths. She will be provided with engines, driving paddlewheels, on the oscillating principle, built by the celebrated and long-established house of Messrs. Bolton and Watt, who have a large establishment in Birmingham, and another in London. These may be considered as auxiliary only to her sails, the two together giving but 60 horse power. The Surat is in form and appearance one of the most beautiful, if not indeed the most beautiful, light, fairy-looking craft we have ever seen launched at our port, and when completed may challenge comparison in neatness and rakish effect with any steamer yet turned out. She was constructed from a model by John Grantham, Esq., C. E., and resembles a good deal "The Fenella", (also modelled by that gentleman) launched a few months ago, but in our opinion exhibiting considerable improvements for certain purposes on the form of that also fine vessel, especially as retards fullness of bottom - giving greater capacity on a light draft of water, and greater stability under sail. Her extremities are very fine, particularly her long bow, than which we know of none more elegant and graceful. The hold line of beauty and grace which the cut water presents terminates above in a very handsome figure of a Hindoo Princess. The trail-boards are chastely decorated with gilded carved work and over them, and further aft, and within a foliated scroll work is the name of the vessel also gilded. The stern is carved in corresponding taste, and in lieu of quarter galleries she has neat carved quarter badges with the lyre &c., as a centre-piece to which are more light, and, we think, more appropriate, in a vessel of moderate tonnage. There are nine port windows to the after cabins on each side, with each a bull's-eye in the middle; also several stern lights, and a row of small square lights on each side forward for the five cabins. She will be lightly rigged as a three-masted schooner, with fore and main topsail, &c. The calculated depth of water she will draw, with her engines, machinery, &c., on board, is about 3 feet 1 inch only. She has a very long raised quarter-deck, extending over nearly three-fourths of her length, for the purpose of giving additional cabin room and height.
We need scarcely say, that in fidelity of construction and excellence of material, the Surat is all that can be wished. She is clencher-built throughout, with the exception of the two top streaks; and the straight and smooth jointing of the plates, together with the general finish, in so obdurate a material, was a theme of admiration amongst many nautical men who examined her. It is a remarkable fact, as showing the rapidity with which Messrs. Vernon have constructed this ship, that she was built on the same spot in the yard from which the Fenella was launched on the 21st of June, and she has consequently been "erected" in three months.
All being in readiness for the launch, she was let go about half-past twelve o'clock, and glided slowly, steadily, and beautifully into the bosom of the Mersey, amidst the acclamations of hundreds on shore and on board. It is enough to say that the launch was easy and magnificent, and that when she became fairly afloat, she presented a beautiful and light appearance, drawing a remarkably small depth of about, we believe, 2 feet 7 inches. Her name was spiritedly given by Miss M'Nicholl, daughter of the late Rev. Dr. M'Nicholl, and sister of Dr. M'Nicholl, of this town. The vessel was taken in tow, and, in a few minutes after the daggers were struck down, passed down the river close to the yard at great speed, showing that she will in all probability turn out to be very fast, under her own means of propulsion.
The friends of Messrs. Vernon afterwards partook of slight refreshment in one of the offices, when a few of the toasts, usual on such occasions, were heartily drunk. Mr. Hamilton, a partner in the house of Messrs. Bolton and Watt, was present, and afforded some interesting information relative to their increasing business in engine building, and especially in marine engines. They had now about seventy pair of engines on the stock., and had, for the last few years, been doing much work for the Government. After an agreeable conversation of about an hour, the little party took leave of each other.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 05 October 1847]:
ARRIVALS AT BOMBAY FROM LIVERPOOL. July 22nd,.... Bombay Steam Navigation Company's steamer Surat; ...

Iron paddle steamer Hibernia, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1847, 573grt, 369nrt, 197.3 x 25.6 x 14.1 ft, engines 370hp by Bury, Curtis, ON27003. Owned Chester & Holyhead Railway Co, registered London, then Chester 1854. For Holyhead - Kingstown service. Sank while under tow for breaking - 25 July 1897. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 01 November 1847]:
LAUNCH OF THE HIBERNIA. On Wednesday the Hibernia, a splendid iron steamer, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Thos. Vernon and Co., South Shore. She is 190 feet long between perpendiculars, 26 feet 9 inches beam, 13 feet 9 inches deep, and about 600 tons old measurement, probably 700 tons new measurement. She is intended to ply between Holyhead and Kingstown, and she has been built for the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company. ... The engines are about 400 horse-power, and were made by Messrs. Bury, Curtis, and Kennedy, of the Clarence Foundry. The cylinders are oscillating, and the patent paddle-wheels are from Mr. Morgan's establishment.

[from Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Thursday 29 July 1897]:
HIBERNIA, unregistered hulk, in ballast, from Waterford, was in tow of tug Kestrel on 25th inst., and when about 1 mile WSW of the Smalls, a gale sprang up, causing tow-rope to break. The Hibernia was recovered three times, but the hatches having been washed off and the hulk having 7.5 feet of water in her, it was not deemed safe to remain, and the crews were taken off and brought to Bristol by the Kestrel. The Hibernia eventually sank. (Bristol, July 28.)

Iron paddle steamer Minerva, built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1847, 677grt, 424nrt, 227.0 x 25.2 x 16.0 ft, 420hp engines by Bury, Curtis. Owned City of Cork SP Co. More history. 20/8/1850 collided with brig William Rushton and sank her with 7 lives lost. 29/08/1854 struck Victoria Rock on The Skerries, on passage Liverpool for Cork.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 10 October 1846]:
LAUNCH OF THE STEAM-SHIP MINERVA: The well-known character of Messrs. Vernon and Co. as naval architects, and hospitable entertainers of those who accept their invitations to witness the transfer of their splendid vessels from the stocks to the water, with the circumstance that the ship which they had just completed would have the extraordinary distance to run of four hundred feet before reaching the margin of the river, induced a very numerous and respectable attendance of spectators at the launch of the Minerva from their yard, at the south shore, on Wednesday forenoon. A large and secure platform at the bow of the vessel had been considerately erected for the accommodation of the ladies, and was well filled by the youth and beauty of the town, whilst all the adjacent eminences were equally well occupied by parties of anxious and interested friends. The deck of the vessel was also crowded with amateur and veteran mariners desirous of making the first trip which she would undertake after her completion. Precisely at half past eleven, the immense fabric was set in motion, the ceremony of christening being performed by Mrs Pike, daughter of the late Lieut. Watson, of the St George Steam-packet Company. The vessel was nearly six minutes in traversing the launchways, and her progress was viewed with such breathless interest that it was quite impossible to get up a cheer. Some apprehension was for few moments excited for her safety by the smoke caused by the friction of the cradle on the launchways; but there was no real danger, and all fear was allayed on her entering the Mersey. ...
In the water the Minerva looked a magnificent vessel. Her length between perpendiculars is 190 feet; over all, 227 feet; breadth inside the paddle boxes, 26 feet; depth of hold, 16 feet. She registers 627 tons; and her engines, by Bury, Curtis and Kennedy, will be 420 horses power.

Iron paddle steamer Guadalquivir (also Guadalquiver), built Thomas Vernon, Liverpool, 1847, 570grt, 359nrt, 206.2 x 25.4 x 11.5 ft, 220hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, owned in Caribbean. By 1856 owned General SN Co, London, ON 13672, renamed Leo. Broken up 1880.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 23 March 1847]:
LAUNCH OF THE GAUDALQUIVIR. There was launched, on Saturday last, from the yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Co., South Shore, a beautiful iron steam-ship, (the Gaudalquivir), of peculiar construction, to suit her for her destination, and of such elegance of model and finish in workmanship, that, though the site is at a considerable distance from the town, the rumours, originating with the few who had casually seen her, attracted a goodly number of spectators to the spot. The day was fine, and the spectacle afforded the greatest gratification to all who were present. The following are the dimensions, &c., of the vessel: Length between perpendiculars 200ft; Length over all 220ft; Beam, between paddle-boxes 25ft; Depth of hold 12ft; Burthen 600 Tons. She has remarkably large sponsons, fore and aft the paddle-boxes, making the deck, throughout a considerable length amidships, 43 feet wide. This is intended to afford accommodation for a large number of passengers, somewhat on the principle of our river steamers, not altogether suitable for ocean navigation, but for "a summer sea". The vessel was built for some spirited Spanish gentleman to run from island to island in the West Indies, chiefly with passengers, and is the first of a series constructed in England, by the proprietors, to prosecute steam navigation in the Caribbean Sea. When we say the first built in England, we must state we have learned that the company, at the commencement, had a vessel built in the United States, and ran her for some time; but from defects and weakness in her hull and engines, an accident (a blow-up) occurred; and they came to the wise resolve to resort for the next to "the old country", in which skill and experience have, in iron shipbuilding and the construction of engines, attained a decided pre-eminence. The ship will be propelled by engines of 220 horses power, with common flue boilers. The paddle-wheel is 27 feet in diameter. The engines, on the side-lever principle, are in course of completion by our celebrated townsmen, Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co., and great speed is expected.

[from Daily News (London) - Tuesday 14 September 1847]:
The new steamer Guadalquivir had arrived New York after a short run of 15 days [from Liverpool].


Iron screw steamer Hunwick, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1852, 333 tons burthen, 159.5 x 24.6 x 15.0 ft, 80hp (or 114hp) engines by James Watt, Birmingham, for east coast coal trade. ON 5019. Owner T C Gibson, of London. Water ballast. More history. Lost 15-11-1858 in Yarmouth Roads.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 19 April 1852]: IRON STEAM-SHIP BUILDING at LIVERPOOL. ....
The same firm [Thomas Vernon & Son, west side Brunswick Dock] have just completed an iron screw vessel, which is the pioneer of a new fleet to be constructed for the purpose of carrying coal from Hartlepool to London. It is a matter of great importance that these vessels should succeed, inasmuch as the railways at present convey a large supply of coal from the intermediate districts between Northumberland and the metropolis, and thus shut out an immense area of coal lying in Northumberland and Durham, in which, it is needless to say, an enormous capital is invested. At present these coal districts are comparatively unproductive, for the lack of a demand; but if the new steam-boats are made to carry coal at reasonable prices, and with a sufficiently rapid speed, a great boon will be conferred on those coal districts, in employment being given to the miners, and in capital being put into circulation; and also to the inhabitants of London, who would doubtless, by a large increase in the supply of the mineral, be able to purchase it at a considerable reduction per ton. Should this, and the sister boat which Messrs. Vernon are building; succeed, several hundreds of the same class will be required. A range of docks are being constructed at Hartlepool for the accommodation of the proposed screw steamers, and other important arrangements are being made for carrying out the trade in a very extensive and spirited manner. They are first-class steamers, of full power, and well finished, being rigged equal to an ordinary merchant vessel. They are 160 feet long, 25 feet 6 inches beam, 80 horse-power, and 500 tons burthen. But, perhaps, the most important feature is that, having double iron bottoms, they can take in water when returning light from a voyage, thus avoiding the cost and delay of putting ballast on board, all that is required being to open the cock to the sea when ballast is wanted. Their having good inside bottoms will also contribute materially to their strength and safety. The vessel that is finished will carry about 600 tons of coal, has 12 feet 6 inches draught of water, and her mast and funnel are made to lower down, so as to enable her to go under the Thames bridge. She is driven by a screw propeller in the stern, of the best form and proportions that engineering experience can suggest; the propeller and engines being made by the eminent firm of James Watt and Co., Soho Works, Birmingham.
[Launch reported Monday 19th April 1852]
The twin vessel is being built in the adjoining berth. Her keel is laid, and the rattle of the workmen's hammers upon her iron ribs is heard almost unceasingly. These boats are being constructed according to the designs and under the direction of Mr. John Grantham, consulting mechanical engineer. The one that is finished, and which it is expected will attain a speed of from seven to eight knots an hour, when full of cargo, will be launched to-day, at 10 30, a.m., and the other in three weeks.
Another iron steam-ship, about the same size, which is being built by Messrs. Vernon for the Liverpool and Newry station [Eagle], to carry passengers and general merchandise, is also in a forward state; and they are likewise proceeding to build three screw-steamers, of very fine line and novel construction, for the Mediterranean, which, it is anticipated, will accomplish a very high rate of speed.

[from Express (London) - Friday 21 October 1853]:
Gravesend: Arrived. Hunwick (steamer) from Hamburg.

[from The Era - Sunday 21 November 1858]:
AMONG the casualties reported is the foundering of a large screw collier, named the Hunwick, Capt. Weatherly, in Yarmouth Roads. She was on a return passage from Hartlepool to the Thames, with a full cargo of coals, and on approaching the Norfolk coast, on Sunday night, encountered the full force of the gale. The heavy seas swept over her with overwhelming force, extinguishing the fires, and gradually filling the engine room with water. The ship laboured heavily, and, as it was evident she was settling down, the crew took to their life-boat, and after being buffeted about for several hours were blown ashore on the coast near Yarmouth. The steamer foundered in the roadstead. She was insured.


Iron screw steamer Haggerston (or Haggerstone), built Vernon 1852, 160 x 25 ft, 114hp engines by James Watt, for Hartlepool - London coal trade, able to carry 600 tons of coal. This (and her sister ship Hunwick) was the first screw steamer for the coal trade with water ballast. Unfortunately, the vessel did not last long. Wrecked 27-12-1852, in Filey Bay, all 15 aboard lost.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 22 June 1852]:
LAUNCH OF THE "HAGGERSTONE." On the same day [19th June] as the launch of the "Pioneer," Messrs. Vernon and Co. launched from their yard, west side of the Brunswick Dock, the "Haggerstone," an iron vessel, 500 tons burthen, intended for the carriage of coals between Newcastle and London. The "Haggerstone" is a fine model, sharp in the bows, and moulded so as to get well rid of the dead water astern. She is intended to carry a screw-propeller; and is adapted for stowing 600 tons of coal as cargo. Amidships she is very full; and she has a tank in her bottom for carrying water as ballast. Her dimensions are: length of keel, 160 feet; beam, 25 feet; depth of hold, 15 feet. She is owned by a Newcastle firm; her engines and boilers were made by Messrs. James Watts and Co., of Bolton[sic], and she was towed down to the Clarence Dock to receive these, which, it was said, would be put in and fitted on Saturday afternoon. Her rig is to be that of a two-masted schooner, with lateen sails. She went beautifully off the stocks, and her floatage upon the water was very graceful. Messrs. Vernon and Co. have a companion vessel on the stocks.

[from Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser - Tuesday 22 June 1852]:
On Saturday, at noon, an iron screw-steamer, intended for the coal trade between the Tyne and London, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Vernon and Son Liverpool. She is a fine-looking vessel, and will, apparently, be a fast one. She is the twin vessel to the one launched from the same yard a few weeks ago.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Saturday 09 October 1852]:
IRON SCREW COLLIERS. - The Haggerston, an iron built ship with a screw propeller, of 600 tons burden, has delivered her cargo of coals to Messrs. Gibson and Co., of London, having made her first voyage from West Hartlepool in 38 hours. This is the first iron collier that has appeared in the Thames. She has proved herself a fine sea-boat, having made the unprecedentedly quick voyage during the late tempestuous weather. She was built by Messrs. Vernon and Son, of Liverpool, has a length of keel of 160 feet, breadth of beam 25 feet 3 inches; her engines are 114 horse-power, and she carries 13 hands. Her owners, Messrs. Gibson and Co., have another of the same class ready for sea, and are building more to work in the London coal trade.

[from Newcastle Journal - Saturday 29 January 1853]: London Jan 21: - The Haggerstone (s) left West Hartlepool on 25th ult. for London, was seen two days afterwards, off Filey in distress, and has not since been heard of since.


Iron screw steamer Eagle, built Vernon. Liverpool 1852, initially owned Northern Ireland, later on east coast. Lengthened 1864. Struck a reef and sank in Kattegat 11 June 1866, crew saved. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 20 December 1852]:
THE SCREW-STEAMER EAGLE: INTERESTING TRIAL OF SPEED. The screw-steamer Eagle, 500 tons and 120 horsepower has just been completed for Mr. Dargan, the large railway contractor. She was built by Messrs Thomas Vernon and Son, under the superintendence of Mr. Grantham, and is intended to run between this port and Newry, in connexion with the Sea Nymph. Great attention has been bestowed on the Eagle to adapt her for this peculiar trade, where large quantities of cattle and deck-passengers are carried: for these purposes she is perhaps the most complete vessel yet built. She has, however, a small but exceedingly tasteful saloon in a house on the after-part of the ship. The Eagle has had a few trials in the river to test the engines, which were made by the well-known firm of Messrs. James Watt and Co. They are applied direct to the screw-shaft, and make about sixty revolutions with a screw of three arms and eleven feet diameter. During a run on Friday last, she encountered the Tynwald, coming in from Belfast. The race commenced at the Crosby Light and continued to the Rock, a distance of about eight miles. The high character of the Tynwald is too well known to require observation; she was in good trim, and had her sails set. The Eagle, however, had no canvas, and was out of trim, being about three feet six inches by the stern. The Eagle, even with these disadvantages, at first showed a superiority, but, her steam failing, the Tynwald regained her lost ground, and the race ended by her being about half her length in advance of the Eagle. Considering the great disparity of power, this is an important triumph for the screw, and stamps the Eagle as the fastest screw-vessel out of this port.

[from Shields Daily Gazette - Monday 25 June 1866]:
THE LOSS OF THE HULL STEAMER EAGLE. Hull, June 22. A portion the crew of the steamship Eagle, Wrigglesworth, which was wrecked in the Cattegat last week, have arrived here, and have furnished some particulars with respect to the loss of the vesseL The Eagle left Aarhuus for Hull on the morning of Monday week, with a cargo of wheat, barley, and cattle. About midday, the weather being very thick, the vessel struck on a reef lying the south end of Laesoe [sic Læsø] Island, in the Cattegat and remained fast until about 5 o'clock, by which time she had made so much water that, notwithstanding every possible effort was made to keep it under, the water entered the engine-room, which was soon filled. About half past 5 o'clock, the crew took to the boats, and in half an hour afterwards the vessel sank. The cattle were drowned before the crew took to the boats. After six hours' hard struggling, the boats, which were under the command of the captain, the mate, and the cook, reached the Copper Ground [sic Koppergrund] Lightship. On the afternoon of the following day the second mate and four seamen volunteered to go in a boat to Laesoe Island, which was about 30 miles off. They reached the island and sent a vessel to fetch the rest of the party, after which they proceeded in a vessel to Fredericksand, from which place they proceeded to Hamburg and this place.


Iron Danube vessels [steamers?], built Vernon, Liverpool, ordered and built 1852, 10 to be built in sections. 175 x 25 x 9 ft, for Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft. The Crimean war may, however, have caused these plans to be modified.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 19 April 1852]: IRON STEAM-SHIP BUILDING at LIVERPOOL. AN order has been received in this country for the construction of 30 iron steam-boats for the use of the Danube Steam Navigation Company. They are to be of large dimensions, and of substantial materials. The order has been distributed so as to give employment in the districts, namely, Liverpool, the Clyde, and Newcastle, where it is well known that the largest number of steam-boats have been built, and where the greatest amount of experienced men have been acquired. Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, whose building yard is on the west side of the Brunswick Dock, have received orders for the construction of ten of these new iron steamers, which are to be completed with the greatest possible despatch. They will be sent out in sections, for the purpose of being put together on reaching their destination abroad. They will be large, flat-bottomed boats, 176 ft. long, 25ft. beam, and 9ft depth of water, and so constructed that they will be able, even with a very large cargo, to navigate in the shallow waters of the Danube. They are being built for conveying produce and general merchandise to the Black Sea, from the interior of the country, and, where necessary, will be towed by steam-tugs, of which the company have a large fleet. [not clear whether steam powered or not]

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 04 October 1852]:
Messrs. Vernon and Son have also just completed the delivery of five flat-bottomed iron barges, for navigating the shallow waters of the Danube. They were sent to their places of destination in sections. Five more are in hand, and will be finished before the expiration of the present year.

[from Northern Daily Times - Friday 04 November 1853]:
The Cologne Gazette, of Tuesday, publishes a despatch from Vienna, to the effect that, in consequence of impediments which have arisen, the directors of the Danube Steam Navigation Company have issued a notification that the steamers on the Lower Danube have stopped running.

[from Globe - Friday 09 June 1854]:
The Danube Steam Navigation Company has sold off all its stores, and even its coal, which is a proof that the navigation of the Lower Danube is considered as likely to be interrupted for a long time.

[from Home News for India, China and the Colonies - Thursday 25 March 1858]:
The Danube rises in Suabia, about 100 miles above Ulm, where it is 1700 miles distant from the sea, and of this length 1560 miles are navigated by steam. Its average fall is nearly 1 foot per mile. The first steamer was placed on this mighty river in 1830; there are now 150, together with 500 iron barges for the carriage of merchandise, not counting the wooden boats of the country. In the report the river is divided into six sections, so as to show the breadth and depth at and between different localities, and, of course, these regulate the dimensions of the boats. The Imperial and Royal Danube Steam Navigation Company possess 118 steamers and more than 500 barges, all of which are built of iron, and the engines are on the ordinary condensing principle, working with steam of about 15 lbs. pressure. The traffic is carried on by barges towed by steamtugs and by cargo-steamers, some propelled by paddle-wheels and others by screws. The largest tug-boats are 220 feet in length, 40 feet beam; breadth over paddle-boxes, 80 feet; depth, 9 feet; draught, 4 feet; with an effective 400 horsepower. These tugs can tow 16 barges, carrying an average of 250 tons each, at a speed of three miles an hour against a two-mile current. The great difficulty in the navigation of the Danube occurs at the rapids of the Iron Gates, and for some miles beyond them the bottom is very rocky and the channel shallow. There the breadth of the river is about 4200 feet, but the navigable channel is only about 200 feet wide, and the depth of water at times under two feet. However, all obstructions have been surmounted, and the study of the Danube leaves no doubt that British engineers will conquer all the impediments of the Indus.....



Iron screw steamer San Giusto, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1853, 195grt, 135nrt, 143.3 x 18.2 x 11.2 ft, engines 60 hp, screw, owned Vernon, for Austrian Lloyds, based Trieste. In LR 1887 as Austrian, Trieste, 136nrt, 160 x 19 x 13.4ft, built Vernon 1853, 100hp engine by Watt, owned Lloyd Austro-Ungarico.

Iron screw steamer San Marco, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1853, 195grt, 135nrt, 143.3 x 18.2 x 11.2 ft, engines 60 hp, screw, owned Vernon, for Austrian Lloyds, based Trieste. In LR 1887 as Austrian, Trieste, 140nrt, 160 x 19 x 13.4ft, 100hp engine by Watt.

Iron screw steamer San Carlo, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1853, 195grt, 135nrt, 143.3 x 18.2 x 11.2 ft, engines 60 hp, screw, owned Vernon, for Austrian Lloyds, based Trieste. registered Liverpool in 1854, and passenger certified 1853 as 135 tons, 60hp, sc. In LR 1887 as Austrian, Trieste, 136nrt, 160 x 19 x 13.4ft, 100hp engine by Watt. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 14 February 1853]:
On Tuesday a smart little screw-steamer, called the San Giusto, of about 210 tons burthen and 60 horse-power, was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Vernon and Son. When she has received her engines, she will go to the Mediterranean, and will be placed upon the station between Alexandria and Trieste.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 04 April 1853]:
On Wednesday last there was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, Brunswick-dock, another of those beautiful iron screw-steamers, building by that firm for the Austrian Lloyds; she is called the San Carlo, is of 250 tons, and 60 horse-power, and is similar to the two former vessels the San Guisto [sic] [launch February 1853], and the San Marco [launch March 1853], lately launched for the same company. The ceremony of christening was performed by Miss Mary Morgan, the niece of Mr. Wm. Morgan, of Clifton, who is the consulting engineer for the Austrian Lloyds Company.



Iron Paddle steamer Enniskillen, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1853. ON 13551. Registered Londonderry, then by 1869 at Grangemouth, when converted to twin screw. In LR 1887. More history. Wrecked 14 July 1887 on Svenska Högarna island, off Stockholm.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 06 December 1853]:
LAUNCH OF THE ENNISKILLEN. The steamer Enniskillen was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, at the Brunswick dock, on Saturday last. The launch was announced for twelve o'clock, but some delay took place in the necessary preparations, and it was about noon before the vessel was launched; but this, we were informed, was occasioned by the unjustifiable conduct of the operatives, who took advantage of the present position of the trade, and as the vessel approached completion made several exorbitant demands with which their employers could not comply. On the evening previous to the launch, they evinced a disposition to work all night, but this was coupled with a demand for extravagant wages, which was refused, the builders were obliged to bring into requisition all those hands they could muster from other departments of the trade, the majority of whom were unaccustomed to the practice of the work to which they were so suddenly called. Notwithstanding these difficulties, however, the necessary preparations were concluded, and, after the delay we have intimated, the vessel glided gracefully into its destined element, amid the cheers of a large number of spectators who were congregated in the yard. The ceremony of christening the vessel was gracefully performed by Mrs. Thomas Vernon.
This steamer, which, we have no doubt, from the comiums which we have heard passed upon her, will fully sustain the reputation of her builders, has been constructed for the North-west of Ireland Steam-packet Company, and is intended to trade between this port and Londonderry. In dimensions she is 200 feet long, 20 feet beam, and 15 feet deep, and she is to be propelled by side-lever engines of 320-horse power, for which Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co. are the contractors.
The Enniskillen has been built on the most improved lines, and is expected to combine large carrying capacity with quick sailing, while at the same time every care has been taken to make her a seaworthy and safe boat. Her mode of construction adapts her equally for sea and river navigation having a long flat floor, with finely moulded bows, which will enable her to sail on a light draught of water. Her figure-head is a full length figure of an Enniskillen dragoon.
We understand that Messrs Vernon & Son have at present in the course of construction in their yard two iron steamers with water-ballast bottoms, intended for the coal trade between London and Newcastle; a screw steamer, the first of a new line of packets intended to trade between Liverpool and a port in France; and a sailing vessel for the general trade; and they are about to lay down another paddle steamer, of still larger dimensions than the Enniskillen.

[from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Friday 01 December 1854]:
SALE: THE fine new iron paddle-wheel Steamer ENNISKILLEN. 352 tons register; 653 tons builder's measurement; Length, 200 feet; breadth, 26 feet; depth, 15 feet; built at this port by Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, and launched in December last; is propelled by two engines of 320 horse power, by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co; diameter of cylinder, 66 inches; length of stroke, 5 feet 6 inches; boilers tubular, and fitted with brass tubes; has raised quarter-deck 4 feet high, and 50 feet long, and has accommodation for 30 to 40 cabin passengers; carries a large cargo on a very light draught of water; and from her great deck-space is admirably adapted for the carrying of cattle or troops. This vessel will be found on inspection one of the strongest and most faithfully constructed vessels ever built, and is finished in every respect in a first rate style; has proved herself one of the fastest steamers afloat; now in perfect order, and plying out this port, and may seen in the Nelson Dock on Tuesday the 5th instant. Apply to CUNARD, MUNN. and Ca. Brokers. Liverpool.

[from Falkirk Herald - Saturday 23 July 1887]:
Grangemouth Steamer Wrecked. - A telegram was received from Stockholm on Friday stating that the steamer Enniskillen was aground at Svenska Hogarns [now Svenska Högarna], and that the engine-room was full of water. A steamer had been sent to her assistance. A later telegram reports the steamer to be a total wreck, and that a portion of her stores had been saved and taken to Stockholm, The crew are saved. The Enniskillen was owned by Messrs Crawford & Co., here, and sailed from this port on Friday, 8th inst., with a full cargo of coals for Stockholm.

[from Lloyd's List - Friday 07 October 1887]:
STRANDING OF ENNISKILLEN (s). In the matter of a formal investigation held at Falkirk, on the 16th day of August, before James Robertson Buntine, Esq., advocate, sheriff substitute of Stirling, Dumbarton, and Clackmannan, assisted by Captains Robert Wilson, Liverpool, and John Bain, Glasgow, into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British steamship Enniskillen, of Grangemouth, off Svenska Hogarne, Baltic, on or about the 14th July, 1887.
The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons stated in the annex hereto, that the master is not in default, in respect that the cause of the stranding of the said vessel was the thick fog, which prevented him from seeing the land, and a current setting N.E., at the rate of two knots per hour, and which was not discovered until after the vessel was stranded; said current having carried the vessel 17 miles N. and E. of the master's reckoning....
ANNEX TO THE REPORT, The Enniskillen, which forms the subject of this investigation, was a screw steamer, Off. No. 13,551. She was rigged as a three-masted schooner, registered at Grangemouth, and built of iron at Liverpool, in the year 1854, by Messrs. T. Vernon and Sons. Her dimensions were: Length, 212.6 feet; breadth, 25.9 feet; and depth, 15.2 feet; her gross tonnage being 664.49 tons, under deck 619.59 tons, and nett register 492.66 tons. She was the property of Messrs. Crawford and Co., Grangemouth, Mr. Thomas F. Crawford being the managing owner. She was a twin screw, and fitted with two horizontal condensing engines of 82-horse power combined. She had three boats, one of which was fitted as a lifeboat, and when the vessel sailed from Grangemouth, and at the time of the accident, they were found in good order in all respects. Before loading at Grangemouth, the Enniskillen was in dry dock, and, besides having two new propellers shipped, received a general and thorough overhaul. On the completion of repairs she took on board 636 tons of coal, and was commanded by Mr. William Jackson, who holds a master's certificate of competency, No. 05,269, with a crew of 15 hands all told, and when so laden drew 13 feet 4 inches forward, and 16 feet aft. The Enniskillen left Grangemouth on the 8th July last, bound for Stockholm. She had three compasses, one on the bridge, one aft, used as a standard, and the other in the cabin, all of which were in good order, and with a supply of the necessary charts corrected up to 1885. Nothing of importance occurred until the morning of the 13th July, when off the south end of the Island of Oland, Soderarm bearing W. 1/2 S., at a distance (estimated by the master) of about 10 Miles. A course N.E. by N. was then set, and the engines kept at full speed, the vessel making, according to the log, which appeared to have been regularly hove, about seven knots an hour. The weather at the time was described as moderate, with a light breeze from S.W. Immediately after this the weather became thick, and excepting an occasional lift of the fog continued so throughout. It was stated in evidence, that during the thickest weather experienced, a distance of not less than one mile could be seen, and when the fog lifted, from three to four miles. Having, as the master expressed it, a clear run before him, the course N.E. by N. was steered, and the same speed maintained until 7 a.m. the following morning, being the 14th July, when the vessel was stopped for the purpose of ascertaining the position by soundings. No bottom being found, she was again put ahead on the same course, and at the same speed, until 9 15 a.m,, when she was again stopped to take soundings. At this time 84 fathoms, mud and sand, was found, and the vessel was again put ahead, but only at half speed, which seemed by the evidence to indicate about three knots an hour. A series of soundings seem to have been taken after this, the first of which was at 10 o'clock, when 80 fathoms, mud, was obtained. At noon 66 fathoms, clay. At 1 20 p.m. 53 fathoms, clay. At 2 53 fifty fathoms, sand and mud. At 3 30 thirty-five fathoms, sand and mud, and at 4 20 twenty fathoms, sand, the vessel being stopped while each sounding was taken. The master stated that he altered the course at 1 30 p.m. from N.E. by N. to N.N.E., with the view of making the land, and still steaming easy continued on this course till 4 50 p.m., when the look-out reported the loom of a lighthouse, a little on the port bow, which he concluded must be Gronskar. He immediately put the helm to port until her head came round to east, and considered himself safe, on the assumption that what he saw was Gronskar Lighthouse, and continued in this direction, going very slow, until she struck on the rocks at 5 10p.m., two or three miles S. by E. of a lighthouse which turned out to be Svenska Hogarne. The engines were stopped when she struck, and on soundings being taken it was found that from the midships forward there was only 2.5 fathoms, while the water deepened from the midships to 7.5 fathoms under the stern. On sounding the pumps a few minutes afterwards the mate found that there was 12 feet water in the fore and main holds. In a very short time the engine-room forward bulkhead gave way by the pressure of water, and the master, fearing the vessel would slip suddenly off the rock into deep water, ordered the boats to be put out, one of which he sent to the lighthouse to report the circumstances and if possible to get assistance, and the rest of the crew to remain in the boats alongside, while he himself stuck to the steamer. While the boat was making for the land they were met by a boat which was coming out to them from the lighthouse, the weather having now cleared up considerably. A message having been sent from the lighthouse to Stockholm, the Neptun Salvage Company's steamer came to their assistance about 2 o'clock on the following afternoon, the 15th July, bringing divers, who, after a careful examination of the vessel under water, reported her as broken in two places, and had become a total wreck. The master and other witnesses stated that while standing by the vessel they found a current running to the N.E. at the rate of two knots an hour, and that although the fog was so thick as to prevent him seeing the land in time to save his vessel, no gun or signal of any kind was heard from Svenska Hogarne Lighthouse. Seeing that he could be of no more service, he with the remainder of the crew, left the wreck on Saturday, the 16th July, at 4 a.m., and landed at Stockholm in the salvage steamer. No lives were lost.


Iron ship Istria, built Vernon, Liverpool. 1854. ON25709. 362 tons. Registered Liverpool 1854. Owned Thomas Royden. In MNL to 1866, 312 tons. Wrecked on voyage Buenos Ayres to Liverpool in 1866.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 09 October 1854]:
About the same time a handsomely modelled iron ship was launched by Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, Brunswick Pier, having been christened the Istria, by Miss Cummins, daughter of one of the gentlemen interested in the vessel. The Istria is intended for the Mediterranean trade, and is of the following dimensions: Length, 165 feet; beam, 23 feet; depth, 14 feet; measurement about 350 tons. The Istria is the fifth vessel launched by this yard since December, it is only four months since a vessel was sent off from the blocks on which she has been constructed.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Monday 15 October 1866]:
Liverpool bound ships: Istria, Slater, left Buenos Ayres, July 25.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 16 October 1866]:
MARINE DISASTERS. The barque Istria, Captain Slater, from Buenos Ayres to this port, has been abandoned at sea in a sinking state. Crew and passengers all saved, and landed off Bristol by the barque Packet, from Africa, which picked them off the sinking wreck. The Istria was the property of Messrs. Royden, of this port, and a regular trader to the River Plate since she was built in 1854. She was fully insured.


Iron screw steamer Black Prince, built Vernon. Liverpool 1854, 405 nrt, 505 grt, 157 x 25.7 x 14.1ft, engines 70hp by Boulton & Watt, for General Iron Screw Collier Company, of London., ON 24719. For London - Newcastle coal trade. More history. Sunk by collision with SS Araxes on 8-11-1860 off Cape St Vincent.

Note sister ships Firefly and Annie Vernon were built by Vernon also. Note also that Chester and Derwent were built by Cram at Chester for the same company and the same use in 1854.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 15 May 1854:
An iron screw-steamer, the Black Prince, intended for the General Iron Screw Collier Company, London, was launched, on Saturday morning, from the building yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, Brunswick Dock. She is 160 foot long, 26 feet 6 inches beam, and 16 feet 6 inches depth of hold, 540 tons, OM., and will carry about 600 tons of coal. Her engines, which are of 70 horse-power, are made by Messrs. Jas. Watt and Co., of Birmingham. The vessel is built from the designs of Messrs. Grantham and Croom, who are the engineers to the company. She is for the trade from Newcastle to London, in which the same company have many similar vessels already engaged. She has a "water bottom," by which she can be ballasted with water for her return voyage, when she will be always without cargo. Another, and sister to this, vessel, is now in a very forward state in Messrs. Vernons' yard, for the same company, and it is expected she will be launched in a few weeks. Other screw-steamers and several sailing-vessels are in progress at this establishment, which, by the extensive machinery at work, the great number of men employed, has of late turned out a succession of vessels with surprising rapidity.

[from Morning Advertiser - Monday 19 November 1860]:
The screw steamer Araxes, bound from Liverpool to Gibraltar, and the steamer Black Prince, which left Gibraltar for London on the 6th inst., came into collision on the night of the 7th, 68 miles north of Cape St. Vincent. The Black Prince sank immediately after the collision, the commander and crew being received on board the Araxes, which landed them at Gibraltar on the 9th. The Araxes sustained injury in her bows, and had gone into the New Mole be repaired without discharging cargo. It is expected that her cargo is not damaged, and that she will leave in a few days for her destination.
[Court case, April 1861: Black Prince reported as owned General screw Collier Co, of 430 tons; collision 8 nov 1860; Araxes of 738 tons; collision 60 miles northward of Cape Vincent; Black Prince found to blame]


Iron screw steamer Firefly, built Vernon. Liverpool 1854, 405 nrt, 505 grt, 157 x 25.7 x 14.1ft, engines 70hp by Boulton & Watt, ON30031, owned General Iron Screw Collier Co. for London - Newcastle coal trade. More history. Wrecked 19-10-1867 north of Cape St Vincent - 1 life lost.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 17 June 1854]:
Launch of the Fire Fly. On Tuesday, a screw-steamer, called the Fire Fly, was launched from the iron shipbuilding yard of Messrs Thos. Vernon and Son, Brunswick Dock. The Fire Fly is in all respects a duplicate of the Black Prince, launched a month ago, namely, a vessel of 70 horse-power, and capable of carrying a cargo of 600 tons of coals. Like her predecessor, the Fire Fly is built for the General Iron Screw Collier Company of London, and she will form one of a fleet of vessels now largely increasing in London.

[from London Evening Standard - Wednesday 30 October 1867]:
LAGOS. Oct 22. The Fire Fly, screw steamer, has been totally lost five miles north of Cape St. Vincent, She broke in places, one man drowned, nothing saved. [Voyage London to Gibraltar, crew 18, in ballast]

[from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Friday 29 November 1867]:
OFFICIAL INQUIRY. THE LOSS OF THE FIREFLY(ss). The inquiry respecting the loss of the General Iron Screw Collier Company's steamer Firefly, Fisher, on the Coast of Portugal, near Cape St. Vincent, was resumed and concluded yesterday at the Greenwich Police-court, before Mr. Traill, the magistrate, and Captains H. Harris and Baker, Nautical Assessors. Mr. O'Dowd again attended as counsel for the Board of Trade; and Mr. Mellor for the General Iron Screw Collier Company.
The statement of Captain Fisher, the Master of the Firefly, was then put in and read by Mr. Boustead, the clerk of the Court. It was to the following effect: Course steered up to the time of sighting the Burlings at 11a.m., Oct. 17, 1867, S.S.W., .... At 11 10 A.M., [Oct 18] dense fog, thick mist. 1130 a.m., sighted the rocks a little on the starboard bow. about 400 yards distant. I ordered the man at the wheel to put the helm hard a-starboard. I saw by the rocks that she did not change the position of her head. I looked aft, and saw the helmsman "porting". I sang our "Hard a-starboard" and shifted the telegraph "Fullspeed astern," and by word of mouth. The ship after a minute or two began to turn under the starboard helm, and on turning, she struck lightly on a sunken ruck starboard side, about amidships. As her head by compass was about north, and still turning to the westward, I put the telegraph "Full speed ahead." She struck a second time under the starboard bilge, about the engine-room, and then went off head to the westward. The ship never lost her headway. She had not got off 50 yards before the Engineer reported to me that she was filling in the engine-room. I ran off the bridge to see that his report was correct, and found that the water was up to the upper part of her furnaces, and the fires were out. I found the rudder disabled, and I could not move the wheel, being hard a-starboard by this time. All hands were forward in the boat. I ran down into the cabin, and got the drawer that the ship's papers were in. I then went forward and helped get the boat over the side. I went aft and got the ship's chronometer, and looked down the engine-room; found the water up to the platform, about 10 feet above the stoke-hole plates. Ran forward, and found nearly all hands in the boat, singing out to push off, two men getting into the boat about the same time. No hands left on deck. The ship at the time had turned round, and was going in slowly towards the rocks, and struck about 200 yards inside, and to the southward of where she first struck [about 2.5 to 3 miles north of Cape St Vincent]. I found directly I had put off from the ship that there were five men left on board. I then ordered the men to pull to the ship. They pulled the boat within 10 to 15 yards of the vessel's stem. Two men jumped overboard. We picked them up. The Crew would not stop any longer for the other men. I then saw the main land distant about 300 yards from where the ship was on shore, and sandy beach. I ordered the men, and begged of them, to try to save the other men. They said there was too much sea on, and that they would all get drowned. We went through the surf and landed. The ship was hailed a dozen times to send a small line on shore. There were plenty of lines on board which would have answered. Men with any sense could have got ashore all safe. [one was drowned - 2 escaped by lashing themselves to a spar] ....
Under these circumstances, the Court has come to the conclusion that the Firefly was lost by an error of judgment, amounting to default, of the Master; but the course shaped, if made good from Cape Roccas up to the time the patent log was hauled in, was a safe one, it trusts that a lenient judgment will suffice. The Court, therefore, taking into consideration the Master's previous good character, testified by many employers, hereby suspends Mr. James Fisher's certificate for three calendar months from this date,


Iron screw steamer Loire, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1854. 469grt, 175 x 26 x 14 ft, 70 hp engines by Hawkes, Crawshay, registered Liverpool, ON 15080. Intended for France - Liverpool service, but chartered to voyage to Crimea, later on London - Liverpool service. Wrecked 27th January 1858 on East Hoyle Bank. In MNL to 1864. More history.
[note ON 15080, 320 tons, registered Liverpool 1854, lost 1858; and ON 16022, 453 tons, registered London 1855, lost 1855 Lundy, were both iron steamers called Loire]

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 11 September 1854]:
STEAM FROM LIVERPOOL TO THE WEST OF FRANCE. On Saturday afternoon the new iron screw-steamer, the Loire, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, at the southeast end of Brunswick Dock. The vessel has been built for the new line of screw-steamers, to form a direct and, what promises to become, a valuable medium of communication between this port and the West of France. The ports of call, outward, are Bordeaux, Charente, and Nantes, and the object of the owners is to avail themselves of the great commercial advantages presented by the navigation of the magnificent Loire. For this purpose it has been thought advisable to construct a vessel of large carrying capacity; and to this end the architect, Mr. Grantham, and the builders have successfully applied themselves. The dimensions of the Loire are: Length between perpendiculars, 175 feet; breadth of beam, 26 feet; depth of hold, 14 feet. Her tonnage is 573 tons; and she will be fitted with engines, by Messrs. Hawkes, Crawshay, and Son, of 70 horsepower, the diameter of cylinder being 34 inches, and length of stroke 26 inches. She was much admired while on the stocks. The day being fine, there was a large assemblage of ladies and gentlemen to witness the launch, which was successfully made, the christening being admirably performed by Mrs. Tamplin. An adjournment was then made to the offices of Messrs. Vernon, where an elegant cold collation had been prepared. Mr. Thomas Vernon, the senior member of the firm, occupied the chair, the vice-chair being filled by Mr. Tamplin, of the firm of M'Clune and Tamplin, part owners of the vessel, and the Liverpool agents for the company.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 09 January 1855]:
The screw-steamer Loire, which has been chartered by the French government, sailed on Monday for Marseilles.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Saturday 09 February 1856]:
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN LIVERPOOL AND BORDEAUX, CALLING AT NANTES AND CHARENTE. The West of France Steam Navigation Company have now completed arrangements for placing their powerful Steamers
LOIRE 550 tons, 100 horse-power, Capt. Wm. RAMSAY;
GARRONNE 750 tons, 100 horse-power, Capt. D. A.Crock,
On this Line very shortly. These Vessels are built specially for this trade, and combine splendid accommodation for Passengers with great capacity for cargo. M'CLUNE and TAMPLIN, Managing Owner, Columbia-buildings, Brunswick-street.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 16 June 1856]: STEAM COMMUNICATION TO AND FROM LIVERPOOL AND LONDON, CALLING AT PENZANCE, FALMOUTH, PLYMOUTH, AND PORTSMOUTH. JUNE, 1856. The London and Liverpool Steamship Company beg to announce their intention of dispatching one of their powerful Steamers from each port as under, unless prevented by any unforeseen occurrence:
Steamer. Tons. Horse-power.
ROSE 650 250 Capt. HIGGINS.
LOIRE 650 100 Capt. RAMSAY.
ANTELOPE 1007 150 Capt. REED.
EMPRESS EUGENIE 750 100 Capt. SIMSON.
These vessels are all first-class, and have superior accommodation for passengers, combined with great speed, and capacity for goods. ... M'CLUNE & TAMPLIN.

February 1857: 8-64th share of Loire offered for sale at Liverpool, used for Liverpool - London trade.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Friday 29 January 1858]:
The Loire, (s.s.), which sailed from this port on Wednesday evening for London, ran ashore on East Hoyle, at 10 p.m.. and broke in two. The passengers were landed in the Hoylake life-boat.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 08 February 1858]:
To-morrow, the 9th instant, at three o'clock, at the Royal Hotel, Hoylake, Cheshire, The Wreck of the Steamer LOIRE; About 570 tons measurement, built of Iron by Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, Liverpool, in 1854, Two Engines of 70 horse power, as she now lies on East Hoyle Bank, together with any Anchors, Chains, Stores. or Materials that may be found on board or attached to the Wreck. The present Cargo that may be found in or attached to the Wreck not to be included in the Sale, but the Sellers agree to pay the Purchasers of the Wreck a Salvage of 50 per cent on all such Cargo as may be saved and landed at the Sheds for Wrecked Goods, Prince's Dock; and, at same time, a portion of Deck, lying on the Beach, New Brighton.

[from Northern Daily Times - Tuesday 06 April 1858]:
To enterprising Shipbuilders and Engineers. FOR SALE, the WRECK of the iron screw steamer LOIRE, now lying at Seacombe, near Liverpool, This wreck is in two parts, apparently uninjured, and may be easily put together, forming either a steamer or sailing vessel. She is a beautiful model, about 600 tons builders' measurement, and will be sold cheap.

Probably salvaged from wreck [from Northern Daily Times - Tuesday 14 September 1858]:
TO SCREW STEAM PACKET BUILDERS, ON SALE, a pair of direct acting condensing Marine STEAM ENGINES, 70 horse power nominally, effective power much greater, diameter of cylinder 34 inches, length of stroke 26 inches, link motion, air pumps all brass, pumps and valves all in excellent order, and on the most, improved principle; the side valves are of the gridiron description, with India-rubber packing; in fact, the engines altogether are of the most modern description, with the most recent improvements, thoroughly efficient, and ready for immediate use. Also a Two horse Donkey ENGINE nearly new. Also a large Marine BOILER, in excellent condition, suitable for a tug, paddle, or screw boat; breadth 13 feet 6 inches, height 11 feet 9 inches, length 9 feet; four flues, with tubes and flues all complete. Also a Patent WINDLASS, nearly new, suitable for a vessel of any size. Also a BOAT, 22 feet by 5 feet, adapted for the River Mersey. Also a quantity of Wrought-iron Shafting, from 8 to 13 feet long, by 7 and 8 inches diameter. Apply to CALEB D. WATSON and Co, Liverpool.


Harvest Home, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1855, ON 24111, 547grt, 173 x 28 ft. By 1905 to Buenos Aires, named Baltico. More history

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 April 1855]:
IRON SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. During the week, the following iron vessels have been launched on the banks of the Mersey. ...
On Thursday a smart-looking vessel, modelled on clipper lines, was launched by Messrs. Thos. Vernon and Son, of Brunswick Quay. The ship is of the following dimensions: Length, 160 feet; beam, 28 feet; depth, 17 feat; measurement, nearly 600 tons. She was named the Harvest Home, and is a sister-ship to the Advance, launched for the same owners, (Messrs. Henry Moore and Co.), from this yard a few weeks ago, and now loading for Ceylon.


Iron paddle steamer Prince Patrick, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1855, 662 grt, 392nrt, 300hp engines, owned and registered Fleetwood. ON 22656. Registered Liverpool 1871. In MNL to 1878. More history. Cabin furniture for sale 1874.

[from Preston Chronicle - Saturday 04 August 1855]:
LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER PRINCE PATRICK. - On Wednesday last, a fine new paddle steamer, constructed for the North Lancashire Steam Navigation Company, was launched from the yard of Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Sons, Brunswick Dock, Liverpool. She was named the Prince Patrick. Her dimensions are - Length, 225 feet; beam, 25 feet; depth of hold, 14 feet. She is fitted up with engines of 320-horse power, by Messrs. Bolton, Watt, and Co., of Birmingham, and is expected to be a very fast vessel. She is intended to ply between Fleetwood and Belfast. After the launch, a company of about 60 ladies and gentlemen sat down to a collation.

[from Shipping and Mercantile Gazette - Friday 16 June 1871]:
THE fine iron Paddle Steamer PRINCE PATRICK. 622 tons gross, 315 tons nett register; built at Liverpool, by Vernon, in 1856, and well known as a favourite mail steamer between Fleetwood and Belfast; is admirably adapted for carrying passengers and cattle; steams fast, having combined engines of 300 horse power, and now quite ready for any employment. Lying at Fleetwood, Dimensions: Length, 231.2 feet; breadth, 23.2 feet; depth, 14.7 feet. ...
[advert continued to December 1872]

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 17 April 1874]:
Sale by auction... Birkenhead .. Ship cabin fittings and furniture removed from the steamer Prince Patrick. ...


Iron screw steamer Lota, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1855, 1000 tons, 210 x 30 x 19 ft, 110 hp engines by Hawks, Crawshay of Newcastle. For service on the Pacific coast of South America.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 December 1855]:
SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. The various shipbuilding yards on the banks of the Mersey have lately been somewhat inactive, owing to the depression upon commerce caused by the war. A few days ago, however, Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son launched from their yard, at the Brunswick Dock, an iron screw steamship, of nearly 1,000 tons measurement. The christening ceremony was performed, in a most admirable manner, by Miss Vernon, daughter of the junior partner in the firm. The Lota is 210 feet long, 30 feet beam, 19 feet deep, is about 950 tons measurement, and has direct-action engines, by Hawks, Crawshay, and Co., of Newcastle, of the collective power of 110 horses. She is built to the order of Messrs. W. J. Myers and Co., of Liverpool, and will proceed to the west coast of South America with a cargo; but she is built specially for the conveyance of coals on that coast, Valparaiso being her chief port.


Iron screw steamer Annie Vernon, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1856, 519grt, 422nrt, 170 x 26.6 x 16.7 ft, 70hp engines by Jack, ON 14783. More history.
Abandoned 19 November 1885 off North Cornish coast. Full BOT report.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 25 February 1856]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON SCREW COLLIER. At noon, on Saturday, Messrs. Thos. Vernon and Son launched from their yard at the Brunswick Dock, the third of the fleet of the screw colliers they are building for the Iron Screw Collier Company. On the present occasion the new vessel was christened the Annie Vernon, by Mrs. John Vernon. The Annie Vernon is about 600 tons burthen, and will be fitted with engines made by Mr. Jack. The launch was perfectly successful, the scene, owing to the beauty of the day, being unusually exhilarating. A large company were afterwards entertained at lunch in the mould-room, Mr. Thomas Vernon presiding.

Used in ore trade from Whitehaven to S Wales.

[from Glasgow Herald - Friday 20 November 1885]:
The Annie Vernon (s), of Cardiff, a vessel of 217 tons register, Alfred Peters, master, bound to Plymouth, sprung a leak and went down 12 miles off St Ives, Cornwall. The master and crew (11 men) landed at St Ives yesterday morning.

[from South Wales Echo - Friday 11 December 1885]:
THE ABANDONMENT OF THE ANNIE VERNON. At the Town-hall, Cardiff, on Thursday, an inquiry was opened before Mr R. O. Jones, assisted by Captains Wilson and Anderson (nautical assessors) and Mr W. C. Lang (engineer assessor), into the circumstances attending the abandonment of the steamship Annie Vernon, of Cardiff, twelve miles N.W. of Godrevy, Cornwall, on or about the 19th November last. Mr Waldron appeared for the Board of Trade, and Mr G. C. Downing for the owner (Mr Edwin Jenkins, Pier Head Chambers, Cardiff). According to the opening statement of Mr Waldron, the Annie Vernon was a vessel of 318 tons net register, and she left Cardiff on the 18th November with a coal cargo and a crew of 18 hands, bound for Plymouth. She carried two boats - a lifeboat and a gig - and possessed four pumps. The mate had stated that when she left Cardiff she was drawing 13 ft. forward and 15ft. 6in. aft - The master stated that he joined the ship last February, and no repairs had been effected on her since. As far as he knew she was in good condition and well found when she left Cardiff. The vessel, continued Mr Waldron, experienced very rough weather on her voyage down Channel, and appeared to have rolled considerably and taken great quantities of water on board. The chief engineer alleged that he sounded the main tank half an hour before she started, and found no water. Everything went well until midnight, when he was relieved by the second engineer. The weather being bad, the master remained in charge of the vessel until 5.30 on the morning of the 19th, when he went below. The second engineer deposed that from the time he went on watch at midnight the engines were going at full speed. At 4 a.m, the sea cocks were opened for a few minutes to damp ashes. At 6 a.m., on the 19th, the chief again took charge, and an hour later, he discovered that the vessel was leaking. He immediately started the pumps, and finding that the water gained, informed the master of the circumstance. The master, after verifying by personal inspection of the engineer's report, ordered the boats to be got out, and by that time the water was washing the fires in the engineroom. About eight o'clock it was decided to abandon the vessel, and the crew got into the boats, remaining alongside for a quarter of an hour or so, after which, as it was deemed dangerous to stay longer, they made for St. Ives, arriving there safely. The examination of the witnesses was then proceeded with after which the inquiry was adjourned until to-day.

[from Western Mail - Saturday 12 December 1885]:
THE ABANDONMENT OF THE STEAMSHIP ANNIE VERNON. The Board of Trade inquiry into the abandonment of the steamship Annie Vernon off the coast of Cornwall, on or about the 18th of November last, was resumed at the Cardiff Town-hall on Friday, before Mr. H.O. Jones, assisted by Captains Anderson and Wilson as nautical assessors. Mr. Waldron appeared for the Board of Trade, and Mr. C. H. Downing represented the owners, Mr. J. Jenkins and others. Further evidence was adduced. Mr. Waldron, in his address on behalf of the Board of Trade, asked the court to consider whether the vessel was in good and seaworthy condition when she left Cardiff; whether any blame attached to the owners; whether the vessel was navigated in a proper manner, and whether she was prematurely abandoned. The Court found that, the vessel having been passed by a Board of Trade officer previous to leaving Cardiff, no blame attached to the owners; that the master was to blame for the abandonment of the vessel prematurely, and that the engineer was guilty of gross carelessness. As neither the captain nor the chief engineer held certificates, they were each ordered to pay £10 towards the expenses of the inquiry.


Iron screw steamer Sovereign, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1856, 439grt, 298nrt, 170 x 25 x 13ft, engines 100hp by Jack, Liverpool, ON 16200. For Liverpool - Bristol service. Wrecked 2 April 1870 near Dulas, Anglesey. More history.

[from Northern Daily Times - Friday 01 August 1856]:
THE NEW SCREW STEAMER SOVEREIGN. Some time ago we had the pleasure of noticing the launch of this fine screw propellor, built by the eminent firm of Messrs. Vernon and Son, for the Liverpool and Bristol Channel Steam Packet Company, and yesterday we had the satisfaction of being one of a large party, who were privileged to witness her first trial trip. The production of fine steamers in Liverpool, has been the theme of praise for some years past, and every day adds to the progress made in this great field of enterprise, and although the Sovereign is not one of the largest vessels built in our port, she deserves more than ordinary notice, both in reference to her construction, her engines, and general economy, as a merchant vessel, and one calculated to afford passengers the largest amount of comfort and accommodation. The Sovereign is an iron vessel, and her builders, Messrs. Vernon & Son, have left nothing undone to make her worthy of that well-known house. She is 170 feet long, 25 beam, and 13 feet deep, with a large capacity for stowage. Her tonnage o.m., is 515 tons; but, of course, she can carry much more than that. She has full flush decks from stem to stern, and full open from side to side. Her cabin is a full poop, and is fitted up with all the recent improvements which experience warrants, and everything that can afford passengers comfort has been adopted. The state saloon is a very pretty apartment, and, unlike cabins in other vessels, the sleeping rooms form separate places at the head of the saloon. There is a double excellence in this arrangement, as the rooms serve for retiring as well as sleeping apartments. The second cabin, set apart for deck passengers, is the best of the sort we ever observed in any ship carrying this class of passengers. We have always maintained the rights to which this class of the community are entitled, and we are proud to say that the Sovereign has come up to our notions in this regard. She can take upwards of 100 of this class of passengers. with ease to all. The Sovereign has been constructed on the most approved scientific principles - her lines are very fine, and her general calculation as to speed averages from 10 to 12 knots, as a sea boat, an hour. Her performances yesterday realised all that was expected of her in this respect. Her engines have been built by Mr. John Jack, whose work is so well known and admired. They are of 100-horse power nominally, but of course capable of working up to 50 per cent. more if required. They are constructed on the direct principle, so peculiar to Mr. Jack's establishment. The great point about these engines is the fact that they occupy so small a space, and at the same time are so very' effective. They worked - cool and smooth - and Mr. Rollo, who ably conducts this department of Mr. Jack's large establishment, was warmly congratulated on his complete success. The trial trip of this fine boat took place yesterday, under most favourable circumstances. The day was peculiarly fine and warm, and the company on board large and respectable, including a number of ladies, who seemed to enjoy the trip very much. The vessel started from the Clarence Basin about 10 o'clock , and proceeded towards the Isle of Man.....

[from Liverpool Courier and Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 13 April 1870]:
ACCIDENT TO A LIVERPOOL STEAMER. Intelligence reached Liverpool yesterday of a disaster to the well known coasting steamer Sovereign. It seems that during a fog on Saturday, she got ashore between the Ormshead and Point Lynas, and yesterday afternoon she had not been got off. [crew of 19 and 8 passengers saved]

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Thursday 12 May 1870]:
The WRECK of the Schooner-rigged Steamer SOVEREIGN, regular and favourite trader to Bristol and Swansea. Iron built by Messrs Vernon and Sons, 1856. Registered dimensions: Length 177 feet 9 inches; breadth, 25 feet 2 inches; depth 12 feet 9 inches, Engines 90 horse-power, by Messrs. John Jones & Son; boilers, by Messrs. J. Jack and Co., intact, and can be disconnected at low water without diving; pitch pine masts and bowsprit, with rigging attached, two good derricks, one on each mast; two steam winches, one first class patent windlass by Gladstone and Co, one capstan. As she may lie on the day of sale on the rocks near Rhosmanarch [Rhos Mynach] (route per rail to Amlwch which is three miles from the wreck). On the beach: two boats, foreyard and gaff. On port side of the ship, visible at low water: donkey Boiler; also on port side, the funnel and copper waste steam pipe &c, &c. .....


Iron paddle steam tug Unknown, built Vernon 1855/6, 120/130 x 20 x 10 ft. 80hp, For Liverpool Steam Tug Co.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 22 November 1855]:
New Steamers. A new iron paddle-wheel steam-tug is building by Messrs. Vernon and Son, of the following dimensions: 120 feet long, 20 feet beam, and 10 feet depth of hold. [possibly Bridgewater, Fury or Rescue?]

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 December 1855]:
In the same [Vernon's] yard there is in course of construction a powerful steamboat, 130 feet long, of 230 tons, and supplied with engines of 80 horsepower. This vessel is for the Liverpool Steam Tug Company.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 10 March 1856]:
Messrs. Vernon and Son are building for the company [Liverpool steam tug co] one nearly similar to the Fury, to be supplied with engines by Messrs. Bolton and Watt, of Birmingham.

[from Northern Daily Times - Monday 17 September 1855]:
VERNON IRON WORKS, TRANMERE. The stranger who desires to indulge his artistic tendencies on the banks of the Mersey, and is curious enough to search out the great mechanical achievements of modern engineering and scientific skill in the premier port of Great Britain, will do well to go to Tranmere. Sensibly indeed, - and as it turns out, most judiciously, - the Messrs. Vernon and Son appear to have located their workshop on the Cheshire shore of the Mersey, somewhat higher up than the Tranmere-ferry station, in one of the handsomest and most convenient positions on the river. No selection for a site for business, or even for recreation, could be better made.



Iron steamer Plynlymon, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1856, screw. ON 17782, 209grt, 142nrt, 125.5 x 20.5 x 11.1ft, 50 hp engines. First owner Vernon. By 1873 renamed Troubador, owned and registered London. By 1880 owned Limerick. Registered Liverpool from 1881, owned King, Liverpool. More detail. Stranded leaving Drogheda on the north wall and lost, 16 November 1882.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Wednesday 03 September 1856]:
STEAM COMMUNICATION TO AND FROM ABERYSTWITH AND LIVERPOOL, CALLING AT PORTHMDOC, and ABERYSTWYTH AND BRISTOL CALLING AT LLANELLY.
The CAMBRIAN STEAM PACKET Co, until the completion of the new iron Screw Steamer, THE PLYNLYMON, now building for them, and, unless prevented by any unforseen occurrence, intend despatching, with goods and passengers, the powerful Screw Steamer REGALIA, 200 tons burthen, or some other vessel suitable for the trade. ...
[Advert: Plynlymon 230 tons burthen, 45 hp, from 12 Nov 1856]

[from Freeman's Journal - Friday 17 November 1882]:
WRECK OF A SCREW STEAMER NEAR DROGHEDA. - On Wednesday the screw steamer Troubadour, of Liverpool, owned by Messrs King and Co, of that place, Henry master, and on her passage from Drogheda to Garston, was driven ashore by the violence of the storm on the North Bull Wall, where she at present lies. The vessel is insured. It is feared she will become a total wreck. The crew were enabled from the position of the vessel to walk ashore.

[from Dublin Daily Express - Thursday 23 November 1882]:
The loss of SS Troubador near Drogheda Bar. At the meeting of the Drogheda Harbour Commissioners yesterday, the Mayor presiding, Alexander Murdock, the charterer of the SS Troubadour, which went ashore during the late gales near Drogheda Bar, attended, and said that he would hold the board accountable for the loss of the vessel, inasmuch as the harbour-master, Captain Leech, would not allow the vessel to leave the river on the night previous to her sailing, when she was perfectly ready. The pilot of the steamer, named Garvey, also attended and, in reply to several questions, attributed the blame to the captain for attempting to go to sea in the teeth of a storm, and against his remonstrances.

[from Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal - Saturday 09 December 1882]:
STRANDING OF THE TROUBADOUR. A Board of Trade Inquiry touching the loss by stranding of the steamer Troubadour, of Liverpool, at the mouth of the river Boyne, on the 16th of November, was held at the St Georges-hall, Liverpool, on Tuesday, and Wednesday,....
The Troubador was a coasting steamer, built at Liverpool in 1856, and was of 271 tons gross and 165 tons nett register, owned by Mr William King, of Liverpool. In April last she was detained at Garston by the Board of Trade, and required to be fitted with a new boiler. This having been placed in her, she resumed running in October last under the command of Captain John Hennery. She proceeded with coal to Drogheda, thence to Glasgow, them back to Drogheda, and finally, on Nov. 15, she left Drogheda in ballast for Garston. The captain, in his examination, admitted the weather was rough, and that the pilot said it was too bad to go to sea. He, however, had done so in worse weather, and would have gone if she had been his own vessel and uninsured. However, when they got to the mouth of the river, they found a heavy south-easterly gale blowing, with a strong good tide, and were unable to make head against it, and finally drifted on to a pile of stones on the north shore, placed there for the purpose of constructing a wall, when she became a total wreck, the crew getting ashore at low water..... Decision: caution master, but not suspend his certificate.

Iron paddle steamer Bridgewater 1857, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1857, tug. 126grt, 56nrt, 109.2 x 20.1 x 8.1 ft, 70hp engines by Sanderson & Rington. ON 19571. More detail.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Tuesday 06 September 1870]:
Inquest: On the body of Samuel Charleston, twenty-eight years of age, mate of the steam-tug Bridgewater, and who lived at Runcorn. On Friday morning, the tug was conveying a loaded flat from the Duke's Dock to the Morpeth Dock. On the way one of timber heads to which the tow-rope was attached broke, and struck the deceased on the head, inflicting such injuries that he died in the Southern Hospital, whither he had been conveyed. Verdict, Accidental Death.

Iron steamer James Kennedy 1857, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1857, screw. ON 19969. Owned Liverpool. For carrying ore from Whitehaven to Wales. More detail. Abandoned 30-11-1873 near Texel and later driven ashore and wrecked.

[from Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser - Tuesday 25 August 1857]:
SCREW STEAMERS v. SAILING VESSELS. At the time the screw steamer Annie Vernon was first placed on the Whitehaven station to ply in the iron ore trade between this port and Wales, we took occasion to remark upon the advantages likely to attend the introduction of steam into the trade. Of course, as was to be expected, existing interests, represented by the old wood bottoms of from 120 to 200 tons carrying capacity, became alarmed, and from a wish that both sides of the question should be fairly stated, we opened our columns to the reception of letters in their defence. If we had believed all that was advanced, we should have been obliged to come to the conclusion, that the introduction of screw steamers would be the forerunner of ruin to every one connected with the port or the trade except the shippers themselves. The shipbuilders, sailmakers, provision dealers, and shipowners would all be great sufferers, or least so we were gravely assured by gentlemen who ought to have known better. On the other hand, the proposition we undertook to support was, that an improvement in ocean transit, like an improvement in anything else, gives an impetus to industry, and consequently is a tangible good which penetrates through every grade of society within reach of its influence. Experience so far has fully demonstrated that the view we took was the right one.
The Annie Vernon has shown herself capable of fulfilling the most sanguine expectations of her owners, who will shortly introduce another and larger vessel into the trade. Already there are four of this class of vessels in the trade varying in carrying capacity from 300 to 700 tons, and the James Kennedy, of 800 tons, is expected to be here in the course of the next month. The names and capacities of the vessels then in the trade, will be as follows: Annie Vernon, 700; Isabella Croll, 650; Cleator, 400; Deva, 300; and the James Kennedy, 800. One of the recent feats performed by the Annie Vernon is so remarkable to be worthy of notice here. She left this port for Newport on Wednesday at 11 p.m., and arrived here again at 4 p.m. on the Sunday following, having delivered a cargo of upwards of 700 tons. Of course this is something extraordinary even for a steamer, but three voyages per month, or forty per year, may be taken as a fair average. At this rate the five vessels above enumerated will able to convey from this port to Wales 114,000 tons annually, or much as ninety-five ordinary sailing vessels of 150 tons each. This contrast may be startling to those who have not devoted much time to the consideration of the subject; but there are the figures. Are the sailing vessels either worse employed or worse remunerated on account of the introduction of steam? We believe not, the rates of freight have been as high within the last twelve months as they were ever known to be, and in some cases vessels could not be obtained in sufficient numbers. The screw steamers have merely supplied a want created by a comparatively new and rapidly expanding trade, and the advantage to be obtained using them is a question which time will satisfactorily demonstrate. Wooden sailing vessels already in existence may not, indeed we do not believe they will, suffer materially in value, but the superiority of steamers will be so apparent that as they are worn out they are not likely to be replaced to the same extent.
Another advantage which will accrue from the use of screw steamers will be a material one, when we consider the peculiar circumstances of the port. There is great outcry for increased harbour accommodation; but how much greater would have been the inconvenience sustained if all the ore now sent away had to be shipped in sailing vessels? The quantity could not possibly have been exported. Nor is the regularity with which the delivery of the ore can be guaranteed, one of the least advantages which arise from the use of screw steamers. This will enable the consumer to make arrangements for the constant supply of his furnaces without having to sink a large amount of capital in keeping up stock, and to guard against the disastrous consequences of continuance of unfavourable winds.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Saturday 28 March 1874]:
ABANDONMENT OF THE STEAM SHIP JAMES KENNEDY. Yesterday, a Board of Trade Inquiry was commenced at the borough police court in reference to the circumstances attending the abandonment, on the 30th November, about 80 miles north of Texel of the screw steamer, James Kennedy, of this port. The court consisted of Mr. Raffles (stipendiary magistrate), Captain F. Harris, and Lieut. Broome, R.N, nautical assessors. Mr. Stewart, barrister, conducted the case on behalf of the Board of Trade; Mr. Tyndall watched the proceedings for the master, Captain James Barnes; and Mr. Martin for the owner, Messrs. John Bacon and Co., of this town. Mr. Stewart stated that the James Kennedy, which was a screw steamer, schooner-rigged, of 500 tons register, was built at Liverpool in 1857, and was 200 feet In length, 27 feet in breadth, and had 17 feet depth of hold. On the 27th November last she left Rotterdam for Shields in water ballast, but in consequence of the stormy weather she was compelled to anchor for two days at the mouth of the river Scheldt, and on the 29th she was enabled to put to sea again. Early on the morning of the following day a leak was reported in the engine room. Under those circumstances the pumps were set to work, but soon they got choked, apparently with small coal. Then all hands endeavoured to bale the water out with buckets, but the water rapidly increased. About ten in the morning the fires were put out, and an hour afterwards there was ten feet of water in the stoke hole. About this time the steamer fell in with the fishing smack William and Louisa, from Lowestoft, which took off the crew; and the steamer was then abandoned about 50 miles north of Texel. On the following day she was washed ashore on the coast of Holland, and had since become a total wreck, the loss being estimated at £7000. After several witnesses had been examined in support of thls statement, the Inqury was adjourned until to-day.

Iron steamer Brackley 1857, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1857, tug. ON 28182. Owned Bridgewater trust, later used by Manchester Ship Canal Co, broken up 1926. More detail with images.

Iron steamer Cognac 1860, built Vernon, Liverpool, 1860, screw. Owned Harrison, Liverpool. Registered Liverpool ON 29159. More detail. Sunk by collision with SS Voltaic off Skerries, Anglesey, 11-11-1898.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 05 November 1860]:
LAUNCH OF AN SCREW-STEAMER. - On Wednesday last there was launched from the extensive shipbuilding-yard of our townsmen, Messrs. Thomas Vernon and Son, the very handsome iron screw-steamer Cognac, of 515 tons burthen, and seventy horsepower. Her dimension are 170 feet long between perpendiculars, 25 feet beam, and 16 feet 6 inches depth of hold. She is built to the twelve years' class, according to Lloyd's rules. She will be fitted. with steam winches; and every improvement that modern science can suggest is adopted in the construction of both the hull and engines. The launch was witnessed by a small and select company of friends of the builders and owners, and the ceremony of christening was gallantly performed by Mrs. Thomas Harrison, the lady of one of the owners. The vessel is the property of Messrs. Thomas and James Harrison, the extensive and enterprising shipowners of this town, and we believe she is intended for the Charente trade, for which she is admirably adapted in all respects. The propeller and part of the machinery were already on board when the vessel was launched, and the boiler was on the quay ready to be put on board the same day; it is therefore confidently expected that she will be ready in a very short time to be placed upon the station.

[from Liverpool Weekly Courier - Saturday 19 November 1898]:
A LIVERPOOL STEAMER SUNK. The steamer Voltaic, from Liverpool for Wexford, was in collision on Thursday week with the steamer Cognac, of Liverpool, inward bound from Charente, in the Irish Sea, between Holyhead and the Skerries. The Cognac was struck amidships and sank, but the whole of the crew were saved. When the vessels came into collision, Captain Keown ordered the engines to be kept slow ahead, so as to keep the bow of his steamer in the breach of the Cognac. By this means the crew of the Cognac were enabled to make their way on to the Voltaic. When it was thought they had all been taken on board, the Voltaic's engines were reversed and the steamers parted. But it was then ascertained that there were yet two men on the sinking vessel. A boat was lowered, and the two men were rescued before the Cognac foundered. The Voltaic arrived in the Mersey late on Friday night, and the rescued crew were put ashore on Saturday morning. The Cognac was owned by Messrs. T. and J. Harrison, of Liverpool.




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P Cato, Liverpool; and Peter Cato & James Miller. [all iron]. List including sailing vessels [Cato]; List including sailing vessels [Cato & Miller].
Roscommon 1845 (later Amacree)
Emerald 1846 screw
Diamond 1846 screw
Bombay 1847 screw
Cato 1849
Porvenir 1848
Tiger 1853
Burra Burra 1854 screw
Cleator 1854 screw
Test 1855 screw (later Flying Fish)
Saladin 1856 screw
Camaragibe 1856 PS tug


[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 03 October 1845]:
In Mr. P. Cato's yard, at the south west corner of the Brunswick Dock, three iron steam-packets are in course of erection, all of which are for the City of Dublin Company. Two, [Emerald, Diamond] in which the screw will be used as a mere auxiliary, are of 300 tons burthen, and will be fitted-up with 40-horse power engines, constructed by the eminent engineers and machine makers, Messrs. Fawcett, Preston. & Co. Both vessels are to ply between London and Dublin. The third Steamer [Roscommon], which is intended to ply between Liverpool and Dublin, is 600 tons burthen, and will be propelled by means of paddles, with engines, now in the Nottingham steam-packet, of 120 horse power. Besides these, in the same yard there is one wooden vessel of 500 tons, intended for the East India trade, and a pilot boat.


Iron paddle steamer Roscommon, built Cato, Liverpool, 1845, 448grt, 292nrt, 173.0 x 14.0 x 14.0 ft, 120hp engines (from PS Nottingham). Built for City of Dublin SP Co. Registered Liverpool 1845. Circa 1865 converted to a sailing barque - named Amacree, ON 8784. Wrecked 28-1-1873 west of St Anne's Head, Pembs, Cardiff to Pernambuco with coal. More history

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 18 November 1845 ]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON STEAM-SHIP. On Saturday, a fine iron steamer, called The Roscommon, was launched from the yard of the builder, Mr. Peter Cato, (south end of the Brunswick Dock,) the first iron steam-vessel constructed by that enterprising gentleman, who, following the current of modern science and novelty, has, like others in his useful vocation, been induced to become "blacksmith," as well as shipwright. This specimen of handycraft itself is sufficient to establish his character in the new branch of the business, as at once an anxious and skilful man. The Roscommon is in length (over all) about 175 feet; she has 24 feet of beam; 14 feet depth of hold; and admeasures about 560 tons. She is intended for a cargo vessel for the city of Dublin Steam Company, to be propelled by the screw; and for such a purpose she appears to be extremely well adapted in every point, combining great carrying with sailing powers. Mr. John Grantham, the marine engineer of the company, and who has lately turned out some of the fastest iron vessels of the port, supplied the entire plans and superintended the work throughout. Though the day was rather unfavourable, and prevented many from attending who would have otherwise been present, the assemblage of ladies and gentlemen was considerable; and the launch was one of the most beautiful and interesting we have ever witnessed. The vessel is of great strength in her ribs and plating, more than the usual quantity of material being employed. After the launch, the company sat down to an elegant and sumptuous collation and wines, at which Mr. Cato presided with his accustomed good humour and urbanity. Success to the vessel was proposed, and drunk with great cheering, and amongst other toasts the health of the builder, to which he replied in feeling and appropriate terms. He remarked with gratification that in compliance with his instructions, he had supplied in the vessel an ample weight of iron, and that during the building, Mr. Grantham and himself had entirely accorded in opinion, and worked cordially together. On his health being drunk, Mr. Grantham expressed his approval, derived from experience of iron as a material for ship building, and adduced several instances of its superiority over wood in cases of stranding, &c. He also responded to the health of C. W. Williams, Esq., the managing and enterprising Director of the Dublin Company, to whom he should communicate the ardent manner in which the toast had been received. Not only were Liverpool and Dublin greatly indebted to that gentleman as a skilful promoter of steam navigation, but the world at large; and such was his untiring energy, that in addition to what he had done for Ireland in her interior navigation, he was now labouring assiduously to promote her commerce and elicit her abundant resources by the establishment of railways, &c. Amongst other healths, that of Mr. Audley, the talented foreman of the yard, to whom the gratifying results of the day were in a great measure to be attributed, was received with enthusiasm, and modestly and feelingly replied to. Numerous other appropriate toasts passed off with equal eclat, and the company, including a number of ladies, after enjoying themselves for a considerable time, separated, all highly delighted with the proceedings of the day. Mr. Cato has on the stocks two beautiful sister iron schooners, also from the models of Mr. Grantham, and which, though destined for the merchant service, appear to us to be such as will turn out to be regular "clippers". We have since seen several splendid models by the same gentleman, from one of which (about to be built) the vessel will probably prove to be one of the fastest craft afloat, propelled by the screw, which we rather opine will henceforth take precedence of the paddle-wheel. It is said that there are not half a dozen wooden steam ships building throughout all England, so generally is iron adopted for those vessels. We should state that, in the course of the addresses made at the entertainment, Mr. Pope, surveyor of Lloyd's, remarked that he and Mr. Creuse, the celebrated naval architect, and also a surveyor for the underwriters, had minutely inspected the Roscommon, and that both concurred in opinion, that they had not before seen a vessel more strong in her ribs and plates, or more faithfully put together by the builder.

[from Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Thursday 30 January 1873]:
Amacree, of this port, from Cardiff for Pernambuco (coals). left Milford on Tuesday afternoon, in putting back again, about 7 p.m., missed stays and drove ashore on the rocks about two miles west of St. Ann's Head, and is a total wreck. People employed saving any portion of material possible at low water. Crew landed in ship's boat.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 06 February 1873]:
A headboard marked "Amacree" has been washed ashore at Rossclare (Mem: the Amacree from Cardiff for Pernambuco was wrecked off St Ann's Head)

Iron screw steamer Emerald, built P Cato, Liverpool, 1846, 250grt, 180nrt, 139.2 x 20.8 x 12.3 ft, 60 hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, ON8807. Owned City of Dublin SP Co. Sail only from 1871. More history. LNRS article about Emerald and Diamond.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 16 January 1846]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON STEAM-SHIP. - Yesterday, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. P. Cato and Co., an iron steam-ship, named the Emerald, which is intended to ply between London and Dublin. Her length of keel is 130 feet, breadth 21 feet, and depth 13 feet. She will be fitted with the screw propeller, worked by engines of sixty horsepower, constructed by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston & Co., is to have three masts, and will be schooner-rigged. Her model is considered, by competent judges, to be an excellent one. Messrs. Cato have, in the same yard, another vessel of the same dimensions, and for the same company (the City of Dublin Company) which will have a run, when launched, of between 300 and 400 feet before she arrives at the water's edge. This is considered the greatest run of any vessel ever launched at Liverpool.

Iron screw steamer Diamond, built P Cato, Liverpool, 1846, 227grt, 184nrt, 130 x 20 x 12.5 ft, 60 hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, ON8785. Owned City of Dublin SP Co. Called Black Diamond at launch. Sail only from 1871. In 1902 renamed Robert Boustead. More history

[Saunders's News-Letter - Tuesday 31 March 1846]:
Launch. Liverpool. On Saturday last, shortly before eleven o'clock, a fine iron vessel, three hundred and twenty tons burden, was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Cato and Co., north end Brunswick Dock. There was a numerous attendance of spectators, who were highly gratified at the beautiful style in which the vessel went off the stocks, the run being upwards of three hundred yards. She received her distinguishing appellation of Black Diamond from Mrs. Bland, who performed the ceremony with becoming grace and the usual observances. The Black Diamond was built for the city of Dublin Company, to ply between London and Dublin. She is to be rigged as a three masted schooner, and to be worked by the screw auxiliary. Her dimensions are: length one hundred and forty feet over all; beam twenty one feet; depth thirteen feet.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 31 March 1846]:
The first vessel launched was "The Diamond," from the yard of Messrs. P. Cato and Co., south end of the Brunswick Dock, and the second of two fine iron steamers built by them for the City of Dublin Co. to run between Dublin and London. She is the sister ship of the Emerald (and from the same moulds,) which we described last January. We need here only state that she is about 145 feet in length over all, 21 feet in beam, 13.5 in depth of hold, and of about 300 tons burthen. She is to be propelled (in addition to sails) by the screw, with engines of 60-horse power on the direct action principle. The model (as for the Emerald) was furnished by Mr. John Grantham and is considered by nautical men to be peculiarly well adapted for the double object of considerable stowage and rapidity of propulsion - a desideratum hitherto deemed a difficult achievement, but which this gentleman, who has long devoted his attention to the subject, is admitted to have to a great extent conquered. The vessel is lapjointed, or "clencher-built", in her upper-works, as well as below the water-line, a plan which, in vessels of her comparatively small burthen, is more expensive than the flush joint, but in our opinion, as well as that of others better versed in such matters, - though the writer of this arrogates to himself some knowledge of ship-craft - is not only stronger, but quite as pleasing to the eye, if the workmanship be equal to that in question. The Diamond is built in the most faithful manner in every point, and does equal credit to the spirited owners in the outlay, and to Mr. Cato and those under him. The Diamond was built higher up the yard than the Emerald, and in the same line (at a right angle) with the river. She had, therefore, to travel a long way - perhaps a hundred yards or upwards - before she touched the water, and the launch was thus the more interesting. She was "let go" from the spot where she was built about half-past eleven o'clock, and though she at first "hung fire", - no jackscrews being employed - a slight effort of the workmen, to overcome the inertia, soon started her, and away she went, with rapidly increasing motion, until, attaining an almost railway speed, she proudly floated in her destined element, apparently as lightly and gladly as a wing-worn sea-bird. This was one of the longest launches we have witnessed here, and the effect on the assembled multitude was, at first, that of inexpressible surprise, which soon found vent in shouts of admiration. Like her sister-ship, before-named, she has a handsome figure-head, with corresponding decorations abaft, and will he rigged, under the superintendence of Capt. Sarsfield, the marine Manager of the proprietors, as a smart three-masted schooner. After the launch, several of Mr. Cato's friends partook of his hospitality, and the usual complimentary and well-deserved toasts of "the owners", "the architect", "the builders", &c., were enthusiastically drunk.


Iron screw steamer Bombay, built Cato, Liverpool, 1847, 325 tons (om), 130 x 22 x 14.6 ft, engines 100hp by Fawcett & Preston, screw. ON 30580. For East Indian SN Co. Registered Bombay 1860. More history.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 06 March 1847]:
Ship Launches. On Wednesday, Mr. Cato launched from his yard another fine iron steam-boat, intended for the East Indian and Malabar trade, and built for the East Indian Steam Navigation Company. She is named the Bombay, and was christened by a young lady named Withers, daughter of Mr. Withers, the dock treasurer. Her length of keel is 130 feet, and 22 feet beam, whilst her depth is 14 feet 6 inches; tonnage 325 tons old measurement, 427 tons new measurement, and she will be worked with a patent screw propeller. Upon the order being given, the vessel was put into motion, and she glided majestically into the water, amidst the cheers of the numerous persons assembled on the occasion. After the launch, a cold collation was given by Mr. Cato to a few of his friends. Mr. Lynn acted as caterer the occasion, and we need hardly say that the wines. &c., were excellent. Several toasts and sentiments were given and duly responded to by the gentlemen present.


Iron steam tug Porvenir, built Cato, Miller, Liverpool, 1848, 250 tons burthen, 90hp engines by Forrester, Liverpool. For towing in Spain. [Porvenir means future].

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 25 December 1848]:
On Wednesday there will be launched from the building yard of Messrs. Cato, Miller, and Co., a fine new iron steamer, the property of Messrs. Huth and Co., and, we believe, intended for the coast of Spain.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 30 December 1848]:
Ship Launch. On Wednesday last, a new iron steamer, called the Porvenir, was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Cato, Miller, and Co., west side of the Brunswick Dock. She is 250 tons burthen, and will be fitted with engines of ninety-horse power, manufactured by Forrester and Co. It is understood that she is intended to be sent to one of the principal seaports Spain, to be used as a tow boat.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 21 April 1849]:
Porvenir, Llanos, hence at Santander.



Iron screw steamer Burra Burra, built Cato & Miller, Liverpool, 1854, service in Australia, Melbourne - Adelaide. After running for about four years she was sent to Java and sold to the Dutch Government for £6,500. More history

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 15 May 1854]:
On the same day there was also launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Cato, Miller, and Co., a very handsome iron screw-steamer, of about 500 tons, intended for the passenger and coasting trade in Australia. She will be commanded by Mr. Roskell, a gentleman of great experience in his profession. It is very gratifying to learn that the Liverpool shipbuilders are very full of orders, and the prospects of the trade are so good as to induce the establishment of several new yards on the banks of this noble river.

[from South Australian Register Fri 8 Jun 1855]:
ARRIVAL OF THE STEAMER BURRA BURRA, WITH HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR McDONNELL. The painful anxiety felt for the last ten days by all classes of the colonists, on account of the non-arrival of the steamer Burra Burra, which sailed from Melbourne on the 19th May, with his Excellency Sir Richard G. McDonnell on board, has been happily relieved by the arrival of the missing vessel, which hove in sight yesterday about 1 o'clock p.m., and reached the Port [Adelaide] in the evening. The recent heavy gales on the coast had greatly tended to increase the general uneasiness, and insurance premiums, to the extent of 75 per cent, upon some portions of the cargo had, we understand, been offered and refused. The arrival is like the resuscitation of lost hopes, and has saved the colony from considerable political uncertainty, and social and domestic grief. We have no doubt that the gratitude of the citizens for the providential preservation of the vessel and its passengers will be evinced by a cordial reception to His Excellency the Governor, and our old and esteemed fellow colonists on board. The utmost excitement prevailed in town yesterday after it was reported that the Burra Burra was in sight.

[from Melbourbe Argus, Tuesday 19 July 1859]:
THE STEAMER BURRA BURRA. - At the time the Burra Burra started from port Adelaide, under sail for Batavia, it was expected that from her jury-rig she would have made a long and tedious passage; but she was passed about 10 miles from Batavia on the 22nd of May, or on the 30th day after leaving the Port. Captain Buxey was, no doubt, favored with a succession of fine weather, as this is a rather a smart trip for any sailing vessel.

[from Sydney Morning Herald - Monday 21 November 1859]:
THE BURRA BURRA. The arrival of Captain M'Coy from Batavia furnishes us with some further particulars of the movements of the steamer Burra Burra. It appears on making Batavia, she was offered to the Dutch Government at a certain price, but was not sold for some time after. The master who took her there (Captain Buxey) is reported to have returned to Melbourne, and the agent (Mr. Hill) proceeded to Singapore, leaving the steamer in the hands of Messrs. Haughton and Hunter, by whom she was ultimately sold to the Dutch Government for £10,000; During the time intervening between her arrival and her sale, she had been very profitably employed. In one instance she towed a fine clipper vessel, named the Spirit of the Age, from the Straits of Sunda; and a second salvage was made from a foreign vessel, named the Hoop Von Capie, which had struck on a coral reef, and from which the Burra took 250 tons East India produce, with which she was laden. These two transactions produced £1000 to the steamer, which, on the conclusion of the bargain, was delivered over by Captain McCoy, for the agents, to the Dutch Government, the object of her purchaser being to keep her in readiness for the transport of troops - a service for which her capacity admirably adapts her.



Iron screw steamer Cleator, built Cato, Miller, Liverpool 1854, 342grt, 269nrt, 160.4 x 22.9 x 13.1 ft, 40 hp engines, ON 10498. Owned Holt, Liverpool. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 25 December 1854]:
SHIP LAUNCHES. On Saturday there were launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Cato, Miller, and Co., two very fine iron vessels. The first to go off the stocks was an iron screw steamer, called the Cleator, of about 400 tons, the property of Mr. Alfred Holt, civil-engineer, of this town. Her dimensions are about 170 feet long, 22 feet 6 inches wide, and 13 feet 6 inches deep. The ceremony of christening this vessel was very ably performed by Miss Mary Anne Bowring, amidst loud hurrahs from those present. The Cleator is very strongly built, and well sustains the reputation of her builders.

Used in ore trade from Whitehaven to S Wales.


Iron screw steam yacht Test, built Cato, Miller, Liverpool 1855, 114grt, 53nrt, 112 x 14 x 12 ft, 40 hp, screw, ON 16868, registered Liverpool. For sale 1859 - 1863. Renamed Flying Fish, owned Glasgow then sold foreign. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 17 September 1855]:
SHIP LAUNCH. About noon on Thursday an iron screw steamer, built and propelled under the patents of Mr. Birch, of Crag, near Macclesfield, was launched from the yard of Messrs. Cato, Miller, and Co., west side Brunswick Dock. Her length is 112 feet, beam 14 feet, depth 12 feet, and her tonnage about 114 tons. She was named the Test, by Mrs. Mondel, the lady of one of the owners. The Test is to be rigged as a fore and aft schooner. She was launched with the whole of her machinery and propelling appliances complete, and will be able to take her trial trip this week. After the launch she was taken to the Harrington Dock, where her Indian canoe-like appearance excited considerable attention. She is built very much upon the tabular principle, and the screw is fixed through instead of at the end of the keel. If successful, she will cause a complete revolution in the mode of building and propelling vessels.


Iron paddle steam tug Camaragibe (also Camaragibo), built Cato, Miller, Liverpool 1856, 115 tons, in LR 1860, schooner rig. Sailed for Pernambuco 1 Sept 1856. Presumably for service on the coast of Brazil. Described as a tug. More history. Presumably paddle.

[from Sun (London) - Thursday 04 July 1861]:
The American ship Emily Farnun (of Portsmouth, New Hampshire), N. P. Simes master, 1,119 tons register, which sailed from the Downs on the 29th of April with a cargo of 1,800 tons of railway iron, bound for Calcutta (in consequence of the strong north-east current and southerly winds prevailing on the coast), ran aground on the reefs of Catuama, about 30 miles to the north of Pernambuco, and six miles from the shore, on the 6th of June. The steam tug Camaragibe proceeded to her assistance, and took her into Pernambuco on the 10th; the ship had lost about 30 feet of her false keel, and was about to be surveyed.


Iron screw steamer Saladin, built Cato, Miller, Liverpool, 1856, 510grt, 347nrt, 183.9 x 24.3 x 14.3 ft, 60 hp engines by John Taylor, ON 16854, owned Alfred Holt, Liverpool, registered Liverpool. Sold foreign 1872. More history.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 09 July 1856]:
Union Dock: Saladin (new screw steamer) 346 Middleton, A Holt. [Loading foreign, Kingston Jamaica, June 1858; also advertised as sailing to Panama to link with the Panama railway to the Pacific]

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William Cowley Miller, Liverpool [see history of Millers]: [see also].
Racehorse/Redpole HMS 1855 wooden tug
Destello 1855 iron
Labuan 1855 iron screw
Clown HMS 1856 wooden screw gunboat Clown class
Kestrel HMS 1856 wooden screw gunboat Clown class
Sao Luis PS 1858 for Brazil
Pindare PS 1858 for Brazil
Itapicuru PS 1859 iron for Brazil
Caxias PS 1859 iron for Barzil
Dredge boat no. 2 1859
Helen PS 1860 iron tug
Steady HMS 1860 wooden screw Philomel class gunboat
Penguin HMS 1860 wooden screw Philomel class gunboat
Doterel HMS 1860 wooden screw Britomart class gunboat
Heron HMS 1860 wooden screw Britomart class gunboat

Sailing vessels built:
[Nauphante SV 1856 iron]
[Victor SV 1857 iron]
[Atahualpa SV 1857 iron]
[Defiance SV 1857 iron]
[Edith Moore SV 1858 iron]
[Elise SV 1858 wood]

W C Miller was active in building steam vessels for the Confederacy: armed raiders: CSS Florida/Oreto and CSS Mary/Alexandra; blockade runners: Phantom, Let her B, Mary Celestia, Lelia, Abigail, Ray.

Wooden paddle steamer Racehorse, built W C Miller, Liverpool, 1855, paddle tug, 360 tons (bm), purchased on stocks by Admiralty - called HMS Redpole. Not armed. More history.
Described in RN ship list as Redpole, bought 1855, ex-Racehorse built 9-5-1853 [sic].

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 26 March 1855]:
We believe that a new steamer of 160 horse power, the Racehorse, has been purchased from Mr. Jack, of this town. A crew of Government engineers, sailors, &c, have arrived here from Devonport, to which port she sailed yesterday.

[from Dublin Daily Express - Friday 20 April 1855]:
The merchant steamer Racehorse, recently purchased by the Admiralty, is to be put in commission at Plymouth as a tugboat, for service in the Baltic.

[from Morning Herald (London) - Thursday 17 May 1855]:
Redpole, steam-tug, made a most satisfactory trial trip round the Eddystone on Monday. The crew were paid wages at the pay office in the dockyard, and she will sail for Constantinople, where she is to be employed as a steam-tug.


Iron paddle steamer Destello (or Destillo), built W C Miller, Liverpool, 1855, 150 tons, for service on rivers in Spain, Seville. In LR 1857, as 89tons, registered Spain, steam tug. More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 December 1855]:
SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. The various shipbuilding yards on the banks of the Mersey have lately been somewhat inactive, owing to the depression upon commerce caused by the war. ..... On the same day a small steamer, of 150 tons, called the Destello, was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. W. C. Miller, Toxteth Dock. She is for a Spanish firm, and is intended to navigate the rivers of Spain.



Iron screw steamer Labuan, built W C Miller, Liverpool, 1855, owned Liverpool for service to Borneo. ON 26619. Intended to exploit coal found on Labuan Island. In 1859 owned Hull. On 8/06/1864 wrecked one mile west of Glass Island [Eilean Glas] LH, Scalpay, Harris, on passage Liverpool for Cronstadt. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 08 May 1855]:
LAUNCH OF THE STEAM-SHIP LABUAN. The beautiful iron screw steamer Labuan was launched on Saturday last, in the presence of a large concourse of ladies and gentlemen, from the building yard of Messrs. W. C. Miller and Son, south end of Toxteth Dock. The weather was very propitious, and the arrangements for the launch of the most complete description. About one o'clock, after all the preliminaries had been duly gone through, the vessel glided down the slips, and was christened "The Labuan," after the Island bearing that name, the ceremony being gracefully performed by Miss Antrobus. The steamer is built for the Eastern Archipelago Company, who have begun to organise a fleet of screw steamers for the purpose of developing the extensive fields of coal which have been recently discovered in the large island of Borneo and the island of Labuan, and making them available for the purposes of supplying coal to the steamers trading between England and the antipodes. The vessel, which is of about 650 tons, has been built under the superintendence of Mr. James Hodgson. The peculiarity of her construction has made her an object of the greatest curiosity, and the results of this new experiment in naval architecture will be looked for with no little anxiety. She has been modelled, on the tubular principle; but the most singular feature in her design is the absence of floors, frames, and ribs. Her plating is carried round in continuation, thus forming a strong and substantial deck, and avoiding the usual woodwork, such as waterway and covering boards. Her dimensions are: Length between perpendiculars, 171 feet; length of deck, 175 feet; extreme breadth, 27 feet; depth of hold, 19 feet 8 inches. She has four bulkheads, and 18 water-tight compartments, for ballast and to add to the security of passengers. Her engines, to be supplied by Messrs. Thomas Dixon and Company, of Windsor Foundry, at Liverpool, will be of 80-horse power, and will be on the vertical principle; and she will be schooner-rigged fore and aft.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Friday 29 July 1864]:
The Labuan belonged to Messrs Bailey & Leetham of Hull. She was an iron screw steamer of 723 15-100 tons register, clinker built, three-masted schooner rigged, 217 feet 2-10ths long, 27 feet 8-10ths wide; 17 feet 4-10ths depth of hold, and fitted with two engines of 80 horse combined power. Her crew consisted of Captain Charles Hargitt, a certificated master, and twenty hands. She left Liverpool on the 25th of June for Narva and Cronstadt, with a cargo of coals and cotton, shipped by Messrs. De Jersey and Co.. of Liverpool and consigned to Messrs. Knoop and Co., of the two ports named. The pilot left her off the Bell-buoy, at 20 minutes to six, on the afternoon of the 25th, and all went well until about noon on the 29th, when Glass Island Light-house [Eilean Glas, off SE corner of Harris] bore E by N 0.25 N, about two or three miles distant. Her course was altered to E 0.5 S. About a quarter of an hour afterwards, she struck upon a sunken rock, running upon it, and becoming fixed. The deck cargo was thrown overboard, and the engines reversed, but she remained immovable. The water gained rapidly upon her, and a hawser was got out and fixed to an anchor to keep her steady. A boat was sent to Stornaway for aid, and by the assistance of lighters from that place, nearly all the cargo was saved, the cotton being greatly damaged. Two days afterwards she broke up, there being only one man on board at the time, who had been engaged from the island, and he escaped in a boat which was lying near for his use.


Wooden screw gunboat Clown. built W C Miller 1856, Clown class details.

Became coal lighter YC.1 at Hong Kong in 1867. Renamed YC.6 in December 1869. Wrecked in a typhoon at Hong Kong on 2 September 1871


Wooden screw gunboat Kestrel. built W C Miller 1856, Clown class details.

Sunk at the Battle of Taku Forts in June 1859, but salved. Sold on 16 March 1866 to Glover & Co., Yokohama, then resold to Japanese owners.





Paddle steamer Sao Luiz (or São Luis), built W C Miller 1858, for river service from Maranham, Brazil, 70hp engines by Fawcett & Preston, also 3 sister vessels. Latter two are described as iron - so maybe first two were wooden. São Luis is a coastal town in NE Brazil.

Paddle steamer Pindare, built W C Miller 1858, for Brazil. Pindare is a town in NE Brazil.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Wednesday 04 August 1858]:
LAUNCH OF A STEAMER. A paddle steamer was launched on Saturday from the ship building yard of Mr. W. C. Miller, Toxteth Dock. The beautiful craft is the first of four intended for the Brazil, and was called the Sao Luiz, by Mrs. W. C. Miller, who gracefully performed the ceremony of christening her. After the launch, a goodly number of ladies and gentlemen adjourned to te mould room, where a cold collation was provided by Mr. Lyon, of the Waterloo Hotel. The usual loyal and patriotic toasts having been disposed of, Mr. Santos proposed the health of Mrs. Miller, the lady who had that day honoured them by naming the vessel. The chairman (Mr. Miller) returned thanks; after which he said he was proud to propose the success of the line of steamers, the first of which they had that day launched. Mr. Sillem (of the firm Fawcett and Preston & Co the engineers) returned thanks on behalf of the firm to which the vessel belonged and said that if the vessel should succeed, it was due to Mr, Miller, for her admirable lines and his excellent workmanship. The same gentleman responded to a similar compliment paid to the firm to which he belonged; and said the vessel would be ready for sea or the 1st of September. ....
Miller has ten barges to construct for the same company. The Sao Luiz is fitted up as a passenger vessel, and will go direct to Maranham, from which port she will trade.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Tuesday 24 August 1858]:
THE STEAMER SAO LUIZ.- The capabilities of this vessel, which was built and completed ready for sea in the short space of three months, were tested by a run as far as Llandudno and back on Thursday last. A select company were on board. The vessel took her departure at twenty minutes past ten o'clock, and reached her destination about half-past one, having performed the trip in a few minutes over three hours. Considering she was not in good trim, and only intended for river navigation, and that her builder was restricted to certain dimensions, in consequence of the curves in Maranham river, she fully realised the highest expectations entertained of her capabilities. She has two engines of the nominal power of 70 horses, with oscillating cylinders manufactured by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co., and the performance of the machinery fully sustained the well-known reputation of that firm for manufacturing marine engines. ... Built for Maranham Steam-packet Company,... Intended to sail on Wednesday next and take 21 days to Maranham.

Iron paddle steamer Itapicuru, built W C Miller 1859, for Brazil, 300grt. 110 x 23 ft. Itapicuru (also Itapecuru) is the name of a river in Maranhão state, NE Brazil which enters the Atlantic near São Luis.

Iron paddle steamer Caxias, built W C Miller 1859, for Brazil, 300grt. The town of Caxias is 200 miles up the Itapicuru river from the sea, 63 metres above sea-level.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 06 June 1859]:
An iron paddle-steamer, about 140 feet long, 23 feet beam, and from 300 to 400 tons measurement, was launched on Thursday, from the building-yard of Messrs. W. C. Miller and Sons, Sefton street. She is owned by a private company, and is intended for passenger service on the coast of Brazil.


Iron paddle tug Helen, built W C Miller 1860, for Bridgewater Navigation Co. ON 28635. For transport of timber from Liverpool to Runcorn. More history

Dredger for Bridgewater Trust, built W C Miller 1860, not known if had propulsion engines. This seems to be a different dredger from No 2 built for Mersey Docks and Harbour Board in 1859.

[from Northern Daily Times - Friday 22 June 1860]:
SHIPBUILDING IN LIVERPOOL. LAUNCH OF A STEAMER, YESTERDAY, Shortly before high water yesterday, a magnificent steamer built for the Bridgewater Trustees, and named the Helen, was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. W. C. Miller, at Toxteth-dock. The Helen is a beautiful vessel of her class, 140 feet in length, with twenty feet breadth of beam, and is of 270 tons builders' measurement. Her engines will be supplied by the eminent firm of Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co., of this town. The Helen is intended to ply between Canada-dock and Runcorn, and although she will take a few passengers, she is intended principally by the trust for the conveyance of timber up the river. ...
On Wednesday last a dredge boat had been launched from Mr. Miller's yard, for the Bridgewater Trustees; and we understand that the two gun-boats which Mr. Miller is constructing for the Government, and which are to be named respectively the Heron and the Dottrell, will be ready for launching in about ten days.


Wooden screw gunboat Steady, built W C Miller 1860, engines Napier. Philomel class details.
Owned Liverpool, then Hull, from 1870, ON 6330, registered Liverpool 1871, 80hp, 195nrt. In MNL to 1882.


Wooden screw gunboat Penguin. built W C Miller 1860, engines Napier. Philomel class details.
Sold to W & T Jolliffe on 12 May 1870. Not found in MNL.

[from Morning Post - Saturday 26 February 1870]:
The only vessel sold was Her Majesty's screw gunboat Penguin 431 tons, built at Liverpool in 1860, now at Sheerness - she was knocked down for £1750.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Thursday 09 February 1860]:
GUN BOAT LUNCH: Yesterday a most successful launch of two gun-boats was effected from the shipbuilding yard of Messrs. W. C. Miller and Sons, Toxteth Docks, in the presence of a very numerous and highly influential assembly. The vessels launched were two gun screw steamers, built for Government; and they were of such a superior build and workmanship as to redound greatly to the credit of the worthy firm by whom they were constructed. Each vessel was precisely of the same dimensions, which were as follows: The length between perpendiculars 145 feet, and extreme breadth 25 feet 4 inches; the tonnage is 425, and each boat will carry 5 guns, one of which will be a 1-95th cwt. pivot gun, the other four being 24 lb cannonades. The vessels combine both extreme strength and smartness of appearance; and, to our unprofessional eye, the build of each seemed as perfect in symmetry and durability as they could well be. The engines are by Napier, and are of 80 horse-power. The vessels will each be rigged as schooners. ... named Steady and Penguin...


Wooden screw gunboat Doterel, built W C Miller 1860, engines by Miller, Ravenhall. Britomart class details.
Sold to Marshall, Plymouth on 6 June 1871. Not found in MNL.


Wooden screw gunboat Heron. built W C Miller 1860, engines by Miller, Ravenhall. Britomart class details.
Served on Lake Ontario. Sold in Jamaica in June 1879 and broken up there in 1881

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Rennie, Johnson and Rankin, Liverpool. Between 1838 and 1846 William Rennie, originally from Aberdeen, was architect and master builder for Joseph Cunard and Co. in the Bathurst & Chatham area of Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada. Some records suggest that William designed and oversaw the construction of over 50 ships in the 12-year period he worked in New Brunswick. On his return from Canada, he went to live in Liverpool where he set up house with his ageing father William and his eldest, widowed, sister Elizabeth and her daughter. He established a ship building company in Liverpool called Rennie, Johnson and Rankine. Among the ships he designed and built with Rennie and Company were Sappho (359 tons) and Fiery Cross (689 tons). Both these Clipper Ships set speed records but, despite this, his shipyard went bankrupt in January 1855. Fortunately, full protection was awarded to the bankrupts and first class certificates were issued to Rennie and Rankine enabling them to restart trading as soon as they could. [See Rennie history]. [some wood, later iron].


Empress Eugenie (screw) 1855, Rennie, Johnson & Rankin
Carbon (screw) 1855, assignees of Rennie, Johnson & Co

Sailing vessels buit by them.
[Cutter 53 tons SV 1850]
[Wild Flower SV 1851]
[Margaret Deane SV 1853]
[Esther SV 1854]
[Buoy tender Mersey SV 1854] steam screw from 1904
[Sappho SV 1854]
[Elizabeth Barter SV 1854]
[Fusilier SV 1855]
[Fiery Cross SV 1855]


Iron screw steamer Empress Eugenie, built Rennie, Johnson [also Johnston] & Rankin, Liverpool, 1855, 582grt, 413nrt, 750 tons burthen, 110 hp engines by Jack. Ordered for Northwest of France SN Co. [also called West of France Steam Navigation Co]. Later traded as London & Liverpool SN Co. Advert from 1856. Wrecked, 25/01/1861, 30 miles north of the Great Orme, Llandudno, on passage Liverpool for London. More history.

Image of Empress Eugenie from 1862.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 23 April 1855]:
IRON SHIPBUILDING ON THE MERSEY. During the week, the following iron vessels have been launched on the banks of the Mersey. ...
On Wednesday an iron screw-steamer, of 750 tons burthen, to be fitted with direct acting engines by Messrs. Jack and Co., of the Victoria Foundry, nominally of 110 horse-power, was launched from the yard of Messrs. Rennie, Johnson, and Rankin. She is the property of the Northwest of France Steam Navigation Company, whose pioneer vessel (the Loire) was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Vernon and Son, last year; and her managing owners are Messrs. M'Clune and Tamplin, of this town. It was intended to call her the Garonne, but out of compliment to the Empress of France, she was christened, by Mrs. Lamont, the Empress Eugenie.

[from Northern Daily Times - Wednesday 06 June 1855]:
LIVERPOOL TO CONSTANTINOPLE, Calling at GIBRALTAR and MALTA. Taking Goods for BALAKLAVA. The first-class new screw Steamer EMPRESS EUGENIE, Captain W. B. Simpson. is intended to sail (with or without Pilots), unless prevented by unforeseen circumstances, on SATURDAY, JUNE 9, with passengers and cargo, for Gibraltar, Malta, and Constantinople. ... M'Clune & Tamplin, 2 Brunswick-street.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 28 January 1861]:
TOTAL LOSS OF THE SCREW STEAMSHIP EMPRESS EUGENIE. We regret to record the total loss of the fine screw-steamship Empress Eugenie, belonging to the London and Liverpool Steam Navigation Company, on Friday evening, while on her passage from Liverpool to London. The Empress Eugenie steamed out of the Trafalgar Dock, Liverpool, at 10 30 p.m., on Thursday, with a valuable general cargo; under the command of Captain Higgins, for London, (calling at Falmouth, Penzance, and other intermediate ports). She had, in addition to a crew of twenty seven seamen, seven passengers, in all thirty-four souls on board. Captain Higgins reports that, after leaving the dock, he steamed down the North Channel, and at midnight on Thursday passed the Fairway Buoy, in the Queen's Channel. On the next morning (Friday) it blew a strong gale from the S.W., and at 3 a.m., the engineer reported the steamer making a good deal of water, (a heavy sea running at the time), that the engine-room was filling, and the pumps quite unable to keep her free. At 6 a.m., the engines stopped working, the water having washed the fires out. The passengers and crew, all hands, were then placed at the pumps, and to bale the water out. The mainsail was set to keep the ship's head to sea - at that time she was labouring very heavily. At 3 p.m., on Friday, finding the water still increasing, desisted from the pumps and lowered the lifeboats, placing the crew and passengers therein, nineteen in one and fifteen in the other. At 5 30 p.m., about thirty miles N.E. of Point Lynas, finally abandoned the vessel, which immediately settled down and sunk at 5 50 p.m., ten minutes after she was abandoned. The crew and passengers remained in the boats, rowing towards the N.E., until 2 15 a.m., on Saturday, (nearly eight hours and a half, in a heavy cross sea,) when the foremost boat, having nineteen persons on board, fell in with the steamer Countess of Galloway, from Kirkcudbright for Liverpool, the captain of which, (Broadfoot,) after an immense deal of perseverance, succeeded in getting all the crew and passengers out of the boat. On being told of the second boat being still missing, with fifteen of the crew and passengers on board, Captain Broadfoot kindly proposed going back in search of her, and, after a search of two hours, fell in with and rescued the parties, who had been ten hours in the open boat, tossed about at the mercy of the waves. Captain Higgins adds, in his report to his owners, that the rescued parties, "during their stay on board the Countess of Galloway, experienced the greatest kindness from Captain Broadfoot and his officers, supplying them with food and clothes, they being all entirely destitute, having been compelled to throw all their effects overboard to lighten the boats - the sea running very high at the time". They were all landed in safety in Liverpool on Saturday. The Empress Eugenie was a fine screw-steamer of 480 tons burthen, and had been a constant trader between Liverpool and London. She was built in 1855, of iron, and was, therefore, a comparatively new vessel. Her cargo is all lost, but it is stated that the loss of both vessel and cargo is nearly covered by insurance in Liverpool and London offices.



Iron screw steamer Carbon, built Rennie, Johnson & Co., Liverpool, 1855, 600 tons, for Mr Hedley for the Newcastle - London coal trade. Rennie, Johnson & Co were described as "late" at this date - so another ship builder must have been involved in completing the vessel; possibly J Clayton or T Vernon. Later described as owned by the Government as a water tanker. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 06 April 1855]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON SCREW-STEAMER. - EXTRAORDINARY ACCIDENT. - One of the most extraordinary accidents in the history of shipbuilding, in Liverpool, occurred yesterday on the launching of an iron screw steamer. The disaster took place at the yard of the late firm of Messrs. Rennie, Johnson, and Co., iron shipbuilders, Sefton-street. Shortly after one o'clock, all being in apparent readiness, a fine-looking craft, of upwards of 600 tons, called the Carbon, and intended for carrying coal from Newcastle to London, was driven down the launchways. She had scarcely reached the water before a loud crash was heard, followed by the evident sinking of the vessel and the cradle. Her progress down the the "ways" was suddenly stopped and all efforts to force her forwards proved unavailing. After the lapse of nearly the half an hour, seven of the river tug boats were obtained, and an attempt was made to drag her into the river, aided by jackscrews at her stern and on either side of her. By the receding of the tide, and after three hours of ineffectual labour, she gave way gradually, till nearly two-thirds of her length were over the pier. About four o'clock her keel took the ground; indeed, some doubts arose, previously to this, whether it would not have proved more injurious to the vessel to allow her to drop into the water, as the tide had fallen upwards of 16 feet. A little time after the accident occurred, Mr. John Laird offered the assistance of his men and materials, but, from some cause unexplained, the generously offered aid was refused. Mr. Clay, the manager of the Mersey Steel and Iron Company's works, was soon on the spot after the occurrence took place, and despatched a messenger to his works for men, who arrived promptly and performed good service during the period of their stay. Mr. W. C. Miller, shipbuilder, was also present, together with his son, assisting in directing the workmen. The vessel, which is the property of Messrs. Hedley and Son, of Newcastle, is now an object of much interest as she lies, with her bow on the pier and her stern on the rock below. There is no doubt she has sustained considerable damage, but of what nature cannot as yet be particularised. The news of the accident rapidly spread through the town, and a vast number of persons were attracted to the yard. Several accidents occurred to the tug boats: one lost her mast and another her wheel. The completion of the Carbon, together with two other vessels in the same yard, has been under the superintendence of the assignees of Messrs. Rennie, Johnson, and Co., who failed a short time ago. It is intended to try to raise her by the tide this morning early, but some apprehensions are entertained that the pressure on the stern will be too great for her buoyant power, and she will, consequently, fill with water. The vessel was built from a model and the plans by Mr. James Hodgson, and under the superintendence of that gentleman.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 09 April 1855]:
The new iron steamer Carbon sailed hence for Preston this morning: her stern touched the ground during launching on Thursday.



Liverpool Steam Tug Company, Queen's Dock, Liverpool. Foreman shipwright was David Jones. All iron paddle steam tugs.
Fury 1856
Despatch 1856
Rescue 1857


Iron paddle steamer Fury, built Liverpool Steam Tug Co., Liverpool, 1856, 200grt, 127nrt, 131.7 x 20.8 x 10.2 ft, 100 hp engines by Fawcett & co, Liverpool, ON 15377, More history.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 10 March 1856]:
The launch on this side was from the yard of the old Liverpool Steam tug Company, Queen's Basin, the vessel being a fine iron paddle-boat, 130 feet long, 20.5 feet beam, 11 feet depth of hold, and 234 tons measurement, to be fitted with side-lever engines of 100 horse-power, made by Messrs. Fawcett, Preston, and Co., of this town. The vessel was christened "The Fury," by Miss Gordon, a daughter of one of the directors.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 10 March 1856]:
About the same time, a beautiful paddle wheel steamboat, named the Fairy [sic, Fury], and christened by Miss Gordon, was launched from the yard of the Liverpool Steam-tug Company, west side Queen's Dock. The Fairy, which has been built by the company for towing purposes was designed by their foreman ship-wright, Mr. David Jones, and is of the following dimensions: length of keel, 132 feet; beam, 21 feet; depth of hold, 11 feet; about 290 tons. The engines which are to be two of fifty-horse power each, the boilers, are to be supplied by Messrs Fawcett & Co.


Iron Paddle Steamer Despatch, built David Jones, Liverpool, 1856. for Liverpool Steam Tug Co [Messrs Bold & Tyrer]. ON 11570. 184grt, 98nrt, 129 x 20.2 ft, engines 80hp by Fawcett & Preston. David Jones is described as foreman shipwright at Liverpool Steam Tug Company's yard, Queen's Dock, Liverpool. In 1902 registered Belfast, and in 1906 at Middlesbrough. Broken up 1910. More history.

[from Home News for India, China and the Colonies - Monday 11 May 1857]:
Visit of Prince of Oude. .... Their royal highnesses, after leaving Manchester, proceeded to Liverpool, where they spent some days. On the 25th of April, after a short excursion on the river, in which they sailed along the whole line of docks, on board the steam-tug Despatch, which was gaily bedizened with flags on the occasion,...

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 23 July 1864]:
ANNUAL SURVEY OF THE PILOTAGE COMMITTEE. The Pilotage Committee of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board made their annual Inspection last Saturday, and with their usual hospitality invited a party of about 70 gentlemen to accompany them on one of the pleasantest cruizes that can enjoyed in the Channel. The Steam-Tug Company's fine boat Despatch was the vessel selected for the cruize, and she left the George's Landing-stage about half-past nine o'clock. ...


Iron paddle steam tug Rescue, built Liverpool Steam Tug Co, Liverpool, 1857, More history. Wrecked at anchor by collision with W S Caine in Mersey, 7 January 1887.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 09 October 1857]:
LAUNCH OF A STEAMTUG. - On Monday last, a small paddle-wheel steamer, called the Rescue, was launched from the Liverpool Steam-tug Company's Yard, Queen's Dock pier. Her dimensions are as follows: - Length, by lead line, 137 feet; beam, 20 3 inches; depth of hold, 11 feet; carpenters' tonnage measurement, 276 41-94. Her engines will be of 120-horse power, and she is to be employed as a tugboat on the river Mersey. The ceremony of naming was performed by Mrs. Jones, the lady of Mr. Jones, the designer of the vessel.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 09 March 1858]:
SERVICES OF LIVERPOOL STEAM-TUG. - It has now become a recognised fact throughout the United Kingdom that the steam-tugs belonging to this port are unequalled for power, speed, and towing qualities in stormy weather. As further instances of the superior character of the Mersey tugs we may state that the steam-tugs "Rescue" and " United Kingdom," during the gales of Friday and Saturday last, when even the channel steamers could not put to sea, took charge of the ship Hesperus, for Boston, a vessel of 1200 tons and laden, and in spite of the severity of the weather and the extreme difficulty of the task, towed her safely into Beaumaris on the last-named day. ...

[from Crewe Chronicle - Saturday 12 December 1874]:
It is feared that four men, forming part of the crew of the steam tug Rescue, were drowned on Saturday night in Holyhead Harbour, while attempting to go on board the tug. The weather was very stormy during the night.

[from Northwich Guardian - Wednesday 12 January 1887]:
COLLISION IN THE MERSEY. At about nine o'clock Friday night, whilst the steamer W. S. Caine was proceeding from a Birkenhead dock across the river to the Coburg Dock, Liverpool, she ran into the tug Rescue, which was lying off the Dock. She struck the tug amidships, and the collision was so great that the tug immediately sank. There was sufficient time, however, to save the crew. The collision cannot be accounted for at present. The W. S. Caine sustained damage to her bow, there being a large hole, about 3 or 4 feet above the watermark.




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In 1855, Josiah Jones bought into the partnership of Jordan & Getty. The new partnership was called Jones, Getty & Co., [though newspapers refer to it as Josiah Jones, jr] and in 1859 the firm became known as Jones, Quiggin & Co., with the admission of William Quiggin as a partner. They built many small vessels, yachts and also some large vessels. All in iron (some steel later on), mostly with engines by Forrester, Liverpool. Several of the vessels built were listed as owned by Walter MacGregor, who was managing partner of G Forrester & Co, Vauxhall Foundry, Liverpool. Yard numbers are known for most of the vessels built by Jones and associates- see Maritime Museum Merseyside: Details. Vessels built in yard number order:

1: [Khimjee Oodowjee SV]; Tajo 1856 screw; [Lalla Rookh SV]; [barge for India]; Proof 1857 screw yacht;
6-7: [barges for India]; 8: Indian river PS 1856; Nimrod 1856 screw yacht; [Jessie SV];
11-30: [barges for Nile];
31-37: 7 steam tugs 1857: Sphynx, Nile, Memnon, Luxon, Lotus, Fasonin, Chirkich.
38: [Chiloe SV]; 39-44: [Dredgers]; 45: [not listed];
46: Said 1858 screw; Suez 1857 tug; [Aphrodita SV]; [Dredger for Egypt];
50-53: [barges for Egypt]; 54-57: [not listed]; 58: [barge for Africa]; [Dredger];
60-64: 1858 tugs for HEIC; 1858/9 tug screw; 1859 tug screw
67: Delta 1859; [not listed]; [Aconcagua SV];
70-89: [Barges for Nile];
90: Fideliter 1859 screw; Light of the River 1859 steel; Enterprise 1859; Bird of the Harbour 1859; Gondola 1859 screw
95: Steel screw canal tug 58grt; 96-100: [44t barges for Suez];
101: Lalla Rookh 1860 screw; Dabiem/Dabieh SS 1861 136grt; ...

Jones & Quiggin were to be a major supplier of blockade runners to the confederacy: Banshee, Lucy, Wild Dayrell, Badger, Lynx, Fox, Hope, Owl, Bat, Colonel Lamb, Georgia Belle, Widgeon, Snipe, Rosine, Hornet, Ruby, Plover, Curlew.

Vessels built by Jordan, Jordan & Getty, Getty, Jones & Getty before yard numbers were assigned [iron, but some composite: wood on iron frames]:
Woodside 1853, built Jordan & Getty
Leander 1856 screw

Sailing vessels built by them:
[Excelsior SV 1850 composite] built Jordan
[Marion MacIntyre SV 1851 composite] built Jordan & Getty
[Tubal Cain SV 1851 composite] built Jordan & Getty
[Evangeline SV 1853] built Jordan & Getty
[James Pilkington SV 1854]
[Bristow 1854 SV composite]
Anne Baker SV 1854 built Getty & Jones; iron
Elizabeth Harrison SV 1854, built Josiah Jones; iron





Iron screw yacht Leander, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1856, 20 hp engines. Launched 13 Dec 1856. Does not match any yard number - so possibly laid down earlier. Not found MNL as Leander. More history

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 22 December 1856]:
A few days ago an iron screw steam yacht, of twenty-horse power, and which has been built for Mr. Edward Greenall, of Grappenhall-hall, Warrington, was launched from the yard of Mr. Josiah Jones. near Sefton-street. She is named the Leander. [Greenall were distillers at Warrington]


[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 17 October 1856]:
LARGE ORDER FOR IRON SHIPS. - We stated, three weeks ago, that Mr. Isaiah[sic] Jones, iron-ship builder, Sefton-street, Toxteth-park, had received an order for the construction of a large number of vessels. With this view Mr. Jones has quadrupled the size of his former premises, and has already introduced a considerable amount of new machinery. The keels of four paddle steamers, 160 feet long, have just been laid, together with the keels of seven or eight vessels of between 200 and 300 tons burthen. For one concern Mr. Jones has received an order to construct seven paddle steamers, upwards of 300 tons burthen, and 20 vessels varying in tonnage from 200 to 300 tons. These vessels are for river navigation in Egypt and the engines and machinery for them will be manufactured by Messrs. Forrester and Co., of Vauxhall Foundry.


Iron screw steamer Tajo, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1856, yard no.2, 833grt, 216 x 28ft, 150 hp engines by Jack, Liverpool, for service Liverpool - Spain, owned Teutora, Spain. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Monday 14 July 1856]:
TRIAL TRIP OF THE SCREW STEAMSHIP TAJO. .... The screw steam ship Tajo, which has been expressly built to form one of a line of steamers to run between Liverpoot and the Spanish coast, is owned by Messrs. Teutora and Co., a Spanish firm, for which Mr. Bahr, of Liverpool, is the agent.
The vessel is from a design by Mr. Hebson, and Mr. Josiah Jones, of this town, was the builder; Mr. James Jack, of the Victoria Engine Works, supplying the engines. The Tajo is of 830 tons burthen, and between the perpendiculars is 216 feet in length; her breadth of beam is 28 feet, depth of hold 17 feet, her length over all being about 230 feet.... The engines are of 150 horse power.


Iron screw boat Proof, built J Jones, Liverpool 1856, yard no.5, 16grt, More history.


Iron paddle steamer Unknown, built J Jones, Liverpool 1856, yard no.8, 493grt, for river navigation in India, More history.


Iron screw steam yacht Nimrod, built J Jones, Liverpool 1856, yard no.9, 36grt. More history.


[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 20 October 1856]:
IRON ON THE MERSEY. In one of the building yards of Mr. Josiah Jones, Sefton-street, Toxteth-park, the keels of four paddle-steamers, 160 feet long, have just been laid, together with the keels of seven or eight other vessels of between 200 and 300 tons burthen. Mr. Jones has received an order to construct seven paddle-steamers, upwards of 300 tons burthen, and twenty vessels varying in tonnage from 200 to 300 tons, for river navigation in Egypt, the engines and machinery for them being manufactured by Messrs. Forrester and Co., of Vauxhall Foundry. In the adjoining yard of the same firm a paddle-steamer, 175 feet long, is being constructed, together with several other iron vessels, for Indian inland navigation. The whole extent of Mr. Jones's orders is thirty-two vessels.
On Wednesday, a new iron ship, the Lalla Rookh, intended for the East India trade, was launched from this yard.


Iron paddle steam tugs Sphynx, Nile, Memnon, Luxon, Lotus, Fasonin, Chirkich, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1857, 160 x 20ft, double engines of 80hp by Forrester, for river Nile, Egypt. Most probably yard nos 31- 37. More history.
Note: yard nos.11-30 are iron barges of 211grt each also for Egypt.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 12 January 1857]:
Launch at Mr. Jos. Jones's, Jun., Sefton-street. On Saturday was launched two iron steamers, intended for the Nile. The first was named the Sphynx, and christened in good style by Mr. Walter M'Gregor and the wife of W M'Gregor, of the firm of G. Forrester and Co., who are supplying the engines for the steamers. The second, named the Nile, by Miss Jones, sister of the builder. The length of the steamers are 166 feet, and breadth 20 feet. They are to have double engines, and only drew 15 inches when launched. The whole proceedings went off successfully, after which a select party partook of refreshments in the drawing office. These steamers are the first of the large order received by Mr. Jos. Jones, jun.
[5 more to be launched and 23 vessels to go out in compartments]

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Monday 02 March 1857]:
LAUNCHES ON SATURDAY. On Saturday last we witnessed the launching of three iron steamers from the building-yard of Mr. Josiah Jones, jnr., Sefton-street. These vessels form part of a series which G Forrester and Co., Vauxhall Foundry, have engaged to supply to the Egyptian Steam Company, for the navigation of the Nile, and are constructed specially for service in very shallow waters. Their dimensions are 160 feet long, 20 feat beam, and 350 tons each; and will draw, when complete, only 2 feet 6 inches water. Their engines are to be 80 horse power, and it is expected will realise a very good speed, although intended for towing barges laden with corn down the Nile. The first of these vessels was named the Memnon, and christened by Mrs. Bower. The second, named the Luxon, was christened by Mrs. Wylie; and the third, the Lotus, being christened by Mrs Wymiss. They went off in good style. Two sister ships, launched last month, are nearly completed, and will make their trial trip in a few days.

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Wednesday 15 April 1857]:
On Saturday, two iron steamers were launched from the building-yard of Josiah Jones, jun., Sefton-street, intended for the Nile trade. They are 160 feet long, and 20 broad, and have two engines of 40 horse-power each, made by G. Forrester and Co., of the Vauxhall Foundry. The first of the above vessels was named the Fasonin, being christened by Miss Dugdale, from Blackburn; the second was named the Chirkich, and was christened by Miss C Jones, the sister of the builder. The launches were perfectly successful.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Monday 12 January 1857]:
... In addition to the seven steamers required by the company, there will be 20 iron barges, of light draught, and capable of carrying large freights. They are already in a forward state, and will shortly be completed. These vessels are intended to navigate the Nile, and convey grain to be shipped at various places on the banks of the river. The barges will be employed in connection with the steamers, forming one of the most extensive fleets of vessels of this kind which has yet been established. The steamers will be navigated to their place of destination. An ingenious plan is, however, to be adopted with the barges. They are being built in compartments so as to admit of separation. The various parts will be forwarded as freight and fitted together on reaching the place where the vessels are to be employed.


Iron paddle steamer Unknown, built J Jones, Liverpool 1857, yard no.45. More history.
Note: in MMM record of yard numbers, no.45 is missing from list.


Iron screw steam yacht Said, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1858, yard no 46, 900 tons burthen, 891grt, 250 x 28 ft, engines 200 hp by Forrester. For Pacha of Egypt. More history.

[from Illustrated London News - Saturday 30 October 1858]:
The Pacha of Egypt's Steam-yacht "Said", 1858. Engraving from a Sketch by Mr. W. Woods, Etam-terrace, St. George's-hill, Liverpool.

The iron screw steam-yacht Said, built for H.R H, Said Pacha, Viceroy of Egypt, sailed from Liverpool on Friday, the fifth inst., for Alexandria. This vessel was contracted for by Messrs. Forrester and Co., of Vauxhall Foundry, Liverpool, by whom her engines were made. The vessel was constructed by Mr. J. Jones, jun., of Sefton-street, Liverpool. She is of exceedingly elegant and graceful proportions, her lines being very fine fore and aft. Her length over all is 250 feet; her beam, 28 feet; and her burden is 900 tons. Her rig is that of a three masted schooner. The Said has a pair of oscillating condensing-engines, of 250-horse power, fitted with patented improvements. The screw is driven by multiplying wheelwork, and the whole of the framing of the engines is of malleable iron. The details of the machinery are completed in the highest style of finish, and no expense appears to have been spared to render the whole as efficient as any propelling machinery hitherto made. Her masts and spars are highly varnished and polished, and the metalwork on deck is brass. The woodwork of the deck is of teak and oak, highly polished. The hull, and the funnels, two in number, are painted white. The Said has a shield figure head, on which are emblazoned the crescent and stars in gold, on silver ground; a gold line or band runs round the vessel, the elliptical stern being richly carved and gilt.
The whole of the decorations and fittings were entrusted to Messrs. Jennens and Bettridge, of Birmingham, and have been carried out in the highest style of art. The principal saloon is forty feet long, with a breadth of twenty-five feet, upon the decoration of which no expense appears to have been spared. The floor is of papior-Maché, prepared with especial regard to durability by a process not hitherto known. The design is very elegant and chaste. The settees around are covered with figured silk damask of the most delicate blue, divided with silver arms. Above and running round three sides are embossed mirrors; the remaining side is one entire mass of embossed mirrors, and divided by two doors on each side, leading to the staircase, bathrooms, &c. In the centre portion is a console-table, in silver, having a marble top. From the centre of the floor, immediately under the skylight, springs an elegant fountain, of papier machéand glass, decorated to correspond with the floor; and on each side are fixed small oval-shaped tables, in silver also. The ceiling is enamelled white, with gilt cornice and mouldings, and the skylight of stained glass. The design is composed of tendril flowers, gracefully entwined. The door-plates and chandelier are all of electro silver. In the hareem is hung a clock, steam-gauge, and speed indicator, &c., all compactly fitted in papier-maché cases, the mechanism by Adie, of Liverpool. The upholstery work has been carried out by Messrs. S. Abbott and Son, Liverpool, and is of the best material and workmanship attainable; the encaustic floor by Maw and Co., of Broseley; and the whole of the glass by Chance Brothers and Co., on all of whom the greatest credit is reflected. Six state chairs of papier-maché, highly decorated and covered with morocco leather, form a prominent feature in the fittings.
The Said is taken out by Captain Campbell, late of the Cunard service.


Iron paddle steamer Suez, built J Jones, Liverpool 1857, yard no.47, 184grt, for Egypt. An Egyptian steamer, Suez, Alexandria for Smyrna was wrecked on rocks near Jaffa on 5 April 1858, 29 lost of the 54 aboard. More history.

[from Illustrated Times - Saturday 15 May 1858]:
The Egyptian steamer Suez [voyage Alexandria to Smyrna; owned Egyptian company Medjidie] was lost on the rocks near Jaffa, twenty-nine persons, including the captain (a Frenchman [M Deyrieux]), three English engineers, and the Secretary of the company to which the vessel belonged, being drowned. Three Englishmen: William Robinson, of Hull; Thomas Davis, of Liverpool; and John Pearson, of Whitehaven; Joseph Zammurt, Malta; and Alexander Aristradus, Corfu; and a number of Arabs and Turks, were with difficulty saved; but all were nearly naked, and in dreadful state of exhaustion. The English subjects were taken under the protection of the Consul.

[from Daily News (London) - Thursday 06 May 1858]:
THE WRECK OF THE EGYPTIAN STEAMER SUEZ, - A despatch was received at the Board of Trade yesterday morning, from the British Consul at Alexandria, relative to the wreck of the Egyptian steamer Suez, in Jaffa Roads (as previously reported in the Daily News), stating that among the crew drowned were the following Englishmen:- William Wild, purser; John Shaw, chief engineer; Henry Looty, second engineer; Charles Richards, third engineer; John Murphy and John Williams, stokers. Three Englishmen, named John Pearson, Thomas Davis, and George Robertson, were saved,


Iron paddle steam tugs (5) Unknown, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1858, yard nos. 60-64, 41grt, for Hon E India Co. More history


Iron screw steam tug Unknown, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1858, yard no. 65, 18grt, for canal towing.


Iron screw steam tug Unknown, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1859, yard no. 66, 18grt, for canal towing.


Iron paddle steam tender Delta, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1859, yard no.67. 98grt, 62nrt, 121 x 14.6 x 7.9 ft, 40 hp, ON 27655. Owned Walter MacGregor, Liverpool. Registered Liverpool 1859. In MNL to 1872. More history, Even more history.


Iron screw steamer Fideliter, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1859, yard no.90, 192grt, 40 hp engine, ON 27658. Owned Harbridge and registered Liverpool, for use in Africa. Later owned Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Co, registered London 1863, in MNL until 1871. More history.

In early 1856 in Liverpool Docks described as new screw steamer, 41 tons. Sailed August 1859 for Madeira, then Benin.

[from Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Wednesday 11 February 1863]:
By order of the Executors. On Friday, the 20th instant, at One o'clock, at the Brokers' Saleroom, Middleton-buildings, 1, Rumford-street. The iron Screw-steamer FIDELITER; 187 tons builders' measurement, 96 tons per register. Built at Liverpool expressly for the late owner by Messrs. Jones and Co., regardless of cost, in 1859, and then classed A 1 nine years. Is propelled by a pair of direct acting engines, with oscillating cylinders; diameter 27 inches, length of stroke 2 feet 6 inches, of the nominal power of 40 horses, and tubular boilers. She is a beautiful model, steams and sails very fast, and a desirable vessel for any trade her size will suit. Lying in the Bramley-Moore Dock. Apply to TONGE & CO., Brokers.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 02 September 1863]:
Loading Foreign: Vancouver Island. Fideliter (ss), Pearce, W & J Lockett, August 18.
[At Valparaiso 26th December]

[from Daily News (London) - Monday 09 May 1864]:
...Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Co ...accounts .... depreciation fund for Fideliter £600....
[in 1868 Company reports loss on steamer Fideliter has been written off..]

[from Barrow Herald and Furness Advertiser - Saturday 08 July 1865]:
ENGLISH AND AMERICAN STEAMERS. EXTRAORDINARY WAGER. - A correspondent writing to a contemporary from Victoria says: The steamer Fideliter left Victoria on Sunday last, with a party of gentlemen on board, bound for the island of San Juan, on a visit to Capt. Bazalgate and brother officers in the English camp. During dinner an argument was raised between the Americans and the English as to the running qualities of the various boats in these waters, the Americans wanting to make a wager of $2000 against any boat we have here, running the distance from San Juan to Victoria (22 miles) in 2 hours and 20 minutes, which bet was immediately taken up by Mr. Charles Wallace, of the Victoria, agent of the proprietors of the steamer Fidelter. He at once consulted the chief engineer, Mr. Samuel Evans, who, to the great astonishment of the Americans, offered to run it in two hours. One American offered to bet his life against that of Mr. Evans that he could not run it in anything like two hours. We started away and reached Victoria in just six minutes under the two hours, running all the time against a six knot current. When Mr. Evans went to shoot the Yankee, the bold American showed a clean pair of heels and escaped without injury (which of course was never intended him). I write this merely to show you how we stop the Yankees blowing, and also to show you that we are not so much behind them in our undertakings as they imagine and lead people to believe we are. We have proved the Fideliter to be the fastest boat in these waters, and so have beaten our friend Jonathan in that lay-out, and as I hope we shall in many others things yet - nay, indeed, in everything, with the exception of one, and that is gassing, and to beat them in that is an utter impossibility.

[from Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Friday 01 April 1870]:
Golden City (ss), from San Francisco for Panama, wrecked Feb. 22 off the Mexican coast. The Fideliter, with $800,000 ex this vessel. has arrived at San Diego.


Steel paddle steamer Light of the river (Nohr il Bachrane), built J Jones, Liverpool, 1859, yard no. 91, 289grt, 180 x 18.5 ft, 80 hp engines by Forrester, for Egypt. More history

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 19 September 1859]:
STEAM-YACHT FOR EGYPT. ON Tuesday last a beautiful steam-yacht, built for his Royal Highness Prince Ismail Pasha, heir-apparent to the throne of Egypt, was taken into the river, on her trial trip, with a select party on board, including Mr. W. M'Gregor and lady, Mr. A. Bower and lady, Mr. A. Wylie, Mr. Josiah Jones and lady, Mr. Josiah Jones, jun., Mr. Abbott, jun., &c. Dinner, of a most recherche character, was served by Messrs. Morrish and in the Parisian style. The result of her trial was highly satisfactory to all on board, both as regards her appearance on the water, speed, and exquisite fittings. She was built by Mr. Josiah Jones, jun., of steel plates, (manufactured by Messrs. Marriott and Atkinson, of Sheffield), and is 180 feet long, with 18 feet 6 inches beam, and draws only 2 feet 6 inches of water. Her deck is of picked St. John's pine, and laid in narrow planks, without a single knot or imperfection. She is propelled by feathering wheels. Messrs. George Forrester and Co., the contractors, furnished her engines, which are eighty horse-power. During her trial the speed attained was twelve knots per hour, with a pressure of 15 lbs. Considering the newness of her engines, &c., it may be reasonably expected, with 25 lbs. pressure, she will attain not less than sixteen knots per hour. The name of Messrs. Forrester and Co. is a sufficient guarantee for the quality of her machinery. .... The entire cost is £20,000. She is called the Nohr il Bachrane, (Light of the River,) and is intended for the Nile. She is to be commanded out by Captain Abel Beard.


Iron paddle steamer Enterprise, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1859, yard no.92, 75grt, 78ft long, for Lake Ullswater. Replaced by Lady of the Lake from 1877. Enterprise is reported to lie sunk in Ullswater. History of Ullswater steamers. More history

[from Carlisle Journal - Tuesday 19 July 1859]:
LAUNCH OF A STEAMER ON ULLSWATER. On Saturday, a steamboat, which has been built for the conveyance of passengers and goods upon Ullswater, was launched upon that beautiful lake. The launch took place at the foot of the lake, a few hundred yards above where the Eamont makes its escape. Several hundreds of spectators assembled to witness an operation novel to the inhabitants of these dales - the inland navigation of Ullswater having hitherto been restricted to skiffs and oar-boats, and a light yacht or two. A party with a band of music were present from Penrith, and boat after boat came down the lake with its load of passengers, until the lower reach assumed almost the appearance of a regatta. The day was one of the hottest which even this hot season has witnessed, but the cooling breeze from the water somewhat tempered the atmosphere, although the brownness of the upland pasture-fields showed the scorching which such weather produces.
The boat, which is of iron, had been constructed in Liverpool by Messrs. R. M. Lawrence and Co., brought in pieces to Ullswater, and put together on the shore close to the boathouse. The launch took place without the engine, which has not yet arrived, being put in. The boat is otherwise still in a state of incompleteness, but it is calculated that she will be ready for a trial trip by the end of this the month - 28th inst., having indeed been partly fixed upon for that event. She is a paddle-boat, and is perpendicular stem and stern. She is built to draw only about 30 inches water when full-loaded, and so is adapted for the varying depths of the lake. In length she measures 78 feet. By some exertion, the arrangements for the launch were completed in due time, and she was decorated by a full set of signal pennants, as well as by floral garlands, wreaths, and devices. At two o'clock therefore, when the expectations the spectators reached their full height, the supports and impediments were removed, and Mrs. Slee of Tyrrel was conducted to the platform at the bow to perform the ceremony of baptising the new addition to the Ullswater fleet. The proper signal was then given, the last wedge that kept her on the slips was knocked out, and the boat began to move, the fair sponsor dashed the customary bottle of wine against the bow, named her "The Enterprise". Thus christened, the boat glided gracefully into the blue water of the lake, amidst the cheers of the onlookers. The impetus carried her half-way across, and as she righted with her head to the wind and began to drift downwards, she was taken in tow by several boats and brought to the place where she is to be completed.
The Directors of the Company to which the boat belongs had resolved to defer any special demonstration until the trial trip takes place, but a party afterwards dined together to celebrate the occasion at Mr. Brownrigg's, of the Sun Inn, Pooley Bridge, to whose energy the scheme for assimilating the facilities of the tourist on Ullswater to those enjoyed on Windermere owes a great deal. Mr. Mathinson, chairman of the directors, occupied the chair, and Mr. Brunskill, of Penrith, the company's solicitor, the vice-chair. "Success to the Enterprise", was, of course, heartily drunk, and congratulations passed as to the success with which the many obstructions that have been thrown in the way of the project have been surmounted. The other visitors upon the occasion enjoyed themselves in the inns and in tents which had been erected on the scene of the launch and other places. Altogether the proceedings were very successfully conducted, and augur well, we hope, for the more important trial trip, as well as for the future career of "The Enterprise of Ullswater".


Iron paddle steamer Bird of the harbour, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1859, yard no.93, 132grt, 83nrt, 100 x 21.9 x 9.3 ft, engines 90hp by Forrester, owned W MacGregor, Liverpool, registered Liverpool 1859. In MNL to 1871. ON 28171, sold foreign April 1871. More history

[from Liverpool Mercury - Thursday 15 December 1859]:
Bird of the Harbour (ss) hence for Alexandria, at Holyhead, machinery damaged.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Thursday 29 July 1869]:
Albert medal award: On the 3rd March, 1869, whilst the 1st battalion of the 21st regiment was disembarking at Alexandria from the Egyptian steamer Bird of the Harbour, one of the soldiers, who was fully accoutred, fell overboard in a fit and sank immediately. Captain Willoughby at once jumped into the water after him, dived, and got hold of him, and, after considerable difficulty and danger, saved him. When brought out of the water the man was insensible. The harbour of Alexandria is known to be dangerously infested with sharks; - but, in addition to the danger from sharks, Captain Willoughby ran great risk from the fact that the soldier fell between the pier and the vessel, and that, owing to the swell in the harbour, both Captain Willoughby and the soldier might have been crushed.


Steel screw steamer Gondola, built J Jones, Liverpool, 1859, yard no.94, 42grt, 40 hp engines, for Lake Coniston. History, image and rebuild. More history

[Image from Illustrated London News - Saturday 07 July 1860]:

[from Carlisle Journal - Friday 09 December 1859]:
Launch of Steamer on Coniston Lake. On Wednesday week the ceremony of launching the new steamer on Coniston lake took place, and was witnessed by a large concourse of spectators. The steamer, which is propelled by a screw, is of a different construction and model to any hitherto introduced into the north, and resembles most of those known as the gondolas of Venice. In fact, she is called a steam gondola, and seems admirably adapted for rapid sailing and a light draught of water. The vessel is built of steel plates, which were prepared and conveyed to the banks of the lake at Coniston Hall, where the vessel was built and launched.


Iron screw steam yacht Lalla Rookh, built Jones, Quiggin, Liverpool, 1860, yard no.101., 1088grt, 233 x 31.6 ft, 200 hp, ON 29173, for Pasha of Egypt. More history.

[from Liverpool Mercury - Monday 23 July 1860]:
LAUNCH OF A STEAM YACHT. - On Saturday last, at noon, a magnificent iron steam vessel of about 1100 tons, old measurement, was launched from the iron building yard of Messrs. Josiah Jones, Quiggin and Co., Sefton-street. The baptismal ceremony was performed by Mrs. Moon who called the noble vessel the Lalla Rookh. Although the vessel was built for Messrs. George Forrester and Co., of this town, we understand she is intended for the Pasha of Egypt for a steam yacht, and will be fitted up with great taste. Her dimensions are:- Length between perpendiculars, 225 feet, over all 245 feet; breadth of beam, 31 feet 6 inches; depth 18 feet. Her lines fore and aft are very fine, and she is evidently built to attain great speed. She will be rigged as a three-masted schooner, and her screw will be driven by two engines of nominally 250 horse power. After the launch, a number of gentlemen adjourned to the offices of the builders where success to the noble vessel was drunk, as well as the health of the builders and engineers.
  Messrs. Jones and Co. have a number of other vessels on the stocks, amongst which are two iron vessels of 200 feet long, which are in a forward state of completion. One of these vessels will have a novel propeller at the stern in the form of a paddle, while at the other will be a screw. Besides these there are two steel screw steamers upwards of 200 feet long in course of construction and another steel steam yacht 110 feet long. Four of the above-named vessels are for navigating the river Nile. The machinery for the whole of the vessels will, we believe, be furnished by Messrs G Forrester & Co.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 22 May 1861]:
Lalla Rookh (ss), hence at Malta 12th May. and left 14th for Alexandria.

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Other Liverpool shipbuilders:
Cambria 1822 J James (also named Royal Cambria)
Duke of Bridgewater 1822 James & Seddon
Earl of Bridgewater 1823 James & Seddon
Vesuvius 1823 Gladstone & Fisher
King Fisher 1830 J & R Fisher
Crescent 1835 Dickinson
Porto 1836 Porter & Dickinson
John McAdam 1836 John Gordon
Canal tow boat 1838 (iron, centre paddle), Joseph Rigby
Santander 1842 Bury, Curtis & Kennedy
Daedalus (screw) 1843 J McArdle
Lucifer (screw) 1846 William Jones
James Atherton 1846 Pearson
Menai 1849 Greenstreet & Paton
Fire Fly 1849, C. McConochie
Dragon Fly 1850, C. McConochie
Canal screw steam tug 1857, William Jones, Liverpool.

Sailing vessels built at Liverpool:
[Hardware SV 1821] James
John Knox SV 1835 Gordon
[Ironsides SV 1838] Jackson & Gordon
[
Syria SV 1841] William Jackson
Columbine SV 1839 Bannister & Simpson
Harlequin SV 1840 Bannister & Simpson
Grimaldi SV 1841 Bannister & Simpson
Anna Dixon SV 1842 Bannister
Grace Darling SV 1840 Robert Talbot
Lockett SV 1852 J Brooke


Wooden paddle steamer Cambria, built J James, Liverpool, 1822, 48nrt, 71 x 15.8 x 7.8 ft, engines 30hp by Dove & Co. First owner Lunell et al, [War Office SP Co], Bristol, for Bristol - Newport service. In 1824 named Royal Cambria. Converted to sail 1849. More history. Note another Cambria was built 1821 by Mottershead & Hayes for North Wales service.

[from Bristol Mirror - Saturday 10 August 1822]:
NEW STEAM PACKETS FROM BRISTOL.
THE NEW STEAM PACKET, DUKE OF LANCASTER, John Brown, Commander, will sail for CORK, every Saturday, and will leave Cork for Bristol, every Tuesday, calling off ILFRACOMBE, going and returning.
A WAR OFFICE sailing PACKET leaves Bristol for Dublin every Thursday, and Dublin for Bristol the same day. with Passengers, Baggage, and Carriages only.
THE CAMBRIA, Steam Packet, leaves Bristol for NEWPORT, Monmouthshire, every Morning, and returns the same evening.
The Steam Packet, ST. DAVID, now nearly completed, will ply daily from Newport to Bristol.
The WAR OFFICE Steam Packets, GEORGE the FOURTH and VISCOUNT PALMERSTON, are preparing with entirely new Machinery, and intended for the DUBLIN and CORK station.
A STEAM BOAT is in preparation, to ply daily between this City and CHEPSTOW.
Passengers and Commercial SAILING PACKETS, as usual, for Dublin, Cork, and Waterford. Bristol Steam Packet Office, 1, Quay. R. SMART, Agent.

[from Bristol Mirror - Saturday 02 November 1822]:
..... N.B. The ST. DAVID and CAMBRIA Steam Packets will Sail Daily to and from NEWPORT.



Wooden paddle steamer Crescent, built Dickinson, Liverpool 1835, 178 nrt, 2 engines by Forrester of 160hp each, sailed to Constantinople August 1835, then traded in that region, described as English. Owned Levant Company. Voyages Trebisonde [now Trabzon]- Constantinople; Salonica - Constantinople. Described as Austrian in 1841.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 20 February 1835]:
[Visit of the Turkish Ambassador]..... From thence the strangers proceeded to the Queen's Dock, to view a steam-vessel in the progress of building, in the yard of Messrs. W. Dickinson and Co., intended for the Levant trade. On arriving at the yard, Captain Tudor, who is to command the steamer, being introduced to his excellency, Mr. Breed observed that the boat was building through the instrumentality of his firm, for the Levant Company; he then explained her dimensions and capacity, as being 400 tons, that she would be propelled by two engines of 160-horse power, and have a copper boiler, the weight of which would be 35 tons; that this extensive boiler was adopted in order to obviate the effects of the extraordinary saline qualities of the waters of the Mediterranean.
His excellency observed that he felt great interest in the vessel, which, he understood, was intended to navigate between Smyrna and Constantinople, as a medium for conveying the mail and the transmission of specie, merchandise, and passengers. His excellency evinced the most intense curiosity in his inquiries and examination of her great length, the fineness of her bow, the excellent qualities of English and African oak that were apparent to view. The vessel was decorated with the flags of Turkey and the British ensign, and his excellency was received by a large concourse of respectable mechanics and seamen, with three hearty cheers. His excellency afterwards ascended the platform erected for the occasion, accompanied by the Mayor. The object now was to give the vessel a name.
Mr. Breed then addressed the Pasha to the following effect - Your excellency has condescended to visit and inspect a vessel which is constructing for the Levant Company, to navigate the Dardanelles, and to sail from Smyrna to Constantinople, and back, to carry the mail, passengers, merchandise, and specie. I am requested by the proprietors to thank your excellency for the interest you have identified with this vessel by your illustrious presence on this occasion, and to beg that you will give her a name, as expressive of the respect they entertain for your excellency, as that which they entertain for the Sublime Porte which is represented by your excellency, at the court of your royal Sovereign; may that name, your excellency, be "Crescent". ...

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 20 July 1835]:
For GIBRALTAR, MALTA, ATHENS, SMYRNA and CONSTANTINOPLE, The Steamer CRESCENT - Lieut. J. Tudor RN, Commander. Unavoidable delays, on the part of the boiler manufactures, have prevented announcing the day of her departure; her Machinery now being all on board, in progress of completion, her day of sailing is fixed for the 6th of August. Passengers may rely on punctuality. For passage apply to R. F. BREED and ECCLESTON

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 03 August 1835]:
THE LEVANT STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY. We have frequently called the attention of the public to this new company, whose enterprise promises to confer inestimable benefits on the Levant. The company's vessel, the Crescent, will, we understand, make her first experimental trip to Menai Bridge some day in the present week. She will proceed, immediately after her return, to her intended station, between Constantinople and Smyrna, calling off Athens on her voyage. Report speaks highly of the elegance of this steamer's cabin, of the excellence of her machinery and general construction. A very large sum has, we believe, been expended upon the Crescent. The spirited proprietors will, we trust, reap an ample reward for their enterprise.

[from Liverpool Albion - Tuesday 11 August 1835]:
[Trial trip]... Messrs. Dickinson and Co. the builders, Messrs. Laird and Co., the boiler-makers, and Messrs. Forrester and Co, the engineers all of whom where on board, were, congratulated by the proprietors and the party generally on the admirable performance of the vessel during this - her first experimental trip to sea. We understand that W. F. Porter, Esq., of the firm of Messrs. W. Dickinson and Co., was the sole modeller of this fine steamer. The accommodation for passengers on board the Crescent are excellent. The cabin is truly splendid..

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 25 April 1836]:
Crescent, Tudor, from Constantinople, at Smyrna.

[from Morning Advertiser - Friday 02 February 1838]:
The Crescent (steamer), which was run foul of by Russian brig of war, has sustained considerable damage.

[from Evening Mail - Friday 18 October 1839]:
On the 2Sth the Ambassador took his departure for Trebisond in the Crescent steamer.

[from Hampshire Chronicle - Monday 28 December 1840]:
Fears for the safety the Crescent steamer were entertained, she was then two days behind her time in returning from Trebizonde. [Later report: The Crescent steamer, on her passage from Trebisond, was struck by a sea, which carried twelve deck passengers overboard].

[from Morning Herald (London) - Friday 27 August 1841]:
Smyrna: The Austrian steamer Crescent, which arrived on Wednesday evening from Constantinople, was placed in quarantine, owing to the case of plague, which we announce under our Constantinople intelligence.

[from The Evening Chronicle - Friday 17 September 1841]:
The Austrian steamer Crescent, on her voyage to Smyrna, ran on shore at 4 am on the 10th, near Lampsara[?], but got off without material injury in the course of the day. This is the third vessel belonging the Austrian company that has met with accidents this year. This either shows great carelessness or extraordinary ill-luck on the part of the captains.

[from Morning Advertiser - Friday 14 October 1842]:
MALTA, Sept. 30. The [sailing] vessel run down by the Crescent steamer, in the Sea of Marmora, on the 4th inst, was a boat with a cargo of melons; the crew and passengers (20) drowned.

Possibly same vessel. [from The Glasgow Sentinel - Saturday 15 April 1854]:
The Black Sea. ... Letters from Constantinople, of the 31st ult., announce that three English merchant vessels were fired into by the Russians near Sulina, the Black Sea. The Ana, laden with grain, was sunk, the steamer Crescent was damaged.


Iron bucket dredger Santander, built Bury, Curtis & Kennedy, Liverpool, 1842, for Port of Santander, 25 hp engines. See plans. Note plans show engine driving bucket chain, but no propulsion.


Iron paddle steamer Fire Fly, built C. McConochie, Liverpool, 1849. 75 x 11.5 x 6.3ft, for use on Lake Windermere. The first Lake Windermere steamer was Lady of the Lake launched 1845 [built Ashburner at Greenodd, wooden, 80 x 11.5 x 6.4ft, 20 hp engine]. Fire Fly was the second - built on the bank of the Lake at Low Wood Hotel. Builders also described as Messrs MacConnochie & Claude, of Liverpool, engines 30hp. Mr M'Connochie is described as assistant engineer at Bury, Curtis & Co. iron works.
They also built the Dragon Fly, launched 1850, 354 tons displ, 95 x 16.5 ft, draught 20 inches, 50 hp engines, same builders, for the same service.

Image, from Illustrated London News - Saturday 30 November 1850, of launch of Dragon Fly at Windermere.

[from Kendal Mercury - Saturday 04 August 1849]:
Launch of the Fire Fly Steamer. On Wednesday, the new iron steamer, Fire Fly, intended to ply on Windermere, was launched from nearly opposite to Low Wood. The day was beautifully fine, and a vast concourse was attracted by the occasion, and the lake and the adjoining heights presented a scene of animation not often surpassed. The hour appointed was twelve o'clock, but in consequence of unforeseen hindrances, among which the non-arrival till that morning of part of the machinery was said to be the principal one, the vessel was not consigned to her destined element till half-past 4 o'clock, when she glided serenely into the lake, amid the cheers of the assembled hundreds, and the strains of a capital band. Messrs. M'Chonochie[sic] and Claude, of Liverpool, are the builders of the vessel, which is 80 feet by 30, and has a draught very small. The "christening" was performed with a bottle of champagne, by Mrs Claude, of Ambleside, who went through that important ceremony with much grace and spirit. A supper took place at the Ferry Inn in the evening, about seven o'clock, at which about 60 invited guests sat down, and though the banquet was several hours behind the appointed time, not the less justice was done to the good things provided.


Screw canal steam tug, built W Jones, Liverpool, 40 tons. 15 hp engines by Laurence & Daniel,

[from Liverpool Daily Post - Saturday 19 December 1857]:
Launch, This day (Saturday) will launched from building-yard Messrs. W. Jones and Co, Sandhill's-lane, a small screw steamer about 40 tons burthen, intended for towing purposes on the canal. This vessel is built on Birch's patent plan, and fitted with his patent screw. She will be supplied with a pair of engines of 15 horse power, by Messrs. Laurence and Daniel, the Engine Works; and it is expected that she will take up her station the first week of next year. The development steam-power in connection with carrying on canals is lamentably "behind the times", and we shall watch the result of this new scheme with much interest. In the meantime we wish the proprietors that success which is assuredly deserved by such spirited enterprise.




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Built Liverpool/Mersey by unknown shipyard. Those marked ?? have been claimed as built at Liverpool, but evidence suggests otherwise.
Union ~1817
Regulator 1817
Duke of Beaufort 1822
Hercules 1825
Marquis of Wellesley 1826 twin hull, centre paddle
Birmingham 1826
James 1826
Lady Clanricarde 1829??
Lady Dunally 1829 twin hull, centre paddle
Alburkah 1832
Avonmore 1835 stern-wheel
Maranhense 1838/9
Duke of Cambridge 1838??
Glow Worm 1853
Wooden screw river steamer 1853
Firefly 1856 screw flat
Antonio Varas 1856



Wooden paddle steamer Duke of Beaufort, built Liverpool 1822, 90grt, 59nrt, 78.1 x 15.6 x 7.5 ft, 20 hp engines by Fawcett & Littledale, for service Bristol - Chepstow. She was the first steamer to visit Chepstow regularly. Later used as a tug from Bristol. Collision 23 Dec 1851 in Avon at Black Rock Reach. More history. Most early Bristol based steamers were built by Mottershead & Hayes, so that is the most likely builder for this vessel.

Image of Steam-packet Duke of Beaufort, from wall of Bell Hanger pub, Chepstow:

[from Bristol Mirror - Saturday 05 October 1822]:
BRISTOL AND CHEPSTOW STEAM PACKET. THE Public are respectfully informed, that the new Steam Packet, DUKE OF BEAUFORT, will commence sailing on Monday NEXT, the 7th Oct, and will continue ply to daily between BRISTOL and CHEPSTOW. This beautiful Packet is fitted up in a very commodious manner, with a separate Cabin for Ladies; and Passengers may rely upon receiving every attention on board, landing, &c. As it is the object of the Proprietors to render the passage as expeditious as possible, and to afford every facility to the public, the plan of starting in the morning will occasionally be changed from Bristol to Chepstow, as the tides may best answer.

[from Bristol Mirror - Saturday 06 September 1823]:
CHEPSTOW AND NEWPORT STEAM PACKETS. THE DUKE of BEAUFORT will sail between BRISTOL and CHEPSTOW next Week as follows: From BRISTOL. From CHEPSTOW. ... The LADY RODNEY will sail between BRISTOL and NEWPORT next Week as follows: From NEWPORT. From BRISTOL. .. J. & W. JONES. Agents. Broad-street, Bristol.
[Rival company:] ... The ST. DAVID STEAM-PACKET sails from CUMBERLAND BASIN, to and from NEWPORT daily. The CAMBRIA STEAM-PACKET sails from BATHURST BASIN, near Queen Square, to and from CHEPSTOW daily. War Office Steam Packet Office, Quay.

[from Manchester Courier - Saturday 21 July 1827]:
A gentleman who came as a passenger by the Duke of Beaufort steam-packet, from Chepstow, on Monday, states that crossing the Severn, she encountered a tremendous gale of wind, in which one vessel was upset. The steamer immediately bore down to her assistance, when she proved to be a barge belonging to Tintern, laden with bark, &c. The crew, five or six in number, had taken to the boat; but two young women, sisters, who had been to Tintern to see their parents, and were on their return to Kingsdown, were drowned. These unfortunate persons, it appears, were below when the squall, coming on suddenly, upset the barge and closed the scuttle, thus entombing them in watery grave. Another poor woman was saved by the hair of her head, and put into the steam-packet, where the utmost kindness and attention were shown her by the ladies on board. The Captain of the Duke of Beaufort used every exertion to tow the wreck into port; but the sea being extremely rough, his efforts were unavailable

[from Cork Constitution - Saturday 27 December 1851]:
THE DUKE OF BEAUFORT STEAMER LOST. Bristol Dec. 23. This morning a serious accident occurred in our river near the Black Rock, in consequence of a collision between the Newport steam-packet, Severn, one of the new and powerful iron built screw steamers of the Avon and Severn Steam-ship Company, and a steam-boat called the Duke of Beaufort, which formerly plied between Bristol and Chepstow, that has recently been used in towing vessels up and down the Bristol Channel. The morning was excessively thick and foggy, and in the lower part of the river (pent in by the rocks on one side, and Leigh Wood on the other,) it was particularly dense. The Severn, as stated by those on board of her, was crawling up the river very cautiously, going by the shore at the rate of about two knots an hour. The rate at which the Duke of Beaufort was going, she having a sailing vessel in tow, is not ascertained. The crew of the Severn, although a good look out was kept, were unable to see the Duke of Beaufort until they were close upon her. As soon, however, as she was observed by them coming down, Capt. Lowther, the commander of the Severn, who was himself looking out on the platform, called out and gave an immediate order to reverse the engines. This was instantly done, but the vessels by this time were close together; and before the impetus of the Severn could be sufficiently arrested, a very violent collision look place. The shock is stated be a very severe one. The Severn is a very sharply built vessel, constructed for high speed with a thin cutting bow; and her bow taking the Duke of Beaufort on her larboard quarter about 6 or 7 feet abaft of the bow, she cut a hole in her side and sunk her almost immediately. Happily the crew of the Duke of Beaufort at once saw their danger, ran forward and succeeded getting on board of the Severn just in time to see their own ill-fated vessel go down. The Severn did not sustain much damage.

[from Bristol Times and Mirror - Saturday 27 December 1851]:
.... The hull of the Duke of Beaufort is still lying in the river, the great fresh caused by the recent heavy rains having prevented any attempt being made to raise and convey it to a place of greater security. ... ... wreck on Somersetshire side of river ... it has not been satisfactorily ascertained to what extent the machinery is injured, but it is believed that the hull is rendered utterly useless.

[from Bristol Times and Mirror - Saturday 21 August 1852]:
Court case: ... The plaintiffs, whom he represented, were the owners of steam tug called the Duke of Beaufort, and the defendants were the proprietors of the screw steamer Severn, which traded between this city and Newport. There was good deal of difference between the two vessels, the tug being only 20 horse power, whilst the Severn was an iron steamer of some sixty-horse power. The plaintiffs brought this action to recover damages for the defendants' negligence on the morning of the 23rd of September [sic] last, whereby the tug had been run down and sunk in the river, and rendered totally unfit for future use. .... The Duke of Beaufort could not have been repaired, except at a cost much greater than her value, and she was sold by public auction for £11 or £12. She was not a new vessel, but for the purposes of the company she was as good as new. ... Captain Thomas Bull ... At the last of the ebb same tide, went down to the Duke and found her on the other side of the river about a quarter of a mile below the Black rock..... The Jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs to the amount of £463. [Approximate location 51 28.13N 2 38.36W.]



Iron paddle steamer (twin hulls, 1 centre wheel) Marquis of Wellesley [also Marquess, also called just Wellesley].
This iron paddle steamer was ordered by John Grantham Sr (assistant to John Rennie in surveying the Shannon) for use on the Shannon. The Marquis of Wellesley (101 tons, 12 hp engine) was built in parts at Horseley Iron Works and assembled at Liverpool from 1825 (under the supervision of Mr Page at Fawcett's), sailed to Dublin [so arguably the second sea-going iron steamer], and then, by canal, reached the Shannon where she served from February 1827. This vessel was unusual - two hulls with the paddle wheel between them. In use on the Shannon until at least 1837.
LNRS article about iron Shannon steamers.
Shannon vessels, Bowcock et al, Mariner's Mirror 2013.

A different vessel - with a similar name [from Waterford Mail - Saturday 12 August 1826]:
LAUNCH of the MARCHIONESS WELLESLEY STEAM-VESSEL. Yesterday, about four o'clock, a very fine steam-vessel, which had been built by Mr. Morton, for the Dublin and Wexford Steam Company, was launched from this gentleman's yard at the Grand Canal Dock. She went off in magnificent style, and was named on the occasion the Marchioness Wellesley. ...
[later reported at Wexford and Waterford]

[from Manchester Courier - Saturday 17 February 1827]:
Interior Navigation by Steam. On Friday se'nnight the Marquis of Wellesley steam-boat, built to tow boats and carry passengers, arrived at the canal harbour, Limerick, from Dublin, attended by two of her fly-boats. This is the first instance of the application of steam to interior navigation in Ireland, and will remedy the defect arising from the difficulty and uncertainty of crossing, by the craft hitherto in use, the broad waters of the Shannon above Killaloe. This vessel will, in almost all weathers, be able to take her own cargo and tow her fly-boats across the lake, and thus ensure the certain delivery of goods both here and in Dublin, within regular given periods. She is very neatly fitted up for the accommodation of passengers, and we have no doubt but many persons will avail themselves of this delightful and easy mode of conveyance, to visit those parts of the country hitherto little known, from want of easy access, particularly the bold and majestic scenery of Lough Derg, when the weather shall become more favourable for such excursions. This boat was built at the Horseley-works, in Staffordshire, and has been constructed under the superintendence of Mr. John Grantham, and at his sole expense. She is what is called a twinboat, and not liable to upset. A number of distinguished individuals sailed with her on her first trip, and she was welcomed to the waters of the Shannon by vast numbers of admiring spectators.


The wooden paddle steamer Lady Clanricarde was built for the Shannon navigation by 1829, engine of 26hp by Fawcett & Preston. 80ft long. Described as built by Fawcett, though they did not build wooden hulls. Indeed the report below describes her builder, at Killaloe, as Anthony Hill of Dublin.

Image of paddle steamer - most probably Lady Clanricarde - at opening of new Banagher Bridge, on upper Shannon, 12-8-1843,

[from Dublin Evening Post - Thursday 27 August 1829]:
INLAND STEAM NAVIGATION. KILLALOE, Aug. 22. Yesterday gave us the opportunity of witnessing a scene altogether new in this part of the country, namely, the launch of a magnificent steam vessel, for conveyance of merchandise and passengers, which, we understand, is to ply between Limerick and Shannon Harbour, touching at Killaloe. As near as we can calculate, she is upwards of 100 feet long, with an engine of 26 horse power, and burden about 120 tons; she is finished in a superb style. It was expected she would have been launched on the King's Birth-day, preparations for the purpose were made, and the vessel went off in grand style, but having a race of more than a quarter a mile, she stopped better than half-way (in consequence of the ground sinking from the late heavy rains), to the great disappointment of 25,000 spectators, among whom were persons of rank from all parts of the country. Lady Clanricarde, after whom she is named, attended in person to perform the ceremony of baptism (which was subsequently done for her Ladyship, by Miss Grantham). The necessary arrangements having been made on the 21st, she entered the water amidst the acclamations of thousands, who never before witnessed such a sight. This fine vessel is the property of Charles W. Williams, Esq., to whom the public is so deeply indebted for his enterprising and persevering industry establishing the communication by steam between this country and England. She was built by Mr. Anthony Hill, jun., of Dublin, in the short space of 13 weeks. There were bonfires throughout the neighbourhood and the carpenters were chaired.

[from Limerick Chronicle - Wednesday 30 September 1829]:
VISITORS to Ballinasloe are informed that the Lady Clanricarde new Steamer will ply between Killaloe and Portumna, and the Wellesley from thence to Shannon-Harbour during the Fair. The Lady Clanricarde starts from Killaloe at Seven o'clock each morning (except Sunday) and calls at Drumineer for Nenagh Passengers. Cabin Fare...5s. 6d. Deck...2s. 9d. Boats for the conveyance of Cattle may be engaged by timely application to Mr. FLEETWOOD, Banagher; or Mr. M'CANN, the Company's Agent at Limerick. JOHN GRANTHAM, Acting Manager. N.B. Ballinasloe Fair, 7th October. Killaloe, Sept. 28.


The iron paddle steamer Lady Dunally (also Dunally) was built for the Shannon and canal navigation at Liverpool in 1829, twin hulls with centre wheel, engine of 18hp by Fawcett & Preston. Hull possibly assembled by Fawcett from Tipton plates (as for Marquis of Wellesley).

[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 18 September 1829]:
Steam Navigation of the Union Canal. - A steam boat called the Lady Dunally, has just been built in Liverpool, which is to be employed on the Union Canal, between Limerick and Dublin. It is built entirely of iron, and is constructed in a very peculiar manner. When seen out of the water, it has exactly the appearance of two vessels joined together by the deck, but separated in every other respect. The paddles, instead of being at the sides, are placed in the middle, between the vessels, so that in working they will not be likely to injure the banks of the canal, which has always been the principal obstacle to steam-boats being employed in canal navigation. This vessel will be sent to Dublin as soon as the engines are fixed.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 12 October 1829]:
LAUNCH OF AN IRON VESSEL. We are much gratified to learn, that the extensive arrangements making by the Irish inland Steam Navigation Company, under the spirited management of C. W. Williams, Esq., are getting forward most satisfactorily. This day one of the company's double iron boats, built by Messrs. Fawcett and Co., with the engine and paddles in the middle, will be tried on the river. She is intended to carry passengers, and tow other vessels built for the purpose of carrying live stock, grain, &c, on the Shannon.

[from Saunders's News-Letter - Thursday 21 October 1830]:
THE LORD LIEUTENANT'S VISIT TO LOUGH DERG. His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, and her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland, visited Killaloe and Lough Derg on Saturday. They arrived at 11 o'clock from Kilboy, the seat of Lord Dunally, where they had arrived the preceding day from Limerick, and were accompanied by distinguished party, consisting of ....
Mr. Williams, the principal proprietor of the steam establishment on the Shannon, had the two steamers, The Lady Clanricarde and The Lady Dunally, in readiness and received his Excellency on board. The day was extremely favourable, and the effect produced by the beautiful scenery of the lake, the cheering of the crowd who covered the pier and surrounding hills, and the gay display of the steamers, was enjoyed by all. ...

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 25 May 1829]:
STEAM NAVIGATION ON THE SHANNON. THE DUBLIN and LIMERICK INLAND STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY inform the Public, that they have established a Line of Steam and Trade Boats on the Grand Canal and River Shannon, by which a direct Water Communication will be maintained between Limerick and Dublin; connecting with those cities the towns of Banagher, Athlone, Portumna, Lenagh, by Drumaneer, and Killaloe. The two former establishments, Grantham's Steam and Fly Boats and the Shannon Navigation Company, being now consolidated with the New Company, and in immediate connexion with and under the same direction as the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company between Dublin and Liverpool, the Public may rely on the conveyance of Passengers, Goods, and Cattle, with certainty and despatch along the entire line of the Shannon.
In addition to the two Steamers, the Wellesley and the Mountaineer, now plying on the broad waters of the Shannon, above Limerick, the Company are building (by Messrs. Fawcett) two others of great power, the Lady Clanricarde and the Lady Dunally, both of which, it is expected, will be plying in the course of the present month.
They have also provided a Steam Vessel of the First Class on the Lower Shannon, [presumably Garryowen] which commenced plying between Limerick and Kilrush on the 21st instant, stopping at Tarbert for the conveyance of travellers to Tralee and Killarney; and taking up passengers at Glyn, Foyne's Island, Begh Castle, and other places on the Shannon.

The iron paddle steamer Avonmore, hull and engines (2 of 12hp) built Fawcett 1835, with twin stern wheels. For use on the upper Shannon.

Image of stern-wheeler Avonmore [from Three Days on the Shannon, W F Wakeman, 1852]

This new steamer was later named Avomore. [from Athlone Sentinel - Friday 28 August 1835]:
The new Lady Dunally steamer, arrived from Liverpool, is to ply beween Shannon Harbour and Portumna. She is a vessel of twenty-four horse steam-power, and ran very rapid in the water.
[Adverts throughout 1835 quote only 4 steamers plying the upper Shannon: Lady Landsdowne; Lady Clanricarde; Lady Dunally; Wellesley. From January 1836, Avonmore is included].

[from Dublin Evening Post - Thursday 01 December 1836]:
NOTICE. INLAND NAVIGATION BETWEEN DUBLIN AND LIMERICK. The city of Dublin steam packet COMPANY hereby give Notice, that the waters of the Shannon having risen to prevent their new and powerful Steamer, the AVONMORE, from passing the three small inconvenient arches on the Cloonahaenouge Canal [sic Clonaheenogue, used to bypass rapids on the Shannon via Hamilton Lock - later enlarged as Victoria Lock], above Banagher, belonging to the Grand Canal Company, the intercourse, both for Goods and Passengers, will be maintained on that part of the Navigation during the Winter months, by the Company's Steamer, the DUNALLY, under the following arrangements:
(1) The quick Iron Packet, the NONSUCH, which hitherto left Limerick every morning with Passengers for the Grand Canal Packet at Shannon Harbour, will cease plying on the 1st December next.
(2)The Steam Packet, the LANSDOWNE, will start from Killaloe every morning for Portumna, at Eight o'Clock, instead of Nine o'Clock, as hitherto.
(3)The Steam Packet, DUNALLY, will leave Shannon Harbour every morning for Portumna, at seven o'clock, instead of waiting the arrival of the Dublin Canal Packet, at Nine o'clock, as hitherto.
(4)A Packet will also start every morning from Killaloe, for Limerick, at Seven o'Clock, and from Limerick, for Killaloe, at Three o'Clock, p. m.; the latter will take Passengers for Dublin, who can proceed the next morning, at Eight o'Clock, per the LANSDOWNE.
The above arrangements have been rendered necessary solely in consequence of the Three Arches on the Navigation belonging to the Grand Canal Company not having been altered, which prevents the AVONMORE Steamer plying between Portumna and Shannon Harbour, during the Winter Months. By Order, P. HOWELL, Pro. Sec.



Wooden paddle steamer Birmingham, built Liverpool 1826, 350grt, 233nrt, 140.7 x 25.0 x 14.7 ft, engines 140hp by Fawcett & Co, ON 8806. Owned City of Dublin SP Co. First recorded sailing is July 1827 Liverpool - Dublin. The Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and Birmingham were ordered by the City of Dublin SP Co from Liverpool shipyards - Dawson or Wilson. So Birmingham will have been built by one or other of these two yards.

[from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 05 January 1826]:
The City of Dublin Steam Packet Company's vessels. CITY OF DUBLIN, TOWN OF LIVERPOOL, HIBERNIA. BRITANNIA, Sail alternately every day hence to Dublin. ... This Company, with a view of increasing the facilities of transmission for Goods, Merchandise, Cattle, Corn, Provisions, &c. announce that their Five New Vessels, called THE MANCHESTER, THE LEEDS, THE BIRMINGHAM, THE SHEFFIELD, THE NOTTINGHAM, are already in a state of forwardness. The first two will be ready in the ensuing Spring, and the remaining three during the Summer following. These Vessels are of the first class, and nothing has been spared to render them as perfect possible.

[from Morning Herald (London) - Friday 13 July 1827]:
Liverpool. Arrived. Birmingham, Head, from Dublin with sundries.

[from Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current - Monday 27 August 1827 ]:
Aug 25. Arrived. Birmingham steam packet, Liverpool, goods and passengers.



Iron paddle steamer Alburkah built Liverpool, 1832, 35 nrt, 55 tons, 70 x 13 ft, draught 2.2 - 4.5 ft, 15hp engines, schooner rigged, designed MacGregor Laird for exploration of the Niger River, in conjunction with the larger wooden steamer Quorra. This was a pioneering iron vessel - which made the first oceanic voyage. See more details.

Image of Alburkah and Quorra:

[from Liverpool Saturday's Advertiser - Saturday 15 September 1832]:
Alburkah. So named from an African expression, signifying blessing. A small steam-vessel, built entirely of iron, by Mr. Macgregor Laird, director of the expedition, fitted with one steam-engine of 15 horse power, constructed to burn coal or wood. Vessel 70 feet in length over all; breadth of beam, 13 feet 2 inches; depth of hold, 6.5 feet; draught of water, when launched, only 9 inches; with engine in, and boiler full, drew 2 feet 6 inches; drew 4 feet 6 inches on leaving Milford Haven, having provisions and water for 12 men for 50 days, besides 10 tons of coal. Bottom of the vessel 1/4 inch thick; sides 3/16 inch thick. Gross weight when built, and wooden decks laid, 16 tons; tonnage 56, including engine-room. Schooner-rigged, like the Quorra. Commanded by Mr. Joseph Hill. N.B. The greatest interest has been excited about this diminutive vessel, as it is certainly a bold undertaking to navigate the Atlantic in so small a boat built entirely of iron. She is intended to explore the Tschadda and other tributary streams of the Niger. [she was armed with one 9-pounder swivel gun and 6 smaller swivel guns]

[from Liverpool Mercury - Wednesday 10 November 1869]:
BUILDER OF THE FIRST IRON SHIP. - Our obituary records the death of Mr. Andrew Morrison, a gentleman well known in this town and throughout the country in connection with iron shipbuilding. He died at Brook Hall Farm, at the advanced ago of 85 years. The deceased was the designer and builder of the Alburka, a steamer launched at Liverpool in the year 1832, and said to be the first iron sea-going vessal ever constructed. The Alburka was built expressly for the Niger expedition, originated by a company of Liverpool merchants, whose object was to establish commercial relations with the native tribes of Central Africa. The expedition, under the direction of that distinguished African traveller Ricbard Lander, ascended the river Tchadda, but was twice compelled to return to Fernendo Po. In a third attempt Lander and his brave companions were attacked by the natives of Brass River. Several of the party were killed, and though the chief reached Fernando Po alive. he died from wounds received in his encounter with the natives. It is said that a portion of the wreck of the Alburka is still lying on the strand at Fernando Po.


Wooden paddle steamer Maranhense (also Maranhaense), built Liverpool 1838/9 is advertised as a new steamer sailing from Liverpool to Brazil in May 1839; tonnage given as 149, so is probably the fifth steamer built at Liverpool for this company - along with St Sebastian (built Wilson), Bahiana (built Humble), Pernambucana (built Royden), Paraense (built Wilson). Most probable builder of Maranhense is Wilson or Humble.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 11 May 1839]:
To sail on the 13th May. For RIO DE JANEIRO, calling at the Cape de Verd Islands, Pernambuco, and Bahia. The fine new Steam Boat MARANHAENSE, Captain J. M'Kinnon. For passage, Apply to TODD NAYLOR and Co.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 14 May 1839]:
Vessels entered for loading. South America. Maranhaense (steamer), M'Kinnon, 149 Rio Janeiro, Todd Naylor & co.,

Arrived at Rio from Liverpool, reported Liverpool 23 Sept 1839.


Wooden paddle steamer Duke of Cambridge, ON 8794, service for City of Dublin SPCo from 1838, described as "new". See here [however not built Liverpool - see below].
Services from July 1838, including London - Plymouth - Dublin.

Built as Jason in 1837 by Hunter & Dow, Glasgow, for Goole, but in 1838 bought by City of Dublin SPCo, named Duke of Cambridge. More detail, ON 8794, MNL confirms name change, in MNL to 1870, broken up 1866.

[from Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Monday 15 October 1838]:
FOR DUBLIN. WITH PASSENGERS ONLY. The City of Dublin steam-packet Company's new and Superior Steam Vessel, Duke of Cambridge, 500 Tons Burthen, and 260 Horse Power, will leave for DUBLIN, This Day (MONDAY, the 13th October), at SIX o'clock in the Evening. Apply to HILL CHARLEY. October 13th, 1838.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 29 March 1839]:
The City of Dublin Steam-packet Company having completed their arrangements for despatching a first-class Steamer regularly to HAVRE, from BELFAST, calling at DUBLIN for Passengers out and home, The DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE, Captain BATTY, is appointed to sail for HAVRE, (calling at PLYMOUTH), from BELFAST on Friday 19th April, and from DUBLIN (say KINGSTOWN) on Saturday 20th April.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 02 January 1860]:
Inquest: On the body of Robert Roberts, captain of the Dublin steamer Duke of Cambridge, who was killed that morning by falling from the bridge against the fore sponson, as the vessel was getting alongside the Landing-stage. Verdict, "Accidental death".

Papers report voyages by steamer Duke of Cambridge until August 1865, including Belfast - Dublin.


Wooden screw river steamer, unknown builder, 50 x 9 ft, for use on Australian rivers, carried as deck cargo on Tayleur, so wrecked on Lambay Island in 1854.

[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 28 January 1854]:
The Tayleur had on board the hull of steamer 50 feet long by 9 wide, intended for use in Australian rivers, which was stowed upon her deck. The engineer and his wife occupied the cabin of this small steamer, and both were drowned.

[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 31 January 1854]:
From Coroners Inquest: ...There was a small screw steamer put on board at Liverpool, she was not iron, the funnel was taken out of her, it was close to the compasses.....
I saw the steamer that was on board, she was lashed from the break of the poop [front of raised area at stern] to the mainmast, on the starboard side, it was about 8 feet from the steamer to the first or "tell-tale" compasses, and 33 feet to the second or binnacle compass; the fan [sic] of the steamer was close to the break of the poop,....



Iron screw barge (Flat) Firefly, built Liverpool 1856, 24grt, 16nrt, 74 x 10.8 x 5ft, 20 hp engine. ON 21492, registered Liverpool until 1955. More history



Iron screw steamer Antonio Varas, built Liverpool 1856, 854 tons, 11 hp engines, schooner rig, in LR 1860. Arrived Valparaiso, captain J Bell, in 1856. Listed as in the Chilean navy 1859-1867. Lost, described as a Chilean steamer, 24 July 1868.

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Wednesday 20 February 1856]:
Loading Foreign. Valparaiso. Antonio Varas (s), Bell, W J Myers, Feb 12 [arrival reported 19-7-1856]

[from Liverpool Shipping Telegraph and Daily Commercial Advertiser - Friday 14 August 1868]:
Antonio Varas, Chilian steamer, was totally lost on the night of the 24th ult. on the Island of Chato, near Caldera, on her way to that port; the crew, excepting two men, were saved.

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[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 02 September 1850]:
THE SHIPBUILDING TRADE. The committee appointed by the Council to Inquire into the present state of the shipbuilding trade of this port have nearly completed their labours; and, as the subject is one in which many important interests are involved, and in which we have taken some interest, we venture briefly to anticipate the report, which will in a few days place the result of the inquiry more in detail before the public.
The present depressed state of the shipbuilding trade in Liverpool is to be attributed to the following circumstances: want of sufficiently commodious yards, affording proper space for the storing of timber, &c. The highness of the rents in comparison with those of the outports, The fact that leases are not granted, and that the tenants have no security for any outlay they may find it desirable to make in the improvement of the yards. The absence of private graving-docks attached to the yards. Great loss has been sustained by the removal of Messrs. Wilson and other builders from the north end of the town, and in this loss the engineers have largely participated. These removals have reduced the number of engineers employed in marine work about one-tenth; and the various trades, including many artisans, have, of course, suffered in the same proportion. Private graving-docks would afford facilities for the repair of vessels at considerable saving of expense, and they would also give the advantage of superintendence over the men. We believe the plan to he submitted to the Council in order to remedy the evils complained of and encourage the shipbuilding trade will be as follows:
That yards be made immediately to the north of Sandon's graving-docks, and eastward of the new steam dock. That graving-docks be attached to each yard. That there be sufficient water space to launch the vessels without risk. That cranes and other necessary appliances be provided for the adjustment of boilers, masts, and heavy rigging, It is estimated that there is room for fourteen large-sized yards; and they should run east and west, so that each would be a protection to the other from exposure to the winds. This plan, we have no doubt, will meet with the approval of the shipbuilding trade generally; and it has given the greatest satisfaction to all who have inspected it. The inquiry showed that the south end of the town, being pre-occupied by the timber trade, is altogether inadequate for shipbuilding purposes - and that if we are to foster this important element of our local and maritime prosperity it must be by affording ample and liberal accommodation at the north.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 09 September 1850]:
SHIPBUILDING 1N LIVERPOOL. We received, on Friday, a copy of the evidence taken before the Special Committee of the Council appointed to consider the present state of the shipbuilding trade in Liverpool, and the best means which can be adopted for its encouragement. The inquiry would appear to have been very full and searching, and nearly twenty witnesses, connected directly or indirectly with the trade, were examined. The entire evidence is so voluminous that few readers could be expected to wade through it. We have, therefore, been at some pains to prepare an epitome. The committee, of which Mr. J. A. Tobin was chairman, sat for several days, and the first witness examined was
Mr. ROYDEN. He stated, in answer to questions put to him, that he had been a shipbuilder in Liverpool for forty years, thirty-two of which he had been a tenant of the Corporation. For a yard of 6,000 yards he paid £400 a-year. Could build two vessels at once, of some 500 tons each, but was much pinched for room. There is a sort of basin, "a tongue", he termed it, at the bottom of his yard, made for coasting vessels to come into. Were this filled up he should have ample room. Mr. Royden was asked, "What are the inconveniences to which shortness of room subjects you" and the reply was, "We are put to enormous expense by the labour of removing timber. Owing to the shortness of room we are obliged to pile it six or eight deep; and, when we want a piece from the pile, perhaps the piece we want is at the bottom, and then we are obliged to get a lot of labourers to work in removing the timber". This, of course, added materially to the cost of building a vessel. He stated that it was necessary, also, to cut up timber which might have been put to a more profitable use rather than turn over a pile to get the proper piece from the bottom. To build three vessels, of from 500 to 800 tons each, at one time, would require 10,000 yards space, were the builders to be "accommodated to perfection". It would be a very great advantage to have attached to the yard a private graving-dock. There would then be more control over the men, as when they are working in the public graving-docks they are in some degree their own masters. Vessels are principally built by apprentices; but to have all apprentices did not answer. If he were building a couple of ships he should not have less than from twenty to thirty men at work on them. Ship-carpenters in Liverpool get 5s. a day. Mr. Royden said he repaired as well as built. Shipbuilders, he said, "are almost extinguished; the work has got into the hands of what are called the 'pitchpotboilers', that is, ship-repairers." There was not a bit of land for the further accommodation of shipbuilding at this side of the water, except that on which the tobacco-warehouses stood. There were pieces of land in the neighbourhood of the Brunswick Dock which would do for those in a small way of business. The site of the proposed dock to the south of the present graving-docks, would be a fine place; there would be plenty of water to launch in. Mr. Royden's attention was called to the accommodation which could be given to the trade at the north end of the town: there was a space of nearly 200,000 square yards of land to the east of the large steam dock and the north of Sandon Dock. His answer was, "No one will go north of that in this town. They would sooner go up to Eastham". When asked why builders would not go to the north, he said that there was "sea enough there to smother them." Besides, the transit of timber would be too expensive; but, if the timber trade were removed there, of course that objection would be lessened. The distance and the bleakness of the place were the chief objections to the north end. The shipbuilders were disgusted at the frequent removals to which they had been subjected, and, unless their places were given them on lease, and at a fair price, he thought that, on a still further removal, they would not enter into the business again. He (Mr. Royden) had been removed three times. He did not think that the shipbuilders would consent to a lease of less than fourteen years. The exposure at the north end would, of course, be obviated if a wall or some protection from the weather was erected to the westward, and if ships could be launched, not into the river, but into the proposed great timber float. He approved, however, of launching into the river, as the spray of the salt water washes the frame well, and ships so launched are less liable to rot than those launched in any other way. The ground belonging to the Herculaneum Company at the south end would be an excellent site for shipbuilding. The shipbuilding of the port had decreased one-half. The following is about an accurate estimate of the detailed cost of building a 500 ton ship: For timber £3,000 to £4,000; for labour, the same amount; sails, £500; ropes £400; smiths £500; copper £400; chandleries, including paints, &c £500. If proper facilities were given, Liverpool should be one of the best and cheapest places for shipbuilding in the whole universe. Witness would prefer to be accommodated on this side of the river rather than on the other.
Mr. PETER CHALLONER was then called in. He had, he said, been a shipbuilder in Liverpool since 1805. Is a tenant of the corporation, the yard being about 5,000 yards in size. Pays £300 a-year for it. Can build two vessels at a time, of from 700 to 800 tons. The chief disadvantage under which he laboured was, that the yard was a great deal too narrow for canting the timber, and the labour to get out a piece to convert it was double what it ought to be. Great profit would accrue from having a private graving-dock. The reason that ships could not be built so cheaply here as at the outports was, that the expenses were three times as great in rent, taxes, and wages. The wages of ship-carpenters, too, were much higher here than at the outports. Witness built his vessels with about one-third of those engaged on them journeymen. The rent of a very large building-yard in the north of England would not be £50 a-year. His opinion was, that the site at the north end of the town would not answer for the trade; the reasons much the same as those urged by Mr. Royden. He thought the west side of the Brunswick Dock, to the south and north of the Brunswick building-yards, an eligible site for an extension of the trade. Two good building-yards could be made of the place occupied by Mr. Hartley, the surveyor, as a dockyard. The land covered by the tobacco warehouses and the space now used by the carriers from the south end of the Landingstage to the Canning graving-dock, would form very eligible sites. Mr. Challoner was asked, "As a summary, what should you say would be the best mode of encouraging shipbuilding here". The answer was laconic: "To reduce the rents, which would reduce the taxes: and the wages will, of course, come down themselves". Very great advantages would result from having private graving-docks attached to the building-yards. If the trade was not more encouraged than it had been in Liverpool, there would not, in the course of ten years, be men enough in town to carry it on at all. Shipbuilding was rapidly declining: not less than 500 carpenters went to sea or died during the last twelve months, and there were not above seven shipbuilding-yards now in Liverpool.
MR. CLARKE, also a shipbuilder, was next examined. His yard was very compressed. The centre of the town, river frontage, was, of course, the best place for shipbuilding; but he did not know of any available sites there. It would be very inconvenient for the trade to be removed to the north end. There were no dwelling-houses in that neighbourhood for the workmen, and there would be a loss of time in their returning late from meals. He would never go to the north, he was sure.
Mr. STEELE: Has been a shipbuilder here for sixteen or seventeen years. Thought it would be of immense advantage to have private graving-docks in connexion with the shipbuilding-yards. Did not know of any better site for the trade than the south end of Brunswick Dock. His objections to the north end were similar to those urged by the previous witnesses. Carpenters in Cumberland get only 3s. a-day. The general complaint of the shipbuilders here is, that they are so cramped up for room that their labour is beyond measure.
Mr. GLOVER, shipbuilder, would be content to pay the same as Mr. Wilson, five per cent, on the outlay, for the privilege of having a private graving-dock. From 9d. to 1s. a yard would be a fair rate to pay for the shipbuilding-yard. Mr. Dover, one of the committee, said, "We are under the impression that the trade of shipbuilding has been injured by not being sufficiently fostered or protected: that is, by being too frequently removed; is that so?" The answer "I have been removed three times, at a cost of £1,400. (Mr. Clarke:) And I have been removed three times, at a cost of £3,000."
Mr. Thos. WILSON, shipbuilder, was next examined, and gave important evidence. The Chairman opened by the question, "One great object of the committee asking you to be present is, that it has been said that you are of opinion that there was no place on the Liverpool side of the river that could be advantageously turned to shipbuilding purposes ?" The answer was, "That has been my opinion for some time now." There was no spot, from the Dingle to the extreme end at the north, suitable and advantageous for the trade, chiefly from the want of private graving-docks. The graving-docks were the principal cause of driving the shipbuilding out of Liverpool. Mr. Wilson complained bitterly of the carpenters and their foolish restrictive regulations; and, when asked if the decrease of shipbuilding would affect the quality of the workmen, gave this curious opinion, "They cannot be much worse than they are now, for the great bulk of the men served their time in repairing yards. You cannot make Liverpool a shipbuilding port unless you first can drive all repairing concerns out of the town". Public graving-docks, too, were a great injury to the shipbuilders. Witness was in treaty with the Liverpool Dock Committee six years ago for a yard; and would have taken it on lease, "but for a very good reason. I had six months' notice to leave the north end, and during that six months I had applications from the British Government to build four vessels, of 1,800 tons each, to have my own dimensions and plans. I was also applied to by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam-packet company to build one, or as many as I could up to four, of 1,500 tons; and the City of Dublin Company applied to me to build for them also. These were great inducements for me to take the yard, otherwise I would lose the work". Mr. Wilson said he should have preferred this side of the river, if he could have got the same accommodation here that was offered him at Birkenhead. But he would not take a site at the north end if offered rent free. He was asked, "Merely taking into consideration now the site, do you think that plot of ground on the north of the Sandon graving-docks well adapted for shipbuilding?" He answered, "No, certainly not, on account of being exposed to the northwest. Any locality in any part of England would be quite as good. We might as well go to the Ormshead. There are very few of the outports so much exposed." There was not a single part of the shore on this side which was so suitable in respect to shelter as Birkenhead. The chief cause of the injurious combinations amongst the workmen was the having public graving-docks, their being often paid by the merchants, and no builder having his own constant workmen. It was desirable in the business that there should be two-thirds journeymen and one-third apprentices; but there was not another port in the kingdom where so few men were kept in the yards as in Liverpool. Mr. Dover remarked, "One gentleman stated, that, during the repair of a vessel, he pointed out to one of the carpenters that he was not properly overlapping the copper, when the man called upon the other men by a known signal, and they all dropped work. Are such things done within your knowledge?" "Decidedly, over and over again," was the reply; "but in a private concern men would do no such thing. A vast number of the shipowners do not know whether they have the same justice done to them in public that they have in private graving docks. Is it possible," said Mr. Wilson, "for any public business to be carried on where the men do not acknowledge any master or employer? Do you consider it possible that any class of men in any trade could conduct it in as efficient a manner under such restrictions, as he could with a set of men constantly with him and subject to his approval or disapproval?"
Mr. HUMBLE, shipbuilder. - Has been in the trade in Liverpool twenty-five years. Had been once removed, and gave up business in consequence of the great loss and damage which he had sustained in being turned out of the yards. He gave up because he had notice to leave the second yard. That was from five to six years ago. There has, of late years, been an increase in the repairing business, in the graving-docks; but shipbuilding had not kept pace with this. The business "comes in rushes". He used to be frequently short of men, and at other times there might be from 700 to 800 men out of work for a fortnight or three weeks. In such cases the men often go to sea, and the trades union will not permit strangers to fill their place. In Liverpool most of the vessels are built by apprentices. On the last four vessels which he built not a single journeyman had been employed. The fact was, that the men would not go into the yards if they can help it. They preferred the repairing; and, moreover, they preferred the docks near which they live. If there was a scarcity of hands, they would not go to the north end; that was, unless they were men whom a master employed regularly. The great requisites for carrying on shipbuilding (said Mr. Humble) are "very large and very cheap yards." The mould-rooms, sheds, and other necessary erections should be provided by the Corporation and not the tenant; and then, if the business did not answer, the builder would not lose anything. If something of that kind was not done, he had no doubt the trade would go to Scotland and other places. In his opinion, what was necessary to promote shipbuilding in Liverpool was more regular employment for the men, spacious yards at a moderate rent, and security against the removal of the tenants. He should not force tenants, however, to take a lease. Liverpool steamers formerly took the lead of the Scotch. Generally speaking, people would pay £2 or £3 a ton more for a Liverpool-built ship than for one built elsewhere.
Mr. KENNEDY [manager of Thomas Vernon's shipyard since 1844] examined: Stated that he had been an engineer in Liverpool for about twenty-eight years, and now employs about 170 workmen. A few years ago his firm employed 1,600. For several years previous and subsequent to 1845 they employed 1,200 men. That number began to decline about the latter end of 1847. About four-tenths of the work done was for vessels, principally marine-engines. In answer to the important question, "To what causes do you attribute the great decline in your trade?" Mr. Kennedy replied, "Why, so far as marine work goes, there is not sufficient accommodation for shipbuilding in Liverpool, and I think there is only one yard which is sufficiently large for building such large vessels as Cunard's line of steamers. But one thing above all others which has injured the shipbuilding of the port is that shipbuilders hitherto could only get short leases of their yards, and, consequently, could not afford to lay out large sums of money in their buildings. Those who unfortunately did lay out large sums of money in buildings and foundations for their machinery at the north end of the town, seven years ago, were compelled to remove all with, I think, only twelve months' notice, without any other yard being provided for them, or without receiving any compensation for the great loss they sustained; and this had not been the first time some of them had been removed in a similar manner. The want of good and permanent accommodation for shipbuilding injures the business of the marine engineer; for if not built in the port, of course, it gives a preponderance in favour of the engineers resident where the vessels are built". Again, he remarked, "In conversation with parties in the habit of ordering steam-vessels, their argument has been, "Why, you may build the engines here, but you cannot build the ships; there are not sufficient shipbuilding yards to do the work, and we must have the engines made where the ships can be built. You cannot expect to get the making of the engines unless the vessels are built here". The four-tenths of marine work had so diminished, that the proportion to the general business was now only about one-eighth. The number of operative engineers in Liverpool at present was very small. If a good demand were to come, and a thousand men were required, there would be great difficulty in getting them. He knew of no yard in Liverpool capable of building large steam-vessels except one, which he and Mr. Bury occupied, at the south end. Foreigners wanting vessels made up their minds not to come to Liverpool, because there was not the convenience here for building ships. The port had not been able to maintain the reputation which it once enjoyed. No doubt large steam-vessels would be much more built here if there were suitable yards.
Mr. M'GREGOR, also an engineer, who represented the firm of Messrs. Forrester and Co., was then called upon. His house, he said, had been engaged in the trade twenty-five years. They now employed 320 men; formerly the number was 800 or 900. Fully three-fourths of their trade had been for vessels. At the present time there were not, he thought, above fifty men engaged in marine work, certainly not more than seventy. Mr. Kennedy[sic] was asked, "To what do you attribute the decline which has taken place"? and answered, "We have never had accommodation in Liverpool to fit out a steamer in the way we ought to have". Again, "What is the nature of the accommodation to which you allude"? Answer, "Why, in the first place, when we made the engines for the Liverpool steamer, for Sir John Tobin, when we came to put the engines in her, there was not a dock in Liverpool that we could take her in with her paddle wheels on; and, in the second place, you have not even, at the present moment, a dock in which you could put the boilers on board her Majesty's steamer Medusa, of 880 tons, except the Coburg Dock. He was asked if he could assign no other reason for the decline of the trade in large vessels, and replied, "Why, for putting the boilers on board a vessel we are subjected to very heavy charges for the use of the crane. Those charges are most exorbitant in Liverpool. In putting the boilers on board one vessel, recently, I had to pay for crane hire, for lifting four pieces, £20, to find all the workmen, and be responsible for any damage". Then there were the high dock rates charged for a vessel merely lying in the dock. He had paid on a dredging vessel, one hundred feet long and twenty feet beam, £29 for dock dues, being twopence per ton per week. A note at the foot of this item of intelligence states that, "This dredging machine, or any vessel built at Whitehaven, and coming here with a single cask, with a coasting clearance, would be charged 2.625d. per ton dock dues, and may remain four months in the dock without further charge, built in Liverpool, for use in this port, would be charged 2d. per ton per week for every week she remained in the docks." Shipwrights' wages, Mr. M'Gregor said, formed another obstacle to the extension of shipbuilding here. Birkenhead should not be lost sight of. Since the yards at the north-end were removed, he had made engines for three vessels only built on this side of the Mersey; eleven for the other side. Some of the best men had emigrated to America and California. The Clyde has retained, relatively, more than its share of the steam-ship building trade, whilst Liverpool has lost hers almost entirely. There never was in Liverpool that accommodation which the trade were entitled to; for instance, if he wanted to put the machinery in a vessel of six hundred or seven hundred tons, there was no place but the Trafalgar Dock for him to take her to. The shipbuilding must be brought back here before their own business could improve, because there was a general desire on the part of persons ordering steam-vessels to have them built and completed at the same port. Mr. Kennedy was asked how it was that those interested had not remonstrated with the Dock Committee as to the want of accommodation, &c. He said they had done so. "At the time we were removed from the north, we made every remonstrance. We said everything we could; but we were told that we must turn out, and that if we would accept the price of old bricks for our buildings, we might have it. They even stopped a vessel which was being built, and put us to considerable loss on account of its not being finished at the proper time". Witness formerly had some land to the north of the present Sandon Graving-docks; it was the best boiler-yard in Great Britain; but the Dock Committee wanted possession, and bought him out. That site was unquestionably the most convenient for their trade in Liverpool. There was no land at the south so appropriate as that at the north for boiler-making. "As to shipbuilding, it is no matter to us whether it is at the north, south, east, or west, so far as we are concerned; but to send men from the south to the north to do a little repairing would cost more than it was worth".
Mr. PRESTON said his house had been engaged in the engineering business for fifty years. Employed now 400 men; formerly from 900 to 1,000. Once, about three-fourths of their work was for marine purposes; now he should say only one-fourth. He concurred generally in the statements of Mr. M'Gregor.
Mr. NEILL, the secretary, and Mr. LINACRE, the president of the Liverpool Shipwrights' Association, were next put under examination. The object of the association was, Mr Neill said, to relieve and assist the sick and distressed, adding, "that is our main object, but we look after the interest of our trade, of course." During the last twelve months there had been more vessels built here than on an average of former years. In May, 1844, when the society was formed, there were 1,500 shipwrights in it; on the same month this year the number on the books was 1,592. No one can get into the society unless he has served a legal apprenticeship of seven years. The great bulk of persons brought up in the Liverpool yards are not indentured at all, probably not one in 100. The workmen had repeatedly urged upon the masters the propriety of having the lads bound to them, for the present system was ruinous to all parties. There are above 600 apprentices in town. Boys are often employed to do work which men only can well do. The keen competition amongst masters was causing the work to be worse done than it once was. The apprentices brought up in the pitch-pot yards would not, of course, make as good journeymen as those employed in the shipbuilding yards. Out of the 1,592 men, there were at the present time only 145 employed in shipbuilding, and this day six months there might not be forty. Mr. Neill supplied the following interesting fact in reference to the working of the benefit society in which he is interested: "When work is slack there is an increased expenditure on the sick-list of about £10 a-week. Men sham ill. They fall like pigeons. We regulate the amount of pay according to the demand. If we had a fixed amount of pay we should have been bankrupt long ago. If work is good, we pay the sick members 6s. a-week; if it is slack, we pay them only 4s. a-week. In slack times men never leave the town." The CHAIRMAN asked: To prevent strangers coming to the port, have you any law or regulation? Mr. NEILL: "No; it is a mere verbal communication between man and man. There is nothing put on record, as it might be injurious to ourselves. No one pretends to force another; each man forms his own resolution". There are 600 journeymen shipwrights in Liverpool who have not served their time in the town; but have been admitted to the society as they have had seven years' practice here. He said that colonial-built ships gave most work. They were knocked together so as to be brought over, and then finished here. The foreign ships did no good; and it was a common remark for the men to make, when the Queen's Dock was full of foreigners, "that is a sign of slack times". Carpenters' wages were 6s. in London, and 4s. in Sunderland and Glasgow. The workmen had no particular objection to the north end on account of its exposure; they would put up with all disadvantages.
Mr. GARDNER, blockmaker, was amongst the witnesses. He stated it was desirable, for those in his department of the business, that there should be more shipbuilding, as, generally, vessels were fitted out where they were built. Newcastle sent over here, wholesale, so many blocks as to injure the local market. Steam power was now employed in their manufacture. Were there more shipbuilding here, he thought the Liverpool blockmakers would erect steam appliances. He attributed the success of blockmaking in Sunderland to the extent of business which those in the trade had there. Blockmakers, generally, made the spars of a vessel, the jiggers, pumps, winches, &c.; but owing to their having nothing better on hand, the shipbuilders often make them. There is a club of blockmakers in the town, numbering some 112 men. Their wages are 26s. a-week. There are, altogether, about 136 journeymen in Liverpool, and about 138 apprentices. The number of master blockmakers in the town has increased very slightly since 1834. In the year 1834, there were thirty-three in the town, in 1843, thirty-nine; and in 1849, thirty-six. The trade has been about stationary since 1834, and this notwithstanding the fact that the tonnage of the port has increased threefold. He had done nothing for foreign vessels during the last six or seven years, except American. Mr. Gardner stated that those in his trade had been annoyed and put to much inconvenience in consequence of the Wapping Dock operations, owing to which they have been obliged to leave their old stands and go elsewhere. If the shipbuilding trade flourished, they, as a branch of it, would, of course, flourish also.
Mr. BIBBY, rope and sail maker gave evidence in respect to that department of the business. It was, so far as the immediate object of the inquiry went, very similar to Mr. Gardner's. The whole cost of cordage and sails, for a new ship of from 500 to 600 tons, would be about £800. Sailmakers earn 50 per cent more than the best of ropemakers. A good workman in the former occupation will earn 40s. a-week.
MR. BRADLEY, MR. SAVAGE, and Mr. JONES, a deputation from the Liverpool Houseowners' Guardian Society, were then called in, and gave evidence chiefly as to the loss which Liverpool might suffer if shipbuilding were removed to Birkenhead. Their evidence, although valuable in itself, may properly enough be omitted from our abstract.
Mr. JESSE HARTLEY, the veteran dock surveyor, was next examined. He gave it as his opinion that, as there was not sufficient space, either the timber trade or the shipbuilding must leave the south. In reference to the north, and the proposed removal of the timber trade there, Mr. Hartley said, "I do not consider myself capable of judging what room is necessary, for the wants of the timber trade. Seeing that everybody gave an opinion on the subject, I never troubled my head about it". If both the timber trade and shipbuilding were removed to the north, the sea wall would have to be carried on to the Rimrose. He did not consider that the plot of land near the Sandon Dock was at all applicable for shipbuilding. Mr. Hartley said he could not point out any place on the Dock Estate suitable for it. He knew nothing of anybody's affairs but his own. He was asked, "Suppose the timber trade to go elsewhere than the south end, which is the best site for shipbuilders?" and answered, "I should say the Harrington Estates. Take all the timber to the north end, and you cannot do better than put the shipbuilders there. If you take the timber trade to the south, you must accommodate the shipbuilding at the north, but not south of the Fort". He stated that it would not be well to let the public graving-docks to private parties, as by that means a sort of monopoly or favouritism would be established. To attach graving-docks to shipwrights' yards was most desirable. The exposure at the north talked of was nothing: there was no more exposure there than elsewhere. Mr. Hartley stated, as the result of his observations, that westerly winds do not prevail so much as formerly. He said, "Now, if we have a very heavy blow, it is invariably from the west and southwest."
Alderman J. BRAMLEY-MOORE was the last witness. He stated that the new north docks had been commenced with the view, chiefly, of accommodating shipbuilding and the timber trade. To show the want of dock accommodation when the works begin, he stated, that the docks were so crowded that they were working about 25,000 tons to the acre of water space, and it was almost impossible to pass a vessel through the Prince's Dock. The Prince's Dock alone works upwards of 300,000 tons per annum, whilst in London they do not work more than 5,000 tons to the acre. He defended the removals to which the shipbuilders had been subjected, on the ground of public necessity, and denied that an injurious precipitancy had in any case been used. He stated that, when Mr. Wilson was removed in the way to which he had referred, he was at some pains, personally, to find him good accommodation elsewhere; and he was not only well accommodated, but had his land at the lowest possible rental, lower, perhaps, than the Dock Committee were warranted in taking, as they might have got a higher rent for the land for other purposes. Mr. Wilson was also offered a lease of it for twenty-one years. Mr. Moore continued: "If there has been any abuse, so far as accommodation of the shipbuilding trade goes, it lies before my time; and especially with the Finance Committee of the day, whoever they may have been, and the Corporation, in appropriating such a place as the tobacco warehouses on the margin of the river, and other similar places". It was intended at one time to accommodate the shipbuilders to the north of Sandon Basin, but the project was knocked on the head by the construction of seventy-six-feet beam steamers. It was never intended to charge at the north end for the storage of timber more than threepence a yard. Mr. Moore said, if he had the power, he would reduce the whole of the rents of the timber-yards at the south end of the town, because he conceived it was the interest of the Dock Committee to do so, so long as the trade remained in that locality. He, individually, did not consider, however, that the shipbuilding interest were entitled to land at the north for threepence a yard; that trade required costly slips, &c. He thought that public graving-docks were a great advantage to shipbuilding. The want of extra ones here had sometimes driven foreigners elsewhere.
This interesting colloquy then occurred: Mr. HORNBY: I wish to know if, in your opinion, public graving-docks are advantageous to the port, compared with graving-docks in each private shipbuilding yard? Mr. MOORE: Public graving-docks are decidedly advantageous, and a convenience to the port. Mr. HORNBY: It has been stated that the existence of public graving-docks has been one cause of the destruction of the shipbuilding trade here. Mr. MOORE: It is possible for that to be, too. I am giving an opinion here with great reserve. If I were a shipbuilder, I would prefer having a graving-dock in my own yard, particularly if it was made for me at the cost of the Corporation. I should be too glad to have it without sinking capital, and thus obviate waiting two or three weeks or more for a turn to get into the public graving-docks. Mr. Moore said, (we give all points of general interest) "I had suffered much anxiety relative to the Coburg Dock. I would not have a dock of that sort with one pair of gates. When they were constructed, they were not constructed with any idea of accommodating so many large steamers. There was nothing like the value at stake. These steamers sprung up all at once. You have half-a-million's worth almost depending on the chains and a single pair of gates".
This closed the evidence. The report founded upon it we gave last week.

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Progress in building new ship-yards at Birkenhead.

[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 16 April 1855]:
BIRKENHEAD NEW GRAVING DOCKS AND SHIPBUILDING SLIPS. - The scene of activity which for several months past added an appearance of vitality to the otherwise comparatively forlorn shore, south of the Woodside slip, gives promise of the day yet destined to brighten over the future of Birkenhead. The new graving-docks and shipbuilding-slips, which are rapidly drawing towards completion, when finished will give a permanency to an important trade that has clung to the port in spite of the obstacles that have been thrown in its way; while they will afford facilities for repairing vessels of unusually large capacity which would otherwise be compelled to look for accommodation elsewhere. The want of graving-docks of adequate dimensions to meet the requirements of the large ocean steamers that will ere long visit the port in connexion with the British and North American and United States mail service, will be removed; while the local shipbuilders will not only be in a better position to compete with their active neighbours on the Clyde, but will be prepared to execute work for the Admiralty as expeditiously and as well as any other shipbuilders in the country. By the adaptation of travelling cranes, and railways running the whole length of the works, and with the addition of other facilities, these docks will be the most complete in the country. Our readers are already in possession of the main facts that Mr. John Laird, the successful iron shipbuilder of Birkenhead and Liverpool, Mr. Clover, and Mr. Clayton, have entered into an agreement with the Corporation of Liverpool, to take the new docks on lease for a term of years; but the dimensions of the docks and building slips have not hitherto been accurately or fully explained. Before descending to these details, we should premise that the important works have been planned by Mr. James Abernethy, C.E., of London, and are being carried on under the personal superintendence of his brother, Mr. George Abernethy, C.E., the contractors being Messrs. Lee, Son, and Freeman, of London, of whom Mr. Freeman is the resident partner at Birkenhead. The works are being prosecuted under two contracts by the same firm, the first comprising the execution and completion of Messrs. Clover and Clayton's graving-docks, building-slips, and yards; and the second, the more extensive docks of Mr. Laird. The following are the dimensions of the new docks and yards:
Mr. LAIRD'S. [length of dock and width of gates in feet)
1 Graving Dock 450 85;
1 Graving Dock or Building Dock 420 72;
1 Graving Dock or Building Dock 365 64;
1 Graving Dock or Building Dock 318 59;
Total length 1553; Area of building-yard, 39,000 yards.
Mr. CLOVER'S.
1 Graving Dock 390 84;
1 Building or Graving Dock 300 52;
1 Building or Graving Dock 220 44;
Total length 910; Area of building-yard, 16,000 yards.
Mr. CLAYTON'S.
1 Graving Dock 376 84;
1 Building or Graving Dock 300 52;
1 Building or Graving Dock 220 44;
Total length 896; Area of building-yard, 16,000 yards.
The works are proceeding with satisfactory expedition, and we may safely predict their completion before the close of the year. Indeed, it is confidently expected that they will be finished by the latter end of July or the beginning of August. In the three yards, there are between 1,100 and 1,200 men at work, night and day, besides between fifty and sixty powerful draught horses, not to mention the three engines of twelve horse-power each, which are constantly hoisting waggons up the inclines, as the excavations are being made, and grinding the blue lias from the Halkin mountains into mortar, its principal recommendations being its great cohesive power and its hydraulic property, which enables it to set even under water.
Proceeding first to the south end of Mr. Clayton's yard, we find that the excavations for the graving dock - which is cut out of a solid bed of the new red sandstone - is nearly taken out; that the river wall in front, built of the best blocks of stone removed from the excavation, is being closed in; that a portion of the side steps are hewn out of the solid rock; and that a large portion of the side masonry is put in, the whole being composed of red sandstone, with the exception of the quoins for the cassoons and the dock sills, which will be of the best Cornish granite, the smallest block of which weighs about 51 tons. To the north of the graving dock, and running parallel with it, are the two building slips, both of which are in an advanced stage. Vessels will be built on the bottom of the slip, the water being excluded by booms, or logs of wood let into a groove. When the operation of building is completed, the booms will be taken out at low water, and the new ships will float out with the next tide. While this mode of committing the vessel to its native element will remove the risk which is necessarily attendant on every launch, it will also divest the operation of the interest so much excited by an event of this description, and will reduce it to the level of all other ordinary matter-of-fact operations. There is but little difference to be observed in the state of the works in the adjoining yard of Mr. Clover, the same activity keeping pace with the operations at the neighbouring yard.
At Mr. Laird's works, which occupy almost as great an area as those of both his neighbours, the chief portion of the excavations for the large graving-dock is taken out; the greater part of the masonry executed; a very large portion of the river wall completed, and the stage is about to be commenced for prosecuting the remainder; while the largest of the three building-slips is all but finished, and the smaller ones are in an advanced state. In these docks, as well as in those of Messrs. Clover and Clayton, all the steps, timber slides, and quoins for the cassoons will be of Cornish granite. The cassoons are being manufactured by Mr. Dagleish, of St. Helen's. As the waste rubbish and stone are removed from the excavations, a portion is conveyed to a field at the head of Tranmere Pool, and thrown into the lower grounds which collect stagnant water and cause nauseous effluvia to arise in warm weather. These places are thus being brought to a level with the road, and transferred from dangerous plague spots to valuable sites for future building operations. The remaining rubbish is carried to the north side of the yard and by a tramway crossing a temporary bridge above the Monk's Ferry slip, for the purpose of building the river wall for the railway company, further into the river, in compliance with the regulations for the conservancy of the Mersey.
The Corporation are laying out the land south of Mr. Laird's works for graving-docks and building-slips. It is capable of being appropriated to three docks, having a total length of 1,100 feet, making, with those now being constructed, about 4,500 lineal feet of graving-dock accommodation, or about fifty per cent. more than the six London graving-docks, which are about 500 feet long each. The three largest graving-docks will admit the "Cunard" or "Collins," or the largest and broadest steamships built, or being built, with the exception of the Leviathan, at Mr. Scott Russell's. The cost of these docks will be £80.000; so that an immense addition to the commercial facilities of the port will be brought into play at a small cost, and in the most central and sheltered situation in the river. Mr. Laird's largest dock is equal to the new graving dock at Southampton, so much be-puffed when projected, and which has been constructed at a cost of £50,000, more than one-half the outlay required for the ten docks above described. The Corporation, owning the shore beyond the Birkenhead Ferry, have it in their power to afford graving-dock accommodation of the best kind, and to any requisite extent for years to come, and at a smaller cost to themselves than by the appropriation of any other part of the river; while, by doing so, they furnish facilities in a central situation, opposite the principal docks on the Liverpool side, and completely sheltered from the strong, westerly winds, instead of vessels being compelled to seek them, miles away at the north end, in what is notoriously known to be the most exposed and objectionable part of the river. They not only, by this means, increase the advantages of the port, but lay the foundation for receiving an ample rental for that which now yields comparatively little. Their land extends from Monk's Ferry, round to Tranmere Pool, and the whole is applicable to purposes of this kind.
We have alluded to the importance of this subject to the Corporation, and consequently to the inhabitants of Liverpool. But there is another and no less cogent reason why we rejoice to witness the prosecution of these works. Birkenhead will be a considerable gainer; for it is impossible to imagine that the remuneration received by the 2,000 men employed by Mr. Laird has not an important bearing upon the prosperity of Birkenhead. Those 2,000 men, judging from the rate of wages paid to iron shipbuilders, represent a weekly sum of from £2,500 to £3,000 which is put into immediate circulation in the town, week by week, and supposing that the two yards of Messrs. Clover and Clayton employ an equal amount of labour, at the same rate of remuneration, that sum of £3,000 becomes £6,000, portions of which find their way into every shop in the town, and so the whole passes into rapid and benefical circulation.
The advantages of private docks, for the purposes of building and repairing ships of any capacity, are so numerous that their bare enumeration would exhaust the only remaining space we have at command; but if there are any more striking than others, they are that tools and machinery are always at hand for urgent use; that regular sets of workmen are constantly employed by one master; that the apprentice system, which, under its present regime, has been found to work injuriously upon the building trade of the port, could be fairly and equitably carried out; and that these, with other attendant desiderata, would materially reduce the cost of building and repairs, and so increase the facilities of the port.

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