Firth of Clyde Steam Packet Co. Ltd.

By on Jan 15, 2017 in Broomielaw, Clyde River and Firth, Dunoon, Eagle III, Isle of Arran 1892, Ivanhoe, Lady Rowena, Madge Wildfire, Rothesay | 3 comments

The history of the steamer Ivanhoe has featured in earlier articles, up to the point when she was laid up in 1906 by the Caledonian Steam Packet Co. Ltd. As the new century progressed, the pollution that characterized the upper Clyde began to be ameliorated and there was renewed interest in sailing from the heart of Glasgow. Shipyards on the Clyde were also experiencing full order books and sailing “doon the water” allowed the denizens of the city to see the latest developments that would make the Clyde known throughout the world. It was to accommodate this need that Captain Cameron brought out the Meg Merrilies and the Lady Rowena, and in 1911, the Ivanhoe was brought out of retirement.

Ivanhoe in her 1911 color scheme

The Firth of Clyde Steam Packet Co. Ltd. was registered on 16th February 1911 with a nominal capital of £6,000 and purchased, for £4,000 from the Caledonian Company, their steamer Ivanhoe that had been laid up in the West Harbour of Greenock since the end of the 1906 season. By the end of the month she was refurbished internally at Port Glasgow and the company announced that she would be available for charter in April and May and would sail from the Broomielaw to Rothesay in the upcoming season. She appeared with white funnels and black paddle boxes.

Glasgow Herald, April 14, 1911

Glasgow Herald, July 6, 1911

Under Captain McPhedran, Ivanhoe sailed on Good Friday, 14th April, from the Broomielaw at 10:20 a.m. for Govan, Renfrew, Bowling, Princes Pier, Kirn, Dunoon, Innellan and Rothesay with a cruise to the Kyles of Bute and Loch Riddon. Starting in May, this became her regular route although a call at Gourock was added from July and the cruise from Rothesay was varied–two days a week to the Kyles, two to Loch Striven, and two round Cumbrae–the same destinations as Buchanan’s Isle of Arran although the two steamers did not visit the same destinations on the same day. In this first season, Ivanhoe did not sail on Sundays.

Glasgow Herald, June 27, 1912

Ivanhoe and Eagle III at the Broomielaw

Ivanhoe at Rothesay (Valentine)

The 1912 season saw Ivanhoe with a narrow black band around the top of her funnels. The same schedule was followed with a change in the time of sailing to 10:30 in July.

Ivanhoe (Robertson, Gourock)

Glasgow Herald, June 6, 1913

The next year, 1913, Ivanhoe offered a series of short cruises in May and again her regular sailings, with a 10:40 start in July. On some Wednesdays, in place of the cruise from Rothesay, she sailed to Princes Pier and back, offering the option of an earlier return to Glasgow by rail for passengers.

Ivanhoe at Rothesay (Judges)

Ivanhoe approaching Dunoon

That year Ivanhoe was chosen for charters by the Royal Northern Yacht Club during the Clyde Fortnight and she also sailed for the first time on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. although she did not offer the sale of alcohol, in tune with her earlier tee-total principles. Buchanan’s Sunday sailings left at 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., while Lady Rowena departed at 11:30 a.m.

Ivanhoe in Rothesay Bay

In 1914 Ivanhoe appeared for the early part of the season but on 9th June, it was reported that she had been sold to Turbine Steamers Ltd. to act as consort to Lord of the Isles.

Glasgow Herald, July 17, 1914 with Ivanhoe sailing under the management of John Williamson


  1. mike

    February 5, 2018

    Post a Reply

    Hi ,I bought at a car boot sale a wooden item that looks old and might be connected with the company.It is about two foot long ,ten inch wide and 5 inch deep .It is painted and has the words CLYDE STEAM PACKET COY ,in gold lettering. Near the top there is an oblong area cut into the wood with a small shelf built inside.
    Can you tell me the purpose of it please
    Clyde Steam Packet Coy box

    • valeman

      February 12, 2018

      Post a Reply

      Mike: I’m not sure what the box is for. I suspect it might not be connected with the Firth of Clyde Steam Packet Co as it looks earlier. There was a Clyde Screw Steam Packet Coy that sailed across the Atlantic in the 1850s. At a guess it might be a box to deposit used tickets. It is a most unusual item. Perhaps others might have a better idea. Graham

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *