Canadian Pacific Steamships on the Clyde

on Sep 4, 2017

The ships of the Canadian Pacific Line were well known on the Clyde, transporting Scots to and from Canada. The company also had deeper ties, coming to the shipyards on the river for many of the fine vessels for their Atlantic and Pacific routes as well as those for coastal and lake services. What follows in this article is a brief photographic record of many of the fine ships both on the Clyde and at other locations. It is by no means comprehensive in its coverage of Company. The Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1886. In 1891, the Pacific Mail contract was awarded to the Canadian Pacific Railway and they had three liners built by Vickers Naval Construction and Armament Co., at Barrow for the service from Vancouver to Japan, China and Hong Kong. The first of the three vessels was named Empress of Japan and she was followed by her sisters the Empress of China and the Empress of...

Yachts

on Aug 24, 2017

The early days of organized yachting on the Clyde date to the formation of the Northern Yacht Club at Rothesay in 1824. Almost immediately, the club hosted an annual regatta, initially alternating between Belfast Lough and the Clyde. The club gained a Royal Charter in 1830, becoming the Royal Northern Yacht Club. A glance at the Glasgow and sporting newspapers in late summer in the 1830s and 1840s reveals the intense interest in the “Clyde Regatta” and the yacht races. In the 1838 regatta held at Gourock at the end of July in the 25 tonner class Matthew Perston’s Wave, built by Robert Steele at Greenock in 1834, found success over James Smith’s Amethyst and James Macnair’s revolutionary Cyclops that was iron hulled to water line and built in 1836. Robert Kerr’s Falcon was fourth while Andrew Wauchope’s Nancy did not finish. Smaller yachts in the 10 tonner class featured a contest...

Glasgow Docks

on Aug 5, 2017

A brief timeline The early efforts to deepen the River Clyde for navigation relied on the construction of groynes or jetties into the river to constrain the channel and use the natural scouring and deepening effect of the tides and the river flow. The effect was enhanced by joining the ends of the jetties by stone walls. By the middle of the 1830s the channel was deep enough to allow coastal steamers access to the Broomielaw but the narrowness of the channel was a major limitation to the development of Glasgow as a port. Compounding the problems was the expansion of industry on the reclaimed land lining the banks of the river. By 1840, the harbour extended from the Broomielaw Bridge encompassing the Broomielaw though Anderson on the north bank and Windmillcroft on the south bank. The steamboat quay was situated at the western end of the harbour on the north bank where there was a...

Renfrew Ferry

on Jul 10, 2017

Marlin Ford, about five miles down the Clyde from the center of Glasgow allowed people and livestock to wade across the river when the tide was low. For those who had more urgent business or were unwilling to get their feet wet, there was also a ferry and the rights ferry were granted to the burgh of Renfrew from the time of the charter making Renfrew a Royal Burgh in 1614. The land on both sides of the river was part of Renfrewshire. The land to the south of the ferry formed King’s Inch and in 1760, the tobacco lord, Alexander Spiers acquire the ground on which he built his Elderslie Estate. It was Spier’s son, Archibald, who approached the Renfrew Town Council with a plan to re-site the ferry about half a mile downstream at the outflow of the Pudzeoch burn. Public access through the estate to the original ferry inn would be curtailed and the estate would furnish a new ferry boat,...

Rothesay Dock

on Jul 4, 2017

When the Clyde Navigation Trust projected a need for a new dock to handle increased coal and mineral traffic in 1898, it chose a site downriver at Clydebank, next to the shipyard of Messrs J. & G. Thomson. The primary need was good rail access and the area was served by both the North British and the Caledonian Railways. The site itself was a difficult one for an engineering works as it was reclaimed land but by sinking a novel system of concrete monoliths, the dock foundations were quickly prepared and dredgers moved in to excavate the dock. It was decided that the dock cranes and hoists should be powered by electricity rather than the hydraulic power used in the docks in Glasgow. This was the first extensive use of electricity for a dock in the country. Early in 1907, the dock was sufficiently well advanced that it could be opened for traffic and the opening ceremony was...

The Latter Years of Iona

on Jun 13, 2017

In the previous article on MacBrayne’s Iona from May 31, 2017, the story left off when Iona had been displaced from the Ardrishaig mail service by Columba and sent to work out of Oban to serve the anticipated increase in traffic when the railway reached the town in 1880. The arrival of the Grenadier allowed Iona to return to the Clyde in 1886 where she provided a second service on the Ardrishaig mail run. Based overnight at Ardrishaig, she sailed for Greenock and the Broomielaw at 5:45 in the morning, making the usual calls at Tarbert, Tighnabruich, Colintraive, Rothesay, Innellan, Dunoon, and Greenock. She made her run from the Broomielaw, leaving at 1:30, and returning to Ardrishaig by the same route. Iona canting at the Broomielaw with Daniel Adamson and Benmore (Annan) Iona and Strathmore at the Broomielaw awaiting the 1:30 departure Iona and Strathmore at the Broomielaw...

Macbrayne’s Fusilier

on Jun 11, 2017

Traffic to the Highlands and Islands through Oban grew rapidly through the 1880s as a result of the connection by rail and the improvements to MacBrayne’s “Royal Route” by steamer from the Clyde. A new steamer was ordered from Messrs Hutson & Corbett of Glasgow and they subcontracted the construction of the hull to the Paisley yard of M‘Arthur & Co. Fusilier was intended for the Portree and Gairloch mail service and it is interesting to note that in the report of her launch in the Glasgow Herald, there is also an article on the meeting of the Crofter’s Commission at Gairloch. Fusilier and Claymore at Portree “On Saturday afternoon Messrs J. M‘Arthur & Co. launched from their shipbuilding yard at Paisley a beautifully modeled paddle-steamer names the Fusilier, which has been built by them for Mr David MacBrayne, and will form a useful addition to his large fleet of West...

Macbrayne’s Grenadier

on Jun 9, 2017

The introduction of Columba by Messrs Hutcheson in 1878 and the subsequent change in management to Messrs David MacBrayne supplied new energy to the tourist services to the Western Highlands and Islands. The former flagship, Iona, was moved to the Oban to Corpach service and the Pioneer was mainly on the important Staffa and Iona cruise station. In 1880, the Callander and Oban Railway was opened in 1880, providing a further spur to the tourist traffic. New tonnage was ordered by the Company, Claymore, for the Glasgow and Stornoway service was built in 1881 and Cavalier for the Glasgow and Inverness service in 1883. David MacBrayne’s niece, Miss Brown, launched Grenadier on Thursday, March 19 of 1885 from the yard of Messrs J. & G. Thomson of Clydebank. The new ship was multi-purpose, designed for the Ardrishaig mail service in winter when Columba was laid up, and excursions out of...