Friday, 14 September 2012

Late Victorian & Edwardian Era Scottish Passenger Steamers (Part Three)

This is the third part of my gallery featuring a series of views of late Victorian to Edwardian era Scottish passenger paddle and screw steamers. Sadly few examples of this type of transport remain, let alone in operation.


"S.S. May Queen" on the Forth & Clyde Canal

The "S.S. May Queen" was built by P McGregor & Sons of Kirkintilloch for cruises on the narrow Forth and Clyde canal, being launched on the 13th May 1903. She is recorded as having been sold in 1917 to Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Company, Hepburn-on-Tyne.

A reader has subsequently advised me that, "after being sold to Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Company the S. S. "May Queen" was then sold to the Millom and Askam Hematite Iron Mining Company Limited in 1935, where she was used as a tug for the company on the River Duddon. She was broken up and scrapped in early 1953." My very grateful thanks go to this reader for the update.


The "PS Columba" at Ardrishaig, circa 1890's

The two-funnelled Paddle Steamer "Columba", viewed here at Ardrishaig, had been built by Messrs J & G Thomson in 1878 for David MacBrayne Royal Mail Steamers Ltd. At over 300 feet in length with a curved bow and magnificently fitted out, she was considered one of the most majestic paddle steamers ever built. She remained on the Tarbert to Ardrishaig route for the whole length of her ocean-going service, visiting the latter town 5,600 times. The cream of Victorian and Edwardian society regularly sailed on P.S. Columba as part of the "Royal Route" to shoots and lodges in the Highlands which may account for her high standard of fitting out. Uniquely she carried a Post Office - the first floating Post Office in the United Kingdom - as well as a Barbers. An ornate barometer which graced her Post Office may now be viewed in the Scottish Maritime Museum. After serving for an impressive 58 summers she was sold to the shipbreakers Arnott & Young and scrapped at Dalmuir in March 1936.    


"P.S. The Queen" leaving Tarbert Pier on Loch Lomond

This "oilette" style postcard copy of a painting is believed to portray the Paddle Steamer "The Queen" departing Tarbert Pier on Loch Lomond. "P.S. The Queen", a two cylinder non-compound steamer had been built in 1883 by Caird and Company of Greenock for the North British Steam Packet Company of Ballch, being the first Loch Lomond steamer to be built of steel.
With both the North British Railway and Caledonian Railway Companies having joint ownership of the Vale of Leven stretch of line, both companies had access to Balloch Pier on Loch Lomond. From 1896, when the Caledonian Railway reached Balloch, ownership of the Loch Lomond steamers then fell under "The Dumbarton and Balloch Joint Line Committee". Their steamers sported red funnels with a black top and a new pennant flying from the masthead.
By 1909 the state of "P.S. The Queen" led to thoughts of a replacement, being eventually scrapped in 1910 and broken-up at Balloch about 1911. This postcard is dated 1905.


Passengers waiting for a steamer at Tarbet Pier, Loch Lomond

Further up Loch Lomond lies Tarbet, the village being well placed to the the Arrochar and Tarbet station on the North British Railway line north to Fort William and Mallaig and south to Glasgow. The relatively small Tarbet Village was thus a popular stopping off and arrival point for both railway and steamer passengers. This postcard dates from 1905.


Bibliography :

- Internet Sources 
- All images are from my own personal collections and may be freely copied for non-commercial use provided a link is given back to this page.

2 comments:

  1. After being sold to Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Company the S S "May Queen" was then sold to the Millom and Askam Hematite Iron Mining Company Limited in 1935, where she was used as a tug for the company on the River Duddon. She was broken up and scrapped in early 1953

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    1. Thank you very much for this interesting information. I have amended my Blog accordingly.

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