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Firth of Forth, Scotland
Galloway Saloon Steam Packet Co
Notes kindly added by Gillon Ferguson

The excursion trade was dominated by the Galloway Saloon Steam Packet Company. Despite having a variety of owners the management was almost always in the hands of a member of the Galloway family which gave continuity.  In 1891 the majority of shares was obtained by the North British Steam Packet Company acting for the NBR and by 1901 all the shares were in their hands and later a NBR director became chairman so that the company became to all intents and purposes a subsidiary of the NBR. In most seasons an extensive programme was provided both to the outer Firth and upriver a far as Stirling.  After the Caledonian railway bridge at Alloa was opened in 1884 upriver steamers had to have telescopic funnels. The “Bread and butter “ sailing was however the ferry service from the Edinburgh piers to Aberdour but after the Forth Bridge was  built this became triangular to serve Queensferry.

Above : Stirling Castle of 1899

Historical Notes and Paddle Steamers
John Galloway and partner Donald McGregor began to use the paddle tug Carrs for summer excursions between Leith and Aberdour in 1863

Lord Aberdour (1866-1900)

built in 1866 by Aitken & Mansell, Glasgow /J Aitken & Co : 142 feet long  - Single oscillating  engines - 130 GRT

The first purely excursion steamer on the Firth and the first with  deck saloons. One funnel aft of paddleboxes.  
Fitted with telescopic funnel and hinged masts  to pass under Alloa Bridge in 1884
Broken up at Granton 1900

Galloway died in 1869 and by 1876 McGregor had sold out to John Kidd. Galloway's son Matthew, a ship's chandler in Leith managed the business

Lord Elgin (1876-1881) 

built in 1876 by Richardson Duck & Co  at Middlesbrough :  160 feet x 20 feet : Compound Diagonal engines 22 and 42 x 42 in  by T Richardson & Sons - 203 GRT

Single funnel forward of the paddles with raised quarterdeck. Her machinery was advanced for the time   
Sold 1881 to Bournemouth Swanage & Poole S P Co and in 1909 to the Southampton & Isle of Wight RMSP Co  who converted her into a flush decked cargo steamer 
When finally withdrawn in 1955 she was by a long margin the last cargo paddle steamer in the British Isles

Lord Mar  (1876-1879) 

built in 1876 by Richardson Duck & Co  at Middlesbrough :  160 feet x 20 feet : Compound Diagonal engines 22 and 42 x 42 in  by T Richardson & Sons - 203 GRT

Sister ship to Lord Elgin. Sold in 1879 a private owner in Pernambuco, Brazil

In 1879 John Kidd died and a new consortium, the Forth River Steam Shipping Company, was established with Matthew Galloway one of the shareholders 

Lord Morton (1883-1918) 

built by S & H Morton, Leith  : 169 feet (later extended to 181 feet x 21 feet : Single diagonal Engines  -   186, increasing to 220 GRT

Twin funnels ahead of the paddle boxes.  Narrow saloons fore and aft. Said initially to be down by the head but this was cured by lengthening by Hawthorn`s at  Leith in 1900
Sold to the Admiralty 1918 but blown up in the White Sea to avoid capture

Above : Post card view of Lord Morton at Aberdour

Stirling Castle (I) (1884-1898)

built in 1884 by S & H Morton, Leith - 160 feet x20 feet : Single diagonal engine -  160 GRT

A smaller version of Lord Morton.   Given telescopic funnels . Sold to Constantinople in 1898

The consortium was reconstituted as the Galloway Saloon Steam Packet Company in 1886

The programme was expanded to include Portobello, Elie and North Berwick and new tonnage ordered with Galloway assisted Thomas Aitken, one of the company's shareholders

Edinburgh Castle  (1886-1918)

built in 1886 by J Scott, Kinghorn : 160 feet x 20 feet ;   Single diagonal engine  : 158 GRT

Single telescopic funnel.   Full width after saloon.  Reboilered in 1897 and later fitted with normal funnel
1918 sold to the Admiralty and eventually blown up in White Sea with Lord Morton

Tantallon Castle (I) (1887-1898) 

built in  1887 by S & H Morton, Leith  : 190 , `later 202 feet x 21 feet : Single diagonal engine : 240, later 257 GRT

Flagship of the fleet.  Full width saloons .  Lengthened in 1895 to improve performance
Sold for use by the Ottoman Steamship Company at Constantinople in 1898 as Ferrah.

The North British Railway took a 62% stake in the company in 1889, concerned about the increased competition with its rail services, but the company remained operationally independent under Galloway's control. Although new tonnage appeared in 1899, the company's finances were always worrying to the railway company and there remained a battle between Galloway and the railway company's appointed directors regarding the company's future and its investments.

Wemyss Castle (ex Gareloch) (1891-1906)  

built in 1872  by H Murray & Co/ J Rowan  :  180 feet x 18 feet : Single oscillating engine : 172 GRT

Built for North British Steam Packet Co's Clyde services. Transferred after NB gained control
Raised quarter deck without deck saloons but faster than the other ships
Scrapped 1906 

Tantallon Castle (II) (1899-1901) 

built in 1899 J Scott, Kinghorn : 210 feet x 25 feet : Compound diagonal engine : 333 GRT

Full deck saloons and two funnels forward of paddles. 
Sold for use in Sussex as Sussex Belle, North Wales as Rhos Colwyn and then to Bristol channel as Westonia. In 1911 she entered  the fleet of P & A Campbell as Tintern and was reboilered with one funnel
Sold to Portugal 1913 for a further ten years service as Alentajo

Stirling Castle (II) (1899-1907) 

built in  1899 by J Scott Kinghorn  : 174 feet x 24 feet :  Compound diagonal disconnecting engines  : 271 GRT

A smaller version of  Tantallon Castle with a single telescopic funnel
Sold to the 
Southampton, Isle of Wight & South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company in 1907 and sunk on war service off Malta in 1916

The company had hoped to purchase a new turbine steamer but the cost was vetoed by the North British Railway, but a smaller vessel, the SS Roslin Castle (1906-8), a screw steamer, joined the fleet

Redgauntlet (1909 -1917) 

built in 1895 by Barclay Curle & Co, 215 feet x 22 feet : Single diagonal engine : 277 GRT

Former North British Railway Clyde steamer transferred to the Galloway company. Faster than other steamers and was successful but the hull had to be strengthened for service on the Forth. Sold to the Admiralty in 1917 and later to Algeria

The 1913 season was the last before Matthew Galloway died. His son John succeeded him, but immediately faced the First World War and its consequences which eventually put paid to the company's hopes

Duchess of Buccleugh  

built in 1915 by A & J Inglis, Pointhouse, Glasgow  : 225 feet x 288 feet : Compound diagonal engines : 450 GRT

Taken over by the Admiralty whilst on the stocks.  Scrapped 1923


Railway and other steamers by Duckworth and Langmuir :   Shipping Histories 1948
Steamers of the Forth by  Ian Brodie  : David and Charles 1976
Steamers of the Forth  by Ian Brodie  : Vol 1 – Ferry crossings and river sailings :  Vol 2 – Firth services and excursions :   Stenlake Publishing

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