:  The Internet's leading website for Side-Wheeled Paddle Steamers

Firth of Clyde, Scotland
Wemyss Bay Steamboat Co
Incorporated in 1862, the company was established to provide steamer connections from Wemyss Bay for the Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway Company which was about to open services to the coastal village. An order was placed for three vessels in anticipation of the railway opening, one of which was sold off the stocks at Caird's yard for blockade running in the American Civil War. The first vessel, PS Largs was launched in September of 1864, followed by the larger PS Kyles in the following month. The railway opened in May 1865 and the vessels which had been run from Glasgow as an interim measure, sailed to Wemyss Bay from Lamlash and Tighnabruaich to meet the morning commuter service to Glasgow. Daytime services included Rothesay / Kyles and Millport / Largs connections from the railhead.

PS Victory was bought from Captain Duncan Stewart and the replacement for the steamer sold to America, PS Bute, arrived from her builders shortly afterwards. Surprisingly, the new tonnage was placed on direct runs to Glasgow whilst connections at Wemyss Bay suffered from poor timekeeping. Under great criticism the company withdrew the direct services to improve the railway connections, but the opening season had been chaotic.

PS Kyles and PS Bute were sold to River Thames owners, the latter sinking 13 years later in the worst coastal pleasure steamer disaster in British history. The almost-new PS Argyle was bought from Duncan Stewart to restore a three-vessel service as originally planned and serving less ambitious destinations.
Despite the changes, the company went into liquidation in early 1869. Largs, Victory and Argyle were bought by James Gillies & Alexander Campbell, owners of PS Venus, and were used in connection with the Wemyss Bay railway until the coming of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company.


Return to
Clyde Companies