On This Day

22 January


1881 British King

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The 3,559-ton passenger ship British King (Yard No. 139) was launched today for British Shipowners’ Co. Ltd., Liverpool.

On 29 March the completed vessel left Belfast around 10am in tow of the tug Victor for Liverpool to have her engines fitted by J. Jack & Company. Rounding the Stone Beacon she ran aground.

The accident, it was understood, was due to high winds blowing at the time, together with the difficulty of managing such a large vessel with little way on her in the narrow channel. Three tugs were dispatched to assist getting her off and after a short time she was refloated and under tow once again; but in swinging round the Beacon she grounded once again. She was got off later that evening and was able to resume her voyage to Liverpool.

Towing vessels to the Clyde or the Mersey for engines and boilers to be fitted highlighted the problem of handling ever larger hulls across the Irish Sea and the dangers associated with these these operations, the problem eventually solved by Harland & Wolff opening their own engine building works.


1902 Oswestry Grange

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The 6,592-ton cargo and passenger ship Oswestry Grange (WC&C Yard No. 182) was launched today by Workman, Clark & Co. Ltd., for Houlder Brothers & Co., (Houlder Line). The christening ceremony was performed by Miss Forrester, sister of T. P. W. Forrester, one of directors the Company.

Oswestry Grange, was a sister vessel of Drayton Grange (WC&C Yard No. 181), launched in October 1901, and was of similar dimensions: Length, 450 feet. (between perpendiculars); Breadth of beam. 56 feet; Depth in hold, 53 feet, 4 inches.

The vessel had a shelter-deck running all fore and aft, the holds divided into five watertight compartments, three of which were insulated for carrying frozen meat (up to 150,000 carcasses of mutton).

Passenger accommodation was provided amidships, arranged in a large steel deckhouse, containing a spacious dining saloon and large staterooms and overhead a ‘splendid’ unobstructed promenade deck, on which was situated a ‘handsome’ smoking-room. A complete installation of electric light was fitted throughout rooms, holds, and machinery spaces and the passengers' quarters were warmed by a steam heating system. Oswestry Grange was intended to run in the Company’s regular service to Australia, Cape and River Plate and was expected to be be ready take up sailings in April.


1970 Bulk carrier

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The 17,180-ton bulk carrier La Pampa (Yard No. 1678) was launched today for Buries Markes Ltd.