Shipping Notes

This page is currently in the form of notes, and may be written up at a later stage

  • The Lady series of ships frequented Irvine in the mid 20th century - the Lady Tennant (ID #119083, launched in 1904 at Old Kilpatrick for Nobels, and sold on in 1914), the Lady Gertrude Cochrane (ID #119167, launched in 1904 at Bowling as 'Foyers', and renamed by Nobel when purchased in 1910; broken up at Port Glasgow in 1952), the Lady Dorothy (ID #1137808, 578 tons, 1916-1957, broken up at Troon), the Lady Anstruther (Miramar ID #1146285, 527 tons, 1922-1947 after a collision), replaced by a new Lady Anstruther (ID #5201518, 553 tons, originally the Ruth) in 1948, the Lady McGowan (ID #5201697, 690 tons, 1952, sold on in 1977), the Lady Roslin (ID #5201752, 708 tons, 1958, built in Ardrossan, sold on in 1982), and the Lady Helen (built in 1966, bought by ICI in 1976, and scuttled (see next item) in 1985. [Ownership of the ships was by Nobel Explosives Co Ltd, then (1943/44) ICI (Explosives) Ltd, then (1946) Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd.]
  • Nobel's first vessel was a sailing cutter called Jeannie, and was loaded by small boats operating off the beach to which a bogey line carried the explosives. The first steamer was called Maggie, bought second hand in 1874. The Garnock Wharf, opened in 1905, offered improved cargo handling facilities with the newly built Lady Tennant in attendance. The last ship of the fleet was the Lady Helen which was stripped of all fittings and engines, filled with redundant explosives in April 1984, towed out to a deep part of the Atlantic and scuttled. (This paragraph courtesy of John McMillan.)
  • Puffers visiting Irvine (information courtesy of the Scottish Maritime Museum flickr files), included:
    VIC37, a steel screwship built in 1944 with a 2 cyl compound steam, and renamed MV Lady Morven when re-engined with a diesel by Ailsa Troon, in 1966, on being purchased by Irvine Shipping & Trading Co, and
    Anzac, also converted to diesel post 1962, pictured loading bricks for the Hebrides, a sister ship to the Spartan.
  • The whole stock of Irvine shipyard went under the auctioneer's hammer on Monday 4 April 1881, raising £315. Mr John Parker conducted the sale and there was a large attendance of buyers. The present partners, reported the local press that week, do not intend to carry on the business further, and the dock will either be sold or let at a certain sum per annum.
  • Irvine Harbour weekly report 17/1/1890: Imports: grain 230 tons, limestone 225 tons, salt 145 tons, s. coal 142 tons (what is s. coal?), limeshells 110 tons, moulding sand 64 tons, iron ore 42 tons, ballast 34 tons, total 992 tons. Exports: coal 2521 tons, pig-iron 465 tons, meal 13 tons, fireclay goods 3 tons, Total 3002 tons. ('Irvine Herald')
  • At the monthly meeting of the Irvine Harbour Trust "Mr Dickie reported that along with the Harbour Master he had seen some of the railway officials in Glasgow in reference to a complaint by the Trustees already alluded to. They expected to learn further on the subject from the company." Also, "A letter was read from Mr John Smith & Son with reference to the depth of water at the bar, which was insufficient for their trade in . . . <quote to be completed from print-out, IJD>
    [Footnote: On one occasion in 1890 the 'Irvine Herald' reporter commented that there was a general problem, in reporting meetings, of how to separate the Harbour Trust and the Town Council, the Trust being mainly composed of councillors; he reported that "members had to give up the attempt".
  • Irvine Harbour weekly report 16/4/1881: Imports: limestone 623 tons, other items 344 tons. Exports: coal 1011 tons, other items 240 tons.
  • Irvine Harbour weekly report 24/1/1890: Imports: limestone 185 tons, whiting 53 tons, moulding sand 30 tons, total 268 tons. Exports: coal 2619 tons (no other items). ('Irvine Herald')
  • Irvine Harbour weekly report 7/2/1890: Imports: grain 478 tons, slates 259 tons, limestone 201 tons, scrap iron 90 tons, iron ore 50 tons, ballast 5 tons, total 1083 tons. Exports: coal 3522 tons, pitch 190 tons, total 3712 tons. ('Irvine Herald') - These three weekly reports are typical of their time.
  • Irvine Harbour Trust report 14/2/1890: Mr Dickie had written to the Lanarkshire & Ayrshire Railway Company regarding the deposits of sand and other materials at Irvine bar - owing to the building of the new bridges on the new railway and the diversion of the River Garnock, considerable quantities of sand and other materials had been carried down. The Harbour Trust held the company liable for any loss or damage sustained through this deposit. The company answered that the bar at Irvine was at least three miles distant from the company's works at the River Garnock and it was absurd to allege that these works could cause damage to the bar at Irvine harbour. The Provost replied that there would be no further complaint in the meantime as the deposit had been removed.
  • Coal stealing, Feb., 1890: Messrs John Smith & Co., coal agents, had written about the practice of stealing coal at the harbour. The proposal to employ an extra policeman was not carried because the shippers refused to pay one-third of the cost. The company replied that they had already paid rates for police protection of their goods and that if the Bailies of Irvine Police Court would do their duty and give the offenders 60 days' imprisonment instead of imposing a fine of 2s6d [12.5p] or 5s [25p] there would be less coal stealing at the harbour. ('Irvine Herald') A 20th century comment is that "nobody down the harbour bought coal." (Full. Hist. Soc. member) Later in 1890, two girls who had stolen 11 lb of coal were sentenced to a fine of 7s6d [37.5p] or 5 days imprisonment.
  • Dredging report for Feb., 1890: During the month, there had been 1,025 tons dredged from the harbour. There were 13 to 14 feet (4m) of water on the bar at high tide, and 4 feet (1.2m) at low water.
  • Irvine Harbour weekly report 21/2/1890: Imports: limestone 213 tons, scrap iron 240 tons, limeshells 109 tons, grain 130 tons, total 692 tons. Exports: coal 2424 tons (no other items). ('Irvine Herald')
  • Irvine Harbour weekly report 28/2/1890: Imports: limestone 372 tons, limeshells 108 tons, grain 185 tons, rock salt 51 tons, ballast 91 tons, total 807 tons. Exports: coal 3362 tons, pig iron 460 tons, total 4629 tons. ('Irvine Herald'; we wonder why ballast was totalled on this, and other, occasions)
  • The Harbour Trust item in the 'Irvine Herald' of 14/3/1890 reports a discussion as to why imports have decreased. The Provost suggested the cause was the taking over [by the Trust] of Henderson's Wharf, but Bailie Armour replied, "No - that has been beneficial." ex-Bailie McLachlan suggested the reason was the action of the Dean of Guild Court in introducing new procedures [though these are unstated]. ex-Bailie Orr suggested that the raising of the dues had frightened traders away.
    [Footnote: Bailie Armour was proprietor of the Doura Fire-Clay Co, two miles NE of Irvine, where they raised their own coals as well as the clay, employing 50 workers.]
  • <to be added, IJD> item (on print-out) from Trust monthly meeting reported 14/3/1890
  • <to be added, IJD print-out> Report of 21/3/1890 that the causes of the falling-off of imports are clear: the taking over of Henderson's Wharf in August 1885, the raising of dues, and the Dean of Guild actions.
  • Sailing destinations that week (21/3/1890) included Islay, Arran, Newry, Dublin, Plymouth, Rothesay, Campbeltown, Belfast, Portree and Cork.
  • In Jan. 1914, the press reported "Meat carrier for the Argentine". "Four vessels specially designed for the conveyance of meat from the Argentine to New York have been ordered . . about 500ft long, with gross tonnage of 10,000-11,000 . . owing to the pressure of other orders, one will have to be built at Port Glasgow and one at Dumbarton."





Footnote: There were three cranes, one of which was steam. Cranemen were Francis Howie, Lauchland ('Lachie') McKinnon (a councillor), and, on the steam crane, 'Buffer' Thomson.