On This Day

16 February

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1893 The first Union liner


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The 4,745-ton steel passenger ship Gaul (Yard No. 261) was launched today for the Union Steamship Company. Gaul was the fist vessel designed and built by Harland & Wolff for the Union Line and marked the beginning of a relationship with the Company, and latterly with the Union-Castle Line, that lasted sixty-five years, ending in 1958 with the completion of
Pendennis Castle (Yard No. 1558).

Gaul marked a new departure in ship design and operation for the Union Line. Designed with a very large carrying capacity for cargo, on a light draft, allowing her to cross the bars at East London (Cape of Good Hope) and Durban (Natal) and to land passengers and goods direct on to the wharves. She was propelled by the latest design of manganese bronze twin-screws, driven by two sets of triple-expansion engines developing an indicated horse-power of around 2,000.

Passenger accommodation for fifty 1st, sixty 2nd and upwards of five-hundred 3rd Class was arranged on the upper deck adding greatly to the comfort of passengers in warmer climates. She was specially fitted with every convenience, including electric light, refrigerator and cold chambers for the conveyance of fruit from the farms and plantations of South Africa.

Harland & Wolff were constructing two other ‘G’ class steamers for the Company at this time; Goth (Yard No. 263) and Greek (Yard No. 268) built on the same lines, both were ready for launching in March and May 1893 respectively.

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1869 Elaine

The 544-ton coaster Elaine (Yard No. 59) was launched today for Frederick Lervick & Company, Newport. The vessel was intended for the coal and iron trade between the north of Ireland and South Wales; the compound engines supplied by Victor Coates & Co. Ltd, Prince’s Dock Foundry, Belfast.