On This Day

21 October

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1862 Star of Erin


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The 948-ton iron three-masted sailing ship Star of Erin (Yard No. 16) was launched today at 11am for J. P. Corry & Co., Belfast. The beautiful clipper was intended for the East Indian trade and the second largest sailing vessel launched to date by Harland & Wolff. The first of Corry’s ‘Star’ class and the second vessel designed and built by the yard for the Company.

The weather for the launch was perfect with a great crowd of spectators lining the banks of the Victoria Channel and at various vantage points in the yard. ‘Everything being in readiness, at eleven o'clock the signal for the launch was given, and immediately the adzes of the carpenters cut away the "dogshores”. For a short time the magnificent vessel - bedecked with a variety of flags, to the number of twenty eight, the Union Jack flying both fore and aft - was free and unfettered upon the stocks, but in a few seconds she gradually began move, gliding down the “ways," and floating majestically into the river, amidst the hearty cheers of the workmen on the Island and the spectators who thronged the quays.’

The launching ceremony was performed by Mrs. Criag, wife of the Rev. Dr. Craig, missionary of the Irish General Assembly at Hamburg and daughter Robert Corry, one of the owners (Corry’s  were extensive shipowners and timber merchants).

Her dimensions were: length 218 ft (overall); breadth 32 ft; depth 22 ft with a deadweight capacity of 1,500-tons.

The figurehead of Star Erin was life-size and represented ‘a daughter of the Emerald Isle wearing a coronet, in the centre of which conspicuously placed a star. The model is exceedingly chaste and handsome, and reflects considerable credit on those engaged in its production.’ On the same day as the launch another vessel Star of Denmark (Yard No. 20), with similar lines to Star of Erin, but nine feet longer was laid down for Corry’s, the framework of the vessel already having been made. After the launch a number of ladies and gentlemen were entertained to a dejeuner in a building set apart for the purpose in the shipyard.

Star of Erin was sold in 1889 and wrecked on Waipapa Reef in the Foveaux Straits, New Zealand on 6 February 1892.

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1899 Galeka


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The 6,756-ton passenger ship Galeka (Yard No. 347) was launched this morning for the Union Steamship Company. Galeka was similar in design to the other vessels known as the ‘ G’ class already running in the Union Line to South Africa, but somewhat larger than the first 'G’ being a sister ship to German (Yard No. 334).

The new vessel was propelled by twin-screws, driven by two sets of triple-expansion engines and while providing a very large carrying capacity for cargo on a light draft of water, Galeka had an unusually complete accommodation for First, Second and Third Class passengers. She was specially fitted with every convenience, including electric light, refrigerators and cold chambers for the conveyance of fruit from the orchards of the Cape.

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1937 A newspaper man honoured


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The 6,057-ton cargo ship Delane (Yard No. 1001) was launched today for Lamport & Holt Line Ltd. The motorship was named Delane after the famous editor of the Times Newspaper from 1841 to 1877. The vessel was the second of a class of three motor ships and was launched by Mrs Cuthbert Maugham, wife of the Times shipping correspondent. 

In 1954 she was transferred to Blue Star Line and renamed Seattle Star for the North Pacific coast of North America route.

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1949 A famous name revived


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The 13,587-ton refrigerated cargo ship Runic (Yard No. 1414) was launched today for the Shaw Savill & Albion Company. The Company revived the old White Star Line names used on the joint service almost fifty years before.

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1880 Yard No. 2 launched


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The 346-ton cargo ship William Hinde
(WC&C Yard No. 2) was launched today by Workman, Clark & Co., from their shipbuilding yard at Thompson’s Bank for William Hinde, coal merchant, Queen’s Quay, Belfast.

A large number of people witnessed the launch ‘which was a most successful one...her fine appearance and well-drawn lines were the subject of general admiration.’ Shortly before 12noon the ways were removed and as she entered the water she was named by Mrs Hinde, wife of the owner, ‘amid cheers of the spectators.’

Immediately after the launch she was towed round to Prince’s Dock where she received her compound engines and boilers. William Hinde was intended for the cross-Channel coal trade between Whitehaven and Belfast. Her dimension were: 160 feet in length, 29 feet, 6 inches breadth. Schooner rigged, the new vessel was built under special survey and classed 100 A 1 at Lloyd’s of London.