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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
and Holt Line
Lamport and Holt Line
“Liverpool, Brazil and River Plate Steam Navigation Company” - “Societe de Nav” & “Royale Belge Sud-Americaine.”
The delightful SS Tennyson built in 1900 with her superb clipper bow
--Page One – The Early days – 1845 to 1922 --
It somehow amazes me, but the Lamport & Holt Line always seems to be a company that is rarely spoken about and it somehow seems if it is a shipping company of little value. However, that is far from being true, for when we look into history, we will soon discover that that this almost 170-year-old Company, which commenced when two distinguished men formed a partnership in 1845. These men were; Mr. William James Lamport and Mr. George Holt, therefore the Company name “Lamport and Holt Line.”
Left: Mr. William James Lamport (1815-1874) – Right: Mr. George Holt (1824-1896)
Lamport & Holt commenced obtained their
very first ship, being a barque, the “Christabel” of 335-tons,
built at Workington by a relative of W. J. Lamport. She was launched on
September 17, 1845 and she operated in the cotton trade sailing from
In 1857 the company acquired
their very first steamship and at that time the “Liverpool, Brazil and
River Plate Steam Navigation Company was formed in 1865 to operate services to
the East coast of South America and in 1877 a Belgian flagged subsidiary
company, Societe de Nav. Royale Belge Sud-Americaine was started to operate the
Belgian Mail contract to South America. The Argentine Steam Lighter Co., based
However, by the early 1900s “Lamport and
Holt” and the newly formed “
In 1902 they began their first genuine
passenger and cargo services from
The “Tennyson” was built by
Alexander Stevens & Sons Ltd, Glasgow for Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd in
1900 as the “Evangeline” and the “Byron” followed in
1901 as the “Loyalist.” These ships were due to operate on the
Liverpool to Halifax, St. John and New Brunswick service, however, Withy &
Co found that these ships were simply too large for their intended service, as
well as occupying too much passenger space. Thus they were sold to Lamport
& Holt who would use them for their
This is what appears to be a colourised postcard of the SS Byron
This operation proved to be extremely successful, so much so that it was soon decided to lay down new plans for three larger ships of around 7,500 GRT, these ships would soon become known as the three famed “V-Class” Passenger-Cargo Liners.
However, the SS Tennyson and SS Byron continued to sail on, as well as both ships having been taken over in 1914 (USS Tennyson), and 1915 (USS Byron) by the Admiralty to be operated as a “Convoy Commodore Ship” during World War I.
After the war they returned to their regular
duties, but both were sold in 1922 to “Soc. Anon Braun &
Specifications - 1. SS Byron & 2 Tennyson.
Built by: Alexander Stevens & Sons Ltd., Linthouse Glasgow.
Completed: 1. October 1900 for Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd. as SS Evangeline.
. 2. January 1901 for Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd. as SS Loyalist.
Obtained: 1902 by Lamport & Holt and renamed 1. Byron & 2. Tennyson.
Tonnage: 3,909 GRT - 2,526 Net.
Length: 113.23m - 371.5ft.
Width: 13.8m - 45.2ft.
Draught: 5.73m - 18.8ft.
Propulsion: Triple Expansion Steam reciprocating - 605 NHP.
. 4 x single boilers at 180psi, by the builder.
Passengers: Yes, but numbers unknown.
L+H Line Trio of “V-Ships”
The Three “V” Ships - 1906 & 1907 to 1917:
This particular story begins when Lamport and Holt Line placed an order for three identical ships to be built, but strangely enough by two different ship builders.
The first of these ships was the 7,542 GRT
(gross registered ton) Velasquez, which was built by Sir Raylton Dixon, at
All three ships had the same dimensions, 141.7m - 464.10ft long, 18m – 59ft wide and a drought of 9.1m – 29.10ft. Each had 1 x 3 Cylinder Triple Expansion Engines with a single screw at 458 N.H.P., sailing at an average speed of 12 knots.
three ships entered their respective schedules, being sailing between either
Sadly this ship
proved ton have a very short life, for it would be on October 16, 1908 whilst
the SS Velasquez was on a voyage northbound from
The SS Velasquez is seen wrecked on the rocks
All her passengers
took to the lifeboats where they remained until dawn, later all were taken
ashore to the beach at
Her stern is slipping lower and lower
As the SS Milton did
not receive any response from the stricken ship having repeated many blasts on
her siren, she commenced a search and it would be some time later that all
passengers and crew were found to be on the beach. All were transferred to the
A replacement was already in the works, as a ship was already in the stocks and would be ready within a year and she would be named the Vasari, being 10,117 GRT, built by “Workman, Clark and Co. Ltd”, and soon the service would be back to normal. For more on the SS Vasari See Page One – Link at the bottom of the page.
She, like her sisters, she was a well fitted out ship, with excellent accommodations, fine public venues and spacious decks and below are just a few images that will portray this ship and her sisters!
The Main Lounge was almost the same on all three ships
Her fore deck
A game of cricket anyone on Promenade Deck?
very famous painting of the SS Veronese fore deck is was for sale
at “Christies” in
This painting is by Arthur Hacker
However, just over four years
after the tragedy of her earlier sister, a similar tragedy would happen again
on January 16, 1913. This time it would be the second ship of the trio, the SS
Veronese, for she was on a voyage from Liverpool to
However before reaching Leixoes she encountered really bad weather conditions, including rough seas and “very thick fog” that is also known as “Pea soup fog”! Then suddenly out of this invisible grey-mass all around the ship out of nowhere came this extremely loud crunching noise and the ship came to a grinding and a blinding halt for she had struck rocks too not far from “Leça da Palmeira,” Portugal on January 16.
Here we see the tragic sight of the SS Veronese wrecked on the rocks
Sadly 27 persons were lost and due to the weather this prevented the near-by local lifeboat from assisting the ship and its passengers in the rescue attempt quickly. It was decided that the only means to operate the rescue of passengers and crew was by the means of what is called a “breeches buoy” and then only after the weather had improved a little.
The rescue lasted for well over 48 hours and due to situation and the slow rate, for they had to use the cables going back and forth, as well as two rescue boats who had to recover people who had jumped into the ocean, when there was no need for them to do this. Finally, the Captain would be the last person to leave his ship! Besides the 27 people that so tragically died due to the accident, there were another 11 casualties, having a range of injuries, but again another Lamport & Holt ship was total loss!
SS Verdi was the last of the Lamport & Holt Line trio of ships and she was
built by built by Workman, Clark and Co. Ltd, at
SS Verdi’s heavily timbered Smoking Room which would be the same as on the other three ships!
This is a First Class Cabin De Luxe and although it may look rather simple, but remember it was the beginning of the 1900s!
is a Passenger List from a SS Verdi voyage ex
But sadly this lovely ship
ended up becoming a casualty of World War 1.
But sadly this lovely ship ended up becoming a casualty of World War 1.
On August 22, 1917 whilst she was on a voyage from New York to Liverpool, England she was suddenly attacked and was torpedoed by the German U-Boat, the U-53, which took place around 115 miles or 185.07 Klm, northwest of Ireland. Sadly, six members of the crew were killed due to the attack for sadly, they were precisely where the torpedo actually hit the ship. Thankfully all others were able to get to and into lifeboats and thus they survived.
As the SS Verdi went down under the waves on August 22, 1917, having sailed for just ten years, this brought about the end of this popular but a very sad Lamport and Holt Line Trio of 1906-1907 built, 7,000-ton “V ships!” But it was certainly not the end of Lamport and Holt using the “V” name again!
Specifications - 1. SS Velasquez, 2. SS Veronese & 3. SS Verdi:
Built by: 1. Sir
Raylton Dixon, at
. 2 & 3. Workman
Clarke & Co. Ltd.,
Completed: 1. late 1906.
. 2 & 3. mid 1907.
Tonnage: 1. 7,542 GRT - 4,180 Net.
. 2. 7,877 GRT - 4,180 Net.
. 3. 7,120 - 4,180 Net.
Length: 141.7m - 464.10ft.
Width: 18m - 59ft.
Draught: 9.1m - 29.10ft.
Propulsion: Triple Expansion Steam reciprocating - 400 NHP, by the builder.
Speed: Regular speed 12 knots.
Passengers: Yes, but numbers unknown.
--Page Two – Will come online in due course! --
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