A & J Inglis – Paddle Steamer Specialists
Scotland’s last two paddle steamers, WAVERLEY and MAID OF THE LOCH, share a common heritage in that they were both built by the firm of A & J Inglis Ltd at their Pointhouse shipyard on the River Kelvin near to its confluence with the River Clyde in Glasgow. The firm built about 500 ships in the 101 years that they were business at Pointhouse Shipyard. A significant proportion of the 500 ships built at Pointhouse were paddle steamers. It is thought that at least 6 Inglis-built paddle steamers are still in existence in 2008. These include the former Humber passenger and car ferry LINCOLN CASTLE at Goole and the paddle train ferries EXEQUIEL RAMOS MEJIA (http://www.histarmar.com.ar/BuquesMercantes/Ferrobarcos/Ferrobarcos-EzRamosMejia.htm) and ROQUE SAENZ PENA (http://www.histarmar.com.ar/BuquesMercantes/Ferrobarcos/Ferrobarcos-RSaenzPenia.htm) in Argentina. Apart from WAVERLEY none of the surviving Inglis paddlers are operational.
In fact Inglis supplied a significant number of paddlers for the Argentine coastal and river fleets including some of the largest paddle steamers of their type ever built. One such vessel was the paddle steamer VIENA seen below (in a Robertson of Gourock picture) on the Clyde before departing for South America
The VIENA was an Inglis product and was launched into the River Kelvin on 8th June 1906.
She was based on the Paddle Steamer PARIS that Inglis had built ten years earlier for Mensajeries Fluviales del Plata (see http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=1911). However, VIENA was built for Nicolas Mihanovich’s Argentine Navigation Company. Some sources state that Mihanovich’s son Pedro was aboard the vessel when she ran trials in the Gareloch on 17 October 1906. It is stated that she attained 16.5 knots. She seems a bit big to have run trials on the Gareloch measured mile – the picture below looks to be off Gourock.
VIENA was about 330 feet long with a beam of about 40 feet. Her gross tonnage was 2376 and she had accommodation for 340 First Class passengers and 120 in Second Class. The vessel was powered by a triple expansion steam engine built in Inglis’ own engine works.
A few years after building VIENA, Inglis used the same basic design when they supplied the two large paddlers CABO SANTA MARIA and CABO CORRIENTES for Hamburg Sud Amerika Damfschiffarts in 1913. After WWI they were taken over by the Argentine Navigation Co and became GENERAL ARTIGAS and GENERAL ALVEAR respectively. VIENA was renamed WASHINGTON in 1915 (picture of VIENA as WASHINGTON).
Other large paddle steamers supplied by Inglis to the Argentine fleets about that time included the LAMBERE, BRUSELAS (http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=1965) and her sister BERNA.
VIENA as WASHINGTON passed through various ownerships but remained in service until 1960. After several years of lying derelict at Rocha, Buenos Aires she sank in the basin on 3rd June 1967. The wreck was raised and scrapped by Satecna S. A. in 1981
About the same time that Inglis was supplying the paddlers to South America they also built the 1400 ton paddle steamer WEEROONA (below) for the Huddart Parker company’s established excursion routes from Melbourne Australia. WEEROONA served with the US Navy during WWII and was owned subsequently by the Australian Government until scrapped in 1951.