Turbine Excursion Steamers
15th September 2013
In 1897, a revolutionary new type of ship blasted its way through the Royal Review at an unprecedented 30+ knots. This small vessel, still extant in Newcastle, was the Turbinia, and she was powered by the world's first marine steam turbine. Developed by Charles Parsons, in one fell swoop she revolutionised sea travel. She was the first turbine steamer. Economical and fast, the turbine steamer was soon to revolutionise ferries and pleasure steamers, as well as huge ocean liners and the mightiest of battleships. The turbine not only promised speed, economy and reliability, it delivered these qualities too. Our story looks at the turbine pleasure steamers in coastal and short-sea service and it covers the first passenger steam turbine vessels on the Clyde, as well as the Irish Sea and South Coast of England as well as the German turbine pleasure steamers. From the ships of Williamson-Buchanan to the Isle of Man and cross channel ferries, the turbine revolutionised short sea transport.
Alistair Deayton and Iain Quinn look at the development of the turbine steamer for pleasure use, concentrating on the ships that served the Clyde, Irish Sea and the short sea crossings in the English Channel. Ships of the Isle of Man Steam Packet, Williamson-Buchanan, Caledonian Steam Packet, General Steam Navigation Co., David MacBrayne and the Liverpool & North Wales Steam Ship Co. are covered in depth in this new book, which tells the story of the turbine excursion steamer over the century and a bit since the first revolutionary turbine pleasure steamer made its maiden voyage on the Clyde at the dawn of the Edwardian era.