Aberdeen Steam Navigation Co. Ltd (1821-1962), The

The Aberdeen Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. could trace its origins back to 1821, when sailing vessels first started a regular service between Aberdeen and London providing transport for passengers and goods virtually from the Scottish Highlands to St. Paul’s Cathedral in the centre of London. Subsequently the Company offered sailings to Hull, but these were discontinued in 1854. Steam was first introduced by the Company in 1827, with usually three or four vessels being available for service. The main traffic southwards was livestock, whisky, fish, and paper, together with passengers, whilst northwards it was manufactured goods and the return of empty whisky casks! Whilst most coastal liner companies were busiest in the summer months carrying tourists, this was not so with The Aberdeen Steam Navigation Co., which carried more livestock than passengers, with the greatest movement of livestock taking place between September to April each year. The passenger ships were always immaculately kept but, with changed conditions after the Second World War, their demise came suddenly, and they were all sold in 1946 when new owners, the Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping Co. Ltd. (part of the Coast Line Group), took over control from local interests. Even concentrating on cargo only, and adding additional ports of call en route to London, did not stave off the day when sailings were no longer viable. In 1962 when the linoleum trade from Kirkcaldy collapsed, the sailings were withdrawn. There were no longer sailings of any sort between Scotland and England, and the traditions of 141 years came to an end. During its existence, the Aberdeen Steam Navigation Co. owned 14 sailing vessels, 31 steamers and motor vessels, and one tug – ICH DIEN (which translates as ‘I Serve’, which indeed she did for 67 years on the Thames). This 68-page A5 softback includes 28 black-and-white photographs or copies of paintings of the vessels, and water colours by a local artist of four of the steamers in service during the 1930s.

Authors: Graeme Somner
ISBN: 0-905617-92-4
Publication Date: April 2000
Member’s price: £1+p&p (£1.53 UK, £4.00 EU & Rest of the World)
Non-member’s price: £1.50+p&p (£1.53 UK, £4.00 EU & Rest of the World)

Back to Index