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Clipper Cairngorm Port Jackson Schomberg 1855 Avalanche 1874

Alexander Hall Shipyard 1790

He was born in 1760 the son of a Crofter in Auchterless.
He came to Aberdeen when aged 23 to see of he could find work as a Ships Carpenter and became a Partner in Cochar & Gibbon by the time he was 30.  He married Cocher's daughter Elizabeth who was 16 years younger than him. They would go on to have 13 children, 5 sons and 8 daughters, 6 of which would die in infancy - such were the infantile infections of the time

In 1793 James Cocher died and Alexander formed another Shipyard Partnership called Buchan & Hall but it was not long lasting.  Alexander Gibbon also died and Hall & Co thus became established.  There were now 4 shipyards in Footdee, Gill Bremner & Stephen, William Rennie, Nichol & Reed and Hall & Co.  When William and James Hall the only 2 sons to survive him were 5 and 6 years old Alexander launched his 1st Ship.  The Carpenters Ball held in the Mould Loft of the Hall's yard every Hogmanay was the Social event of the year.

Hall, Alexander & Co Ltd, Aberdeen
, - Mercantile, plus Admiralty steel Drifters

Hall's Shipyard. This yard was established in 1790 by Alexander Hall.
Construction is taking place outdoors on wooden stocks. The earliest ships built by the firm were wooden sailing vessels.

Alexander Hall & Co. were Aberdeen shipbuilders from 1790 to 1957. The firm is best remembered for its development of the Aberdeen or Clipper Bow in 1839.

Alexander Hall & Co. was established in 1790. He took over the business of (James) Cochar & (Alexander) Gibbon, on the Pocra Pier where he had been serving a 7 year apprenticeship to James Cochar a Draughtsman and then eventually became a partner in the firm. In 1676 the waters around Pocra Pier had been deepened allowing bigger ships to be built.  Alexander Gibbon came from a long line of Shipwrights and James Cochar's father had been a Shipbuilder in Montrose

Inset - Alexander Hall's pantiled roof Footdee Home complete with Whale-jaw Arch overlooking the Dee estuary.  The house was reputedly on Waterside Lane or Portree Close and Waterside Lane located on the old Pocra Road which was to eventually become York Street.  Another Whale-jaw Arch appears in the adjacent house plot indicating extensive local involvement with Whalers of that era.


The New Hull Shape was  to  influence  a whole generation of fast sailing ships.  The ships of this  design  were  very  fast  and  yielded  tax  advantages since the new
dimensioning  ruling  in  1836.   During many drag tests with true-to-scale models  in  large  glass  tanks  the Hall Bothers perfected their new hull 
shape.  The ships painted in the traditional "Aberdeen Green" enjoyed great popularity  all  over  the  world.   During  the  second  half of the 19th.
century  some  of  the  best iron sailing ships also came from the Aberdeen shipyards. 

The earliest ships built by the firm were wooden sailing vessels. The Scottish Maid, a schooner of 1839, was the first to have the forward curving Aberdeen bow. This improved speed and sailing performance.  This ship continued sailing until 1941.  Alexander Hall died in 1849 aged 89 leaving his two sons, James and William, to run the business. The brothers were responsible for many famous clippers. These included Torrington and Stornoway, for the opium and tea trades, where speed was essential. William was responsible for ship design while James managed the business.

Alexander Hall and Sons, Shipyard, York Street, Aberdeen
The photograph shows the Owners, Office Staff and Shipwrights in 1862 standing in front of 2 of the wooden framed vessels under construction in the yard.  The young boy, left of centre in the second row, was Alexander Hall Jr, grandson of the founder.  Alexander Hall was born in 1760 and began his shipbuilding career with a Company called Cochar and Gibbon in Aberdeen, where he had been an apprentice and then a partner.  He married Elizabeth Cochar, daughter of one of the partners, and inherited the firm in 1790.  By the 1840's the yard employed 700 men and for the duration of the 19th century it was one of the largest business concerns in Aberdeen.  When he died in 1849, Alexander Hall left the shipyard to his sons James and William - William taking care of ship design and James running the business. They built many famous clippers, including Torrington and Stornoway, used on the opium and tea routes. The yard of Alexander Hall was famous for some of the fastest and smartest clipper ships on the China and Australia runs.

Alexander Hall & Co. Staff (photograph) 1862 Group photograph of carpenters, joiners, boat-builders, and other members of the staff. Names of the individuals are given and in the background are the Clippers "Coulnakyle" (on the left) and "Natal Star" under construction.

The enterprise of the late Mr Alexander Hall, who introduced the "Clipper" mould of vessels. Until then ships were built according to a conventional model, which would appear to have been held sacred against attempts at improvement.  Bluff bows, a full stern, heavy sides, and massive rigging, were the characteristics of this ideal of the shipbuilders.  With the increase of commerce, however, swift-sailing vessels came to be demanded, and the old notions gave way to the requirements of the times. It did not need a profound knowledge of natural philosophy to discover that the speed of a vessel might be increased by making her bows more acute; but though the fact could not fail to be known, it was acted upon only to a limited extent.  Mr Hall, was a most energetic man, and came to have an extensive business in the construction of vessels for the Indian and other branches of foreign trade.  He paid great attention to the forms of his vessels, and having come to appreciate the value of the sharp-bowed or "Clipper" model, he in the year 1839, built the Scottish Maid, a vessel of 142 tons, and in her demonstrated the advantages of sharp lines.  The vessel attracted much attention, and soon afterwards the Aberdeen ship-builders became famous for their "Clippers." The shipping firms engaged in the Australian Emigration Trade got a considerable number of vessels built at that port.  Mr Hall was succeeded in business by his Sons.  The Scottish Maid, a schooner of 1839, was the first to have the forward curving Aberdeen Bow. This improved speed and sailing performance.

In Aberdeen, the shipbuilders Alexander Hall & Sons developed the "Aberdeen" Clipper Bow in the late 1830s: the first was the Scottish Maid launched in 1839.The Scottish Maid, 150 tons OM, was the first British clipper ship. The "Scottish Maid was intended for the Aberdeen to London trade, where speed was crucial to compete with steamships”. The Hall brothers tested various hulls in a water tank and found the clipper bow design most effective. The design was influenced by tonnage regulations. Tonnage measured a ship's cargo capacity and was used to calculate tax and harbour dues. The new 1836 regulations measured depth and breadth with length measured at half midship depth. The extra length above this level was tax-free and became a feature of Clippers. Scottish Maid proved swift and reliable and the design was widely copied. The earliest British clipper ships were built for trade amongst the British Isles. Then followed the vast clipper trade of tea, opium, spices and other goods from the Far East to Europe, and the ships became known as "Tea Clippers".

From  the 17th century one can trace the theory of the construction of fast ships.   From  the  middle  of the 18th century water tank experiments were carried  out  with  various  models  and around 1840 the brothers James and William  Hall were engaged in model tests in a 3 metre long glass tank.  A  3 centimetre layer of turpentine which was coloured red, was poured onto the water surface.  A  scale  model  of  a boat was pulled through the water by a weighted line running  over  a reel.  Based on the movement of the red turpentine one was able  to  arrive  at  conclusions  regarding the effects of various bow and stern shapes.  By the use of different models with equal transaction weight it  was  possible  to carry out efficiency comparisons.  Today's drag tests are  carried out in large plants and they are fully computer aided.  In the  end  this is merely a perfection of the test method which was used almost 300 years ago.

The schooner Scottish Maid, built by Alexander Hall & Co. in 1839, was the earliest vessel with the raked stem which became known as the 'Aberdeen Bow'. This design was soon copied by other builders. Scottish Maid was intended for the Aberdeen-London trade, where speed was crucial, in order to compete with steamships. Hall & Co. started to build the vessel along traditional lines but suggested to the owners that she should have a raked bow.  American Schooners with long low hulls and raked stems were already well known for their fast sailing.  Other famous clipper ships included Stornoway, built by Alexander Hall & Co., in 1850 for the tea trade and Duthie vessels such as John Duthie and Abergeldie. These sailed to Australia with emigrants and returned with wool.

 

 

 

In the early 1850's the British Shipowner's went to the Aberdeen Shipyards for their ships and, as a result, the yard of Alexander Hall & Sons built some of the fastest Clippers of that decade including Reindeer (1848), Stornoway (1850), Chrysolite (1851), Cairngorm (1853), Vision (1854) and Robin Hood (1856).  All these ships full-rigged carrying 4 or 5 yards on each mast, deployed studding sails on each side and had the distinctive Aberdeen Clipper Bows which were less ornate than the traditional practice. The design of the Cairngorm embodied the builder's ideas of what a Clipper should be and was built without a firm order from an owner.  A big risk for the shipbuilder but Alexander Hall & Sons were proved right as the Cairngorm was purchased by Jardine, Matheson & Co for the tea trade and she proved to be one of the fastest clippers during the 1850's. She cost £15,434 to build and was registered at 939 tons and was acknowledged as 'Cock of the Walk' as she made many fast passages. In 1858-9 she made her fastest homeward passage from Macau to Deal in 91 days.  Inset - William Hall - Bust by Henry Bain Smith

 

Aberdeen Journal, December 10th 1851:
'Remarkable passages by Aberdeen Clippers - We observe also that the fine ship
 "Chrysolite" of Liverpool, which was launched by A Hall & Co here last spring, has fully realized the expectations which were then entertained of her sailing capabilities having made the passage out and home from China in the shortest passage ever known.  The Liverpool mail says "Our American friends have been making great struggles to beat us in the China trade with their clipper built ships. We are happy, however, to lay before our readers an account of the most rapid passage ever made to China and back. The ship "Chrysolite", one of the famous Aberdeen clippers, the property of Messrs Taylor, Potter & Co., under the command of Captain Enright, left this port for China on the 24th April 1851, where she arrived in 102 days. Here she discharged and took in cargo and left Whampoa for Liverpool on the 19th August and arrived home on the 1st December. The entire passage out and home, including her detention in China, occupied 7 months and 6 days; being the quickest passage ever made. It should also be stated that the Chrysolite came home short-handed, 7 or 8 men having deserted in China to go to the Gold diggings in Australia."  So far as this season's rivalry between British and American clippers in the China trade has been tested by their performances, the British builders have the best of it. (Length 149' 3" x breadth 26' 1" x depth 17' 440tons Old Measurement - 570 NM)

 

 

 


Aberdeen Journal Wednesday 22 June 1853
'Yesterday there was launched from the building yard of Messrs A Hall & Co, a splendid ship-rigged vessel, named the 'Mimosa'. Her measurement is 447 tons, new measurement and 540 tons old measurement. The 'Mimosa' is the property of Liverpool owners and is the 3rd vessel which Messrs Hall have built for the same parties. She is intended for the South American trade and is to be commanded by Mr Kemp, a gentleman of long experience, whose fair partner gave the vessel her name. The 'Mimosa' is a really splendid ship and promises to be worthy of her builders. She at present lies at Provost Blaikies Quay.

This ship became famous for carrying the first contingent of Welsh men, women and children to Patagonia to start a colony in the Chibut River in May 1865.  She had not been designed to carry passengers, but had been converted for the purpose.  The cost of fitting provisioning and chartering the ship was £2,500 and the passengers paid £12 per adult or £6 per child for the journey.  Before the voyage the emigrants assembled at various points, not always their places of origin, to prepare for the journey.

The oak scantlings for the Mimosa's Hull came from the forest of Glen Tanner near Aboyne and were floated down the Dee in rafts.

‘HEATHER BELL’ Built 1855. Wood ship of 479 Tons.
Length; 155 ft.
Breadth; 28.5 ft. Depth; 17.5 ft. Built by Hall of Aberdeen for Brown and Co. She was bought from them by the Orient Line and worked the Sydney passenger trade with some runs also to Melbourne. Master; Captain William Harmsworth. She did one spectacular run of 67 days from Port Phillip to England. She was broken up at Balmain, NSW in 1894. [Passenger Ship]

Heather Bell 1855

 

 

 

 

 

 


Schomberg

Perhaps the best known vessel that A Hall & Co have built was the Schomberg, completed in 1855, for Messrs James Baines & Co., of Liverpool.  

A description of this vessel, illustrated by diagrams, appears under "Shipbuilding," in the "Encyclopedia Britannica."  Constructed specially for the Australian passenger trade, the Schomberg was built and fitted up with the best materials, and when she was ready for sea was one of the finest as well as largest vessels afloat.  Her length was 262 feet; breadth, 45. feet; depth, 30 feet; and tonnage, 2600.  The frames of the vessel were of British Oak, and the planking consisted of four layers of Scotch Larch, each 2 inches thick. The 1st 2 layers were fixed in a diagonal position, passing down 1 side of the vessel and up the other, beneath the inside keel.  The 3rd layer was put on in a perpendicular position, and also passed under the vessel; and over this the outer layer was fixed horizontally.  By arranging the planking in the way described, great strength was obtained.
The vessel, which cost £42,000, sailed for Australia in 1855, and was unfortunately wrecked on Cape Otway, on the 184th day after leaving Liverpool.  One or 2 vessels of nearly similar size and build have since been turned out, but these began their career and have been pursuing it without attracting special attention.

 

 

‘BLACK PRINCE’ Built 1863.
Composite ship of 750 Tons.
Length; 183 ft.
Breadth; 35 ft.
Depth; 19.6 ft,
Built by A Hall and Co for Baring Brothers. designed by
William Rennie
Master: Captain Inglis
Used as a British Tea Clipper and she ended her days lost in the Java sea.
[Passenger and Tea Clipper]

Electra - Composite
Yard Number: 248

Launch: May 1866

Owner: Parker & Co.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘SOBRAON’ Built 1866. Named after Punjab Battle
Composite ship of 2131 Tons.
Length; 317 ft.
Breadth; 40 ft.
Depth; 27 ft.
Built by Hall of Aberdeen for Lowther, Maxton and Co. Master; Captain Kyle then Captain J.A.Elmslie. He had her for here career in the Australian passenger trade. His sons also did their apprentice ships aboard her. She saw many highs and lows during her varied career.

She had the usual crew accidents and the occasional death by other means but overall she was a very popular ship in the passenger trade. She was retired and sold to the NSW government in 1891 and she then served as a reform school for boys for the next 20 years.

In 1911 the shipwrights who were about to break her up inspected her but she was found to be as sound as she ever was and the Federal Government bought her for use as a training ship. They renamed her ‘Tingira’ and she remained in that role until she was retired for good and broken up. She carried the bell from the old cadet training ship ‘Vernon’ as a call to assembly for the boys who were learning their trade. [Passenger Liner and Training Ship]

1927-35 lay on moorings at Berry’s Bay. 1932 viewing platform for opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The John Wesley a Composite Schooner was built 1867

 

May Queen - Iron
Yard Number: 262

Owner: Shirras, Aberdeen
Date of Build/Launch: May 1869
Belfast Newsletter, 20th July 1881:
New Zealand emigration, special settlements east coast. The favourite clipper ship MAY QUEEN to sail to Auckland about 25 August. Special arrangements made for conveying families and parties at reduced rates.

'The CALIPH was named by Miss Rennie, daughter of John T Rennie of Deemount.
Yard Number: 263
Date of Build/Launch: September 1869

The Brisbane Courier, 15th May 1871: 'The English tea clipper Caliph, built by Hall of Aberdeen on the lines of the celebrated schooner Silene, arrived at New York on March 3rd, from Foochow, after the fastest passage ever made between the 2 ports. She left Foochow on December 7; passed Anjer on the 10th day out; and rounded the Cape of Good Hope of January 18th - 41 days out. Her run thence to New York occupied only 44 days - in all 85 days. The American papers state that the average run between the 2 ports is 110 days.


The vessel disappeared without trace on its 2nd voyage in the China Sea. Captain Daniel Ritson and his wife Eliza were on board and were lost with the vessel.  Basil Lubbock's book 'The China Clippers' conjectures that the vessel was possibly captured by pirates in a calm or she could have been lost in a gale.

Caliph Plans
 

 

 

 

 

‘LUFRA’ Built 1870.
Composite ship of 672 Tons.
Length; 179.7 FT.
Breadth; 31.1 ft.
Depth; 17.9 ft.
Built by Hall of Aberdeen for A J McGregor.
Master; Captain Richard Copping.
She was sold to the Norwegians in 1900. They then sold her to the Swedes, who sold her to the Genoese who renamed her ‘Letizia’ in 1902. Master; Captain D Cacace. [General Carrier]

She was the last composite built sailing ship to be constructed by A. Hall & Sons, bearing their Yard No. 265. She was built for Anderson & Co. Banff.  She began life as a full-rigged ship with a single topsail on the mizzen.  She made 2 voyages to China and then 3 out to Adelaide.  In 1874 she was bought by Alexander McGregor & Co., Hobart and was reduced to a barque. She was placed in the Hobart to London trade for the next 23 years and proved to be a fast vessel.  Her average time on the passage to London was 89 days and for the passage to Hobart the average was 90 days. In 1876 she had a close race out to Tasmania with the "Wagoola": both vessels sailing from London, left England on the same tide - 20 July - and reached Hobart on the same tide on 25 October - 97 days out. The "Lufra" was sold to L. Castellano of Naples in 1897 for £1,250 and was renamed "LETIZIA". She was broken up in 1905".

Calypso - Iron Steamer

Yard Number: 283


Launched May 1874


Owners Leslie & Shirras, cost £18,927
Returning from Dunedin, New Zealand to London, the CALYPSO was anchored off the mouth of the Thames when she was rammed by the small steamer HAWK on the night of 14th April 1880 and foundered soon after.

There was no loss of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermione
Yard Number: 291

Date of Launch/Build: October 1876
Owner: Shaw, Savill and Co.
HERMIONE did 21 voyages to New Zealand. She was sold on to an Italian Shipping Co., and renamed MANTOVA. She was broken up in Genoa in 1913.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Clipper Elissa

In the port of Galveston in Texas one can still admire to this day the only intact  sailing  ship of the Hall Brothers.  This is the iron bark "Elissa" with 430 BRT built in 1877.  This ship was restored at a cost of $1M dollars and since 1982 has been sailing the seas in its original condition.  Galveston Island, Texas, March 2, 2011 - As the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA nears the 30th anniversary of her historic restoration, 2011 will also mark another milestone for the Official Tall Ship of Texas. During a mandated United States Coast Guard dry dock inspection, various issues with the hull were identified as needing repairs. These repairs must be completed before she can be returned to sailing but will not prohibit her from operating in the water as one of Galveston's main tourist destinations and landmarks.  According to the Marjorie Lyle, granddaughter of Elissa's OWNER, Henry Fowler Watt, the name was taken from the epic Roman poem The Aeneid, in which the tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage, is the unifying theme of the first four books of that tale. Dido was originally a Phoenician princess named Elissa, who fled from Tyre to Africa and founded Carthage.

 

 

When the ship was restored in the early 1980s, she was lacking a figurehead.  Eli Kuslansky, a sculptor and woodcarver was hired.  Two different women were used as the model.  “As a tribute to the generous support of the Moody Foundation, the face of the sculpture was styled in the likeness of a young Mary Moody Northen.”   The life model for the rest of the figurehead was a part-time rigger and cadet at Texas A&M Maritime Academy, Amy McAllister. 

McAllister modelled not only in the studio, but on the bow of the ship as well. To ensure he got the proper angle of the figurehead to the bow,

 


Scottish Line

Scottish Lassie under Clifton Suspension Bridge with Steam Tugs.

The "Scottish Lassie," here being broken up, was built in 1877 by 'the noted firm of Hall of' Aberdeen, the builders of the well-known ships, Port Jackson, Torridon, Vallaroi besides several noted tea clippers. The "lassie" was originally ship rigged, 868 tons register, and after leaving Australian waters was sold to French owners, and under her new name of "Alexandria", traded for many years barque-rigged, between Havre and the West Indies,'

There was also Ross’s ‘Scottish’ line, which should not be confused with the ‘Scottish’ line of McIIlwraith and Co. 

The firm of McIlwraith MacEacharn was originally founded in London on February 1st 1875 by Andrew McIlwraith and Malcolm MacEacharn when they began business as shipping and insurance agents.  A year later they entered the ranks of ship owners as the Scottish Line following an agreement with the State of Queensland for the carriage of migrants from Britain to Queensland ports north of Maryborough.  Their first vessel, the Scottish Bard was completed in April 1876 and in the same year the Scottish Hero and Scottish Knight, were delivered. In 1877 the Scottish Lassie joined the fleet and during the next year the Scottish Admiral and Scottish Prince were completed. Additional to these vessels the wooden barque Sir William Wallace was acquired in 1879.  These vessels were all employed carrying immigrants until 1880 when the Queensland Government arrange a contract with the British India Associated Steamers. Thereafter the sailing ships continued to trade to Australia, particularly in the carriage of wool, primary produce and passengers to Britain. They were however also to be seen in the U.S., Chile and wherever else suitable cargoes were offered.

Scottish Lassie berthed below Clifton Gorge, Bristol prior to breakup in 1925 as a former migrant ship on the Australia - New Zealand run.  Captain  Le Couteur commanded the Scottish Lassie 1880

There is no doubt that the advent of a line of clipper ships, such as the "Scottish Line" stimulated the trade of Queensland to a very marked extent and helped towards the coming of the British India Service of direct steam, era via Torres Straits from London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘SCOTTISH PRINCE’ Built 1878.
Iron barque of 895 Tons.
Length; 210.2 ft.
Breadth; 32.6 ft.
Depth; 18 ft.
Built at Aberdeen by Hall and Co for McIlwraith and Co’s ‘Scottish’ line. Master; Captain G.Scale.

She was lost on the Queensland coast near Southport on the now well known ‘Gold Coast’. [General Carrier]

'THE SCOTTISH PRINCE - On July 6 an iron sailing ship was launched from the building-yard of Messrs. Alexander Hall and Co., Aberdeen, for Messrs. Mcllwraith, McEacharn, and Co., London, for the Scottish line of packet ships sailing from
London to Queensland. The vessel, which is named the SCOTTISH PRINCE, is of the following dimensions: Length, 210 ft.; breadth, 32ft. 6in.; depth of hold, 18ft. She is 950 tons register, and will be classed 100 A1 (highest class) at Lloyd's.'

Queensland Museum provides the following details:
A 3 masted iron hulled barque, the Scottish Prince was built by Alexander Hall & Sons in 1878.  She was an old trader to the colony, was the property of McIlwraith, McEachern & Company, and consigned to the firm D.L Brown & Coy in Australia.  She was wrecked in 1887 under the command of William Little, carrying a general cargo and migrants in the final stages on a voyage from Glasgow.  Now a popular attraction for divers, the wreck - along with the nearby wreck of the Cambus Wallace (a Glasgow built iron barque wrecked in 1895), are known as the 'whiskey wrecks' because of the enormous quantities of whiskey which locals 'salvaged' from them at the time and still evident in-situ. The Museum has a large collection of objects in its collection (including full whiskey bottles!) related to this wreck including the ships bell. 

The Scottish Prince sailed from Glasgow on October 8,1886, for Brisbane.  The Queensland Marine Board found that the vessel was lost through gross carelessness and slovenly navigation.  The divers discovered that the manifest, printed at the time of the sinking in 1887,showed the vessel was carrying sewing machines, whisky and galvanised iron.  The team salvaged pieces of galvanised Iron as well as the whisky and that other bits of iron brought to the surface could well be sewing machine parts.  The wreck fits the description of the Scottish Prince. It has plainly been a sailing ship with a clipper bow.  Copper tubing found is hand-made of sheet copper, scarfed and welded another factor which defines the ship and the time of its construction. 

‘QUATHLAMBA’ Built 1879.
Iron barque of 467 Tons. Length; 167.9 ft. Breadth; 29.1 ft. Depth; 13.6 ft. Built by Hall of Aberdeen for Rennie and Co. She was later bought by J.J.Craig and he renamed her ‘Hazel Craig’. She was then sold to G.T.Nicol and he renamed her ‘White Pine’. She went off the register in 1924.[General Carrier]

Just prior to 1880 a further vessel had been purchased the wooden barque City of Aberdeen

In 1881, the last of the Scottish Ships was completed and named Scottish Wizard.
‘SCOTTISH WIZARD’ Built 1881.
Iron barque of 1188 Tons.
Length; 226.6 ft.
Breadth; 36 ft.
Depth; 20 ft.
Built by Hall of Aberdeen for for Ross’s ‘Scottish’ line.

Belfast Newsletter, 3rd November 1890:
Accounts have arrived of disaster off Cape of Good Hope on voyage of barque SCOTTISH WIZARD from London to Adelaide. Belonging to McIlraith & Co., London and commanded by Capt. Ross, during heavy storm an enormous sea towering 30 ft. above the deck rolled down the poop and washed overboard the 2nd officer and Helmsman and did much damage to the deck gear, smashed the wheel and carried away 4 boats. Vessel was in fact a complete wreckage and large quantities of water poured down into her, although fortunately hatches remained intact. For some time vessel appeared to be foundering and during a succession of heavy seas more of her crew were washed overboard, of course there was no chance of rescuing them. By immense efforts the wreckage was cleared away and pumps set to work and next day the sea moderated. Men lost are 2nd officer Mr G. W. Anderson, John Walter Edward Marsden and Henry Henderson (able seamen) and Thomas Mowatt, Carpenter.
She was sold to F.Lauro of Italy in 1905 and they renamed her ‘Pasquale Lauro’.
They sold her a few years later and she was renamed ‘Primo’.[General Carrier]


‘YALLAROI’ Built 1885.
Iron ship of 1565 Tons.
Length; 245.6 ft.
Breadth; 38.1 ft.
Depth; 22 ft.
Built by Hall of Aberdeen for A Nicol and Co.
Master; Captain J.Brown.

She was a sister ship to ‘Torridon’ and the last of Nicols clipper ships. She was sold to the Italians in 1906 and she managed to survive the First World War without damage although a submarine sank her sister. ‘Yalleroi’ had her name changed to ‘Santa Caterina’ by the Italians and was still afloat in the 1920’s.[Passenger Ship]

Built for the London - Australia trade.
At the launch there was a large and fashionable company of ladies and gentlemen within the yard and the dockyards and quays were also thronged with people. A cake and wine banquet was held in the offices of the owner when the usual complimentary toasts were pledged. Naming was by Mrs Webster of Edgehill. Master Captain Brown with 26 to 30 crew.

 

 

‘TORRIDON’ Built 1885.
Iron ship of 1564 Tons.
Length; 246 ft.
Breadth; 38 ft.
Depth; 22 ft.
Built by Hall of Aberdeen for A Nicol and Co.
Master; Captain Shepherd. She was sold to the Italians in 1906 and was sunk by a German submarine in 1916.[General Carrier]

Aberdeen Journal, May 1885:
Launched by Mrs Nicol of Murtle. Sister ship of YALLAROI which was launched in January 1885. Steel masts, wire rigging and all the most recent improvements, very much above the requirements of her class. Will trade between London and Australia - provided with a saloon which will enable her to carry 8 or 10 passengers. Crew of 30, commanded by Capt. Shepherd. A large and fashionable company of ladies and gentlemen within the yard for the launch followed by a cake and wine banquet in the offices of the owners.

Aberdeen Journal, 27th June 1885:
'This handsomely modelled iron sailing vessel will leave Aberdeen on her maiden voyage.'

 

 


 Jho Sho Maru

In later years, the yard built steamships including trawlers, coasters, tugs and dredgers. One of its most unusual vessels was a wooden warship Jho Sho Maru built in 1869 for Japanese owners. 

The brothers were also concerned with employee welfare. The 'Hall's Dockyard Sick and Medical Fund' was started in 1846. For a weekly contribution, workers received sick pay, medical attendance and medicine. If the worst happened, the fund also provided funeral expenses. One of Hall's best known ships was Jho Sho Maru, a barque-rigged steamer, built for the Japanese Navy in 1868. This wooden corvette had a belt of iron armour plating at the waterline and carried eight 64 pounder guns and two 100 pounder guns. Unfortunately, due to a miscalculation of costs, the firm actually lost £500 on the project.  This ship was unlucky for another reason. Jho Sho Maru was almost complete when a fire broke out nearby.

James Hall was afraid the warship would be burned and rushed to the scene. He ordered that Jho Sho Maru be pulled into the middle of the dock, away from the flames. However, while helping to fight the blaze, James suffered a fatal heart attack, probably brought on by his earlier anxiety.  

Although best known for sailing ships, Hall also constructed steamers. They built their first marine engine in 1887, for the launch Petrel. In 1888 Hall constructed their first trawler, Maggie Walker, and many trawlers, coasters, tugs and dredgers followed. During the 2nd World War, the company built 26 steam tugs, many of them for the Admiralty. However, the yard did not modernise after the war and in 1957 Hall Russell took over the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander Hall and Co. Ltd. was established in Aberdeen in 1790 in succession to the partnership of Cochar & Gibbon and was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1904. In 1942 it was taken over by the Burntisland Shipbuilding Co.  Ltd. and later integrated with another Burntisland subsidiary, Hall Russell & Co. Ltd.

This aerial picture shows the Alexander Hall Yard Patent Slipways South of Hall Russells, adjacent to then present Pontoon Dock No.2.  The Pocra Jetty is underemployed and at the top is the old Circular Pocra Pier construction with a Timber Jetty built on to it.  Point Law just appears top left

For large ships, slipways are only used in construction of the vessel.  Normally they are arranged at right-angles to the shore line (or as nearly so as the water and maximum length of vessel allows) and the ship is built with its Stern facing the water. Modern slipways take the form of a reinforced concrete mat of sufficient strength to support the vessel, with two "barricades" that extend to well below the water level taking into account Tidal variations. The barricades support the two launch ways. The vessel is built upon temporary cribbing that is arranged to give access to the hull's outer bottom, and to allow the launch-ways to be erected under the complete hull. When it is time to prepare for launching a pair of standing ways are erected under the hull and out onto the barricades.  The surface of these ways are greased. (Tallow and Whale Oil were used as grease in sailing ship days.)  A pair of sliding ways is placed on top, under the hull, and a launch cradle with Fore and stern poppets are erected on these sliding ways. The weight of the hull is then transferred from the build cribbing onto the launch cradle. Provision is made to hold the vessel in place and then release it at the appropriate moment in the launching ceremony, these are either a weak link designed to be cut at a signal or a mechanical trigger to a ram controlled by a switch from the ceremonial platform.

The process of transferring the vessel to the water is known as launching and is normally a ceremonial and celebratory occasion. It is the point where the vessel is formally named. At this point the hull is complete and the any propellors and associated shafting are in place, but dependent on the depth of water, stability and weight the engines might have not been fitted or the superstructure may not be completed.  On launching, the vessel slides backwards down the slipway on the ways until it increases self buoyancy and floats by itself.  These are subject to detailed displacement calculations and available tide levels.  Any delay could result in loss of available draught from a receding tide and therefore loss of the bouyancy anticipated causing tense moments unbeknown to the guests at the launch.


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Last modified: 01/09/2013