Union Steam Collier Company

Union Steamship Company

Union Steamship Company

Formed in 1853 as a steam collier company named the Southampton Steam Shipping Co to bring coal from South Wales to Southampton for the large liner companies.

In the same year it became the Union Steam Collier Co, but in 1854 all their five ships were taken over as transports for the Crimean War. Returned to their owners in 1856, they remained idle due to the large stocks of coal accumulated at Southampton.

The company made unsuccessful ventures into the UK - South America and Birkenhead - Hamburg routes, but in 1857 they were awarded the mail contract between the UK and South Africa.

In 1876 a joint mail contract with the Castle Line was awarded by the Colonial Government with the proviso that the two companies did not amalgamate.

This contract expired in 1899, and after much political manoeuvring, the two companies merged to become the Union-Castle Mail SS Co and received the new mail contract.

Routes:

1853          

South Wales ports to Southampton.

1856-7     

Southampton - Rio de Janeiro - Buenos Aires.

1857         

Birkenhead - South Coast of England ports - Hamburg.

Southampton - Plymouth - Cape Town / Simonstown - St.Helena - Ascension - Southampton.

1863          

Intercolonial: Cape Town - Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth) - Buffalo River (East London) - Port Natal.

1863-1900 Mail Service:

Southampton - Cape Town.

1863-1900 Intermediate Service:

Southampton - Plymouth - Cape Town - Port Elizabeth.

1864-1868 Eastern Mail:

Cape Town - Algoa Bay - Port Natal - Mauritius (thence via P&O Line Suez - UK)

1866-1868

Cape Town - Algoa Bay - Port Natal - Mauritius - Galle, Ceylon (thence via P&O Line to Far East or UK)

1868-1900

Cape Town - Algoa Bay - Port Natal - Mauritius.

1873-1900

Southampton - Port Elizabeth.

1873-1881

Cape Town - Zanzibar.

1873-1878

Cape Town - Port Nolloth.

1881-1900

Southampton - Antwerp(later) - Rotterdam - Hamburg.

1883-1884

Liverpool - Newport News - Baltimore.

1892-1900 Union-America Line (joint cargo service with Castle Line)

South Africa - USA.

Funnel:

1858 - 1863 Black

1863 - 1870 Buff, black top

1870 - 1891 Black

1891 - 1900 Buff

Mail Service Ships

Intermediate & Extra Service Ships

Cargo Service Ships

Coastal & Feeder Service Ships

Utility Vessels

Union Line Staff

Union Steam Colliers

Union Line Documents

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