Tag Archives: Charles Wye Williams

The Traveller’s Map of the River Shannon (1830)

The Traveller’s Map of the River Shannon. Arranged as a Guide to its Lakes and the Several Towns, Gentlemens’ Seats, Ancient Castles, Ruins, Mines, Quarries, Trading Stations, and General Scenery on Its Banks, Source in Lough Allen to the Sea, Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon, Westmeath, King’s County, Tipperary, Galway, Limerick, Kerry and Clare, Accurately Taken from the Survey made by J. Grantham, by order of the Irish Government, under the direction of the late J. Rennie. Printed and published for the Irish Inland Steam Navigation Company, 1830.

Oblong folio, 15 numbered maps printed in black with river and water features coloured in light blue. Original quarter calf green cloth boards, russet title to centre of upper boards, stamped in gilt with gilt fillet boarder. Repair to rear of plate 15, otherwise all maps in very good to fine condition.

Contents: 1. Map of Ireland, 2. Index Map. Lough Derg to the sea, 3. Index Map. Lough Derg to Lough Allen., 4. Kilrush to Tarbert and Foynes Island, 5. Foynes Island to Grass Island, 6. Grass Island to Limerick and O’Brien’s Bridge. 7. O’Briens Bridge to Killaloe and Dromineer. 8. Dromineer to Portumna and Redwood Castle. 9. Redwood Castle to Banagher, and Seven [Churches (Clonmacnoise)], 10. Seven Churches to Athlone and Lough Ree, 11. Lough Ree to Lough Forbes. 12 Lough Forbes to near Leitrim. 13. Leitrim to Head of Lough Allen. 14. map of Limerick, 15. Map of Killaloe.

Map 1 shows Ireland and its waterways at scale of 1″ equals 20 miles, Maps 2 and 3 show the key for 4-13, with table of falls of water along the route on former and table of distances on latter; Maps 4-14 each have a short descriptive panel; Map 14 shows Limerick from the north of King’s Island to the New Barrack in the south with key Map 15 from the town at left to Beal Boru at right.

Yours for only €1800 at Ulysses Rare Books in Dublin.

Manby, Napier, Oldham, Williams, Grantham

Here is a piece about the Aaron Manby, the first iron steamer to make a sea voyage, and its links to Irish inland waterways transport.

The piece was first published in the rally magazine of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland Lough Derg Branch in July 2017.

Hibernia

I see that P&O Cruises [about which there is a not-very-accurate Wikipedia page here: not very accurate, I mean, about the history of the P&O Line] will seek public suggestions for a name for its latest vessel, which they call “the nation’s ship”:

P&O has also previously run a similar exercise, coming up with the stately Britannia for a ship that launched last year. The company hopes for something similarly dignified and patriotic this time round […].

I do hope there will be a concerted campaign to have it named Hibernia, to recognise that

  • the single most important person in the formation of the P&O Line, Richard Bourne, was Irish
  • four of the eight original directors were Irish (and one was Spanish)
  • 83% of the company’s original capital of £304,600 in ships, exchanged for paid-up shares, was Irish owned.

Of course, as this great Irish company expanded, it took on more British shareholders and directors, training them no doubt in how to run scheduled steam shipping services, but it is about time that the Irish role was acknowledged.

See Freda Harcourt “Charles Wye Williams and Irish steam shipping 1820–1850” in The Journal of Transport History Third Series Volume 13 Number 2 September 1992, Manchester University Press, and Freda Harcourt Flagships of Imperialism: the P&O Company and the politics of empire from its origins to 1867 Manchester University Press 2006 [ebook now also available].

The American and Colonial Steam Navigation Company

What a collection of notables ….

Provisional Committee of 1836

Captain Beaufort RN, Hydrographer to the Admiralty
The Right Hon Maurice A Fitzgerald
Simon M’Gillivray Esq
The Right Hon Lord Talbot de Malahide
George Richardson Porter Esq, Board of Trade
Richard Griffith Esq, Civil Engineer
John David Latouche Esq
Peirce Mahony Esq
Daniel O’Connell Esq
The Hon Frederick Ponsonby
Charles Wye Williams Esq
Christopher Bullin Esq
James Ferrier Esq
James Jameson Esq
Richard Williams Esq
George M’Bride Esq
Francis Carleton Esq

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current 1 August 1836

From the British Newspaper Archive

From the BNA

The Mahmoudié Canal

There is a possible link between the Mahmoudié Canal, which ran from Alexandria to the Nile, and Irish waterways. I have not managed to establish a definite link to this Irish canal-boat but it is not ruled out either, and a few other Irish connections came up along the way: Oscar Wilde’s father, for instance, who wrote about the Boyne and the Corrib, and sent his most famous son to school on the Erne, travelled on the Mahmoudié Canal.

And did you know that, in the early 1840s, you could buy bottled Guinness and Bass in Cairo? Or that, to transport 50 people (including 12 ladies and 3 female servants) and 3 bags and 62 chests of mail across 84 miles of desert, you would have needed, in 1841,

  • 130 camel men, donkey men and servants
  • an escort of 17 Arab horsemen
  • 145 camels
  • 60 donkeys
  • 12 saddle horses
  • 12 carriage horses
  • 7 carriage camels
  • 12 donkey chairs: “for invalids, or ladies, the donkey-chair forms as easy a conveyance as a palanquin or sedan”
  • 3 two-wheeled carriages
  • 1 four-wheeled carriage?

Or that, to reduce the number of rats and insects on a cangia (sailing boat) on the Nile, you should sink it for two or three days before boarding?

You can read about all of that and more in this PDF. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted: it’s 51 pages, with over 300 endnotes (which you don’t have to read) and lots of links for those who are really interested. There are illustrations in some of the linked materials.

The Mahmoudié mystery v04 iwh [PDF]

Composite construction on Irish inland waterways

I wrote here about Watson’s Double Canal Boat, saying inter alia that, in 1839, William Watson, manager of the inland department of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, patented:

an improvement in the construction of ships, and which improvement is also applicable to all kinds of sea-going vessels; and also certain improvements in the construction of boats and other vessels intended to be used on canals and inland navigations. [1]

I quoted the Mechanics’ Magazine of December 1839, which said that:

Three canal barges have already been built upon Mr Watson’s plan of construction, of 60 tons burthen each, and with eminent success.[2]

I said that the size suggested that these canal barges were for the CoDSPCo’s Irish inland operations, but that I had no information about where they were built.  I have now found information about one builder.

SHIP BUILDING

On Thursday, the 22nd instant, a fine new trade boat, built with iron ribs, according to the patent of William Watson, Esq., and belonging to the City of Dublin Steam company, also a new smack, 50 tons measurement, were launched from the Brunswick dock-yard, Ringsend Docks.[3]

I would be grateful for more information.


[1] “List of patents granted for Scotland from 18th March to 18th June 1839” in The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal , exhibiting a view of the progressive discoveries and improvements in the sciences and the arts Vol XXVII No LIII — July 1839; “List of English patents granted between the 25th of May and the 25th of June, 1839” in The Mechanics’ Magazine No 829, Saturday, June 29, 1839

[2] The Mechanics’ Magazine Vol XXXII No 855 28 December 1839

[3] The Freeman’s Journal Saturday 24 July 1841. An almost identical note appeared in the Dublin Evening Mail of Monday 26 July 1841.

The Charles Wye Williams bridge campaign

Dublin City Council has published its call for proposals for naming the new bridge across the Liffey. According to RTE, various bolshies and literary types have been suggested, as though we didn’t have enough of them (and of politicians too). Accordingly, I have submitted an application suggesting that the bridge be named after a successful entrepreneur who understood technology and created employment: Charles Wye Williams, the Father of the Shannon, whose fleet of nine steamers and fifty-two barges gave us the Shannon as we know it today.

I will be happy to send a copy (PDF) of my application to anyone who is willing to support it.

CWW bridge

Paul Quinn’s photos showed the new Marlborough Street Bridge being constructed across the Liffey. Last Saturday’s Irish Times reported that Dublin City Council would soon be advertising to seek suggestions for naming the bridge; it said that a body called Labour Youth [whose members may be socialists, I fear] wanted it named after one Rosie Hackett, who went on strike  many years ago. It did not report that there is another campaign to have the bridge named after E T S Walton, a physicist.

The north-eastern corner of the bridge features the site of the offices of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, whose crest still adorns the walls. I suggest that the bridge be named after the company’s founder, the remarkable Irish entrepreneur Charles Wye Williams: the father of the Shannon, the master of scheduled steam shipping, the founder of the CoDSPCo and a founder director of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, godparent of the Irish livestock industry, innovator in marine safety, promoter of the turf industry, writer and experimenter on steam technology, tireless campaigner ….

Apart from his company’s crest on Eden Quay, and his name on a bridge he caused to be built in Limerick, there is no monument to this remarkable man. Name the bridge after him and move the plaque to it (and protect it adequately).

 

The 120′ Irish steam-powered narrow boat

Read about it here.

The Rideau Canal

The Cedar Lounge Revolution has an article about those who worked on the construction of the Rideau Canal in Canada in the 1820s and 1830s. Readers will, of course, recall that Charles Wye Williams compared the Rideau and the Shannon in his 1835 […] speech on the improvement of the Shannon: being in continuation of the debate in the House of Commons, 12th May, 1835, giving a comparative view of the navigation of the Rideau Canal, in Canada, and the River Shannon in Ireland, with observations on the value of a connection by steam packets, with British America.