Tag Archives: Grand Canal Company

Sunday travel

The Rev Mr Stavelly said that he would avail himself of the present occasion to draw the attention of the directors to a subject in which he felt much interest — namely, the propriety of the company discontinuing the plying of their passage-boats on Sundays, and he moved a resolution to that effect, which was seconded by Mr Robert Guinness.

The Chairman stated that the subject of the rev gentleman’s motion had been already, on various occasions, under the consideration of the Court of Directors, but, with any desire, on their part, to meet the views of those who objected to Sunday travelling, it had been hitherto found impracticable to reconcile the proposed change with the convenience of the public or the interests of the company. He believed it was not in his power to put the resolution from the chair, as by the laws which governed the proceedings of the company, no resolution could be put to any meeting which had not direct reference to the objects for which it was called, but that he would again draw the attention of the directors to the subject on the very earliest occasion.

The meeting then adjourned.

From the report on the stated half-yearly meeting of the Grand Canal Company held on Saturday 23 October 1841 in the Dublin Morning Register 25 October 1841

 

GCC inspection launch again

The other day I posted an account of the Grand Canal Company’s inspection launch, built at its own docks in James’s Street Harbour in 1909. I said

I had not been aware of the existence of a GCC inspection launch later than the gondola of 1795. I would be glad of information from anyone who knows more about it: please leave a Comment below if you can help.

Then I remembered that, back in January, Alan Lindley had kindly permitted me to post this photograph, taken at Lowtown in 1911 or 1912.

Unidentified boat at Lowtown (courtesy Alan Lindley)

Unidentified boat at Lowtown (courtesy Alan Lindley)

 
Alan identified the man on the left of the group — with cap, waistcoat and watch-chain, and with a dog standing in front of him — as the lock keeper, Murtagh Murphy, the great-grandfather of the present incumbent, James (Jimmy) Conroy.

I said at the time that, although the boat had been described as a passenger flyboat, that seemed unlikely, and that the boat looked much more like a pleasure vessel than a working boat. I added:

If the Grand Canal Company had an inspection launch, this might be it, but I have found nothing to indicate that it did. The boat does, though, seem to have been designed for canal travel: it seems (from the twenty feet or so we can see) to have straight sides and to be well equipped with fenders. It might therefore have been designed to travel on the canals (as well as on other waters).

Well, now we know that the Grand Canal Company did have an inspection launch, built in 1909, not long before this photo was taken. Could this be it?

 

GCC inspection launch

Under the heading

GRAND CANAL COMPANY’S ENTERPRISE

the Irish Times reported, on 21 December 1909, on the trials of a launch newly built by the Grand Canal Company in their own docks at James’s Street Harbour.

The launch was 40′ long and 6½’ wide, screw propelled and driven by a Daimler 12-15 hp petrol engine. This engine was placed in the forward part of the launch

… and is worked in the manner which is usual with road motor cars: the driver or steersman sitting at the wheel having a clear view ahead.

That part of the launch was open; in the centre was a “deck-house or saloon, constructed principally of teak wood”. Aft of that was another open area. The launch could carry 20 people.

The saloon had “a sliding weatherproof door at the fore end, and two removable swing doors in the aft end”. It was lit by electric lamps and had cushioned seats at each side, with storage lockers underneath. A “table of novel design” was lowered from the ceiling when required, then pushed back up to leave a clear passage through the saloon. The launch, which was fitted up very tastefully, and

… the creditable manner in which the work of turning out the launch as a whole has been accomplished reflects great credit on the company’s workmen, and promises well for the future of local industries.

The trials were attended by the GCC General Manager George Tough and its Engineer Harry Wayte. The launch left James’s Street at 10.30am for Ringsend, travelled up the Liffey to Kingsbridge and back down again, before going out into Dublin Bay two miles beyond the Poolbeg lighthouse. On a measured mile in the Liffey, between the Pigeon House and the lighthouse, she managed 12 mph against the tide. She returned to James’s Street Harbour after arousing “considerable interest amongst spectators along the route”.

The launch was intended as “an officers’ inspection boat, to travel all over the company’s extensive system” of waterways routes.

The boat in every respect worked very satisfactorily, and reflected great credit on its designers. […] The success which has attended this experiment may lead to the establishment of fast or express goods boats all over the system.

I had not been aware of the existence of a GCC inspection launch later than the gondola of 1795. I would be glad of information from anyone who knows more about it: please leave a Comment below if you can help.

From the BNA

The Daly news

In 1849 the Grand Canal Company decided to begin operating a cargo-carrying service on its own canal, initially from Dublin to Naas and from Dublin to Kilbeggan, both destinations on branch lines. According to Ruth Delany, Naas was included because

[…] Daly of Sallins, the only trader to Naas, had announced his intention of withdrawing the service which he was operating at a considerable loss.[1]

It may be the same Daly of Sallins who had leased the Grand Canal Company’s hotel in Sallins after the lease to the Great Southern & Western Railway ended in 1847. Delany says that the Daly family

[…] looked after the maintenance of sections of the banks and trackways for the company under contract and later became the horse contractors for the company’s trade boats.[2]

By 1870, however, the Grand Canal Company had ended that arrangement:

The haulage of the boats by their own horses had been a great success. It had been done at a much less rate, and more efficiently, than was done before by contract.[3]

It is possible that the company used contractors for some of its work some of the time, perhaps to supplement its own resources in busy seasons. A report to the company’s half-yearly meeting in August 1888 included these items>

[…] £103 for a new roof to their stables at Shannon Harbour. […] their horsing account for 52 horses at £669. They had during the last half year replaced several horses worn out in the service by new purchases. Their stud was never in a better condition than at present. […] They had succeeded in obtaining savings in new haulage contracts […].[4]

In February 1890, a new company chairman, Mr William F De V Kane JP, reported that Mr T J Daly, of Sallins, had been appointed inspector and clerk of works to the company engineer, Mr Mulvany, at a salary of £150 a year and travelling expenses;

[…] and the directors were confident that by this appointment an improvement in the management of horses in the country as well as economy would be secured.[5]

Perhaps that Daly was related to the other Dalys. I would welcome further information about the Daly family of Sallins.

Sources

[1] Ruth Delany The Grand Canal of Ireland David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1973

[2] ibid

[3] Report to Grand Canal Company half-yearly meeting 26 February 1870 in Dublin Evening Mail 26 February 1870

[4] Freeman’s Journal 20 August 1888

[5] ibid

Launch at Messrs Bewley and Webb’s yard

The first of two new steel canal boats which the above firm are building for the Grand Canal Company was successfully launched on Wednesday.  These boats are 60 ft long by 13 ft 2 in beam, and 5 ft 9 in depth of hold, and are designed to carry forty tons on a light draught of water. They are of improved design and construction, and expected to tow very easily. The Canal Company have expressed themselves well pleased with the time of delivery and workmanship, and it is to be hoped no more orders of this kind will go across the water in future. The firm appear to us to be well able to deal with the work of the port. The ss Magnet, of the Tedcastle Line, which had an extensive overhaul at this yard, we believe, gave every satisfaction, and had a most successful trial trip a few days ago. It is to be hoped that more of our local steamship companies will follow the lead of Messrs Tedcastle, and have their work done in Dublin.

The Freeman’s Journal 1 September 1893. From the British Newspaper Archive run by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited, in partnership with the British Library.

Some context here.

The disappointed steamer

For one brief moment it seemed that the humble steamer Ballymurtagh might have a glittering future as a passenger vessel. Alas, it was not to be.

Crossing the Barrow

The trackway [towing-path] on the River Barrow changes from the east {left) bank to the west at Leighlinbridge and back again at Graiguecullen/Carlow.

It seems to me that there may have been some difficulties in getting horse-drawn boats from one side of the river to the other and I have found no evidence on how it was done, so here is some speculation instead.

The Liffey link lottery

In The Grand Canal of Ireland [David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1973], Ruth Delany says

In 1784 the construction of a link with the River Liffey had been discussed.

John Brownrigg had suggested a link from the Grand Canal Company’s harbour at James’s Street, but the plan eventually adopted was that of the Circular Line, the four-mile canal we have today, joining the Liffey via the Grand Canal Docks at Ringsend.

However, I have found a piece of evidence showing that the company considered the Liffey link ten years earlier, in 1774. Delany says that there are no board minutes for two years between 1773 and 1775, which would explain why this earlier plan has not hitherto been noticed. The evidence is from the Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty 19 October 1774.

The Trustees for executing the Canal of Communication between the Canal and the Harbour of Dublin, Toll free, confiding in the Favour of the Public for the Support of a Work of so great national Utility, have unanimously resolved upon the following Scheme, grafted upon the State Lottery for this present Year, for raising a Fund for that Purpose.

The Necessity of this Application to the Public at present, will appear from a Report of the Committee of Works of the Canal Company, certifying that the Works contracted for by Mr Traill between the Liffey at or near Sallins and the City Bason, are in such Forwardness as to render it absolutely necessary to proceed in making the above mentioned Communication early in the next Year; the said Report is in the Hands of the Secretary to the Canal Company.

2 prizes of                      £2000          is £4000
4 prizes of                         £750          is £3000
5 prizes of                         £150          is   £750
10 prizes of                          £50          is   £500
20 prizes of                          £40         is   £400 *
40 prizes of                             £5        is   £200
180 prizes of                            £1/10   is   £270
600 prizes of                           £1         is   £600
19150 prizes of                          £0/6     is £5740 *
First drawn first three days £40          is   £120
Last drawn                          £200          is   £200
£15780

NB Not quite two Blanks to a Prize; and the Publick will take notice, that £35 is accounted for more than the Tickets will amount to.

Ten per Cent to be deducted from the Prizes for the Use of the Scheme.

15000 Tickets, 4 Numbers each, at £1 1s each to Subscribers for a Lot not less than 50 Tickets.

Price to Non-subscribers, one Guinea each Ticket.

Subscriptions are now receiving, and Tickets delivering out at the Navagation-house [sic] in Grafton-street, where the Prizes will be paid immediately after the Arrival of the Numerical Book from London. The Securities required from the Subscribers, viz Bankers Notes, Government and Fire-office Insurance Debentures, and City of Dublin Bonds, are to be lodged in the Bank of Thomas Finlay, Esq, and Company.

The Names of the Trustees for carrying the above Scheme into Execution, may be seen at the Navigation-House [sic], in Grafton-street.

There’s an idea for DAHG.

 

 

* sic

Fuel consumption

The Dublin Monitor of 3 December 1839 quoted the celebrated Dublin-born adulterer and polymath Dionysius Lardner [who said that Victorians were prudish?] as saying

A train of coaches, about eighty tons, and transporting 230 passengers, with their luggage, has been taken from Liverpool to Birmingham, and from Birmingham to Liverpool, the trip each way taking about four hours, stoppages included. The distance between these places by the railway is ninety-five miles.

This double journey of 190 miles is effected by the mechanical force produced in the combustion of a quarter of a ton of coke, the value of which is 6s.

To carry the same number of passengers daily between the same places by stage coaches, on a common road, would require twenty coaches, and an establishment of 3,800 horses, with which the journey in each direction would be performed in about twelve hours, stoppages included.

Dr Lardner on the Steam Engine

The fuel consumption figure seemed odd to me, because I had recently read about the fuel consumed by a steamer on the Shannon in 1851. This was evidently one of the two screw steamers put to work by the Grand Canal Company in 1851, on which Sir John MacNeill conducted the experiments described here.

A luggage boat propelled by steam, on the screw principle, has been for the first time placed on the waters of the Shannon between Shannon Harbour and Limerick, taking in Portumna, Dromineer, Williamstown [probably Hollands], Killaloe, and the river and canal, to the terminus lock at Limerick.

As a specimen of aquatic architecture, the boat presents no very peculiar or striking features; it is built of iron, with a flush deck; it is capable of carrying about thirty tons, and the rate at which it goes on the canal, is about three and a half miles an hour, whether singly, or as a tug boat with two or three heavy lighters after it; whilst on the broader waters of the river, it is capable of going at a rate of seven and a half miles an hour!

This phenomenon may be explained by the fact that on the canal, which is comparatively narrow, there is no expansion of the waters displaced by the boat, whilst there is always a considerable swell raised about the prow, causes which conspire to retard her speed, and which do not operate when she is on the river.

The expense of working this boat is considerably less than that of the ordinary boat drawn by horses. A ton of coal supplies the engine between Limerick and Shannon Harbour; whereas the horsing alone of a boat between Limerick and Killaloe amounts to something about ten shillings.

The experiment, however, has not been sufficiently tested; and there is some doubt that it may succeed according to the expectations of its projectors. Just now several industrious persons with horses are employed on the canal: and it is to be hoped that in this season of dearth and destitution, no hasty means will be adopted to force them for subsistence on overgrown poor rates.

Limerick Reporter 27 May 1851

The Limerick Reporter article does not say, and I cannot determine, whether this was  Towing steamer No 2 [Appendix 3 in Ruth Delany The Grand Canal of Ireland David and Charles, Newton Abbot 1973], the twin-screw vessel which MacNeill, confusingly, called the No 1 Boat, or the single-screw Towing steamer No 1, which MacNeill called the No 2 Boat.

But I was surprised that the railway train could do 190 miles on a quarter ton of coke while the steamer required a ton for the (roughly) 54 miles from Shannon Harbour to Limerick.

On consulting the online Gutenberg version of the seventh edition of Dionysius Lardner The Steam Engine explained and illustrated; with an account of its invention and progressive improvement, and its application to navigation and railways; including also A Memoir of Watt Taylor and Walton, London 1840, I found that there were some differences between that and the Dublin Monitor‘s version:

A train of coaches weighing about eighty tons, and transporting two hundred and forty passengers with their luggage, has been taken from Liverpool to Birmingham, and back from Birmingham to Liverpool, the trip each way taking about four hours and a quarter, stoppages included. The distance between these places by the railway is ninety-five miles.

This double journey of one hundred and ninety miles is effected by the mechanical force produced in the combustion of four tons of coke, the value of which is about five pounds.

To carry the same number of passengers daily between the same places by stage-coaches on a common road, would require twenty coaches and an establishment of three thousand eight hundred horses, with which the journey in each direction would be performed in about twelve hours, stoppages included.

So 240 passengers, not 230; 4¼ rather than 4 hours — and most significantly 4 tons of coke, costing about £5, rather than ¼ ton costing 6s [£0.3].

Did the Dublin Monitor get it wrong — and, if so, why and how? Or were the lower figures in some earlier edition of Lardner’s work?

 

 

GCC Shannon steamers 1866

Here is a new page with an illustrated article from 1866 about the steam engines in three Grand Canal Company steamers of that era, which were used on the Shannon. I am grateful to Mick O’Rourke of Irish Shipwrecks for sending the article to me.