steam ships

Royal Victoria Gardens

Snowy scene of 1949 looking towards the docks.   Beyond the park can be seen local streets that bear the scars of the Second World War.



This photograph is from the Alan Godfrey Collection, who records the ship in the docks as the SS Chieftain.  It has been suggested, however,  that the ship in this view is actually the Highland Chieftain as "SS Chieftain" was a much older ship. If so it is in the dock having resumed commercial operations after the war.


Highland Chieftain (14,131 gross tons) was built by Harland and Wolf of Belfast for the Nelson Line in 1928 and was the first of five "Highland" vessels.  Her maiden voyage on the London to River Plate service was on 21st of February that year. In 1932 the ship was transferred to the Royal Mail Line, serving until 1958. She was requisitioned for wartime trooping duties in 1939, but was damaged on the 11th of October, 1940 during a bombing raid on Liverpool. The ship ran aground in 1946.  Commercial operations were resumed in 1948.  In 1959 Highland Chieftain was sold to Calpe Shipping Co, Gibraltar, and renamed Calpean Star and converted for use in the whaling industry. In March, 1960 she suffered rudder damage when off Montevideo and, after leaving under tow, suffered a boiler room explosion which resulted in her being abandoned in the River Plate, where her masts could be seen projecting above the water and where she lay about three miles distant from the wreck of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee.  The wreck of the Calpean Star was eventually cut up for scrap in 1965.


(Information from the British Armed Forces & National Service website, gallery No. 40 - Troopships, with thanks to Andrew Faulkner)


 

Royal Victoria Gardens

Royal Albert Dock, S.S.China.

The S.S.China and barges in the dock. This dock was opened in 1880 by the Duke of Connaught, the son of Queen Victoria, on her behalf and named "The Royal Albert Dock" in honour of her late husband, the Prince Consort. The name "Connaught" for the neighbourhood, the road and hotel derived from the royal opener.


Newham Heritage & Archives Ref AG 06

 Royal Albert Dock, S.S.China.
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