Sunday, 28 November 2010

Down to See the Engines

I reckon this Waverley video dates from circa 1990. It has been split into 5 parts for loading up to YouTube. Links to all five parts are given below although you can also navigate between them if you go onto the YouTube site. Its amazing to think that 2 decades  have passed since this film was made so there are a number of well known faces (then) including Captain Jimmy Addison, engineers George Beveridge, Jimmy Graham . Also brief shots of former donkeyman John Lees, 'Wee Davie' Muir, deckie the late Donald (Angus) McKinnon, 'new' purser Jim McFadzean and Ken Henderson, in apprenticeship days, who subsequently became Chief Engineer. Most of the film is set in the engineroom (as the title would suggest, or perhaps it wouldn't if you know the 'lore' behind that expression) but there is some nice, if brief, on deck shots at the start. For some of us 1990 seems relatively recent in the Waverley story - until we realise its now 20 years ago. So its a bit of a nostalgia trip for us oldies but, even if you've only come to know Waverley in relatively recent times, I hope that you will find something of interest in this fine film and historical record. Sadly, I don't know who made the film but all credit is due to them. So, 'Cedarcam', many thanks for these wonderful memories

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

and Part 5

Additionally, and especially for the Branch Chairman, in Part 4 there is a close up of the port-side steam-engine driven Howden FD fan. which resided on the platform at main deck level at the forward end of the engineroom. Originally, the ship was fitted with a double-ended Scotch Boiler, built by the enginebuilder, Rankin & Blackmore, at their Eagle Foundry in Baker Street, Greenock. The boiler had six furnaces (3 at each end) originally each being fitted with firebars in a grate for coal firing. The boiler draught (air flow) containing the oxygen for oxidation (burning) of the carbon and hydrogen in the coal was maintained by creating a relatively steady pressure differential between the boileroom and the flue exit at the top of the funnesl both of which were for creation of boiler draught in those days (the separation of Waverley's funnels are typical of that required for the ubiquitous Scotch boiler). As a safety measure, to reduce the chance of blow-back of combustion products from the furnaces, the area around the boiler firing positions was maintained at a pressure higher than the ambient air pressure. Effectively there was a sealed chamber around the lower half and the twin steam engined forced draught (FD) fans blew air from the engineroom into boilerroom through two openings in the bulkhead that separates the two compartments. To prevent dipping the pressure in the boilerroom stokehold twin-door air locks were needed for access and egress of the boilerroom. The systems was well known as 'Forced Draught on a Closed Stokehold'. One of the pioneers of this innovative improvement in the firing performance of boilers was the Glasgow engineer James Howden who was working in the industry from the 1850s onwards. Originally building marine engines and boilers to supply the large and rapidly expanding Clyde shipbuilding industry, Howden was a very original-thinking innovative engineer, proposing several improvements that fate has subsequently credited to others. The Howden company established a large manufacturing works in Scotland Street, Glasgow, adjacent to the site subsequently occupied by Charles Rennie Mackintosh's renowned Scotland Street School (now the Glasgow Museum of Education.

Former Howden Design Offices and Manufacturing Works
8-18 Scotland Street, Glasgow.
This part of the works still exists but it has been under threat of demolition for redevelopment recently,  The Scottish Industrial Heritage Trust has an alternative plan to save the premises and develop it as a working Museum dedicated to industrial heritage
While maintaining a general engineering facility Howden's specialised in air (and gas) moving  equipment (fans, blowers and compressors) and associated airheaters, which play a crucial role in optimising the efficiency of steam-based utility systems. In this work Howden's formed a strong and long lasting association with the innovative Swedish engineer Ljungstrom. Over the years Howden's have absorbed many of their competitors, one notable example being the famous Sirrocco Works of Belfast-based fanmaker Samuel Davidson & Co where Howden fans are now built. On closurre of the Scotland Street works Howden moved their base to Old Renfrew Road in Refrew, close to the Braehead shopping complex. It was in these Renfrew Works that Howden built the large tunnelling machines for the  Channel Tunnel project.
The starboard side Howden fan was removed from Waverley when the Scotch Boiler was removed from the vessel in March 1981. The new Babcock Steambloc boiler that replaced it had twin furnaces fitted with oil burners, supplied by combustion specialists Saake, that had their own integral FD fans. However the port-side Howden fan was retained to assist in maintaining adequate ventilation of the boilerroom, The fan was removed during the second reboilering in 2000.

A Howden development for the Scotch boiler but, unlike the one that used to be on Waverley, it has an air jacket to improve the overall efficiency of the unit and a superheater / desuperheater for control of final steam temperature. The unit  is also a single ended Scotch boiler like those on SS Shieldhall

Stuart Cameron

Friday, 26 November 2010

MV Balmoral - People's Millions Grant 2010 UPDATE.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you all that Balmoral was successful and has won the £50,000 grant towards the refurbishment of her Britannia Lounge.

Congratulations to all involved!!!

Gavin Stewart
Scottish Branch Chairman

Friday, 19 November 2010

Waverley Summer 2010

Gerry Ward's video of Waverley during Summer 2010. Great shots pity the weather was not more 'summery'


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

MV Balmoral Short-listed for 2010 People'sMillions Grant - Please Vote & Support

MV Balmoral, the Glasgow-owned, Bristol-based historic excursion vessel has been short-listed for a £50,000 grant from the 2010 ITV Peoples Millions competition. If successful the grant will be used to assist refurbishing the vessel's Britannia Lounge (named after the Clyde-built P&A Campbell paddle steamer Britannia), the main passenger lounge located on the main deck, forward.

Balmoral is owned by the Waverley Steam Navigation Company Ltd of 36 Lancefield Quay, Glasgow, which is a charity registered in Scotland. In today's economic climate it is essential that the company pursues every possible source of revenue to maintain Balmoral in an operational condition. Please support Balmoral's bid

To recieve the grant Balmoral must win the online / telephone vote on 24th November.

If you want to support Balmoral's bid for this grant further details can be obtained at

Support Balmoral's People's Millions Bid

Monday, 8 November 2010

Waverley and Queen Victoria

 Excellent Gerry Ward video of Waverley escorting the Queen Victoria on the Cunarder's first Visit to Clydeside in July 2010. The Queen Victoria's arrival on the Clyde kindled memories of a story related to the first Cunard Queen, the Clydebank-built Queen Mary. Prior to her all of Cunard's transatlantic liners had borne names ending with the letters 'ia' e.g. Britannia, Caledonia, Lusitania, etc. It is believed that they had selected the name 'Victoria' for John Brown's yard number 534 and asked HM King George V permission to name the vessel after 'the greatest Queen that England had ever known' (not actually using the name 'Victoria' in their request. It is related that the King's reply was along the lines of 'My wife will be delighted' and the Cunard directors felt obliged to accept the result of their ambiguity  The story has never been fully validated and it has been doubted by commentators. After the building of the first Queen Elizabeth, Cunard returned to their original 'ia' style of nomenclature with the Caronia of 1947 and the Saxonia quartette in the 1950s. However, they have not used for over half a century 

See Gerry's other excellent pictures and videos at

Gerry Ward's ' River Clyde Photography'

Stuart Cameron

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Waverley on YouTube - old and new

There is now a large number of videos of Waverley on the internet video website YouTube. Some depict the ship in her pre-rebuild days and a few of these are digitised versions of old cine film from pre-camcorder days. At the other end of the scale are amazing quality material produced by the latest HD camcorders. A simple search using 'Waverley' in the YouTube search engine will produce a lot of viewing material. It is worth while checking the maximum available quality as the default reproduction will generally be quite low definition (360p). Selecting the HD formats (720p or 1080p) is definitely worthwhile, especially if you are viewing it on a large LCD or Plasma screen.

Links to a couple of examples of the material available are given below. First up is an example of an older film from the early 1990s (I think). It is at least part of a professional TV film from something called 'Coast -TV' and shows Waverley on the Largs to Rothesay section of a midweek sailing (probably a Tuesday sailing to Tarbert). The film quality is not particularly good as it has probably been digitised from a VCR magnetic tape but it has some good nostalgia value for those that knew the ship at that time. For instance, the film, which lasts for just over 7 minutes, has brief views of a couple of long term supporters; the late Mr Dunlop Walker of Largs (with whom I had many a technical discussion on boilers, believe it or not as Dunlop was a boiler surveyor by profession),, (at 3:10 to 3:14 on the film) and a young Mr Niall Rolland doing sterling work selling copies of that much sought after, and sadly missed, publication, the Waverley Times, whilst the vessel is alongside the old No 3 Berth at Rothesay pier (at 6:26 to 6:29).

The second example is one of the latest additions, a state-of-the-art 1080p HD film of Waverley on Southampton Water in September 2009 and is a good example of the high quality now available

Stuart Cameron

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Diesel Electric Paddler

This YouTube video is a tribute to the diesel electric paddle vessel Vevey which 'retired' on 30 September 2010 after 103 years service on Lake Leman, joining DEPV Italie and DEPV Helvetie in the laid up fleet at their owner's shipyard in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The three diesel electric paddlers were all originally built as steamers but were re-engined in the 1950s-1960s. Another former steamer, converted to diesel electric propulsion during that period, the Montreux of 1904, returned to steam with the fitting of a brand new bridge-controlled steam engine in 2000. Plans to return the other paddlers to steam have never materialised. Hopefully some means of returning Vevey and her diesel electric fleetmates to service will be forthcoming in the not too distant future.

Although there are many video films of Swiss lake paddle steamers (and their engines in operation) on YouTube, this is the only one I've seen showing a diesel electric engineroom - not as dramatic as a steam engine but still very interesting.

Second video shows some of the farewell events that occured during her last weekend in service

Note the 'Au Revoir ?' pennant flying from her mainmast

Stuart Cameron

Monday, 1 November 2010

Skibladner - the World's Oldest Operational Paddle Steamer

Some good videos (especially the first one) of the world's oldest operational paddle steamer, the Skibladner (built 1856) on Lake Mjosa in Norway