General S.N. Line



General Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. (GSNC) was started up in 1824. Its first services were excursions on the Thames and North Sea, English Channel cargo and passenger services and a service to Lisbon and Gibraltar. In 1836 GSNC purchased the London & Edinburgh Steam Packet Co. and started Mediterranean services in 1882. They also undertook some trips to West Africa in 1894 but this did not prove profitable and was discontinued. GSNC also made voyages to North and South America and Gulf of Mexico between 1894 and 1901.

GSNC lost 23 vessels during WW1 and started a rebuilding programme when the war finished and in 1919 the company took over the Humber to London service of G. R. Haller Ltd and the London to Ghent service of Leach & Co.

GSNC was taken over by P & O Steam Navigation Co. in 1920, but the company continued under its own management. Further expansion included forming Great Yarmouth Shipping Co to operate services between London and Great Yarmouth via Lowestoft and Hull, acquisitions including that of the Rhine London Line (1931), the London & Dunkirk Shipping Co. (1933), the Moss Hutchison Line after the liquidation of the Royal Mail group (1934), the New Medway Steam Packet Co. giving GSNC a monopoly of the Thames excursion business (1936). A subsidiary company Grand Union Shipping Co. was formed in 1937 and in 1939 an GSNC acquired an interest in Turner, Edwards & Co., Bristol and later took it over completely.

GSNC and its subsidiaries companies lost 21 ships during WW2, but these were replaced after the war. After the ware trade gradually declined and Great Yarmouth Shipping Co. and Grand Union Shipping Co. ceased trading in 1970-71. GSNC became wholly owned by P & O Line in 1972.

Most of the ships in the collection are named after birds.


Vessel Type Launched/Completed Tonnage DWT Builder
Albatross Cargo 171,704 G. 1943 Gross: 2020 Net: 830 2956 J. Cockerill S. A. Hoboken, Belgium
Auk No Info 1949?
Cormorant No Info 1927?
Corncrake Cargo 60,892 G. 20/12/1945. Yard No: 351 Gross: 640 Net: 238 797 Henry Robb Ltd. Leith
Greebe Cargo 87,916 G. June 1948. Yard No: 374 Gross: 933 Net: 393 1216 Henry Robb Ltd. Leith
Greenfinch No Info 1940?
Groningen Cargo / Passenger 103,718 B. March 1928. Gross: 1274 Net: 488 1295 Ailsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Troon
Heron No Info 1957?
Hirondelle No Info 1950?
Kingfisher Cargo 29,753 G. 15/11/1944. Yard No: 333 Gross: 493 Net: 224 532 Henry Robb Ltd. Leith
Lapwing Cargo 63,674 G. 04/10/1944. Yard No: 403 Gross: 921 Net: 482 1141 Goole SB & R Co. Ltd. Goole
Laverock Cargo 112,203 G. May 1947. Yard No: 386 Gross: 1209 Net: 437 1437 S. P. Austin & Sons Ltd. Sunderland
Mallard No Info 1938?
Oriole No Info 1939?
Peregrine Cargo 55,120 G. 26/06/1941. Yard No: 108P Gross: 890 Net: 481 1051 A & J Inglis & Co Ltd. Glasgow
Petrel No Info 1945?
Philomel No Info 1937?
Philomel Cargo 164,920 G. April 1956. Yard No: 808 Gross: 1662 Net: 704 A. G. "Weser" Werk, Seebeck, Bremhaven
Ptarmigan Cargo 75,940 G. July 1948. Yard No: 481 Gross: 959 Net: 366 1130 Grangemouth Dockyard Co. Ltd
Queen of the Channel Passenger 1949?
Ringdove Cargo 110,320 G. Jan 1954. Yard No: 478 Gross: 1102 Net: 404 1109 Ailsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Troon
Sandpiper Cargo 70,000 G. June 1957. Yard No: 458 Gross: 916 Net: 318 895 Henry Robb Ltd. Leith
Seamew Cargo 112,203 G. Aug 1947. Yard No: 387 Gross: 1220 Net: 429 1450 S. P. Austin & Sons Ltd. Sunderland
Starling No Info Oct 1930. Yard No: 416 Gross: 1320 Net: 628 Ailsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Troon
Stork Cargo 29,753 G. 20/01/1945. Yard No: 334 Gross: 493 Net: 224 532 Henry Robb Ltd. Leith
Swift No Info 1950?
Teal No Info 1947?
Whitewing Cargo 47,050 G. June 1956. Yard No: 477 Gross: 1102 Net: 406 1127 Ailsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Troon
Woodlark No Info
Woodlark No Info 1956?
Woodwren No Info 1956?

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