Granta Steamship Company



The Allens lumped together a group of ships under the heading of 'Colliers'. I have now provided new pages for these colliers even though the numbers of ships involved is small. The Colliers page has been retained HERE but now just lists the ships and provides redirects to their new locations. The importance of colliers through to the middle of the 20th Century should not be underestimated. Coal was used to heat homes, was used in the gas industry to make town gas, was the main fuel for electricity power stations, and was the fuel for steam ships. Gradually alternatives sources of fuel were developed, and colliers were phased out - in the UK at least.

The firm of Witherington & Everett was established in 1898 by Harry Poore Everett (1862-1955) and John William Witherington (1862-1933). In 1903 they took on management of the JG Hill Steam Shipping Co., and adopted a number of ideas from this firm, including ship names and colours. The firm survived the First World War, although all but two of their ships were either interned in Germany or requisitioned by the Admiralty, and the Depression when 17 of their 18 ships were laid up. By the 1930s, with the founders' sons mostly running the business, Witherington and Everett had also taken on the Granta Steamship Company.

In the early years coal formed the majority of the company's cargoes. During the 1950s an attempt was made to diversify into general cargo and the Mediterranean trade: the Gracechurch Shipping Line Ltd. was formed to specialise in this aspect of the business.

My old friend Stan Mayes remarked that this company's vessels were known as 'Tombstone' ships as they had thick white vertical bands on a black funnel.

I don't know whether Granta had their own house flag but if so, I have been unable to locate one and have used the Witherington and Everett one at the top of the page instead.




Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers British Government
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder William Gray & Co. Ltd
Shipyard West Harlepool
Country where built UK
Yard Number 1,112
Official Number 160789
Call Sign GNJR
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Gross Tonnage 2,824
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 1,575
Length 310 Ft 6"
Overall Length 321 Ft
Breadth or Beam 44 Ft 4"
Depth 19 Ft 4"
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 20", 33", 55" and stroke 39"
Engine Builder Central Marine Engineering Works
Engine Builder Works West Hartlepool
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 2 single-ended boilers operating a 200 psi
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power 255 NHP
Maximum Speed 10

Additional Construction Information

  • 1 deck and cruiser stern
  • Machinery aft
  • Fitted with radio direction finding equipment

Career Highlights

Date Event
31 October 1940 Launched
December 1940 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Completed for the British Government as Empire Strait. Change of name to Granta and owner to Granta Steam Sg Co Ltd 1945. Taken to Lemmer September 1960 for breaking by Simetas Scheepssloperij

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