[From Manx Quarterly, #12 June 1913]



Shortly after noon on Mar. 11th, Messrs Cammell, Laird and Co. launched from their Birkenhead shipbuilding yard the new twin-screw geared-turbine steamer King Orry, which has been specially designed to suit the conditions of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's trade, in conformity with the latest requirements ,of the Board of Trade and to Lloyd's highest classification. She is the third vessel of the company to be named King Orry, the first having been built in 1842, and the second 29 years later. The first King Orry was built by Messrs Aitkin and Co., of Liverpool, at Douglas, on the site where the Peveril Hotel now stands, and cost 7 per ton. She ran until 1858, when Napier (who had previously built the engines for the vessel) took her in part payment for the first steamer Douglas. Napier subsequently sold the King Orry to a Greek firm, and for many years she traded in the East. The second King Orry was built in 1871 by Messrs R. Duncan and Co., of Glasgow, and was lengthened by 30 feet about 1885, when she had new engines fitted. Three years later she broke her own record for steaming between Liverpool and Douglas, and at the present time she is being broken up near Mostyn.

Tuesday's launching ceremony was in every way a success, thanks to the admirable arrangements made by the officials of Cammell-Lairds, under the personal supervision of Mr G. J. Carter, managing director. The naming ceremony was performed by Mrs W. A.Waid, wife of the deputy-chairman of the Steam Packet Company. For the convenience of the guests, a large platform was erected at the bow of the King Orry, as she lay on the stocks, shored up in preparation for taking her first plunge. After the warning gun had been fired, signals were exhibited that all was clear.

Previous to the launch, Mrs Waid was presented with a handsome bouquet by Mrs W. Laird.

Mrs Waid, on the invitation of Mr Carter, then broke a bottle of wine against the bows of the vessel, and severed the line which automatically released all the retaining gear, and immediately the King Orry commenced her passage down the ways, to the accompaniment of the cheers of all the onlookers. From the time the vessel commenced to move to the time she became completely waterborne, only about a minute elapsed, and the officials were heartily congratulated on the success of the launch.

The King Orry was afterwards taken in tow by tugs, and placed in the wet basin, where she will receive her boilers and machinery. The Packet Company was represented by Messrs D. Maitland (chairman), W. A. Waid (deputy-chairman), R. T. Curphey, J. G. Elliot, W. H. Kitto, and W. R. Fletcher (directors), W. M. Corkill (secretary and manager), Joseph Orford, Thomas Orford, W. F. Flack, A. Hill, Captain T. Keig (marine superintendent), Mr C. J. Blackburn (superintendent engineer), Mr J. Halsall (foreman carpenter), Mr W. Kelly (foreman boilermaker), and Mr J. Ritchie (superintendent of the catering department). Messrs Cammell, Laird, and Co, were represented by Mr G. J. Carter (managing director), Messrs \V. L. Hichens (chairman), A. D. Wedgewood, R. Whitehead, and Major Handley (directors).


The King Orry is of the following dimensions: Length over all, 312ft ; breadth, 43ft. ; depth shelter deck, 24ft. 9in. ; and is to have a speed of about 21 knots. She will carry about 1,600 passengers, while her crew will number 75. Her equipment is of the most modern type, and she has been constructed with a view to ensuring absolute safety at sea. Nine watertight bulkheads extend to the upper deck, while the watertight doors are fitted with the "Stone-Lloya " system of automatic closing, whereby all the doors can be simultaneously closed by operating a small lever on the bridge. Further, the King Orry is to be provided with eight lifeboats of large size, and with buoyant rafts in such numbers as to provide means of life-saving for all persons on board, in addition to a complete outfit of lifeboats and lifebuoys. Although such pains have been taken to secure the safety of passengers, their comfort has not been forgotten, and in this respect the King Orry will compare most favourably with any of her predecessors. As is usual in modern practice, the saloon accommodation occupies the midship portion of the vessel, on the lower deck being two magnificent sleeping cabins, fitted up for a large number of persons. On the upper deck is situated the spacious general saloon, sumptuously furnished and arranged for use as a lounge during the day, while it can be readily transferred into a sleeping cabin for night service. On this deck also the lavatories and barber's shop are placed, these being fitted up in the most modern style. On the shelter deck are placed the dining saloon and smokeroom, the former capable of accommodating 88 persons at one sitting, and provided with an elaborately fitted pantry, communicating by lift with the galley on the deck below, both of these compartments containing the latest appliances for cooking and serving with despatch and efficiency. The ladies' cabin is situated on the promenade deck, as also are six private staterooms, all of these apartments being most beautifully designed and fitted up. The second-class accommodation, which is arranged aft, comprises ladies' cabin, general saloon, and sleeping cabin, and is designed on a scale very little inferior to the first class. On the shelter and promenade decks both classes of passengers are provided with extensive promenade space, the greater portion of which is under cover. The vessel throughout is illuminated by electric light, while, in case of emergency, an ample supply of oil lamps of artistic design are provided. Among the many modern appliances to be fitted on the King Orry are an installation of submarine signalling apparatus, and a complete wireless telegraphy outfit. Also a Morse code signal lamp and semaphone.

The propelling machinery consists of two h.p. turbines and two l.p. turbines of the latest Parsons' geared, combined impulse and re-action type, arranged to drive two propelling shafts at 300 revolutions per minute, the astern turbines being at the after end of each l.p. turbine. The speed of the propeller is reduced by the introduction of two sets of double helical gearing, each set comprising two pinions (one coupled to each of the h.p. and one to each of the l.p. turbines), with one main wheel common to both pinions for coupling direct to the propeller shafting, with a special system of forced lubrication, and sprayers to ensure an efficient oil supply to the gear wheels and bearings. The forward and aft end of each propeller shaft is fitted with patent appliances for stern tube lubrication. The air pumps are of Weir's "dual" type and of ample capacity, with steam cylinders 14in. diameter by 15in. stroke, the feed water being dealt with by one pair of direct-acting vertical feed pumps, also of Weir's make. Forced lubrication is supplied by two direct-acting pumps supplied by the same firm. The exhaust steam is utilised for heating the feed water, the heater being supplied by the Liverpool Engineering and Condenser Company. Two bilge and general service pumps of the vertical duplex type, one fresh water pump and one water service pump being also fitted - all of Carruthers' make, and one sanitary pump of Nichol's type. There are two " Uniflux " condensers supplied with circulating water by two 18in. centrifugal pumps of Allen's make. Steam is supplied by two double-ended boilers, and one single-ended (15ft. 4.5in. diameter inside by 22ft. 10in. and 11ft. 9in. long respectively), arranged for a working pressure of 170 lbs. per square inch on the closed stokehold system. A "Cochran" boiler, 5ft. 6in. diameter by 12ft. 3in. high, working at a pressure of 100lbs. per square inch, being placed in the after stokehold for auxiliary purposes. The uptakes are so arranged to lead into one funnel, which is made large for the sake of appearances. Air is supplied to the stokeholds by two double inlet fans of Messrs Allen's latest type, and capable of maintaining an air pressure in the stokehold. The upholstery work on board the vessel is being done by Messrs A. Blain and Sons, the well-known Liverpool upholstering and furnishing firm.

The work of construction has been supervised on behalf of the Isle of Man Company by Captain Keig and Mr Blackburn.



After the launch the company adjourned to the model room, where lunch was served. Mr W. L. Hichens (chairman of Carnmell, Laird, and Co.) presided.

The loyal toasts were duly honoured. The Chairman said the toast that he had the honour to propose was that of " Success to the King Orry !"-(hear, hear)-and with it he would like to couple the name of Mrs Waid, who so kindly and gracefully performed the christening ceremony that day (applause). Continuing, he said their connection with a, steamship service of one kind or another between the Mersey and the Isle of Man had been a long one. As far back as 1853 they built a vessel called the Manx Fairy for the Ramsey (Isle of Man) Company, and in 1855 they built the Ellan Vannin for the Castletown Steam Packet Company. Later on they built the Mona, the first vessel they built for the, present Isle of Man Company.. That was in the year 1878. Since then they had built the Snaefell, launched in 1910, and which those who crossed between Liverpool and the Isle of Man were glad to recognise as an extremely seaworthy and excellent vessel (applause). Who exactly was King Orry, after whom the boat that they had launched that day had been named? He must confess he did not know. He was told that be had a great reputation in the Isle of Man, and that possibly his principal claim to recognition by posterity lay in the fact that he discovered the true principle of parliamentary representation. When at school, he (the Chairman) was taught that this epoch-making principle was discovered by Edward I., but then he was not at school in the Isle of Man (laughter). However, under the circumstances of that day he was not prepared to dispute the honour with King Orry, and he only wished that King Orry would come back and rediscover that principle, because it seemed to him that they were in danger of losing it (hear, hear). He thought that the principal claim to fame ' of King Orry -hereafter would lie in the fact that the third boat of that name was built by Messrs Cammell, Laird, and Go. (applause). The first was built in 1842, and was 140 foot long; the second in 1871, 260 feet long; while the present vessel-which had been specially designed to suit the conditions of the Isle of Man trade---was 312 feet long. Therein they could see the steady development of the boats built for the Isle of Man Co. The breadth of the present King Orry was 43ft,, and the depth to the shelter deck was 24ft. 9in. She was to have a speed of about 21 knots, and would carry 1.600 passengers, with a crew of 75. Her equipment was to be of the most modern type, and she was being constructed with a view to ensuring absolute safety at sea (hear, hear). Nine water-tight bulkheads extended to the upper deck, while the water-tight doors were fitted with the Stone-Lloyd system of automatic closing. The King Orry was to be provided with eight lifeboats of large size, and with buoyant rafts in such number as to pro vide means of life-saving ror all persons on board, in addition to a complete outfit of lrfebelts and buoys. At the same time the comfort of passengers had been carefully safeguarded. The machinery consisted of geared turbines of the Parsons type, and very considerable advantages in fuel consumption and otherwise were to be obtained by its adoption. It had been a work of exceptional difficulty to have the boat ready to be launched that day. He believed they would be able to deliver her in time for the July service (applause). Before he sat down, he would like to say one word of thanks to Mrs Waid, who had been so kind as to christen the boat that day. The ceremony went off successfully in the bright sunshine of a glorious spring day, and he thought it might be taken as an omen of future success for the boat (applause). They thanked her for the share she took in the ceremony, and he asked her to accept as a small souvenir of the occasion the ribbons which covered the bottle which she threw so successfully at the boat, and a handsome gold and pearl necklace. He hoped that when wearing it she would be pleasantly reminded of an occasion which all of them would look back upon with great rejoicing (applause).

The toast was received with enthusiasm. Mr Maitland (chairman of the Isle of Man Company) said lie had a very pleasing duty to perform on behalf of the company, and that was to hand to Mrs Waid a small souvenir in remembrance of that very pleasant occasion. Mrs Waid, as most of them were aware, was the good lady of their vice-chairman, whose services to the company had always been most valuable and highly appreciated. The board felt they could not let that occasion pass without handing Mrs Waid something of a souvenir to remind her of the pleasant day she had spent at Birkenhead. He had pleasure in handing to is Waid a diamond pendant, and they hoped she would always wear it, and remember the day on which she christened the good ship King Orry (loud applause). Mr Waid, on behalf of his wife, thanked them for the hearty response to the toast so kindly proposed by Mr Hichens. He hoped that the King Orry would be a success (hear, hear). The launch was a success, and if she only followed in the footsteps of her predecessors, had as long a life, and did as good service, they would have nothing to com plain about. He felt that in such good hands as Messrs Cammell, Laird, and Co. they would get the very best class of ship, and they would get the very best out of the vessel.


Mr Maitland, in proposing the toast of " Cammell, Laird, and Co.," said that Mr Hichens had given them a great many particulars, not only of the old King Orry, but of the future King Orry. Mr Hichens left one or two things out that he (the speaker) might safely supplement. One was the price of the original King Orry, which was built for something like 10,000; he was not going to tell them what the present King Orry was going to cost. Another point Mr Hichens referred to was the building of that vessel to ply between Liverpool and the Isle of Man; this boat was built to ply between the Isle of Man and the adjacent islands (loud laughter). He did not know if the business of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. would compare in any way with the business of any other company frequenting the Mersey. For six months of the year they could do their business, and more if they had it to do, with four small boats, but for the remaining six months of the year it took about sixteen steamers to deal with the traffic, working night and day. The credit belonged to Messrs Cammell, Laird, and Co. that they had overcome the terrors of the winter passage to the Isle of Man by the building of the Snaefell (loud applause). Not only was she comfortable, but she was fast, and, they could always depend upon reaching, the other end of their journey within four hours of starting out, which was very good: for a winter passage. Of course, they could beat that by a long way in summer One thing that impressed them was the, hurry that people were in to get over their sea passage. A man would express himself as never being happier than when at sea., but when they put him on an Isle of Man steamer and did not take him over in three hours, he complained and grumbled about the time taken. Messrs Cammell:.Laird and Co. having supplied them with a winter boat, they were glad to have an opportunity of placing an order for a summer boat with them. The energetic heads of the, firm had realised what was before them, and the building of: the vessel would take the very best out of. them, but they were prepared for that, and he was sure they would have .the vessel ready in good time for the service of the company. He gave them the toast of " Prosperity to the eminent firm of Cammell, Laird and Co." with three times three.

The toast was cordially received.

Mr Carter, responding, said he thanked Mr Maitland for the very kind way in which he had proposed the toast of his firm, and the company for the hearty way in which they had responded. It had been an extreme pleasure to them to continue that long connection with the Isle of Man in building their latest and best boat. When he came there a few months ago, one of the things that was put before him was the delivery of the King Orry. They all knew that if such a vessel lost the summer traffic it was a very serious thing for the company concerned. He gave his word, that so far as his firm was concerned, nothing would stand in the way of that vessel being delivered to time. He would like to take that opportunity of stating that that effort was due not only to the staff of Cammell, Laird and Co., but to the workmen in their employ. The one thing that they wanted to instil in that firm-and ix every firm was a close friendship between the employer and the employed (hear, hear). They were most anxious that such a feeling should be built up in that firm, so that when the call came for big demands to be made, not only on their staff, but on their workmen, they would get a ready response, as the fame of the firm was at stake. They had several very important contracts on at present, not only for other companies, but for the British Government, and they were doing their utmost to fulfil requirements. They would agree with him that what they had seen done that day boded well for the future.

Mr Carter, in proposing the toast of the " Owners' Representatives," said they had be-on so ably helped by the representatives of the company, Captain Foig and Mr Blackburn-(applause)-that he assured them it was a very great pleasure to him in asking them to drink their health most enthusiastically. While those gentlemen had at all times had the interest of their company at heart, they had certainly been a tremendous help to them, and he hoped he would always have such gentlemen as the representatives of the owners.

The toast was received with applause. Captain Keig, responding, said the first time he was in the King Orry was in the 'fifties, and he hoped the present King Orry would be as great a success as her predecessors. They had worked very well with Messrs Cammell, Laird and Co., and he wished the firm and the steamer every success.

Mr Blackburn, also responding, said he was very glad to be able to endorse what Capt. Keig had said. The King Orry would be a pioneer ship for the Mersey; a pioneer in the use of geared turbines. They were the pioneers of the direct driven turbines when they brought out the Viking, although he believed the Allan liner Virginian came out with them before the Viking. His company. had no reason to regret the adoption of the turbine, but they had every reason to be glad they had adopted it, for the Viking had been running seven years and had gone on with only a small amount of trouble to her engines.

Mr Maitland, in proposing the toast of " The Chairman," said that Mr Carter was the right man in the right place, and if there was not a rosy time before Messrs Cammell, Laird and Co., it would not be the fault of the managing director.

Mr Carter suitably responded.

The company then visited the yard, and inspected the boilers and turbines which are to be placed on board the King Orry.

IoMSPCo flag


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received MNB Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2002