The Paddle Steamer “Royal William,” on her first voyage from Liverpool to New York, 1838”

The Paddle Steamer “Royal William,” on her first voyage from Liverpool to New York, 1838” — “the first passenger steamer to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Liverpool under continuous steam.” “Painted by S. Walters, drawn on stone by T. Fairland.” Source: Muir's Liverpool, Plate 36. One should note that Walters has represented the Royal William in this painting (as he also did Liverpool) steaming straight into the heavy wind while in the background a sailing vessel that wishes to head the same direction is forced to go sideways so as not to be forced back toward its starting point. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Text accompanying the engraving

This vessel was the first passenger steamer to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Liverpool under continuous steam, and she is said to have been the first ship divided into water-tight compartments. She left Liverpool on her first voyage on July 5, 1838, and arrived at New York after a passage of nineteen days, with thirty-two passengers. Her return was accomplished in fourteen and a half days, leaving New York on August 4, 1838, and casting anchor in the Mersey on August 19, 1838. She was built at Liverpool by Messrs. W. and J. Wilson in 1836, for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, from whom she was chartered for this voyage by the newly formed Transatlantic Steamship Company. Her dimensions were — length 175 feet, beam 27 feet, depth 17½ feet, tonnage 817; accommodation for eighty passengers. Her engines were built by Messrs. Fawcett and Preston of Liverpool, and were of 276 horse-power, giving a speed of 11½ knots per hour, on a consumption of seventeen tons of coal per day. After many years of service this vessel became a coal-hulk, and in the year 1888 was sold for £11. She is shown in the illustration making her first voyage from Liverpool.

Four other steam vessels had crossed the Atlantic before her; the first two from America to England, and the second pair from England to America. The first steamboat to cross was the "Savannah," from Savannah to Liverpool, 1819, but she only used her steam power for a portion of the voyage, relying mainly upon her sails; the second was the "Royal William" (a Canadian vessel, not to be confused with the subject of our illustration), from Quebec to London, 1833; the third was the "Sirius," from London to New York, March 28, 1838; and the fourth was the "Great Western," from Bristol to New York, April 7, 1838. [37]

Formatting and text by George P. Landow. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the University of Toronto and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.

Reference

Muir, Ramsay. Bygone Liverpool illustrated by ninety-seven plates reproduced from original paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and prints with historical descriptions by Henry S. and Harold E. Young. Royal William,” on her first voyage from Liverpool to New York: Henry Young and Sons, 1913. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library


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Last modified 14 January 2013