The SS Californian and Dundee: Scotland's Forgotten Leviathan (Paper)

H

Harland Duzen

Member
On the 29th September 1900, the Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd would receive an order from the Leyland Line to construct a new ship that would be the largest ever built in Dundee. This ship would become the SS Californian.

In what initially began as a small sentence in a script and Identifying un-named photos of the Californian boilers on Dundee City Archives, a month of mad-typing and research later has led to this; two mini papers, the first explaining the construction and outfitting of the Californian (which turns out was quite chaotic) and the second being an Appendix giving a brief timeline of her career.

Special thanks to Julian Atkins, Inger Sheil, My family and everyone here at Encyclopedia Titanica for helping to write this as without it, this might have never been made.

May this mini-paper give everyone a new perspective on the Californian and provides a few new facts that might be useful in figuring out what happened in April 1912.

_______________
Technical Note: I hope the links work (and aren't too big).

 

Attachments

  • The SS Californian and Dundee; Scotland’s Forgotten Leviathan by Harland Duzen.pdf
    4.9 MB · Views: 480
  • Appendix; Summary of the Californian’s Career (1902 -1915) by Harland Duzen.pdf
    68.9 KB · Views: 309
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Rancor, Julian Atkins, Ioannis Georgiou and 2 others
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Harland,

What an amazing piece of research!

I have just finished my first reading of the whole paper and appendix.

Various people have moaned that nothing new can be learned about The Californian over 100 years on, but you have showed this is not the case, and also provided a most readable and accessible paper that shows the 'moaners' that there is still a lot more still to be discovered and researched.

I found it all fascinating, and compelling.

I do hope that the moderators will be able to give your paper and appendix the prominence and credit it deserves.

Did you find a reference to The Caledonian in Grace's Guide? I have a subscription to same but could not find anything.

You very correctly and astutely mentioned in a footnote (24) Captain Fry and his subsequent involvement in 1912.

In your paper p.18 there is mention of Mr Roper, who also played a part in 1912, being the Managing Director of Leyland Line and based in Liverpool, and whom Captain Lord had a meeting with after Captain Fry had told Captain Lord "Mr Roper says he can't give you another ship". At the subsequent meeting in Liverpool immediately after the Captain Fry meeting, Captain Lord was ushered into Roper's office, and Captain Lord was told he must resign by Roper, at the insistence of the Board of Directors in London, and with whose decision Roper did not agree with, according to Captain Lord's account.

[Harrison 'Titanic Myth' p.124/5 and based on the 1961 taped recorded interviews between Harrison and Captain Lord]

Anyway, very well done and congratulations!

Cheers,

Julian
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rob Lawes, Harland Duzen and (deleted member)
H

Harland Duzen

Member
Thank you Julian!

Also what kind of reference for the Caledonian are you looking for? I didn't use Grace Guide, but I can look up any mention of her in The British Newspaper Archive if you want?
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
On the 29th September 1900, the Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd would receive an order from the Leyland Line to construct a new ship that would be the largest ever built in Dundee. This ship would become the SS Californian.

In what initially began as a small sentence in a script and Identifying un-named photos of the Californian boilers on Dundee City Archives, a month of mad-typing and research later has led to this; two mini papers, the first explaining the construction and outfitting of the Californian (which turns out was quite chaotic) and the second being an Appendix giving a brief timeline of her career.

Special thanks to Julian Atkins, Inger Sheil, My family and everyone here at Encyclopedia Titanica for helping to write this as without it, this might have never been made.

May this mini-paper give everyone a new perspective on the Californian and provides a few new facts that might be useful in figuring out what happened in April 1912.

_______________
Technical Note: I hope the links work (and aren't too big).
Great stuff! Harland. Read it cover to cover. I have already spotted a very useful fact which I will refer to shortly. Well done! once more.
 
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Hi Harland,

Re Graces Guide I noticed it was listed in your 'bibliography' on p.21

Cheers,

Julian
 
H

Harland Duzen

Member
Oh, sorry, I only used Graces Guide for info on Dundee's 90-Ton Crane as it was built by James Taylor & Company of Birkenhead in 1874.

Graces Guide contain a drawing of the crane from 1875.

James Taylor and Co

Hope that helps.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Vitilla Hans and Julian Atkins
H

Harland Duzen

Member
I very happy to say that thanks to Philip Hind, "The SS Californian and Dundee" can now be found on the Encyclopaedia Titanica website!

The SS Californian and Dundee: Scotland’s Forgotten Leviathan

Thank you everyone here for making this possible and I hope Dundonians learn something new about their shipbuilding history. :)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Steven Christian, Samuel Halpern, Ioannis Georgiou and 2 others
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
Very good article. Well Done Harland!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Harland Duzen
Julian Atkins

Julian Atkins

Member
Again, well done Harland. Very pleased to see it now on here as a valuable reference source, with due regards to Phil Hind, for whom we have so much to be grateful for.

Cheers,

Julian
 
  • Like
Reactions: Harland Duzen
H

Harland Duzen

Member
Thank you again Julian, it was definitely a group effort. Much like how it takes thousands of people to build a single ship, it equally takes thousands of people to research a ship (which this website proves)! :D
 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
Harland, in your research have you ever run across any pictures of the interior of the Californian? I did a few searches but didn't find anything. Was wondering what the passenger spaces looked liked.
 
H

Harland Duzen

Member
I'm afraid apart from descriptions in all the Dundee Newspapers, I didn't find any photographs of the Californian's interior (or any other Leyland Line ship).

The only photos I seen (online) of the interior of a Leyland Line ship are of the SS Winifredian built by Harland and Wolff in 1899 which I presume would have looked similar.

National Museums NI (Type "Leyland" in the search bar).

Hope the above is useful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Steven Christian
H

Harland Duzen

Member
Harland, in your research have you ever run across any pictures of the interior of the Californian? I did a few searches but didn't find anything. Was wondering what the passenger spaces looked liked.

Steven, just to give a mini update on your question, with an educated guess, Californian's 1st class cabins (dubbed staterooms) would have looked similar to this photo below (albeit probably more basic since it was 1902 and in Leyland Line-esq style).

All Californian's passenger cabins had the same layout as below.

E71dc030 f8e2 4e42 ac4c 6bc22cd8473d

Photo of Olympic / Titanic 2nd Class Berth.

Again hope this is useful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Steven Christian
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
Thanks again. Gives me a better idea of what the spaces were like. I figured they comfortable but not very large as due to the size of the ship. I figured most would have spent their time in the lounges/bar or on deck when the weather was good. I've noticed in my travels that european hotel rooms generaly are smaller than US ones so the european travellers probably were fine with the spaces.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Harland Duzen
Top