St Tudno << Back to Ship Gallery Index

Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Co. Ltd
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The growth in the pleasure steamer market from Liverpool resulted in the creation in 1891 of the Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Company by the amalgamation of two companies, one of which had itself been created only the previous year by the Glasgow-based Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, which had shown a keen interest in the North Wales coastal trade.

The first St Tudno had been built by Fairfields in 1889 as the 'Cobra' for G & J Burns' Clyde-Belfast service but she had been returned to her builders and was put into service for the new L&NWSSCo. However, she lasted only a year in North Wales service before being sold to Nordsee Line and being replaced by an almost identical new paddler from Fairfields, also called 'St Tudno'.

(right) The second St Tudno of 1891
265ft long; 1,061 passengers
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In the ensuing years, the company expanded, adding ships to their fleet of pleasure-steamers running services along the North Wales coast from Liverpool as far as the Isle of Anglesey and occasionally to the Isle of Man from Llandudno. However, in 1912, St Tudno was sold to the Hamburg-Amerika Line for use as a tender in Southampton and upon the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, she was seized and eventually broken-up in 1922.

St Tudno (3)
1926: 2,326 gross tons; length 319ft; speed 19 knots; capacity 2,493 pax.

After the First World War, the company abandoned paddle propulsion and their first new ship was the most ambitious vessel yet seen along the North Wales coastline.

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As with her predecessors, the third 'St Tudno' was built at the Govan yard of Fairfield Shipbuilders. Designed and operated originally as a 2-class ship, her relatively luxurious appointments included a number of dining-saloons, lounges and bars. She even had a number of private cabins.

The name 'St Tudno', chosen for the third time, was very much a local one, being the patron saint of the town of Llandudno, whose name is based upon it. According to local legend, Tudno was one of the seven sons of King Seithenyn whose alleged drunken incompetence led to the loss of his kingdom to the waves beneath Cardigan Bay.

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As penance, Tudno became a monk and for some years lived as a hermit on the rocky limestone peninsula today called the 'Great Orme', eventually founding a chapel and the nearby town of Llandudno. To this day, a 12th century chapel still stands on the same site as the original chapel.

(left) St Tudno (3) of 1926
at Liverpool landing stage.

St Tudno (3) was joined in 1931 by the smaller but similar 'St Seiriol' (1,586grt) and in 1936 by the even smaller 2-funnel steamer 'St Silio' (1,314grt).

Upon the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, 'St Tudno' along with her sisters were requisitioned by the Admiralty and played a significant role in the evacuation of troops at Dunkirk in May 1940. She was later used as a Depot ship for Minesweepers at Queensborough and worked a great deal off the Dutch coast until 1947 when she returned along with her sisters to North Wales pleasure services.

(right) HMS St Tudno
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By the late 1950's, however, passsenger numbers had declined and in 1961, 'St Seiriol' was withdrawn and sent for scrapping. By 1962, the Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Company was no longer able to maintain operations and ceased trading at the end of the 1962 season. The smaller 'St Trillo' (known as 'St Silio' before the War) was sold to operators P&A Cambell and she worked for some years on their Bristol Channel services and occasionally in her 'home' waters of North Wales. Sadly, however, after 36 years' stalwart service, 'St Tudno' followed her other sister to Ghent, Holland and was broken-up in April 1963.

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