The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Leith Shipyards

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Coast Line Ships

Coast Lines Ltd of Liverpool was formed by the merging of three companies in 1913, and was known initially by their joint names: Powell, Bacon and Hough Lines.  The name Coast Lines Ltd was adopted in 1917 when the company was taken over by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.  After the dissolution of the Royal Mail Group in 1931, Coast Lines became independent once more under the chairmanship of Sir Alfred Read (1871-1955), who had previously been a director.

Between 1917 and 1960 Coast Lines acquired a controlling interest in a large number of coastal shipping companies, eventually numbering about twenty.  Among the most important were: the British & Irish Steam Packet Company Ltd (acquired in 1917), City of Cork Steam Packet Company Ltd (1918), Belfast Steamship Company Ltd (1919), Burns & Laird Lines (acquired separately as Laird Line in 1918 and G & J Burns in 1920 and merged in 1922), Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company Ltd (1943) and the North of Scotland, Orkney & Shetland Shipping Company (1961).

Geographically the Company's activities spanned the whole of the British and Irish seaboard and extending to the Scottish and Channel Islands.  By 1951, Coast Lines had a fleet of 109 ships which carried four million tons of cargo, more than half a million head of livestock and over a million passengers.  It marked the high point in the British ‘internal’ (as distinct from international) cross-Channel, freight and passenger trades, but over time many of the coastal routes declined.  The British & Irish Steam Packet Company Ltd was sold to the Irish Government in 1965, together with its subsidiary, the City of Cork Steam Packet Company, and several other companies were closed in the 1960s.

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 The above is the classic Coast Lines OCEAN COAST built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb in


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