The Priscilla is stated as having made the fastest passage from Natal to England at that time, 52 days, in November 1863. The Isabella Hartley made the round trip in a record 6 and a half months.
With John T Rennie's Aberdeen clippers, those of Bullard King and Co. had a monopoly of the direct trade with Natal and the two firms had a close co-operation. By June 1869, the White Cross Line name was dispensed with and Bullard King's ships operated jointly but alternately with Rennie's in the Aberdeen Line.
A passage to Durban, first class, was obtainable for 25 guineas, or 16 guineas in steerage and many Natal colonists came out on Zulu, Panda, Sinquasi, Empress of India, Durban, Isipingo, Umzinto, Palala and others.
It wasn't until 1879 that Bullard King's first steamer appeared, the Pongola (see article on The Natal Direct Line) but the combined service continued with both steam and sailing vessels for some years, and Durban Bay still saw the old clippers of Bullard King at anchor.
The Burton Stather was launched on 3 January 1866 at the shipyard at Burton Stather, North Lincolnshire, England. This shipyard was in operation from 1788-1892, when it closed.
The half model used by the yard to get the lines for build still exists and in the local parish council office an original drawing of the state cabins is framed and hanging on the wall.
At the right hand lower corner of the drawing are the names of Bullard King & Co. as well as Handley & Dixon.
The drawing and an advertisement for John Wray & Sons, Shipbuilders are shown below.
Information kindly provided by Alan Irons of Burton Stather, Lincolnshire who has been researching the history of the shipyard for many years.