Tuesday, September 9, 2014

White Cross Line to Natal 1860 and the Burton Stather

In 1860 the first advertisements began to appear in the newspapers regarding the White Cross Line, established by Samuel BULLARD and Daniel KING. The first clipper of the Line to arrive at Natal had been the barque Priscilla, and later when a regular service was established came the Verulam, the Isabella Hartley, the Silvery Wave and the Burton Stather.

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.

Burton Stather


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. 

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