Hull of the Lady Alice Kenlis, an iron ship designed and built by Hercules Linton in 1867.
Reasons for Designation
The Lady Alice Kenlis is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Period: The Lady Alice Kenlis was launched in 1867, a key period in the development of iron hulled vessels as it was at the very start of the boom in iron shipbuilding and shortly before iron replaced wood as the principal material for hull construction;
* Rarity: The Lady Alice Kenlis is a rare survival of an early iron steamship and is particularly rare as it was not wrecked and has not been renovated nor conserved;
* Historic interest: The Lady Alice Kenlis was designed by Hercules Linton shortly before he went on to design the Cutty Sark. It was also a long lived vessel that served a variety of roles;
* Potential: The Lady Alice Kenlis has considerable potential to inform about the structure and development of early iron ships. It may also inform about the development of Hercules Linton’s designs that led to Cutty Sark.
Steam propulsion for ships and boats was first developed in the 1780s, in France, USA and Britain, with construction of viable commercial vessels commencing in the early C19. While a number of sea-going ships were built in the early C19, steam power was largely limited to riverine and coastal vessels until the late 1830s, with the construction of the SS Great Western and the development of the screw propeller. The development of iron hulled ships followed a similar pattern, and both iron construction and screw propulsion were combined in the SS Great Britain, in 1843.
The success of the SS Great Britain and the Royal Navy’s tests with HMS Rattler and its trials with HMS Alecto led to a rapid increase in the construction of steam powered vessels. Most retained some provisions for sail power, and sail powered ships dominated long distance trade until after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. The construction of iron vessels was accelerated by the development of the Bessemer process in 1856, which lowered the price of steel and allowed larger, higher quality plates to be produced.
The Lady Alice Kenlis was designed by Hercules Linton and constructed by J&R Swan in Maryhill, Glasgow. The hull was heavily built compared to other iron ships of the time to allow for it to be loaded and unloaded by beaching as well as at quays and wharves. The vessel was launched as the Lady Alice Kenlis on 23 December 1867. The vessel was fitted with a two cylinder 40hp engine fed by two boilers by the Greenock Foundry Company (a subsidiary of Scott’s of Greenock) and rigged as a three masted schooner (i.e. rigged fore and aft). It was registered as a coaster in Belfast on 20 March 1868 to Mr Hugh Andrews and its proposed trade was shipment of cattle, goods and passengers between Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. The vessel was to be named the Isabel Andrews and was intended as a sister ship to Hugh Andrews’ other ship, the Lady Alice Hill. However, following Lady Alice Hill’s marriage to Lord Kenlis in 1867, the proposed Isabel Andrews was launched as the Lady Alice Kenlis.
The Lady Alice Kenlis was briefly used as a ferry between Dundrum (Co Down) and Whitehaven, initially for Edward Henesey and Co, Dundrum, then for the East Downshire Steam Ship Co Ltd, Dundrum. The ferry service was not long lived and the Lady Alice Kenlis was sold to John Paley, in Preston in 1875. Ownership changed again in 1878 and the vessel was acquired by John Jackson and Co of Preston. A new 50hp two cylinder compound engine was fitted by R Smith of Preston. Jackson and Co reregistered the ship in Preston in 1883 and replaced the boilers in 1889, shortly before selling it to Edward R Jones of Liverpool.
The ship was sold to Sutcliffe and Co in 1908, who reregistered the ship in Boston as the Holman Sutcliffe. It sailed from Boston until 1913, when it was sold to the Bristol Sand and Gravel Company and converted to a suction dredger. It was reregistered in Bristol in 1918. The Holman Sutcliffe continued as a dredger in the Bristol Channel until 1929, when it moved to the River Deben. The vessel was no longer registered in 1932. After being partially dismantled, the remains of the hull were towed across the River Deben and scuttled in its present position in the late 1930s or early 1940s.
Hercules Linton (1836-1900) was a Scottish shipwright who trained at Alexander Hall and Sons (Aberdeen) who went on to work as a surveyor for the Liverpool Underwriters’ Registry as a specialist on iron vessels. The son of Alexander Linton, a surveyor for Lloyds Registry, Hercules Linton went on to work for Harland and Wolff before designing the Lady Alice Kenlis. Linton went on to form Scott and Linton (along with William Dundas Scott) with Linton as partner, designer and lead shipwright and Scott as partner, accountant and engineer. Scott and Linton built a number of vessels, the most famous of which is the Cutty Sark, before going bankrupt in 1871. Linton went on to work for a number of shipbuilding yards before returning to Inverbervie to become an antiquarian.
The partially dismantled hull of an iron steamship lies in the intertidal zone of the River Deben.
The surviving hull measures approximately 38m from stem to stern, with a beam of 5.9m. Two bulkheads remain, the aft bulkhead having a blanked aperture. The interior of the hull is heavily overgrown, but the remains of either the keel or (more likely) central boiler and engine mountings are visible along the rear two thirds of the vessel.
At the stern, the propeller shaft gland is visible above the lower rudder pintle. Above, the sternpost flares out to support the counter, although all but the initial bend is no longer present. The hull is full bodied with soft chines and both frames and plating survive to just above the bilge strakes. While an early C20 painting of the ship shows a straight stem, only the forefoot survives.
The ship was originally described as being 130 feet (39.6m) long, 19 feet 9 inches beam (6m) 9 feet 10 inches (3m) draft and of 213 tons gross tonnage (145 registered tonnage). The hull was built around a 12 inch (0.3m) by 10 inch (0.25m) box keelson, with two bilge angle irons and side girders. Two additional bilge keels were added running the length of the flat of the floor. The painting of the ship and a later photograph show that it was fitted with a wale or rubbing strake along the side of the hull.