Russell built sailing ships

15th September 2009, 07:02
I am sure I am not alone in being a devoted admirer of the many huge steel four-masted barques and four-masted full-rigged ships built by Russell in the 1890s.

Have any of the plans of these fine vessels survived. The National Maritime Museum do not have any and neither do any other of the world's museums as far as I can ascertain. I heard that when Russell closed down, the plans were dumped in a skip and burned - a great shame if it is true.

But plans may have survived by other means. They may have been saved from ships going to scrap or they may have had copies made by shipyards during repair work or some may still be around in private collections.

Do any of you know the whereabouts and availability of such drawings?

I am especially interested in ships of the Falls Line, FALLS OF FOYERS, FALLS OF AFTON etc. Also the big Bank Line four-masted barques. I am aware of the deck plan of FALLS OF GARRY in The Last of the Windjammers.

I do have a tracing of sail and deck plan of the magnificent DRUMCLIFF, the last steel four-masted barqe to trade under sail alone - she sank in 1958 off the coast of Peru and even at that time did not have a propulsion engine!


15th September 2009, 18:22
There's a sailplan of the skysail-yarder Falls of Earn (Russell, Greenock, 1884) in Sam. Thearle: "The Modern Practice of Shipbuilding in Iron and Steel," Gl.g. 1891, vol II, plate XXXVI. Unfortunately it is over 2 pages and can't be made totally flat. I believe McGregor reproduces it somewhere though.
The Friends of the Falls of Clyde, must have some drawings? There's a small sailplan of that ship in Pacific Square Riggers by Jim Gibbs, Penn. 1987, p IV. Regards, Stein.

15th September 2009, 19:13
Hello again Stein,
Thanks for reply. I had not heard of Modern Practice... by Sam. Thearle, but have now located a copy at quite reasonable price. I am wondering what the other plates are in the book, are they plans and if so of what ships?

I don't recall ever seeing a FALLS in MacGregor books and I think I have them all! I spoke to him a few times, but his interest seemed to trail off at about 1875!

I have Pacific Square-Riggers by Jim Gibbs with the sail plan of FALLS OF CLYDE. The t'gallants on fore, main and mizzen, look enormous and I am wondering if the plan is accurate? Just a feeling, but it doesn't look right, but I could be wrong, of course! The t'gallant on jigger looks OK! But of course, FOYERS had doubles on fore, main & mizzen & single on jigger. Plus skysails on main & mizzen.

I am trying to find details of FALLS OF FOYERS in particular. I have photographs and dimensions, but I don't even know lengths of poop and forecastle. I can see deckhouses just abaft main and mizzen, but am not sure if there is one abaft foremast. Position of hatches also a complete mystery to me. I have been asked to build a model of this ship and would like to get it as accurate as possible. Masting & rigging less of a problem than what is on deck, but I am definately interested in the book you mention, providing the other plates are informative about similar classes of ship.

Looking at the dimensions of the various FALLS ships, I would think FALLS OF DEE is a duplicate of FOYERS. I have a copy of painting of FALLS OF DEE and there is deifinitely a deckhouse just abaft the foremast.

Am investigating getting a copy of surveyors report for FALLS OF FOYERS, because they often have hatch and deckhouse dimensions

Best wishes

16th September 2009, 07:10
The sail plan of the Falls of Earn in Modern Practice is recognizable as such only because she has a pennant with that name on it. There is a set of hull lines of a sailing ship, a steel deck beams plan of same, and two steamer profiles. The rest of the plates are hull details.
Yes the topgallants on the falls of clyde looks to have a dubious depth in Jim Gibbs's book. I have a photograpf of her under sail and the topgallants are deep though.
There is a picture of the Falls of Foyers, sharp, but from well aft, as plate 65 in Greenhill's Victorian and Edwardian Sailing Ships. In Swedish magazine Longitude no. 26 there's a small photograph of the Falls of Dee side on. (In Sea Breeses vol 22 a poor reproduction of the painting you are probably referring to - three small vessels under the bowsprit.) In the same number of Longitude also a good large photograph of the Falls of Afton on the Thames taken somewhat from aft, looking very much like the Dee. Printed here and there I also have diverse photographs of other Russel ships that might possibly be of interest. If you PM me your E-mail adress once more I could send it to you, in case it would be of interest.
Here's the ex General Roberts in the Gallery section: And the Falls of Afton: Regards, Stein.

16th September 2009, 10:38
I have sent you a PM.

1st December 2009, 16:47
Eventually, I got all the information required and completed the model yesterday. I did post a couple of pictures of the completed FALLS OF FOYERS here in the Tall Ship section this morning as well as in the Models section, but the ones here have been "removed!"
Anyone interested can see them in the Models section (if they don't get removed under suspicion of advertising!)

It was reserved some weeks ago, so I am "not guilty" on that score!