Cayzer, Irvine - new book on CD

26th July 2009, 17:37
Book Review

“From Clans to Kings and Castles - The Cayzer, Irvine Group”

Vic McClymont and W. J. Harvey

I have recently received a copy of this new ‘book’ which is actually a ‘pdf’ document on a CD. The authors explain that the lack of a willing publisher caused them to self-publish in this way, which actually has some advantages for the reader as well as the authors.

This is the story of Cayzer, Irvine, best known as managers of the Clan Line (more correctly, The Clan Line Steamers Ltd.) which was referred to as 'Scotland's Navy' but surprising therefore to find that the Cayzer family originated in Cornwall, with a branch moving to London where Charles William Cayzer, born in 1843 as the son of a school teacher, entered employment as a shipping clerk in Poplar. At the age of 15 he started a short sea-going career as shipmaster's clerk on a voyage to the Far East. After experience in shipping agency at Bombay he returned to the U.K. and eventually moved his young family to Liverpool. His Indian experiences led him to conceive of a direct service from Liverpool and Glasgow to Bombay, as the industries in these growing cities created the demand for an alternative to London. In 1878 Cayzer formed a partnership with Capt. Alexander Irvine, who died the following year but his name continued in the company for more than a century. Cayzer opened discussions for new ships with Glasgow builder Alexander Stephen, this led to the first vessels being Glasgow registered and given Clan names by this English owner! The first vessel CLAN ALPINE was jointly owned by Cayzer and Stephen, under Cayzer, Irvine management.

There is a long narrative of the rather complicated development of the company through the following century, embracing as it grew well-known names such as Scottish Shire, Houston Line, Bullard King, Springbok, Scottish Tanker Company, Thesen's Steamship Company, Hector Trawling and Hector Whaling, and the Greenock Dockyard which became the main shipbuilder for the group, among others. A major change was the take-over or merger with Union-Castle in 1955, forming the British & Commonwealth group. Management extended to independent shipowners such as Bowater (from 1963). Eventually, Cayzer Irvine services embraced virtually all of the major trade routes from the U.K. Like many other well-known names, the company went into gradual decline as containerisation dictated new groupings and other owners emerged.

The fleet lists reflect the complicated pattern of ownership. Only a handful of ships were actually owned by CI, three sailing vessels in the 1870's and then two 'King' bulkers in the 1980's. The largest section covers 'CI managed' which embraces 373 vessels, all of the Clans plus many others as they came into the group's management. Several appendices cover the separate companies, with many vessels appearing in more than one list as they were transferred around e.g. CLAN MACLACHLAN of 1947 appears under the main section as a managed Clan then under Hector Whaling and under King Line as her ownership was traced. Union-Castle vessels appear only post-1964 when they came under CI, e.g. CAPETOWN CASTLE of 1938 appears in a date range 1964-1967 only, similarly Bowater vessels from 1963 onwards. This leads to a very 'mixed bag' of vessels in the main managed fleet list, as well as in the separate fleet lists in the appendices e.g. Hector Whaling embraces tankers, whale catchers and Clan liners. However, a good index should help you to trace all the references for any individual ship, using the 'go to page' command.

So how does a CD compare with a book, for the reader? I found the document easy to read and one big advantage is that the pages can be comfortably read at 70% size but can easily be brought up to 125% or more for those with more limited eyesight or to avoid eye strain. Photographs come up well and appear with good definition, also with the advantage of being able to ‘blow up’ any details. Of course the whole document is printable.

In summary, I am happy to add this useful reference work to my library and I will be pleased to see more ‘books’ produced in this form, and which can be produced ‘on demand’ by the authors.

The CD book is available from -

3, Brecon Close, Long Eaton, Derbyshire. NG10 4JW
Cheques / P.O's payable to Vic McClymont
at £20.00 including UK postage, £25.00 overseas, payments in sterling please.

Please note this is offered as an independent review, I have no commercial interest in the publication!

29th October 2009, 11:26
I concur with your comments, I think I got No2!

29th October 2009, 20:47
I am moving this to the "Books, magazines and Publications" Forum where it will be more accessible.

31st October 2009, 14:09
Shipbuilder has complained about Moderator inconsistency regarding allowing this thread whereas his own advertising his own book was zapped.

Let me just clarify the situation for the benefit of anyone in doubt. The site rule on this subject is worded as follows:

No commercial posts in the forums. This is a post where someone with an interest in a company, business, or product promotes a product or service and provides a link, email address, or phone number for the purpose of selling the product or service.

Shipbuilder was advertising his own book in which he has a commercial interest however small the profit margin may be so his thread was not allowed. This thread is a review of someone else's book so, as long as Riversea has no commercial interest it it the thread is allowed. Of course if it was discovered that Riversea did indeed have a commercial interest in it, it would be deleted.

So in summary, you can't publicise your own products, but a review of someone else's is OK as long is the review is independent.

If anyone has further queries on this topic please contact a Moderator via a PM or the site owner via the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page.

The thread was put offline whilst this was under discussion but has now been restored with Shipbuilders comments removed as this has now been fully dealt with and are irrelevant to this thread.