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Robertson's of Glasgow

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  #1  
Old 21st August 2005, 15:45
bobarr bobarr is offline
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Robertson's of Glasgow

I started my career at sea in 1953 on a 500 ton coaster 'Citrine' owned by the above company. All their vessels were named after semi-precious stones i.e. Gem, Sapphire, etc.
Does anyone out there know what happened to the company. When did it cease to exist? Is anybody from the golden years of the British coaster still around.
Also, when was my last ship, the 'Cara' (Glens of Glasgow)
scrapped?
Bobarr
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  #2  
Old 21st August 2005, 16:08
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Capt Bill

Hi BOBARR
your question about Robertsons of Glasgow (West Nile Street)
They were taken over by Stevie Clarks in 1970.
I know as I have a silver chalice that was presented to their captains to commemorate the ending of their ties.
Robertsons were in existance from 1852 until 1970.
The ships were still operating under their original names etc for a while afterwards.
If you sailed one one of their ships you would be well acquainted with that famous loading "PORT" Llanddulas on the north Wales coast.
I was on several of their ships, the last being the Tourmaline.
A great learning experiance, one I still have many tales to tell about to the amuzement of my friends who never had small ship experiance.
A sad day when Robbies changed hand as their were many characters on the ships.
I came to Canada shortly afterwards and was glad I did when I hear what happened to the Red Duster fleets.

Last edited by [email protected]; 21st August 2005 at 16:12..
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  #3  
Old 21st August 2005, 17:40
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Captain Bill awaiting some of your small ship storieswith anticipation
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  #4  
Old 21st August 2005, 18:46
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oldbosun oldbosun is offline  
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Smile Robertsons of Glasgow.

I was AB in "Axinite" Dec. Jan. Feb of 53/54, A winter on the coast that I'll never forget.
Axinite was very old, built I think in 1897. She had a big old steering wheel almost as high as I was and we steered quarter points on a spirit compass. No radar, but I seem to remember she had Decca Navigator. There was a little steam engine attached to the wheel and that was the only power steering there was but not for just anybody, that was for the Captain when he was wheeling her in enclosed waters. I remember once when a big sea hit the rudder and spun the wheel I was holding, almost broke my jaw before getting thrown across the wheelhouse. Capt. Thomas Barmer had her then. A very nice manI found him to be.
I remember Llandulas quite well. we used to go there to load stones.
We took quite a battering in the Irish Sea coming there from Belfast one time and all the ceiling ( heavy wood planking bottom of the cargo hold) was strewn around like matchsticks and we had to fit it all back before we could load those stones for Liverpool.

"Fairfield", a very knowledgable researcher and contributor to this website sent me a Tribute in poem form to the ships, Masters and Mates of Robertsons, managing to mention so many of them by name. I'm sure you both (posters) will find it intriguing. I'll ask for his permission to forward it on. It really is a well done piece, quite amazing really........Peter
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  #5  
Old 21st August 2005, 19:23
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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On a trip to Northern Norway with a new 2nd mate. we had reasonabily fair weather until we cleared the Pentland Firth when it got rough. It was not uncommon for mal de mer to show its ugly head. Poor second mate was convinced he was in serious condition as he was vomiting blood. Nothing that bad as he was doing what was required over the port bridge wing and as it was flowing past the port light it did seem that was a life threating condition.
It was a wonder that the cooks managed to put food on the table with the fiddles raised and the cloths dampened we managed to eat with one hand and hold on with the other.
I did get seasick after every leave and I did not look forward to the first few days back.
Our trips through the "Minch" were where we got fresh fish. Many of the crew were from the western isles and had relatives on the fishing boats. When they had hauled and we were about an exchange for a couple of bottle of Scoth (duty free) and a couple of cartons of cigarettes would have us loaded up for ages. Earlier on we had a barrel and salt and we would salt down our own herring and have that old Scottish staple, boiled spuds and salt herring. Food for the gods!.
Could go on but I have to BBQ now
Regards to all
Bill Ross
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  #6  
Old 22nd August 2005, 15:56
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Pat McCardle Pat McCardle is offline  
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Go to Ports & Harbours, I have just posted a pic of Ferring loading at Llandulas in '81. I was on this ship for 18months then had a fall down the hold,keeping me on the beach for 6.5years. Had a spell on Gem too for 4 weeks, a well looked after ship. Roddy Micholson (Barra) was Bo'sun on her. I believe he was on her from new to her being sold?
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  #7  
Old 24th August 2005, 23:15
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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A quick tale of woe.
The Tourmaline loaded puper pulp in Nowray for Savona in Italy.
All went without incident.
On appraoch to the port they had to anchor as Italian pilot would not take ships into port except at daylight.
The second mate was on watch (the mate and second mate worked watch and watch)
He fell asleep sitting on the wheelhouse chair. In the engineroom the 3rd noticed that the engine temperatures were rising but could not undersatnd why so went up and got the C/E.
When wakon he noticed that there were cars going bu on a raod just in front of the ship.
He called the captain (who will remain nameless) who went to the wheelhouse and found the 2nd mate asleep until he kicked ovcer the chair.
The ship had run aground avoiding the fully loaded tanked anchored off Vada Port and went up on the only sandy beach for miles.
I was talking to a pilot many yaers later when I was on the canadian ship and he remembered the incident.
I was fortunately on vacation when this happened but was asked if all the navigation gear was working when I left.
Working watch and watch was normal for Robbie Boats as they only had two mates and although they were paid extra it was very exhausting, especially goig to Italy. Worse if you were going to Ancona whish was about 14 days sailing.
Regards
Bill Ross
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  #8  
Old 24th August 2005, 23:32
Oliver Hawes Oliver Hawes is offline  
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Tourmaline

I enjoyed two voyages on this vessel when she was the Fergus H.
As an enthusiast it was very exciting to sail on this old lady to Bremen with a cargo of stone from Arklow. I was looking forward to sailing up the English Channel to see and photograph the ships but it was fog all the way to the North Sea.
I think she is still trading in the Gulf as Socutra (spelling?) Perhaps another member may have more up to date news on her?
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  #9  
Old 26th August 2005, 11:16
raymond f mills raymond f mills is offline
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Robertsons's of Glasgow

You mentioned you served on a Glen & Co - Glasgow ship called the "Cara" I was familiar with this company cant remember this one. Have you got the correct name?

raymond f mills
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  #10  
Old 26th August 2005, 14:36
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Glen & Co SS Cara 1856 tons. Built 1929 by Burntisland SB Co; 271.6 x39.7 x 19.0.
3 cyl; up and downer by D Rowner glasgow. code flags GSZJ.
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  #11  
Old 27th August 2005, 20:17
bobarr bobarr is offline
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R58484956 from bobarr.
Indeed we are talking about the same ship. The 'Cara' was a typical 3-island tramp. I joined her in Dublin in June,1959 in the Alexandra Basin. We sailed for Finnish ports to load timber, including a full deck cargo, for Glasgow. I remember we lost a substantial amount of our deck cargo due to bad weather on the return voyage. I also remember that the Master was a gentleman of the old school who disapproved of strong drink (and presumably loose women) and came from the Western Isles.[QUOTE]
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  #12  
Old 23rd October 2005, 01:10
Ben Boat Jim Ben Boat Jim is offline  
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Photos Required

I sailed on the Gem, paid off and rejoined her in Troon, when she was lengthened and renamed Cameo. i also joined the Topaz, brand new in Troon.
( the red oxide on the winch islands were still wet when we sailed for trials)
Has anyone out there have a photo of the Gem and Cameo, to complete my Discharge Book R628596 collection.
Regards Jimmy Morrison.
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  #13  
Old 23rd October 2005, 14:31
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Pat McCardle Pat McCardle is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Boat Jim
I sailed on the Gem, paid off and rejoined her in Troon, when she was lengthened and renamed Cameo. i also joined the Topaz, brand new in Troon.
( the red oxide on the winch islands were still wet when we sailed for trials)
Has anyone out there have a photo of the Gem and Cameo, to complete my Discharge Book R628596 collection.
Regards Jimmy Morrison.
See GEM in ports & harbours while at ODDA.
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  #14  
Old 23rd October 2005, 20:07
Ben Boat Jim Ben Boat Jim is offline  
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The Gem??

Hi Pat,
I found the Pic of Gem at Odda, but that ship in the photo is not the Gem, her funnel is not black, there is no white line painted on the hull, her superstructure is too streamlined, the stern shape is curved instead of up and down. The Gem had two tall masts, also the name when 'enlarged' has too many letters.....Not the ship I was on in the early sixties. Jimmy Morrison.
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  #15  
Old 25th October 2005, 20:14
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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I have a picture of the Cameo somewhere in my archives(Commonly known as my box of old pictures)
Will see if I can find it and post it.
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  #16  
Old 17th January 2008, 14:04
Gordon Steel Gordon Steel is offline  
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Gordon Steel

I did three years with Gem Line from 1971-1974 on Amethyst, Tourmaline and Topaz( Nuclear waste dump in 74 ) Company not sold tilll later, some of the best kept ships in MN. Great runs to some good ports.

tazdevil
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  #17  
Old 17th January 2008, 20:59
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Steel View Post
Gordon Steel

I did three years with Gem Line from 1971-1974 on Amethyst, Tourmaline and Topaz( Nuclear waste dump in 74 ) Company not sold tilll later, some of the best kept ships in MN. Great runs to some good ports.

tazdevil
Sorry Gordon but Robertson's ceased to exist as a seperate entity in 1970 when they became part of the Powell Dufferin group.
Glad you are still around after doing the nuclear dump as there are a few that did it have passed away.
See my earlier post.
Their ships did retain their "Robbie" names but the office in Glasgow took their instructions from Stevie Clarks in London..
The Robertson family that took great pride in "their" ships moved out of the picture. Sadly things were never the same. Course that is a long time ago but still rememeber the Tourmaline fondly as it was my last boat in Robbies.
Bill
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  #18  
Old 18th January 2008, 14:36
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Peter Eccleson Peter Eccleson is offline  
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Lakercapt (Bill)
Did you know a Robertsons Capt who lived in Colwyn Bay, North Wales? Almost in spitting distance of Llandulas pier.
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  #19  
Old 18th January 2008, 15:45
ARRANMAN35 ARRANMAN35 is offline  
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Robertsons of Glasgow

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakercapt View Post
Sorry Gordon but Robertson's ceased to exist as a seperate entity in 1970 when they became part of the Powell Dufferin group.
Glad you are still around after doing the nuclear dump as there are a few that did it have passed away.
See my earlier post.
Their ships did retain their "Robbie" names but the office in Glasgow took their instructions from Stevie Clarks in London..
The Robertson family that took great pride in "their" ships moved out of the picture. Sadly things were never the same. Course that is a long time ago but still rememeber the Tourmaline fondly as it was my last boat in Robbies.
Bill
Hi,
Memories have come flooding back, joined the Tourmaline in early 1964 at Liverpool, for a short trip to complete sea time, she was on charter to John Bruce of GLASGOW part of the Ellerman Pappayani group, in the end I stayed for nearly eight months, like youself I have many stories to tell of my short period on her, indeed a vertible culture shock to a "big ship" man.
Our run was to the Medi ports via Oporto and Lisbon, Marseilles, Leghorn, Naples and Salerno, the reverse on the way back, general cargo as she was well endowed with handling gear.
Loading on a special trip to Porto Torres, Sardinia (I think) with parts for a lignite burning power station there, the transformers were loaded by Mersey Mammoth at Birkenhead, An A frame was constructed at the discharge port
to recieve the gear, on taking the load the quayside began to show signs of stress and the ship began to rise as the load was taken,not allowing clearance
between the ship and the quay the wing tanks were hastily filled and clearance was obtained.
One other trip, on the way home we loaded hogsheads of wine at Oporto, some were stowed on deck, there was a number of enamel pails of the red liqiuid around, all it took was a flattened welding rod insterted between the stave and then turned to allow the liquid to run into the bucket.
The deck crowd were all Dubliners and the bridge complement from the North, perfect harmony a first class working relationship.
My time there was definately an experience I can never forget, indeed sad that the company like many others have disappeared, but I see that Stevie Clarks is still in the shipping business.
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  #20  
Old 18th January 2008, 17:04
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Eccleson View Post
Lakercapt (Bill)
Did you know a Robertsons Capt who lived in Colwyn Bay, North Wales? Almost in spitting distance of Llandulas pier.
Yes Knew him.
His name was John McKinnley and he was the shore captain for the loading at LLandullas. Was originally a Robbie captain but when in Llandullas he did not work for Robertsons but the quarry company (all the same but differant pocket) When they became part of the Powell Duffern group all became one.
He called up the ship and told them how the seas were running at the jetty and if they would load the ship. Course to my best recollection he never said it was too bad. Got close on the approach a couple of times and aborted as the seas rolling in were something to behold. Call to Capt. John saying we were not coming in and would try for the next tide. Never liked that but as it was a very exposed place once in getting out into the bay could be difficult and bum puckering.
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  #21  
Old 21st January 2008, 16:33
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Peter Eccleson Peter Eccleson is offline  
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Robertsons

Thanks for that Lakercapt...... name comes back to me! I used to give his son a lift to Liverpool (Riversdale College) in the early 70's. He was training for his Radio Officers Ticket.

Thanks again!

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  #22  
Old 21st January 2008, 16:51
James MacDonald James MacDonald is offline  
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I was AB on Pearl, Mate on the Brilliant & Turquiose, I remember Ginger who loaded us at Llandulas. The Best Captain in the fleet at that time.in my opinion was an old guy called Jimmy MacDowel from White Abbey N.I.
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  #23  
Old 21st January 2008, 19:01
Trader Trader is offline  
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I sailed in the Emerald in 1960 on the Casabanca/Whitehaven phosphate trade on charter to Marchon products. We also did several other cargoes such as coal to Ireland. The Captain was Don MacKinnon from I think Barra.

I joined the Amethyst in 1965 in Manchester with the same captain. We were mainly on the Llandulas/Odda run with stone and paper pulp back to UK. We also did many other cargoes such as cement from the Thames to Belfast, phosphate from Casablanca to Lisahally N.I., coke from Bristol to Lisbon. I paid off in Port Talbot just before Christmas 1965, the old man by then was Capt. Kerr from Larne.

I really enjoyed my time in those ships, they were well run, good feeders and great crews. We had a good mix, Scots, Irish (North & South) and English and never a bad word.

Does anyone remember the names of the small ports in North Norway where we loaded paper pulp.? Nord Statland comes to mind but I can't find it on the map. Lakercapt. may know this as he did the navigating.

I remember a small place with just one jetty for loading pulp and there was another small jetty there where the small supply ship tied up. I think that the only way in was by sea. It was a lovely little village with very friendly people. We were there in summer when it never got dark and I remember buying a case of beer from the store on the jetty and going for a row up the fjord in the jolly boat with my mate (there were no bars in this place bye the way). We rowed up the fjord having a drink on the way and found out it was only 2% alcohol. No wonder we couldn't get a glow on.

We were also there in the winter and had great fun sledging down the main street, which was quite steep, on home made sledges with the locals.

I have got some photos somewhere, I must dig them out.

Trader,
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  #24  
Old 21st January 2008, 21:22
shipsivanhoe shipsivanhoe is offline  
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i sailed on the cairngorm 1973.we picked up pulp from salsbruket then discharged it in ancona.the cairngorm was a new ship and the crew were great as were the people of salsbruket.
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  #25  
Old 21st January 2008, 21:31
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Alas time has taken its toll and all those small Norwegian ports that we visited in Robbies have escaped me and I can't recall their names. Many just had the mill. Worst was when we loaded for Ancona in Italy as that usually was a 14 day run. Be sitting down some evening and they will spring to mind. One that does come is Mo-I-Rana.
Remember the runs you mentioned and one of my favourites places was Odda.
Good for business too as we used to buy Vodka in Poland and hide unill we got to Norway, very profitable.
If not we would buy it in a UK Tesco store. Remember buying two cases and the lady asking if I wanted the "Green Shield" stamps. No give it to the woman behind us. She was thrilled as there seemed to be reems of them spewed out from the cash register.
Summer time in the north was daylight 24 hours and your body did not know what was going on. Conversely in the winter it was nearly dark all the time.
Understand why booze was so popular!!!
I looked on our atlas but it is not large enough to have many places on it.
Biil R
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