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General Steam Navigation Company
The General Steam Navigation Company traces its history back to 1824 and in the 1920s it became majority-owned the shipping conglomerate P&O although operated with much independence. The remaining shareholders were bought out in 1971 and the company became part of P&O Ferries which continues to provide car ferry services between the U.K and France under the ownership of DP World (of Dubai).

The concept for the company was established in 1821 when existing shipowner William Hall, active out of Hull, and timber yard owners and shipbuilders Thomas and John Brocklebank operated vessels on their own account prior to Edward Banks and William Joliffe joining the company. Originally toying with ambitions of deep sea operation, the company concentrated on the channel ports and the east coast of the UK and became the largest company in their field. Additional services were offered to Gibraltar, the Mediterranean and Lisbon. Passenger services, including those within the Thames Estuary to Margate and Ramsgate were quickly established and the company developed its cargo and livestock services. Most runs were from London, but cross-channel runs were undertaken from Shoreham and Brighton to Dieppe and Le Havre. Development was consolidated in 1833 by the winning of mail contracts.

Expansion also came through acquisition : the London & Edinburgh SP Company in 1836 and with the Margate Steam Packet Company they were stronger in both the Scottish and local markets.

Eagle & Falcon Steam Packet Co (T Brocklebank)

Eagle (1821-1824) Built in 1821 by T Brocklebank at Deptford, London. 86.7 ft. Engine : Side lever by Boulton & Watt at Birmingham. Sold to the Danish Navy as Kiel
Falcon

A number of shipping companies retained their independence from the GSN but were integrated at a later date. Others were bought out

Belfast (1825-1859)  Built in 1820 by Ritchie, MacLaine at Belfast. 89.5 ft. Engine : Side lever. Used primarily on Rotterdam service
Lord Melville (1825-1849)  Built in 1822 by J Wilson at Chester. 112.3 ft : 210 GRT. Used primarily on the Calais service
Earl of Liverpool (1825-1850) Built in 1823 by B Wallis & Co at Blackwall, London. Used primarily on the Antwerp service
Camilla (1825-1836) Built in 1824 by W Evans at Rotherhithe, London. 117.6 ft : 172 GRT.  Sold for use on Southampton-Le Havre service of the South of England SN Co
Attwood (1825-1853) Built by Waller & Co at Blackwall, London. 124.3 ft. Used primarily on the Ostend service and from 1830 from Shoreham to Dieppe
Rapid (1825-1841) Built in 1820 by R&A Carswell at Greenock. 94.6 ft : 140 GRT. ex- Clyde Shipping Co. Used primarily on the Brighton to Dieppe service.
Hylton Joliffe (1825-1829) Built by Scott & Sons at Greenock. 113.5 ft : 174 GRT. Engine : Side lever. Rejected by Italian buyer. On GSN Hamburg run until sold to the Ottoman Navy 
Sir Edward Banks (1826-xxxx)  Built at Deptford. 151.5 ft : 342 GRT. Used primarily on Ostend and Rotterdam services
William Joliffe (1826-1868) Built by Evendon at Deptford, London. 126 ft : 311 GRT, Engine by Butterly. 
Used primarily on the Antwerp service
Mountaineer (1828-xxxx) Built in 1821 by R&A Carswell at Greenock. 114.3 ft. Engine by D Napier at Glasgow. ex- Leith & London SP Co. Usually on the Brighton to Dieppe service

Queen of the Netherlands (1831-1836)  Built in 1824 by Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 107.3 ft. Used on the Rotterdam service. Lost in 1836
London Merchant (1831-xxxx) Built at Poplar, London. 174.5 ft : 330 GRT. Operated services from London to Newcastle and Leith
Eclipse (1831-1849) Built in 1821 by R Steel & Co at Greenock. 104 ft. Engine by D Napier at Glasgow.
Tourist (1832-1855) Built in 1821 by J Brown at Perth. 119.5 ft. Engines by Gutzmer at Leith. ex-  Edinburgh & London SP Co. Wrecked off Great Yarmouth
Monarch (1833-xxxx) Built by Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 204 ft : 872 GRT. Engine : Beam engine. London - Leith service
City of Hamburg (1834-xxxx) Built at Rotherhithe. 160.5 ft : 518 GRT.
Britannia (1835-xxxx). Built at Poplar, London. Used on the Rotterdam service 

John Bull (1835-1879) Built by Fletcher & Fearnall at London.  164.5 ft : 591 GRT. Engine : Beam engine 
Clarence (1836-xxxx) Built at Blackwall, London. 178 ft : 767 GRT.  Used on the London-Leith service
Venus (1836-1849)  Built in 1821 by W Evans at Rotherhithe, London. 112.4 ft : 185 GRT. Engine : Side lever
Soho (1836-1863) Built in 1823 by Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 153 ft. Engine : Side lever. Used primarily on the Antwerp service
Countess of Lonsdale (1836-1869) Built in 1836 at Blackwall, London. 174 ft : 677 GRT. Engine : Beam engine. U
sed primarily on the Rotterdam service
Caledonia (1836-1864) Built at Blackwall, London. 178 ft : 706 GRT. Used primarily on the Hamburg service. Lost in 1864 off Flamborough Head
Ocean (1836-xxxx) Built by Fletcher & Fearnall of London. 179 ft : 464 GRT.
Used primarily on the Rotterdam and Hamburg services
Menai (1836-1854) Built in 1830 by Wood & Ritchie at Port Glasgow. 132.2 ft : 263 GRT. Engine : Beam engine by R Napier at Glasgow. ex- London & Edinburgh  SP Co
City of Edinburgh (1837-1842) Built in 1821 by Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 137.2 ft : 301 GRT. Engine : Side lever
Leith (1837-1860) Built by R Menzies & Sons at Leith. 182 ft. Engine by GSN. primarily on the London-Leith service
Rainbow (1837-1870) Built by W&J Laird at Birkenhead. 185 ft : 581 GRT. Engine : Steeple by G Forrester & Co
Neptune (1837-1846) Built by Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 171.3 ft : 599 GRT. Sold
James Watt (1837-1853) Built in 1821 by J Wood & Co at Port Glasgow. 465 GRT. Engine by Boulton & Watt at Birmingham. ex- London & Edinburgh SP Co.
Waterwitch (1841-1855) Built in 1835 by Curling, Young & Co at Limehouse, London. 156.5 ft : 481 GRT. Engine by Seaward & Capel.
ex- Humber Union Co of Hull
Vivid (1841-1855) Built in 1836 by Curling, Young & Co at Limehouse, London. 156.9 ft : 428 GRT. Engine by Seaward & Capel. ex- Humber Union Co of Hull
Wilberforce (1841-1856) Built in 1837 by Curling, Young & Co at Limehouse, London. 179.4 ft : 610 GRT. Engine : Side lever by Hall. ex- Humber Union Co of Hull
Princess Royal (1841-xxxx) Built by
Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 177.7 ft : 748 GRT. Engine : Beam engine. Used primarily on the Hamburg service
Trident (1841-1884) Built by Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 192.7 ft : 971 GRT. Engine : Beam engine. Used primarily on the London-Leith service
Venezuela (1842-1855) Built by Scott & Sons at Greenock. 133.9 ft : 308 GRT. Engine by Scott, Sinclair at Greenock.  London-Ostend and Brighton-Dieppe services, then coal hulk
Magician
(1843-xxxx) Built by Ditchburn & Mare at London. 146.9 ft : 175 GRT. Engine : oscillating by J Penn. London to Ostend and Dover to Calais service
Little Western (1844-1863)  Built in 1841 by Acramans, Morgan & Co at Bristol. 198 ft : 431 GRT. Engine : horizontal.  ex- Gravesend Railway Co
Triton (1845-1877) Built by Ditchburn & Mare at London. 163 ft : 358 GRT,
Star (1846-xxxx) Built in 1834 by Fletcher & Fearnall at London.159 ft : 231 GRT. Engine by Miller & Ravenhill.  ex- Star SP Co
Royal William (1849-xxxx) Built in 1831 in London. 163.8 ft : 325 GRT.
Fame (1849-1865) Built in 1834 by Wigram & Green at Blackwall, London. 150.1 ft : 294 GRT. Engine by Boulton & Watt. Operated on the Shoreham-Dieppe service
Giraffe (1849-1870) Built in 1836 in London. 142 ft : 410 GRT. Engine : Beam engine
Seine
(1849-1890) Built by CJ Mare & Co at Blackwall, London. 175 ft : 391 GRT. Engine : Side lever. London to Le Havre service
Rhine (1849-1889) Built by CJ Mare & Co at Blackwall, London. 190.2 ft : 547 GRT. Engine : Side lever. London to Ostend service
Panther (1851-1886) Built by CJ Mare & Co at Blackwall, London. 180.5 ft : 360 GRT. Engine : 46 and 46 in x 42 in.
Concordia (1851-1885) Built by R Napier & Sons at Govan. 179.7 ft : 464 GRT. Engine : Beam engine
Ravensbourne (1851-1859) Built by CJ Mare & Co at Blackwall, London. 193 ft : 606 GRT. Engine by Scott, Sinclair & Co. London to Ostend service. Lost in 1859
Moselle (1852-1888) 
Built by CJ Mare & Co at Blackwall, London. 198.5 ft : 516 GRT, Engine : Side lever.
Diamond (1853-1859) Built in 1835 by B Wallis at Blackwall, London. 154 ft. Engine : Beam engine. ex- Diamond SP Co
Ruby (1853-xxxx) Built in 1837 by B Wallis & Co at Blackwall, London. 151.8 ft : 243 GRT. Engine : Beam engine by Seaward & Capel. ex-Diamond SP Co
Topaz (1853-xxxx)
Built in 1837 by B Wallis & Co at Blackwall, London. 145.5 ft : 142 GRT. Engine : Beam engine by Seaward & Capel. ex-Diamond SP Co
Sapphire (1853-1863) Built in 1842 by Ditchburn & Mare at London. 172 ft : 238 GRT. Engine : Atmospheric by Seaward & Capel. ex- Gravesend & Milton SB Co
Holland (1853-1870) Built in 1849 by W Patterson at Bristol. 165.3 ft : 429 GRT. ex- Frankfurt of the German Navy.
Belgium (1853-xxxx) 
Built in 1850 by W Patterson at Bristol. 161.8 ft : 457 GRT. ex- Grossherzog von Oldenburg of the German Navy.
Dolphin (1855-1885) Built by CJ Mare & Co at Blackwall, London. 197 ft : 626 GRT. Engine : Side lever. London to Le Havre service. Lost in a collision off the Downs on 18/9/85
Leo (1856-1880) Built in 1856 at Liverpool as Guadalquivir. 206.2 ft : 570 GRT.
Cologne (1858-1890) Built at Poplar, London 190.3 ft : 435 GRT. Engine : Side lever.  London to Netherlands service
Berlin (1860-1875) Built in 1857 by Tod & MacGregor at Glasgow. 226 ft : 779 GRT.  ex- Glasgow owners (as Princess Royal)
Perth (1861-1864) Built in 1834 by J Wood at Port Glasgow. 167.4 ft : 635 GRT. Engine by R Napier at Govan. ex- Dundee, Perth & London Shipping Co
Waterloo (1861-1877) Built in 1854 by A Denny at Dumbarton. 220.1 ft : 514 GRT. Engine : ex-Yorkshireman. ex- Belfast Steamship Co. Sunk in collision in Thames in 1877
Sir Walter Raleigh (1862-1891) Built in 1858 by J Henderson at Renfrew. 168.5 ft : 239 GRT. Engine by McNab & Go at Greenock. ex- Plymouth to Channel Isles service
Chevy Chase (1862-1864) Built in 1859 by R Napier & Sons at Govan. 247.2 ft : 810 GRT. ex-Jardine, Matheson & Co Far East service. Lengthened.  Sank 13/10/64 off Hamburg
Earl of Aberdeen (1863-1880) Built in 1847 by R Napier at Govan. 207.9 ft : 907 GRT.  ex- Aberdeen SN Co
Maas (1864-1890) Built by Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding. 234.9 ft : 692 GRT : Engine : Side lever.
Orion (1865-1890) Built by GK Stoddart & Co at Bristol as Clifton. 236.8 ft : 777 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 25 and 57 in x 54 in x GK Stothert.
Taurus (1866-1892) Built by Preston Iron Shipbuilding Co at Preston. 247 ft : 838 GRT. Engine : Side lever by Wm Denny & Bros. For Denmark cattle trade, Sold
Eider (1866-1889) Built by Gourlay at Dundee. 235.5 ft L 722 GRT.
Florence (1867-1883) Built by Aitken & Mansel at Glasgow. 252.3 ft : 660 GRT. Built as US blockade runner.
Swift (1875-1902)  Built by M Pearse at Stockton-on-Tees. 200.5 ft : 627 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 45 and 75 in x 57 in by J Penn of London.
Swallow (1875-1901)  Built by M Pearse at Stockton-on-Tees. 200.5 ft : 625 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 45 and 75 in x 57 in by J Penn of London.
Hollandia
(1877-1888) Built in 1867 by London & Glasgow Engg & Iron SB Co at Govan. 240 ft : 784 GRT. Engine : Oscillating 60 and 60 in x 49 in. ex- Malcolmson at Waterford
Lion
(1878-xxxx) Built in 1847 by Smith & Rodger at Govan. 217 ft : 608 GRT.  ex- Malcolmson at Waterford

Tugs

Atlas (1875-1900) Built by G Rennie & Co at Greenwich.

GSN Thames Passenger Services
Historical Database