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Thames Estuary, River Medway, Kent, Essex and East Anglia Coast, England, U.K.

London Steamboat Company

The Woolwich Steam Packet Company was established in 1834 to provide services from central London to Woolwich, which were later extended to the Kent and southern Essex coasts along the Thames Estuary. A London to Ipswich packet service was operated and it was this service which inaugurated calls at Clacton in 1871.

The company amalgamated with several smaller concerns, including the Watermen's Steam Packet Company and the Citizen Steamboat Company (whose paddlers were named Citizen with a letter to separately identify them) , to form the London Steamboat Company, which was the dominant force in the Thames estuary excursion business at that time.

1878 saw the greatest disaster in the history of British coastal cruising when PS Princess Alice sank after a collision near Woolwich with the loss of almost 700 lives.

In addition to their services from London to Kent and Essex, the company operated a large fleet of smaller paddle steamers on the Thames upstream of central London with Hampton Court Palace an important destination. The vessels retained from the Citizen fleet were renamed with names of flowers corresponding to their previous letter in 1885.

The Thames and Channel Steamship Co are understood to have been a closely associated company who sold their two steamers Vale of Clwyd and Glen Rosa to the London Steamboat Co in 1883.

The company struggled financially and was put up for sale at the end of 1884, becoming the River Thames Steamboat Company, which also struggled financially
The company was taken over by the Victoria Steamboat Association in 1888 including the vessels marked * and a number of older vessels were scrapped

Main Excursion Vessels    (for up-river fleet see Victoria Steamboat Association )
Ex- Woolwich Steam Packet Co (1875)

* Queen of the Orwell
Queen of the Thames
Alexandra   (Sank in 1889)
Princess of Wales   (sold in 1886)
Princess Alice 
(Sank in 1878)
Albert Edward 
(Scrapped in 1888)

Ex- Keith & Campbell (purchased from the Clyde in 1875)

Duke of Connaught
  (Scrapped in 1888)
Duke of Cambridge  (Scrapped in 1888)
Duke of Teck 
(Scrapped in 1888)
* Duke of Edinburgh

Purchased in 1883

Vale of Clwyd  (Scrapped in 1888)
*Glen Rosa

Go to :

Victoria Steamboat Association

Return to:
River Thames Historical