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North Sea Ferry Services : UK to Netherlands

Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland (SMZ)
The company was established in 1875 and operated from Vlissingen in the Netherlands to Sheerness in Kent but switched to Queenborough for its second season. Paddlers maintained the Queenborough link. Prins Hendrick, built in 1895 was the last of the paddlers to be built. Screw ships were ordered from 1909 onwards and these more modern vessels were used on a new run to Folkestone. SMZ eventually went into partnership with the UK's London and North Eastern Railway and later with British Railways and shared the Hook of Holland to Harwich service with the British state-owned company which later became Sealink. In 1989 the Stena Line bought SMZ and in 1990 acquired Sealink, which had by then been privatised and owned by Sea Containers. 

The new company purchased three older steamers. Liverpool-built Stad Vlissingen and Stad Middelburg had served as blockade runners in the American Civil War as Southern and Northern. Stad Breda was the former Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Snaefell, built by Caird & Co at Greenock, For new tonnage, SMZ  went to the Clyde for its paddle steamer tonnage from John Elder & Co, which changed its name to Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co in 1886. New ships were ordered in batches of three, but after the 1895 sisters, the next batch, in 1909 and also from the Fairfield yard, were turbine steamers. This led to a cull of the paddlers, with those remaining in the fleet taking the day services and the turbines the night runs.

The 1886/7 sisters were 286.5 ft long and had twin cylinder engines. Gross Registered Tonnage was 1648


The final three paddle steamers (including Prins Hendrik, above) were the largest both in terms of length (320 ft) and engine size : triple expansion with cylinders of 51, 75 and 112 inches with a stroke of 78 inches.  This generated 9500 NHP and drove the ships at 19.5 knots. Gross Registered Tonnage was 1947





Stad Middelburg, later Aurora (1875-1885)
Built in 1865 by Liverpool Shipbuilding Co at Liverpool
274.1 ft : 1622 GRT
Oscillating 64 and 64 in x 78 in
Built as Midland for Mersey-based owners
Renamed Southern in 1873
Sold to SMZ in 1875 and renamed Stad Middelburg
and Aurora in 1881
Hulked in 1885

Stad Breda (1875-1888)
Built in 1863 by Caird & Co at Greenock

228.5 ft : 604 GRT
Built as Snaefell for the Isle of Man SP Co
Sold to SMZ in 1875 and renamed Stad Breda
Scrapped in 1888

Duitschland later Zeeland (1887-1923)
Built in 1887 by Fairfield Engineering & Shipbuilding Co at Govan
286.5 ft : 1653 GRT
Oscillating compound 60 and 104 in x 84 in
Renamed Zeeland in 1914

Engeland (1887-1911)
Built in 1887 by Fairfield Engineering & Shipbuilding Co at Govan
286.5 ft : 1653 GRT

Nederland (1887-1911)
Built in 1887 by Fairfield Engineering & Shipbuilding Co at Govan
286.5 ft : 1660 GRT

Oscillating compound 60 and 104 in x 84 in

Koningin Wilhelmina (1895-1916), Koningin Regentes (1895-1918) and Prins Hendrik (1895-1922)
Built in 1895 by Fairfield Engineering & Shipbuilding Co at Govan
320 ft : 1945 GRT

Triple expansion diagonal 51, 75 and 112 in x 78 in
Koningin Wilhelmina : Mined and sunk in the North Sea on 31/07/16
Koningin Regentes : Sunk by torpedo in the North Sea on 06/06/18 while serving as a hospital ship
Prins Hendrik : Scrapped in Bremen in 1923





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