General Screw Steam Shipping

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The General Screw Steam Shipping Company was a British company established in 1848 by James Laming, who had for about 30 years owned sailing ships travelling between England and the Netherlands.In late 1849 the company began a service from Liverpool to Gibraltar, Malta and Constantinople, using its new iron screw steamer the 500 ton Bosphorus. The similarly sized ships Hellespont and Propontis joined the Bosphorus on the service as soon as they were completed.

In 1850 the China trading company or company secured the contract to carry the monthly mail between Plymouth and Cape Town for £30,000 a year. The Bosphorus initiated the service in December 1850 and reached Cape Town after a 40 day voyage, 5 days more than the period specified in the contract.

Following this, orders were placed with C.J. Mare and Company at Leamouth, London (builders of the earlier vessels) for the new ships Queen of the South, Lady Jocelyn, Indiana, Calcutta, Mauritius and Hydaspes In May 1852 an additional mail contract was secured, for the company to provide a monthly service between England and Madras and Calcutta, via Cape St. Vincent, Ascension Island, St. Helena, Cape Town, Mauritius and Ceylon. The company also initiated a mail service between Cape Town and Durban, which had previously been either overland service which generally took about 3 weeks or carried by sailing ships. This service was undertaken by the Sir Robert Peel.



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