Carlton Steamship Co.

A partnership was formed in 1878 between Ralph Chapman, aged 45 years, and Thomas Robson Miller, both of Gateshead, and having held 64ths earlier in the ownership of the small sailing ship Isabella and others. Chapman had begun in business as a ship’s agent, chandler and manager for other owners as a young man in 1854. Chapman and Miller purchased their first ship on 20th April 1878, a steam tramp named Benton built six years earlier, and shortly afterwards sent her for lengthening by thirty feet to increase her dwt capacity. Castlewood was taken over in July 1878 at the Leslie shipyard in Hebburn but had a brief career for her new owners, as in November 1879 she was wrecked on the island of Gotland off Sweden. Her maiden voyage had been with coal from Tyne Dock to New York, and she was also intended to trade to the Mediterranean and Black Sea and through the Suez Canal to India.

A replacement, Winton, was ready in October 1880 at the Leslie yard, while the rapidly expanding Readhead yard at South Shields delivered Lynton in July 1881. John Readhead expanded into a bigger site in the west of the town, and Lynton was the last vessel launched from the old Lawe yard beside the harbour. She was built of iron and thus hardly corroded at all during her long career of 76 years before being broken up at Hamburg in 1957. The similar Scorton, Carlton, Brampton and Camiola followed from the Readhead yard during the 1880s. A change of shipbuilder was made for the next tramps of 1892/93 to the Wear yard of John Blumer, and chosen to build three tramps, two of them being sisters, but they were to be owned by two new limited liability companies. Carlton Steamship Co. Ltd. was formed on 21st December 1892 and Cambay Steamship Co. Ltd. was formed on 10th August 1892. The principal shareholders in both companies were the Chapman family, their friends and associates.

The previous experience of Ralph Chapman in insuring ships was to stand him in good stead, for he lost four tramps between 1891 and 1893 to marine causes on the long trade routes from North Africa to the U.S.A. with iron ore, and on the ‘Eternal Triangle’ route with Tyne coal to the Mediterranean, returning with grain from the Black Sea. Carlton of 4,220 dwt was delivered from the Ropner yard in Stockton in 1894, and she was one of four owned tramps two years later when the managing partnership became Chapman and Son. Thomas Miller left the area to spend more time in London on business, but the Miller family continued to own shares in the Chapman companies until 1958. Frank Chapman was the son of Ralph Chapman and he had joined the family business in April 1892, having served a four year apprenticeship with Stephens and Mawson of Newcastle, later Stephens Sutton Ltd. The Ropner yard was to deliver a further eight tramps between the years 1898 to 1914, with the last delivered having nearly twice the carrying capacity of the first.


The 8,497grt Brighton was built in 1960 by Short Bros. at Pallion. In 1970 she was sold to Efmariners Cia SA of Piraeus and renamed Kaptayanni. In 1973 they renamed her Mareantes and in 1975 she was sold to Conship Cia SA initially as Loukia then as Melpo. In 1981 she joined Skystar Cia Naviera SA as Despoula K. On 2nd September 1982 she sank off Monrovia after breaking her tow while she was being taken from Monrovia to Split for scrapping. (John B. Hill collection)

Eight Steam Tramps OF 4,830 to 9,800 DWT

These were Brighton, Floriston, Riverton, Amberton, Carlton, Grainton, Nurtureton and Demeterton, with place names exhausted and replaced with names connected with agricultural and the grain trades. Demeterton was named after the Greek goddess of corn, and Amberton was delivered just after the end of the Boer War in July 1902, and as a consequence was laid up for three months in the Tyne until a charter could be found. Amberton then traded worldwide as the following long voyages show between October 1902 and May 1909:-

  • Tyne (coal) sailed on 2.10.1902 for Providence, New Orleans (grain), Hamburg, Tyne
  • Barry (coal) sailed on 6.2.1903 for Las Palmas, Bermuda (fo), New Orleans (grain), Le Havre, Tyne
  • Tyne (coal) sailed on 7.6.1903 for Delaware, Galveston (wheat), Glasgow
  • Glasgow sailed in ballast on 4.10.1903 for Bermuda (fo), New Orleans (grain), Rotterdam, Port Talbot
  • Barry (coal) sailed on 2.12.1903 for Hong Kong (ballast), Akyab (rice), Antwerp, Tyne
  • Tyne (ballast) sailed on 3.6.1904 for Norfolk (Va) (coal), Cavite, Manila, Calcutta (jute), Dundee, Tyne
  • Barry (coal) sailed on 1.12.1904 for Hong Kong (ballast), Rangoon (rice and beans), Antwerp, Tyne
  • Tyne (ballast) sailed on 8.6.1905 for Norfolk (Va)(coal), Manila, Calcutta (jute), Dundee, Tyne
  • Tyne (ballast) sailed on 3.11.1905 for New York (wheat), Marseille
  • (ballast), New Orleans (maize), Harwich, Tyne
  • Tyne (ballast) sailed on 5.3.1906 for Baltimore (maize), Amsterdam, Cardiff
  • Cardiff (coal) sailed on 5.5.1906 for St. Paul de Loanda (ballast), Tyne. Laid up for three months.
  • Tyne (ballast) sailed on 25.10.1906 for New York (wheat), Malta, Piraeus, Volo, Barry
  • Barry (coal) sailed on 15.1.1907 for
  • Hong Kong, Rangoon (rice), Hamburg, Barry
  • Barry (coal) sailed on 11.6.1907 for
  • Singapore, Java (sugar), New York, Philadelphia (wheat), Hull
  • Tyne (ballast) sailed on 2.12.1907 for Newport News (coal), San Francisco, Tacoma (wheat), Dartmouth (fo), Antwerp, Tyne
  • Cardiff (coal) sailed on 23.2.1909 for Montevideo, Bahia Blanca (wheat and oats), London, Tyne
  • Newport (coal) sailed on 18.5.1909 for Bahia Blanca (ballast), Durban, Calcutta (general), Colombo (general), Boston, New York, Portland (Me) (wheat), Hull, Tyne

The 4,797grt Generton was built in 1936 by Short Bros. at Pallion. In 1955 she was sold to Paulins Rederi AB of Finland and renamed Imatra and in 1960 she joined Pan Norse SS Co. as Capella. In 1966 she moved to Cia Naviera Pearl SA and was renamed Bucentaur. In 1968 they renamed her Bangkok Trader and in June of the following year she arrived at Kaohsiung to be broken up. (FotoFlite)


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