Click on the thumbnails to view the ships.

The Ships

s.s Liverpool Packet

t.s.s Markland

s.s Margaret Bowater

s.s Sarah Bowater

s.s Nicolas Bowater

m.s Elizabeth Bowater

m.s Constance Bowater

m.s Alice Bowater

m.s Gladys Bowater

m.s Phyllis Bowater

m.s Nina Bowater

When they were sold

m.s Norskald visit Esjberg 2003

Photograph Collections

Crew Lists

Bowater Standing Orders

Cargo Handling by Capt T.Kearsey


Cinefilm Clips

Shell Tankers

Clan Line

Union Castle Line

Ship Models



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Welcome to the Bowater Steamship Co website
Last Updated

3rd October 2012

3rd October 2012

Hi, hope you are all well. I have made a new page which shows images of Capt Basil Biggs model of the s.s Sarah Bowater Click Here to view. I also had the pleasure to visit Peter and Pam Laister last week, with Tina. We had to pick up a Clan Macinnes pin dish that Peter had on Ebay. Anyway I am going to try and get Ian McKendricks pictures on the website this week so watch this space. Ian

Click here to see the first part of the memorabilia page
Click image to go to Bowaters model page
OUCH!!!!! An interesting photograph by Ian McKendrick who sailed on the Constance Bowater in 1966. Here she is seen after a collision with the ship Luta Botx in Chicago Harbour. The photograph was taken in Montreal.Click Here to see more photographs from Ian.
The Bowater Steamship Co came into being in February 1955. There were a number of factors that brought this event about.

The Bowater Corporation had owned ships in the past through the acquisition of other paper manufactures such as the International Power and Paper Co of Newfoundland Ltd. WWII saw most of these ships lost to U-Boat activities, and then the Korean war caused the price of chartering soar.

The s.s Corner Brook (1925,5767grt) was the final ship to survive these early inroads to ship ownership before the Steamship Co was formed. Two steamships ships had been ordered prior to her disposal both from Dennys of Dumbarton,Scotland, these were the Margaret Bowater named after Sir Erics wife and Sarah Bowater named after a female member of the family a trait that would carry on throughout the fleet bar Nicolas Bowater which was to be the flagship of the fleet and Nina Bowater which appears to be a bit of a mistry.

Denny`s shipyard was probably chosen to build these ships as they had prior experience in the building of newsprint carriers. They were responsible for the design and construction of the t.s.s Markland in 1953, the first purpose built ship of this type.

It was estimated that over 1 million tons of raw materials would need to be moved from the various mills that Bowaters owned in Scandinavia, Canada and America, and to do this work a further seven ships were to be built between 1958 and 1961.

Bowaters also acquired two other ships the Liverpool Packet and the Markland when they purchased the Mersey Paper Co and these ships were integrated into the Bowater Steamship Co fleet by 1959.

In these early days Furness Withy were employed to manage the ships this responsability was later passed over to Cayzer Irvine and the British & Commonwealth Shipping Group after the death of Sir Eric in 1962.

Pre British & Commonwealth the Bowater Officers and crew were reputedly the highest paid crew in the British merchant navy with there wages some 37% higher than that of any other shipping company at the time. A berth on one Bowaters ships was very much sought after and once in their crew members signed on time and time again.

Many of the crew of the crew came from the Scotish Highlands and Isles in particular Barra, these men were hard seafaring people but also had a reputation for great camaraderie and it was not uncommon to see them after a hard days work gathered together with a few instruments playing folksongs. This feeling of camaraderie seemed to be infectious and through the years I have been contacting ex-Bowater crew members it comes through time and again, working for Bowaters was like being part of a big family.

After these management changes occurred the Officers and crews from the Bowater ships were fully intergrated into the B&C group which meant they had to sail on Clan Line and Union Castle ships, something not everybody was keen on doing,as this also changed the pay and conditions with which the men worked under. My Dad was very reluctant to sail on these other ships and his claim to fame is that he was the last Bowater Officer to do so. I think most officers and crew that eventually sailed on other B&C ships would admit now that there fears were unfounded.

So, what about the ships, there were two distinctive types, the smaller ones which were about 4000grt were generally known as the "Lakers" as most of there work was in and around the Great Lakes and the St.Lawrence Seaway the larger ones 7000grt plied there trade on the American Eastern Seaboard, U.K and Scandinavia.

They were all built to an extremely high specification Lloyds 100 A1 with notation"stregthened for ice class 3". They all had exceptional standards of officers and crews accommodation, there were also owners/guest suites, beautiful veeners in the Captains and Chief Engineers cabins, wood panelling in the Officers accommodation alleways.

The most notable thing of all was the unusual paint scheme which was Brunswick green with a light green boot topping and cream upperworks.The green boot topping was replaced with red oxide after a few years as it was very difficult to maintain.

Nicolas Bowater, showing the livery of the ships, note the boot topping which is in quite a poor condition, photograph taken by Barry Antrichan 1962.
At there peak the Bowater Steamship Company Ltd were running tweleve ships this was 1961 at the launch of there last ship Nina Bowater. There destinations were worldwide, Rouen, Corner brook, Holsmund, New York, Tennessee, Northfleet, Philadelphia to name a few. Nicolas Bowater carried a world promotional maiden voyage that found her in Cape Town, South Africa and Sydney Australia.
Corner Brook 2002, photographed by Tony Thompson.
The older ships Liverpool packet, Markland and Liverpool Rover where sold out of the fleet by 1963. Five years later it was the turn of the turbine steamers, these were very uneconomical ships to run and with the price of fuel rising most shipping companies that owned these types of ships were trying to off load them. 1968 saw the sale of the Margaret Bowater followed closely by Sarah Bowater they were both at the breakers yard by 1971. Then the motorships started to be sold out of the fleet, first to go was Alice Bowater she was sold to Canadian buyers in 1969. 1972 saw the sale of Elizabeth Bowater, Constance Bowater and Gladys Bowater one year late it was Phyllis Bowaters turn to leave the fleet. The two remaining ships Nicolas Bowater and Nina Bowater survived until 1977. So that was the end of the Bowater Steamship Company Ltd. From then on the company chartered tonnage to meet there needs.

All the ships had been scrapped by 1986 except Phyllis Bowater and Elizabeth Bowater.

Phyllis Bowater ended her days under the Turkish flag and by then was known as Naz-K, she was completely unaltered from her original build, the shipbreakers finally got her in February 2001.

Elizabeth Bowater after being sold out of the fleet in 1972 underwent an expensive conversion into a survey vessel. She passed through several owners before finally going to Latvia in June 2003 to be broken up.

Tom Kearsey
After a little bit of tidying up on the site I am going to open up the Nina Bowater page and work on the Phyllis page also.