TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

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Deepol
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TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:51 pm

To John Brown's fell the honour of building what was to become Union Castle's last South African mailship due I believe to a falling out in relations between Union Castle/ British and Commonwealth and Harland and Wolff at Belfast.
Launched on January 17th 1961 she was delivered just before the end of that year and unlike previous ships was a one class vessel marketed as Hotel Class.
In 1966 in a joint operation with the South African Marine Corporation she transferred to them being renamed SA VAAL along with PRETORIA CASTLE which became SA ORANJE. She ran on this service til 1977 when on termination of the Cape Mailship Service she was sold to the infant Carnival Cruise Line becoming their FESTIVALE, another ex-British liner which helped to launch this company into the major force it is today.
Carnival ran her for an amazing 19 years and in 1996 she was sold on again becoming ISLAND BREEZE. Her fortunes were fading and in 2000 she gained the not very maritime THE BIG RED BOAT III. A lot of her time was spent laid up and in 2003 as THE BIG BOAT she arrived on the Alang Beach on July 9th and was beached for scrapping on the 13th.
Attachments
TransvaalCastle-building.jpg
Building. HMS Hampshire in foreground, British Queen in the basin.
TransvaalCastle-poss-building-Clydebank.jpg
From the bow.
TransvaalCastle-near-launch-JohnBrown.jpg
Lavender hull in all its splendour as Launch Day approaches.
Last edited by Deepol on Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Paul Strathdee

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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:55 pm

Launch day. Can't find details of who actually carried out the ceremony.
Attachments
TransvaalCastleLaunch1-Mr.Rannie.jpg
Waved off by Mr Rannie.
TransvaalCastleLaunch2.jpg
TransvaalCastleLaunch3.jpg
Perfect launch
Paul Strathdee

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Deepol
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:00 pm

Fitting out.
Attachments
TransvaalCastle_28May61-HughLauder.JPG
May 1961. Funnel partially fitted. Hugh Lauder photo.
TransvaalCastle-bow-fitout.jpg
TransvaalCastleFitout.jpg
It was about this stage I walked into the yard and unchallenged went down to the basin to marvel at this super ship.
Paul Strathdee

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Deepol
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:07 pm

Drydocking and trials.
Attachments
TransvaalCastle-FalmouthDrydock-bow.jpg
TransvaalCastle-night-drydock.jpg
She drydocked in Falmouth.
TransvaalCastle-trials.jpg
On trials. All these from a Supplement on her from the B&C Staff Mag.
Paul Strathdee

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Deepol
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:11 pm

Union Castle and Safmarine.
Attachments
TransvaalCastle-Southampton.jpg
Splendid in original colours at Southampton.
TransvaalCastle-SAVaal-timetable.jpg
As SA Vaal from a timetable.
TransvaalCastle-S_A_VAAL-final_arrival-Durban-September_1977-CH-Jones.jpg
Her final arrival at Durban in 1977. Chris Howell collection/ Jones.
Paul Strathdee

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Deepol
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:17 pm

Changing fortunes.
Attachments
TransvaalCastle-SAVaal-FestivaleConversion.jpg
Conversion to Festivale
TransvaalCastle-Festivale.jpg
As Festivale
TransvaalCastle-TheBigRedboatIII--img008.jpg
Final form as The Big Red Boat III
Paul Strathdee

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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Voyager » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:52 pm

A very fine ship. I sailed in her for the last 1 1/2 voyages as Transvaal Castle, and the first 1 1/2 voyages as S.A. Vaal.
Sadly, they had almost completely dispensed with wooden decks at that time. The only patch of planking was at the after end of the officers accommodation. The rest was steel painted grey!
Two more mailiships were built after Transvaal Castle. They were Good Hope Castle and Southampton Castle, but were initially without passenger accommodation although they were in the mail schedule with the big ones.
They fitted them with accommodation for 12 passengers later in order to serve Ascension and St. Helena. They were built by Swan Hunter. To end up with a name like Big Red Boat III was dreadful!
Bob

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Jim Anderson
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Jim Anderson » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:12 pm

Launched by Lady Cayzer wife of the chairman of the British & Commonwealth Co., Sir Nicholas Cayzer Bt.
It was Lady Cayzer's 6th launch

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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by vic mcclymont » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:14 am

Although the Transvaal Castle was billed as the last true Mailship, B&C had plans to order a further two ships and detailed designs etc were undertaken.
But due to uncertainties, continual harassment from Safmarine, the container ship revolution and the contract up for renewal in 1966, they decided to postpone the order.
Eventually to maintain the new schedule the two mini mails were ordered.
Vic
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Voyager » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:20 pm

They were still talking about building another in the early 70s, but I think it was probably the fuel crisis in about 1974 that did for them. Windsor Castle guzzled over 250 tons per day at 22.5 knots.
Bob

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Deepol
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:09 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:Launched by Lady Cayzer wife of the chairman of the British & Commonwealth Co., Sir Nicholas Cayzer Bt.
It was Lady Cayzer's 6th launch
Thanks Jim. I could never find a reference to who launched her.
Paul Strathdee

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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:53 am

PendennisCastle-Strike.jpg
Found this press cutting which I believe sealed Harland and Wolff's fate for the loss of the order for TRANSVAAL CASTLE.
Paul Strathdee

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Deepol
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:01 am

Courtesy Glasgow Museums, Transvaal Castle model in the store at Nitshill in 2011.
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TransvaalCastle-GMRC23July11.jpg
Paul Strathdee

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Dennis Maccoy
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Dennis Maccoy » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:04 pm

S A Vaal at Southampton in August 1966.
S A Vaal, Southampton, August 1966_1.jpg
Regards,

Dennis

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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by shiploversa » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:32 pm

two things - the model of her as the transvaal castle - where is it situated ? ironically there were 2 big red boats scrapped - the one was the edinburgh castle x Eugenio c - not union castle - and went as big red boat 11 - whereas the x transvaal castle went as the big red boat 111
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big red boat 111.jpg
x transvaal castle

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Deepol
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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by Deepol » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:56 pm

The model is at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre at Nitshill in Glasgow where the models are stored when not on display. There are regular tours where they can be viewed.The next one is on 27th November. These can be booked on line at the GMRC site

https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/event/1/ ... -in-detail

https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/ ... entre-gmrc
Paul Strathdee

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Re: TRANSVAAL CASTLE 1961: John Brown, Clydebank

Post by shiploversa » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:13 pm

hello paul - thank you for the link - i was hoping to get a better picture of her - regrettably i am at the bottom of africa - so my chances of getting there are very small - thank you for the response though kindest regards bryan

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