R.M.S. Empress of Britain, 1906
North Atlantic Liners 1899-1913
Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) incorporated in 1881 to build a trans-Canada railway. 6 years later it commenced ship owning. Trans-Pacific sailings between Vancouver and the Orient started in 1887; a mail contract followed with completion of the first three Empress liners in 1891. In 1903 CP purchased the Beaver Line starting services from Liverpool, Avonmouth and London. Competition came from Allan Line, which was building the world’s first turbine liners. CP ordered two 14,000-ton liners from the Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Limited on the Clyde. The names Empress of Britain and Empress of Ireland were chosen. Empress of Britain launched in November 1905. Next May she left Liverpool on her maiden voyage to Montreal. She was intended to be driven fast and easily reached 20 knots. In 1906 Virginian captured the east and westbound Canadian records between Rimouski and Liverpool. Empress of Britain, on her second voyage, set a record of 5 days 12 hours between Father Point, Quebec and Liverpool. War saw her requisitioned as an armed merchant cruiser later recalled for as a troop transport. Back to the Clyde in 1919 she reconfigured to 2nd and 3rd class only and converted to oil and returned to her old service. In 1924 she was renamed Montroyal on the Liverpool-Quebec then ran from Antwerp before the breaker’s yard in Stavanger in 1950 where her smoke room fittings were incorporated into a hotel – what is today the Norwegian School of Hotel Management at Stavanger University.
|Dimensions||48.5 × 23 cm|