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The Fleets

Donald Currie & Company / Currie's Calcutta Castles / Castle Mail Packet Company

Formed in 1862 by Donald Currie as Donald Currie & Co. to run a regular sailing ship service to India and familiarly known as "Currie's Calcutta Castles". The first steamships entered service on the India route in 1872 and the same year, a passenger and private mail service from the UK to South Africa was inaugurated. In 1876 the company became Castle Mail Packet Co. Ltd. and a joint mail contract was awarded together with the Union SS Co. Calls at Flushing began in 1889 resulting in the grant of a contract to carry Dutch mails to South Africa and in 1900 Castle Line merged with the Union SS Co. to form Union-Castle Mail SS Co.

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

Routes:

  • 1863-1865 Sail, Liverpool - Calcutta.
  • 1865-1889 London - Cape Town - Calcutta.
  • 1873-1891 London - Dartmouth - Bordeaux / Lisbon or Madeira / Las Palmas / Tenerife - Cape Town.
  • 1873-1898 Cargo South African coastal services.
  • 1879-1881 Cape Town - Durban - Mauritius - Galle,Ceylon(occasional)
  • 1890-1900 Southampton - Antwerp - Bremen - Hamburg (cargo feeder service)
  • 1891-1900 Southampton - Madeira - Cape Town - Port Elizabeth - Durban - Port Elizabeth - Cape Town - St.Helena (occasional) - Ascension (occasional) - Las Palmas (occasional) - Southampton.
  • 1891-1900 Southampton - Cape Town - Port Elizabeth - East London - Durban.
  • 1893-1900 Cargo service South Africa - USA (usually New York)

Funnel:
Red, black top.

Fleet:
Ships which transferred to Union Castle fleet after the merger in 1900 are not shown again under that fleet.

 
Union 1872-1900
Union-Castle 1900-1979
    Sailing Ships  
Vessel   Years in Service Tons
Arundel Castle (1) 1864 1883 sold to Charles Barrie, Dundee, renamed Chittagong. 1,042
Carisbrooke Castle 1868 1889 sold to Charles Barrie, Dundee, renamed Errol. 1,490
Carnarvon Castle (1) 1867 1889 sold to Sinclair & Ellwood. 1,200
Cluny Castle 1883 1889 sold to Edenmount Sailing Ship Co, Greenock, renamed Rowena. 1,986
Kenilworth Castle (1) 1864 1871 wrecked. 1,062
Pembroke Castle (1) 1863 1883 sold to Charles Barrie, Dundee, renamed Glasgow. 1,171
Roslin Castle (1) 1863 1883 sold to Charles Barrie, Dundee, renamed London. 1,170
Stirling Castle (1) 1863 1875 sold. 1,168
Tantallon Castle (1) 1865 1883 sold to Charles Barrie, Dundee, renamed Dacca. 1,057
Warwick Castle (1) 1863 1870 sold to James Chambers, Liverpool. 1,171
    Steamships  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Arundel Castle (3) 1894 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1905 sold to East Asiatic Co, Copenhagen, renamed Birma. 4,588
Avondale Castle 1897 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1912 sold to Cie de Nav. Sud-Atlantique, Paris, renamed Garonna. 5,530
Balmoral Castle (1) 1876 1882 sold to Cia Trasatlantica, Spain, renamed San Augustin. 2,948
Braemar Castle (1) 1898 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1924 scrapped. 6.266
Carisbrook Castle 1898 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1922 scrapped. 7,626
Conway Castle 1877 1893 ran ashore Madagascar - total loss. 2,966
Courland 1872 chartered from Leith, Hull & Hamburg SP Co., 1895 sold to Abdoola & Co., Durban. 1,241
Dolphin 1883 tug at East London, 1900 sold to Clifford E. Knight, Capetown. 49
Doune Castle 1890 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1904 sold to Barclay, Curle (shipbuilders) in part exchange for new ship. 4,046
Dover Castle 1872 chartered to Pacific Steam Nav.Co for maiden voyage and burnt at sea off Chile. 2,341
Drummond Castle 1881 1896 sank after striking reef off Ushant; loss of 240 lives. 3,537
Duart Castle 1878 ex- Adjutant, 1879 purchased from Seatter, White & Co, Leith, renamed Duart Castle, 1891 sold to Furness, resold to Pickford & Black, Halifax NS, later renamed Oruro. 1,825
Dublin Castle 1877 1882 sold to Cia Trasatlantica, Spain, renamed Santo Domingo. 2,805
Dunbar Castle (1) 1883 1895 sold to Fairfield Shipbuilding in part exchange for new ship. 2,682
Dunkeld 1878 SA coastal service, 1891 sold to Spain renamed Alcirca. 1,158
Dunolly Castle 1897 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1905 sold to East Asiatic Co, Copenhagen, renamed Juliette. 4,167
Dunottar Castle 1890 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1913 sold to Royal Mail SP Co, renamed Caribbean. 5,625
Dunrobin Castle 1875 1893 sold to France, renamed Notre Dame De Salut. 2,811
Dunvegan Castle 1896 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1923 scrapped. 5,958
Edinburgh Castle 1872 1880 sold to Spain, renamed Espana. 2,678
Elizabeth Martin 1872 1882 sold to Greece, renamed Athens. 1,246
Finland 1886 ex- Cape Merchant, 1886 purchased from Cape & Natal Merchants Line, renamed Finland, 1887 wrecked near Kowie River. 1,363
Florence 1865 1873 transferred from Leith, Hull & Hamburg SP Co., 1889 sold to Turkey, renamed Kriti, later renamed Crete. 616
Garth Castle 1880 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1901 sold to Elder Dempster & Co. 3,537
Gothland 1871 1871 chartered from Leith, Hull & Hamburg SP Co., 1876 transferred to Liverpool Hamburg Line. 1,482
Grantully Castle (1) 1879 1896 sold to Booth Line, renamed Augustine (2). 3,489
Harlech Castle 1894 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1904 sold to Earl Fitzwilliam became private yacht renamed Veronique. 3,264
Hawarden Castle 1883 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co, 1904 sold to Booth Line, renamed Cyril (2). 4,341
Iceland 1871 1871 chartered from Leith Hull & Hamburg SP Co, 1876 wrecked on Texel Island, North Sea. 1,474
Kildonan Castle 1899 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1931 scrapped. 9,664
Kinfauns Castle (1) 1879 1883 sold to Russian Volunteer Fleet, renamed Moscva (Moskva). 3,507
Kinfauns Castle (2) 1899 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1927 scrapped. 9,664
Koodoo (1) 1875 Durban passenger tender, 1886 sold to Union Boating Co. 52
Lapland 1872 chartered from Leith, Hull & Hamburg SP Co., 1882 returned to North Sea routes. 1,269
Lismore Castle 1891 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1904 sold to Barclay, Curle (shipbuilders) in part exchange for new ship, renamed Westmount. 2,606
Melrose 1877 S.A. coastal service, 1894 sold to Hough & Co., Liverpool, renamed Annie Hough. 839
Methven Castle 1883 1897 sold to Scottish American Line, renamed Columbia. 2,681
Norham Castle 1883 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1903 sold to French Line, renamed Martinique 4,012
Pembroke Castle (2) 1883 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1906 sold to Turkey, renamed Bezmi-Alem. 3,936
Penguin 1899 East London passenger tender, 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1924 sold to African Wharfage Co., Mombasa, renamed Nyati. 123
Raglan Castle 1897 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1905 sold to Russian Government, renamed Hanna, resold to East Asiatic Co, Copenhagen, renamed St.Domingo. 4.324
Roslin Castle (2) 1883 1888 rebuilt to 4500 tons, 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1904 sold to Germany, renamed Regina. 4,280
Stettin 1864 1876 transferred from Leith, Hull & Hamburg SP Co., 1878 reverted to North Sea routes. 759
Tantallon Castle (2) 1894 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1901 wrecked Cape Town; no loss of life. 5,636
Taymouth Castle 1877 1891 sold to Furness, resold to Pickford & Black, Halifax NS. 1,827
Tintagel Castle (1) 1896 1900 transferred to Union-Castle Mail SS Co., 1912 sold to Cie de Nav. Sud-Atlantique, Paris, renamed Liger. 5,531
Venice 1878 SA coastal service, 1888 sold to Donaldson & Sievewright, London. 511
Walmer Castle (1) 1872 1880 sold to Spain, renamed Valencia. 2,446
Warwick Castle (2) 1877 1897 sold to Booth Line, renamed Jerome (2). 2,957
Windsor Castle (1) 1872 1876 wrecked Cape Town; no loss of life. 2,672

Note:— there are variations of spelling between different Castle / Union-Castle ships ie. CARISBROOK and CARISBROOKE, DUNNOTTAR and DUNOTTAR. These spellings are correct.

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Last updated: July 14, 2009 and maintained by and M. Kohli