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The Fleets

Thistle Line of Steamers

The Liverpool firm of W. H. Ross started a service to New York in 1879 when they purchased ships from the Inman Line. By 1880 the company was advertised as The Thistle Line of Steamers. The ships were designed for the cattle trade but also carried passengers. In 1881 /1882 the company lost two ships in the space of two months, fortunately neither was carrying passengers at the time. These two disasters were responsible for the service being withdrawn and the sale of the company's remaining two ships.

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.


  • 1878-1882 London - New York
  • 1880          Middlesbrough - New York.
  • 1881          Liverpool - New York

Black with two narrow white bands, widely spaced


Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
City of Limerick 1855 1880 purchased from Inman Line, 1882 went missing at sea; loss of 43 lives. 2,536
City of Lincoln 1866 ex- Massachusetts, 1881 purchased from Warren Line renamed City of Lincoln, 1884 sold to Spain renamed Solis. 3,231
City of Liverpool (1) 1880 1881 sold to Bossiere, Havre renamed Pacifique.
City of Liverpool (2) 1881 launched for Thistle Line but did not sail for them, 1882 sold to Bossiere, Havre renamed Arctique. 3,514
City of London 1863 1878 purchased from Inman Line, 1881 went missing at sea; loss of 41 lives. 2,801

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Last updated: February 02, 2005 and maintained by and M. Kohli