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Originally, from 1849 the line carried cargos of fruit, wine, and brandy from Marseilles, Tarragona, Denia, Malaga, Cadiz and Charente to Montreal. Their fruit was in such excellent condition that merchants from Canada and the US came to Montreal to buy from them. They added Leghorn to their stops for marble; Naples and Sicily for lemons and oranges; Patras for currants; Valencia and Burriana for oranges and Bordeaux for wine. They ran fortnightly between Newcastle and Montreal, calling at London, Dundee or Aberdeen. Few details are available of the early activities of the company's steamers, but in 1880 they began to carry cattle from Canada to Britain and from an early date, passengers and cargo were carried between the Mediterranean and Canada. In 1884 the company became known as Wm. Thomson & Sons. In 1907 the company was taken over by Cairn Line (Cairns, Noble & Co.) but the name Thomson Line was retained. Thomson Line passenger ships were sold to Cunard Line in 1911 and the company then operated only cargo services under the name Cairn - Thomson Line.
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 (on-site) ot the Immigrant Ship web site.
note: very little is known about these ships and the fleet is incomplete. TORTONA and CAIRNRONA, were the only two purely passenger ships.
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