September 2011

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Through the porthole

Have you ever been lingering around the library foyer and paused to take a look at the ship models on display? This month we take a closer look at the four ship models housed in the library today: the TSMS Terukuni Maru; SS Cameronia; London Belle, and the Suhail.

Many visitors to the new Riverside Museum in Glasgow will have seen the impressive ship models on display. In conjunction with its predecessor, the Museum of Transport, the University’s collection was renovated in the 1970s and finally put on display in the new Andersonian Library when it opened in its present location in the Curran building in September 1980. The SS Cameronia, just one of the University’s ship models, is now exhibited as an integral part of the entrance area for the newly refurbished level one of the Andersonian Library.

Model of the SS Cameronia The SS Cameronia was a twin-screw steamship, built in Partick by D & W Henderson and company and owned by the Glasgow based Anchor Line Ltd. It launched in September 1911 for the Trans-Atlantic passenger service from Glasgow and was named by Lady Hermione Cameron of Lochiel. At first the Cameronia saw regular civilian service on the Glasgow-Moville-New York route but, at the outbreak of the First World War, it was used within the joint Anchor-Cunard Service from Glasgow via Liverpool to New York. Carrying civilian and military passengers, mails, the occasional Foreign Office despatches, and gold and securities; on the return journeys Canadian troops were sometimes ferried to the United Kingdom. In January 1917, the ship took up exclusive troopship duties: it was torpedoed en route to India, 150 miles east of Malta, and sank on April 15, 1917. Of the 3,000 persons aboard, 128 military personnel and thirteen of the ship’s crew were either killed or drowned, including the troop-deck officer, Mr William A Black, a former student of the School of Navigation of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College. The ship model itself was donated by Anchor Line Ltd.

Detail of the TSMS Terukuni Maru The TSMS Terukuni Maru was an ocean liner owned by Messrs Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan, built by the Mitsubishi shipbuilding yard in 1930, and sunk by magnetic mine off the English coast, 2 November 1939. This made her the only Japanese war loss during World War 2 before Pearl Harbor.  The model is the largest and most impressive in the ownership of the University. It is likely that this scale ship model was owned by Messrs Nippon Yusen Kaisha and came into possession of the Royal Technical College during the Second World War, when the effects of the company’s London office were impounded and dispersed to various organisations in Britain.

The London Belle was a steel paddle steamer, built in 1893 by Messrs Denny and Bros. of Dumbarton, for the London, Woolwich and Clacton-on-Sea Steamboat Co Ltd. It served on the London to Clacton-on-Sea river route until 1916 when it was requisitioned for minesweeping duties. In 1919 it was used as a hospital carrier to the White Sea, Russia, before returning to civilian service in 1920. It was finally broken up in 1929.

The Suhail was one of a pair of steel stern-wheel steamers (the other was the ‘Ruhini’) built in 1906 by Messrs Denny and Bros. of Dumbarton for the river services of the India General Navigation and Railway Co Ltd.

So if you need a break from studying why not take another look at these majestic models next time you are passing by?

  Carol Stewart, Senior Library Assistant
Photography by Lynne Marshall, Senior Library Assistant

Further information:

Much of this article was taken from ‘A Fleet under Glass’ by John F. Petrie. University of Strathclyde Gazette, 1981 GB 249 OS/80

The SS Cameronia as seen from the entrance to level one.

The London Belle, located on level three.

The TSMS Terukuni Maru, located on level three.