Ships of Note: SS Daphne

The side of a ship lies in the water with Daphne written towards the bow. Rescuers surround it. In the background is a shipyard

Clyde-built SS Daphne had a fine career. For the first five seconds or so.

Go on then. What is it?

This thing here is the steamship Rose, built in 1883.

So why does it say “Daphne”?

Well that was before…

That picture looks very much like after.

Well yes. Okay. After that.

Go on then. What happened this time?

Daphne was a small steamer built for trade between Glasgow and Ireland by Alexander Stephen and Sons. I’m assured the calculations for the finished ship indicated it would be perfectly stable.


It wasn’t, being neither finished nor stable. With a bloody big hole in the deck for the boilers to go in and a whole load of weight missing it was rather top heavy. A situation that physics resolved in the traditional manner.

All very embarrassing for the yard. Good job nobody was aboard.


But ships don’t launch with loads of people aboard?

Not now they don’t. Daphne is one of the main reasons for that.

Are we talking lots of people?

Around 200 people of various trades were aboard, still frantically trying to finish the ship. Despite rescue boats being on hand and the accident happening on a narrow stretch of the Clyde, around 150 of them didn’t make it.

This article has suddenly become a lot less light hearted.

It has rather hasn’t it? Still, somebody at least saw the opportunity for a cheap joke because after Daphne was salvaged-

Oh god. The new name was a pun, wasn’t it?

Yup. The steamship Rose.

I hate you.

I hate me too.

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One thought on “Ships of Note: SS Daphne

  1. Sadly the vessel was never officially called the Daphne – it was registered as Rose in 1884. There was another Glasgow ship called the Daphne, so that might have been why it was renamed (although Stephens and Son had built another ‘Rose’ in 1867, which was still sailing in 1883…).
    It wasn’t called Rose for long. It was struck off the register in 1884 and noted as ‘Vessel broken up’.
    It was then restored and renamed the Ianthe by the end of 1884.
    Source: Lloyds Register of Shipping 1883 (no mention), 1884 entry 510 (p724) Also Supplement I15.

    It was sold to a Greek company in 1889. It was renamed Eleni and sailed around the eastern Mediterranean until it hit a mine off Turkey in December 1918.

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