G & J Burns Paddlesteamers
G & J Burns first attempted a day service between the Clyde and Belfast in 1860 with the Giraffe, but the ship was not fast enough for the long sailings from Greenock. She was sold in 1862, becoming the American Civil War blockade runner Robert E. Lee. In 1889, Burns tried again, but from Gourock, using the paddlesteamer Cobra, built by Fairfields of Govan. She only lasted one year before being returned to her builders. She spent one year as the St Tudno on North Wales services, before being sold for Hamburg-Helgoland service with Nordsee Line, reverting the the name Cobra. Ownership passed to Hamburg Amerika Line (HAPAG) in 1905. Cards in Burns or Welsh service are hard to find, but in German service they are common, and a selection are shown below. In winter, she operated on charter in the Mediterranean between Genoa, Monaco and Nice, and a card in Nice is also shown. In 1891, a similar Fairfields steamer, the Adder, was purchased. The service reverted to Greenock until 1893, when it moved to Ardrossan with railway connections to Glasgow. Adder continued on this service until 1906, when she was replaced with the even faster turbine Viper.
Ships Covered on this Page:-
Associated Pages:-
Burns & Laird Turbines
Burns & Laird Motor Ships
Coast Lines Header Page
Simplon Postcards Home Page
The B&I Line: by Hazel P.Smyth - Gill & Macmillan 1984
Across the Irish Sea: by Robert Sinclair - Conway Maritime 1990
Irish Passenger Steamship Services - Volumes 1 & 2: by D.B.McNeil - David & Charles 1969
G & J Burns Paddlesteamers
The Cobra in German service. The card was published by C.Worsedialeck, Hamburg (serial No.75) and was posted from Hamburg to London in January 1908.
Another card of Cobra in German service. The card was published by A.Sternberg, Hamburg (serial No.17 404). It was posted on board on 21st September 1913, as shown by the stamp shown below.
A further fine card of the Cobra. The card was published by A.N.H.S. in 1906.
The Cobra leaving Cuxhaven. The card was published by M.Gluckstadt in 1907, and was posted in July 1908.
The Cobra arriving Nice on winter charter, dressed overall and flying the German flag. The card is dated March 1908.
The Cobra arriving Nice on winter charter.
Cobra in German service, stamped on board on 24th May 1914 in her final year of service, as shown on the card back below. She was ceded to the French as a reparation after World War I, but was not delivered, eventually being scrapped in Germany in 1922, having not re-entered service again. The card was published by Georg Stilke, Hamburg (serial No.18297).
The Adder leaving Ardrossan, with Glasgow & South Western Railway's equally impressive Glen Sannox at the pier.
The card was posted December 23rd 1908 (after the Adder was sold), written to a Miss Campbell in Dover.
Strangely, the message starts, " Sorry, but I have forgotten your name, but hope you will accept my humble apologies. I hope you have a very enjoyable Christmas."
It has been suggested that the funnels were red during this period, but this card (and the one below) clearly show buff (with Glen Sannox correctly in red).
The funnels on all Burns' other steamers were black at this time, shown on cards of the Viper.
One of my favourite cards! The card was posted in 1905. The ornate reverse of the card is shown below.
Postcard of Adder at Belfast
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