Built in 1881 by Dobie & Co. on the Clyde River, the Steam Ships NOTTING HILL and TOWER HILL were the first custom-built twin screw steam/sail ships to be put into regular scheduled Transatlantic service. Owned and managed directly by W.B. Hill and W.H. Nott, forming the Twin Screw Line (quickly becoming known of as the Hill Line) they served their inaugural season to Calcutta, and then shifted routes and began passenger and freight service to New York in 1882. They both contributed to the progress and innovation of speed and safety at sea, albeit in different ways.
This fine early dockyard model of the sister ships is a great overall presentation, showing the 425 feet of length with the unique raised plinth with keel blocks elevating the model in the original exceptional glazed carved oak case with period glass. Details of the ship’s names and shipbuilding company are deeply engraved. Throughout the decks of the extreme narrow beam-to-length ratio the ship is precisely fitted out; a full array of masts, rigging, and structures complete. The hull is finely painted in a stark white with black topsides, and the maple-veneer decking is plank drawn in ink. The fittings are gold-and-silver plated throughout, giving a luster in precious metals to the common equipment and high-end instrumentation onboard.
The twin-screw steamers were powered by 600hp, compound inverted four-cylinder engines by J. Howden & Co. of Glasgow; and were complemented with the complete sailing rigging of a four-masted barque. Measuring 420 ft. with a 45 ft. beam, the ships each weighed in at 4,021 gross tons.
Notting Hill held a relatively short service career to the point where the ship left London on Jan. 19th, 1884 laden with 3,000 tons of cargo and about 100 persons on board, including “some cattlemen and 10 stowaways”, according to a British news account. Hitting some stormy weather a week out, the ship then encountered several ice floes, bringing her speed to a minimum but failing to prevent her collision with an ice berg and despite battling for three days with bilges and pumps, they had to abandon the ship some 600 miles from the coast of Nova Scotia.
Her sister fared better, and after three years as primarily a cargo carrier, she was fitted out with 70 second-class passenger accommodations and some steerage space to add to her 30 first-class berths. Still, there were so many ships coming into the service that by 1891 the transatlantic lines began a series fo massive consolidations, combining the Hill Line with the Wilson Line, then joined by the Furness-Leyland group. Finally the Allan Line purchased TOWER HILL in 1897, renamed her TURANIAN and ran her two more years until she was stranded and left off the Cape Verde Islands in November 1899, eventually salvaged for scrap.
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