W J Rhind


writes about the

 Mission Yacht



Postcard  -  W J Rhind, Edinburgh  -  W F Stewart's Mission Yacht, "Albatross"

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk


The back of a postcard  -  W J Rhind, Edinburgh  -  W F Stewart's Mission Yacht, "Albatross"

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk




W J Rhind



I know very little about this card.  Perhaps somebody will be able to enlighten me.  Was W J Rhind the publisher of the card or the photographer?

What is known about W F Stewart's Mission Yacht, "Albatross"


I don't yet have answers to the questions above.  However I would like to thank John Geater for his message.

John wrote:


I have a painting dated  1927  of a yacht about the same size called Albatross carrying the same rig but with altered bow and flying the blue ensign.  It could be the same boat.

Did you have anything more about it? ***

John Geater, Hastings, Sussex, England, April 4, 2006.

*** Not yet!  -  Peter Stubbs


The Back of the Card

The date that the card was posted appears to be 31 January 1904.  The card carries a simple message:

"Pray for Crew"




Rachel Cairn

Northamptonshire/Leicestershire Border, England

Thank you to Rachel Cairn for sending me further information about the Mission Yacht, 'Albatross'.

Rachel wrote:

"I am in possession of the memories of a relative who was born in 1885 in Inverness.  He wrote:

'The Albatross Mission came to town (Inverness) and we teenagers (boys and girls) were emotionally caught up in the preaching and singing.

The 'Albatross' was a luxury yacht (owned by the Brothers Stewart from Edinburgh) which followed the herring fishing fleet to the various ports all round the coast, conducting successful religious missions.

We were so moved by this Mission at the time that we became active members of the Church and Y.M.C.A.  Many of us became enthusiastic and eloquent speakers at the meetings.'

This person left Inverness in 1905 for the Midlands, so the dates coincide with the date on the postcard on your website."

Rachel Cairn: Northamptonshire/Leicestershire border, England:  February 24, 2007




Rev Alexander Muir

Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scotland

Thank you Rev Alex Muir, Inverness, Scotland, for sending me information about the 'Albatross Mission'.

Here are some extracts from the message that Alex sent to me:

Rev Alex Muir wrote:

Revivals in Religion

"I have a great interest in revivals of religion which were relatively common throughout the 19th. century in Scotland.

Every 10 years or so, locally or nationally, there were such movements which brought new life to the churches and raised the moral tone of society.  They were not worked up by emotional hype or organised into being by any methodology.

Rather they were happenings which Christians put down to the sovereign working of God. In the manner of true revivals, they were also Christ- centred and Bible- focussed and leaders discouraged extremism."

Rev Alex Muir quoted  from writings by Rev. Alexander MacRae. These appear in a book tilted 'Revivals in the Highlands and Islands in the 19th. Century' but the quotations below actually refer to the early part of the 20th century.

Rev. Alexander MacRae wrote:


"The Albatross Mission was a 20th. Century Revival.  In February, 1905, the mission yacht, Albatross, under the command of Mr. W. F. Stewart of Edinburgh, visited Wick.

Christian people throughout the land were deeply moved by stirring accounts of the Lord's work in Wales. These accounts were read at the Albatross mission meetings with growing interest each night. The hall in which the work began soon became too small and the meetings were transferred to the United Free Church, Wick.

 Country people came flocking in from all the surrounding districts and villages. Great solemnity and deep earnestness ( other features of genuine revival as distinct from “revivalism”) pervaded the gatherings which, on Sabbath evenings filled the Parish Church which is seated for 2000 people.

A healthy revival of religion had been experienced." 


"The Albatross is next found in Thurso, in Spring, 1905, with the same results: the Sabbath evening services had audiences of from 1400 to 1500 people."


"From the commencement of the mission, there were many evident tokens of the Spirit's presence and power and a most gracious revival of religion was experienced.

For five weeks, congregations of from 1,000 to 2,000 gathered every night to hear the gospel proclaimed in speech and song."

Rev Alex Muir added:


"The involvement of the yacht is of practical interest in relation to the nature of the communities touched and the fact that travel by sea within the United Kingdom was still popular.

It must not be imagined, however, that the people fishing communities  were more religious than other people."

Rev Alex Muir, Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scotland:  March 8, 2008




Eileen Hughes

Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland

Thank you to Eileen Hughes for writing (appropriately on Christmas Eve, 2013) to tell me a little about the religious history of the Mission Yacht, 'Albatross'.

Eileen wrote:

Family History

"I've been  doing some background research on my family and stumbled upon this postcard and the questions about it:"

Mission Yacht


    Postcard  -  W J Rhind, Edinburgh  -  W F Stewart's Mission Yacht, "Albatross" ©

The Blind Evangelist

"My great uncle, Rev Neil McIntyre, who was known as 'The Blind Evangelist', spent a number of years on this boat before emigrating to New York in 1926."


"He wrote a book which was published in New York in 1946, titled 'Courage! Go on!' The book is basically a memoir of his religious life, and is written in a couthy style.  The yacht would appear to have been in service until at least 1916.

In his book Neil mentions numerous ports of call and names of people who were involved. Apparently in addition to preaching, he did a bit of the cooking as the crew were depleted by WW1.

Here is an extract from the book:

'Courage!  Go on!'

Author:  Neil McIntyre

Death of a Daughter

"In Edinburgh, Scotland, a family by the name of Stewart, engaged in the wool business, had their home shaken when death removed a daughter. The death of that beautiful young woman brought the whole family to Christ."


"One of the sons, William, was a great yachtsman, plying his yacht up and down the River Forth.

Now that he was converted, he saw that he had no time to spend yachting when souls were perishing.

Gospel Work

"He was about to give it up when The Lord showed him that he could bring his yachting experience into the gospel work.

Why not get a good sized yacht, find some young men with good voices, and make up a singing party and go among the fishermen?"


"Mr Stewart went down to the docks of Leith, where he saw a nice yacht for sale. Painted on the side was the name 'Albatross'

Mr Stewart purchased the Albatross and as news of it was spread, it was soon widely known as 'the mission yacht'."

 [extract from 'Courage! Go on!', published 1926]

I've split this extracts above into paragraphs and added paragraph headings.

   .  Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  January 4, 2013



Eileen Hughes, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland:  December 24, 2013




Charles Harris

Leith, Edinburgh

Thank you to Charles Harris for writing to tell me about a leaflet on the subject of the Mission Yacht, 'Albatross' that has been lent to him by a relation, James Brown.

Charles wrote:


"I have, on loan,  a rather battered 40-page leaflet titled 'The "Albatross" Yacht Mission', printed by J. Bain & Sons Ltd., 32 York Place, Edinburgh."


'The "Albatross" Yacht Mission'  -  1930s leaflet  -  Frontispiece

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Charles Harris and James Brown
   Extract from leaflet: 'The Albatross Yacht Mission'

Date of the Leaflet

"This leaflet is a record made well after the event of "A Story of Joyous Christian Adventure"

No date of publication is given, but it was after 1926, and probably in the 1930s, as can be seen from these Contents and Foreword pages:"


'The "Albatross" Yacht Mission'  -  1930s leaflet  -  Contents

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Charles Harris and James Brown
   Extract from leaflet: 'The Albatross Yacht Mission'


'The "Albatross" Yacht Mission'  -  1930s leaflet  -  Forward

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Charles Harris and James Brown
   Extract from leaflet: 'The Albatross Yacht Mission'

The Crew

"This leaflet is a record made well after the event of "A Story of Joyous Christian Adventure"

My brother-in-law's grandfather was for some time Mate on one of the Yachts (There would appear to have been four of them).  I believe, that he was the Mate in this photo:"


'The "Albatross" Yacht Mission'  -  1930s leaflet  - The Crew

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Charles Harris and James Brown
   Photo from leaflet: 'The Albatross Yacht Mission'

'Pray for the Crew'

Despite the dramatic postcard on the website asking people to pray for the crew, 'Albatross' was not lost or missing at any time; perhaps this was sent during stormy conditions.

There were, sadly, two fatalities during the mission, but these were of crew rather than missionaries themselves."

Further Questions

"If this item raises any further questions I will be happy to try to answer them using information from the booklet."

Charles Harris, Leith, Edinburgh:  May 2, 2014




John Stewart

Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to John Stewart who wrote:

My Family

"W F Stewart, mentioned in Questions above, near the top of this page,  was my grandfather.

He passed on to his sons, some  snippets from the period when he owned the yacht to his sons, Leslie and Forbes. 

Information Discovered

"Leslie is my father.  He was a hoarder - not a bad thing!

After his death in 2011, aged 90, we uncovered in his bureau, a lot of information about The Albatross yachts - there were a few of them -  and their missions.

Sharing Information

Maybe some of the people who sent messages above, on this page, might have questions that I could help to answer.  I would be happyt o provide some missing pieces of the jigsaw to them.

John Stewart, Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:  July 9, 2014




Bruce Manson

Shepparton, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to Bruce Manson who wrote:

A Distant Relative

"A distant relative was a Captain of the Missionary Yacht 'Albatross'.  His name was Andrew Cow.  He married Robina Jamieson from the Shetland Islands in 1901 after which his name changed to Andrew Cowe.  They lived in Aberdeen.

Any information related to this family would be very welcome."

Bruce Manson, Shepparton, Victoria, Australia

Reply to Bruce?

If you know anything about the family that Bruce mentions, and would like to send a message to him, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter stubbs, Edinburgh:  June 29, 2015


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