Ferry Boats

 across the Firth of Forth

    The Granton-Burntisland Ferry, The "Willie Muir"  -  photographed by Andrew Young

Granton to Burntisland

Granton Harbour was officially opened in 1837.

A ferry service across the Forth to Burntisland commenced 1838 

The first steamboats sailed in 1846

The first railway ferry in the world commenced in 1850

Small sailing boats
[pinnaces or yawls]

These small sailing boats began to sail between Victoria Jetty at Granton and Burntisland in 1838, the year after work began on building Granton Harbour.

'Leviathan'

Iron paddle steamer.  Built at Glasgow 1849
Operated railway ferry (first in world) 1850
Continued to operate until
1890
Broken up: 1892

Further info:  Background, Construction, Service

'Robert Napier'

Built Glasgow 1850 Moved to Tay 1880

All were iron paddle steamer goods boats, together with Levethian, operating  for the North British Railway in 1867 and which other years?

'Balbirnie'

Built Leith 1861 Broken up 1892

'Kinloch'

Built Glasgow 1865 Broken up 1892

'Carrier'

Built Greenock1858.

Broken up 1893

'Carrier', like ''Leviathan', 'Robert Napier',''Balb irnie' and 'Kinloch''  (above) was a  goods boat operating for the North British Railway in 1867, but for most of the time it was used on the Tay crossing, not the Forth crossing.

'Forth'

Built Hawarden1846.

Coal barge from 1876

Broken up 1880

All were iron paddle steamer passenger boats operating for the North British Railway in 1867 and which other years?

'Express'

Built Blackwall 1847.

Broken up 1878

'Auld Reekie'

Built Blackwall 1848.
Usually on Tay ferry

Broken up 1892

'Thane of Fife'

Began operating 1847.

'Thane of Fife', like ''Forth'. 'Express' and 'Auld Reekie (above) was a  passenger boats operating for the North British Railway in 1867, but for most of the time it was used on the Tay crossing, not the Forth crossing.

'Midlothian'

Built 1860s?
 Broken up when?

Possibly did not start operating until after 1867

'John Stirling

Built when?
 Broken up when?

Paddle steamer, replaced 'Forth' from 1876

Postcard  -  Horses embarking at Granton Harbour for manoeuvres

'William Muir'

Built by J Kay & Sons,1869.

Entered service on Granton-Burntisland ferry 1879
Major re-fit and reduced to one funnel, 1910
Requisitioned for minesweeping 1917-1919.
Broken up 1937

Further info:  1879, 1910s, 1937, The Circus, Poem

'Wemyss Castle'

Worked with 'William Muir' each spring from 1892
Re-named Edinburgh Castle from 1906

Granton to Burntisland Ferries  -  Willie Muir and Thane of Fife  -  1937

Thane of Fife'

Built 1910, named 'Snowdrop' and sailed between Liverpool and New Brighton before moving to the Forth and being renamed for the Granton- Burntisland service.
Replaced William Muir 1937

At Granton and Port Edgar as tender until 1946
Broken up 1949.

'Forth Lady'

Operated as excursion launch to Inchcolm, THEN Granton Ferry when it re-opened, 1949-1951

The Granton-Burntisland ferry was suspended at the beginning of the war in 1939.
It was officially abandoned by the LNER in 1946. 
A new company started a Granton-Burntisland service in 1951 but the service ended in 1952.

'Bonny Prince Charlie''

Built Stockton 1943

Steel tank-landing craft, converted to carry 30-40 cars on an open deck.

Operated from 1952 until service terminated 12 December 1952.

'Flora Macdonald,

Built Glasgow 1943

The ferry 'Glenfinnan' at Granton Harbour - 1952

Glenfinnan'

Built Glasgow 1944

'Eriskay'

Built Stockton 1943

'Ulster Lady'

Built 194?

Passenger overflow ferry 1951-1952

Spirit of Fife  -  sailing out of Granton Harbour for Burntisland, 1991

'Spirit of Fife'

A catamaran, built 1988.
Capacity: 250 passengers
Operated Granton-Burntisland service
1991-1993.

The table above may be helpful in dating some of the old photos of Granton (on the south shore of the Firth of Forth) and Burntisland (on the north shore of the Firth of Forth).  This ferry service was particularly important in the years before the Forth Rail Bridge opened in 1890.

Sources:  Steamers of the Forth (Ian Brodie):  Publ. David & Charles, 1976
Steamers of the Forth, Vol 1 (Ian Brodie):  Stenlake Publishing Ltd., 2004
 Ferries in Scotland (Marie Weir):  Publ. John Donald, 1988.

 

Recollections

The Queensferry Passage

Granton - Burntisland Ferry

 

 

Firth of Forth

More Photos

The Forth Rail Bridge and ferry at South Queensferry

Early views + ferries

Granton Breakwater  -  8 September 2002

Granton

The Forth Rail Bridge - Thumbnail images

The Forth Bridges

Queensferry Passage

List of ferry boats
and links to more photos

Granton Ferry

List of ferry boats
and links to more photos

Early Descriptions

Queensferry

Firth of Forth

The Coast  -   River Crossings  -  Islands

Forth Road Bridge

 

 

 

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