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Griffin at Granville

The first screw steamer to operate to Jersey

The Griffin was purchased by the London and South Western Railway in 1865. One report says: 'The first screw steamer to come to Jersey'. Griffin was used mainly between Jersey and France and on 5 July 1878, Griffin brought Victor Hugo and his family to Jersey. She was sold in 1895 and lost in the West Indies c 1900.

Built in 1858, the ship was first owned by a James Baird and registered at the Scottish port of Ayr.

After her acquisition by the railway company and a summer in service on the St Malo route, she was replaced by the new Saint Malo and sent for a refit, which included improvements to the passenger accommodation under a large poop deck. This led to the nickname 'Chinest pagoda'.

She was then used over the winter on the UK-Channel Islands cheap route before relieving other vessels on the St Malo service in the summer.

A further major refit followed in 1876, including a new engine and boiler, but Griffin was still only used as a relief vessel, In November 1881 she was based permanently in Jersey, replacing the Dispatch on the Granville route until 1890, after which she was used mainly as a cargo vessel until sold five years later.

In 1990 she sank outside San Domingo en route to Cuba, taking 80 passengers and some cattle with her.

1869 harbour dues dispute

11 June 1869: [1]

The London and South Western Railway Company continue to refuse to pay St Helier harbour dues, and the case is brought before the Royal Court.

The Bailiff announces the outstanding sum is now £258 6s 8d (£23,410 in today's money) and orders the steamer Griffin to be held until payment is received.

The tariff was set in 1846 at 3d per Ton - to be used for harbour improvements.

Mr E D Le Couteur agent of the LSWRCO, was ordered to speak. He stands. "Under the law of 1846 the harbour committee should not have spent the dues on anything but harbour works. £46,000 has been spent on other interests. By now all the harbour debt could have been paid off".

The grievance is not accepted, and the LSWRCo are ordered to pay up to release their steamer. Mr Le Couteur reaches for his cheque book.

Notes and references

  1. From Facebook group Maritime Jersey, by Mark Pulley
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