- 1938 - 1965 Ashton
- 1965 - 1971 Gourockian
The WYRE LADY is large, impressive vessel, built in 1938 by Denny's of Dumbarton for the Caledonian Steam Packet Company as a railway passenger ferry. Originally named the Ashton with sister ship the Leven, now BRISTOL QUEEN, the two ships were launched in the May of 1938 at a cost of £4150 each.
The ships were immediately put into service providing trips to view the building of the new Cunard White Star Liner, RMS Queen Elizabeth and servicing the 1938 Empire Exhibition held in Glasgow. Following the close of the Empire exhibition, the ships continued sightseeing excursions, towards Clydebank viewing the Clyde Shipbuilding yards and the fitting out of the Queen Elizabeth at John Brown's shipyard.
In 1939 the then named Ashton was requisitioned by the Royal Navy on the outbreak of the Second World War and serviced as a naval tender to the Queen Mary and later the Queen Elizabeth in their roles as troop ships in the Clyde Anchorage. The vessel was repainted Naval Grey, carrying 'RN23' on the bow. It is at this time that Jimmy Cagney, the famous film star, is reported to have performed on board Ashton.
Following the end of the war in 1945, Ashton returned to service on the Clyde, initially on a new Gourock to Dunoon ferry service, but she became particularly well known on the run between Largs and Millport, an association which continued until 1962. Incidentally, the Ashton was also the last passenger vessel to sail the Forth and Clyde canal before its closure at the end of 1962.
By the winter of 1964/65, both the Ashton and Leven were laid up at Greenock, the Ashton eventually being sold and renamed the Gourockian. She was used for just 5 years on the summer ferry service between Gourock and Helensburgh. The now Gourockian became surplus to requirements in 1971 when she was replaced by the larger Countess of Breadel-Baine.
In 1971 the vessel was sold to become the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry across the mouth of the River Qyre, where she acquired her present name. In 1975 she began the most notorious part of her career to date whilst working from a hotel on the River Severn, her then owners ran into financial difficulty and she was arrested by the Admiralty Marshall and had a writ nailed to the mast.
In 1977 the WYRE LADY was sold and brought by sea around the coast by Britain by Alan oliver, to Doncaster. After a major refit she commenced work in March 1978 and continues to trade today having carried near on 2 million passengers over the course of three quarters of a century
Update, June 2020: Reported on BBC News that Wyre Lady badly damaged in arson attack
Hamer, Geoffrey, Trip Out 1995/6 - A Guide to the Passenger Boat Services of the British Isles, G P Hamer, 1995
Vessel built by Denny's of Dumbarton for the Caledonian Steam Packet Company.
Vessel requisitioned by the Royal Navy and serviced as a naval tender
Returned to the Clyde, initially on the Gourock to Dunoon ferry service as well as Largs and Millport
Vessel sold to become the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry across the mouth of the River Wyre
Vessel sold and brought by sea to Doncaster
After a major refit, vessel commenced work and continues to trade today
Own this vessel?
If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org