I'm the Archivist and Librarian at the Vancouver Maritime Museum and thought it's a good idea to join this group of very knowledgeable people! Can you tell me if the Lady Rose is still afloat or was she scrapped in the end? We might feature her story in our blog and we want to make sure we have all the facts. Thanks! PS. My apologies for any forum missteps I may make, I have never belonged to one before!
Welcome ! You had me at "archivist"....
Lady Rose is still afloat, still with engines etc, but hasn't taken a trip since she arrived at Tofino in Spring 2011. She's moored at Jamie's Whaling Station in Tofino, owned by one of Mr. Jamie Bray's companies.
I see her once a year or so, and taken photos each time (see earlier in this thread for my most recent, which were January 2015)
Can you give us some more information on the Sechelt exhibit place? For example, whether it's a new museum-type place, or an existing place that's just adding a new "artifact."
Jeez... in this case, you have to hope that looks are deceiving, because recent photos don't inspire confidence about the Lady Rose's ability to get as far as Sechelt.
Agreed, she's looking very rough. At this point I just hope she gets somewhere where she will receive some TLC. This is one of the most important opportunities for British Columbians to preserve a piece of our nautical heritage, and it would be a real shame if the last U.S.S.Co ship was lost. Good luck, Lady Rose.
Post by Low Light Mike on Oct 3, 2019 11:27:01 GMT -8
Here is some detail:
However, take any reported plans with a dose of skepticism, just because of the "doesn't always happen" nature of ship restoration and ship preservation, regardless of who wants to do it.
Sechelt family acquires Lady Rose Last of the Union Steamship vessels to be restored as public asset Sophie Woodrooffe / Coast Reporter OCTOBER 3, 2019 10:11 AM
MV Lady Rose, the last operational vessel from the Union Steamship Company fleet, has been acquired by the Clayton family, who are exploring options for transforming her into a public exhibit in Sechelt.
The acquisition was formalized in the last two weeks, and the ship will be brought to the Sunshine Coast once work is completed to ensure she is seaworthy.
“The Union Steamship was the glue that held the coast together. It was what the railway was to the Prairies,” said Dick Clayton, whose family’s roots are closely entwined with the company.
An announcement of the acquisition is expected to be made on Saturday, Oct. 5, on Bowen Island, another community shaped by the steamship era.
Conversations have been had with several organizations about the project, including the Maritime Museum of British Columbia and Vancouver Maritime Museum, as ideas are explored for the 32-metre steamship’s revival.
One option would be to turn Lady Rose into a Sechelt focal point as a land-borne display. Another would be to restore her so that she can ply the coastal waters as a historical vessel for light use.
The Claytons are also looking into establishing a maritime museum or an arts, culture and history hub in Sechelt, though these are preliminary ideas.
Dick Clayton hopes with the arrival of Lady Rose to Sechelt, the critical role steamships played in developing the Sunshine Coast and B.C.’s other coastal communities will gain prominence. “It’s sort of been forgotten,” said Clayton. “It’s a shame that it’s sort of disappeared out of our history, so we’re interested in resurrecting some of that.”
The Lady Rose was launched in Glasgow, Scotland in 1937 under the original name Lady Sylvia, before her historic two-month crossing of the Atlantic Ocean en route to Vancouver – believed to be the first single-screw vessel to do so – where she was renamed and operated by the Union Steamship Company until 1951.
Described as a “saucy little lady” by writer Norman Hacking, Lady Rose carried a maximum of 130 passengers and 25 tons of cargo on short day trips through the waters of West Howe Sound.
The ship also carries with it some supernatural history, too. Historians have hinted at rumours the steamship became haunted after one of her chief engineers hanged himself onboard during her early days of service.
Lady Rose was operated by Union Steamships until 1951, when she was sold to another company, but she remained symbolically significant as the last Union ship in active service, though under different ownership.
Today, she rests in Tofino, and is widely considered the last surviving steamship from the iconic company’s fleet of dozens, having spent her last years servicing routes between Port Alberni, Bamfield and Ucluelet. One other ship, Comox II, was still in use in the 1990s, but had been converted to a floating home.
While the restoration is of provincial historical importance, steamships also played a critical role in Clayton family history and, by extension, the development of Sechelt.
Clayton’s relative Herbert Whitaker, who owned a hotel, logging operations and stores in the area, enticed the Union Steamship Company to stop in Sechelt, replete with freight for his operations, and tourists for his accommodations. The business also purchased land holdings from the family, and Clayton’s father worked for them.
It was a Union Steamship that took Clayton to his first job as a young man, as well as to picnics on Bowen Island. “I remember being on a Union Steamship going under the Lions Gate Bridge when it was being built,” Clayton said. “It was a big deal in the old days.”
In the 1950s – the same decade the Lady Rose was removed from the company’s fleet – Union Steamships relinquished its Sechelt holdings and Sechelt was incorporated as a village.
Ah, preservation of the Lady Rose ... A wonderful idea. Why do I have this ‘déjà vu’ feeling?
Well... maybe because it's hard to remember a preservation project for a ferry/steamship that actually panned out, and the images of vessels like the San Mateo rotting into the muck of the Fraser riverbank are pretty hard to erase from the mind.
Cause for optimism, in this case: the purchaser does actually seem to have some resources. Also, the Lady Rose is a fairly small vessel... not quite so difficult to find dock space for, and less steel to deal with than say, the Kalakala. They also seem to be open to a dryland exhibit, which might be necessary, depending on her hull condition.
We'll see. I'm expecting another disappointment, but hoping for something remarkable.
Good to hear Lady Rose has made it to Sechelt. That is a key hurdle. Very glad she is in the hands of folks who care and have some financial resources as well as a network of organizations and institutions in support of what they are doing. Hopefully it all bodes well for the future. Personally, I hope she can remain in her natural element, either dockside or operational in some capacity.