This noble and beautiful ship, intended to trade between London and Sydney, was launched on Monday, the 16th instant, from the building yard of Mr. James Laing, the eminent ship-builder, of Sunderland, and is the largest vessel ever built on the Wear. The river at the spot where it took place is scarcely a furlong wide, and the practicability of launching a vessel of the Vimiera's tonnage with safety in such a very limited space was doubted by many ; but, with every disadvantage arising in this narrow and crowded stream, the arrangements were so good that the launch proved to be a most interesting scene. There was a great concourse of people to witness the sight, both in the immediate neighbourhood and on the opposite cliffs, whose picturesque summits were studded with well-dressed groups. The day was fine, but very windy. The ceremony of christening the ship was most ably performed by Mrs. Ferguson, a relative of Mr. Laing; and amid loud cheering the ship slowly and majestically entered the water: she was soon after taken in tow, and conveyed to the south dock, where she is now being rigged, previously to her proceeding to London.
As we have previously stated, the Vimiera is tie largest vessel which has ever been built in this port: her dimensions areas follow: -Extreme length, 197 feet; extreme beam, 33 feet ; depth of hold, 23 feet; length of keel on the blocks, 160 feet ; and tonnage, new measurement, 1037 tons. Her build and proportions have been much admired by competent judges ; and we may mention, that the beautiful model sent to the Crystal Palace by Mr. James Laing is one of this vessel. She is wholly constructed of teak and English oak, strapped with iron throughout; and there are five orlop beams in the lower hold. The figure head is a graceful representation of Fame blowing a trumpet carved by Mr. Brooks, of Maryport ; and the ornaments on the stern consist o: tastefully arranged groups of banners, &c., in the centre of which is a shield with a lion rampant, the whole executed in first-rate style by Mr. Bridges, of Sunderland. The outfit of anchors, iron-knees, chains. &c., was furnished by Messrs. Wight and Son, from Seaham works. The internal fittings will be very splendid and complete.
The Vimiera presents one of the most magnificent and exquisitely. finished specimens of naval architecture ever produced by the shipwrights of the Wear, and one which will serve to keep up and extend their reputation as shipbuilders; whilst, it is enough to say that the model, so ably designed by Mr. Laing, has been completed with equal ability by his workmen.
The interest evinced by men not belonging to Mr. Laing's yard was shown by the fact that a large number of carpenters employed by other builders left their work to be present at the launch.
The Vimiera is the property of Mr. Duncan Dunbar, the eminent Protectionist shipowner ; and she will certainly form one of the finest of his immense fleet; which, according to a statement published some time since, numbers 33 ships, representing upwards of 22,000 tons. She will be commanded by Captain Neatby.
In connexion with the launch, about 200 of Mr. Laing's workmen were entertained at supper, on Wednesday evening, in the moulding-room attached to the building-yard. After supper, the wives and families of the men were introduced into the room, which was tastefully decorated, and the dancing kept up with much spirit till an early hour next morning.
From the Illustrated London News, June 28
SG & SGTL Vol 8, p 294.
The Vimeira - This splendid ship, the property of Duncan Dunbar and Sons, and now on her first voyage, arrived on Wednesday having sailed from Portsmouth on the 1st September, arrived at Port Phillip after a good passage of 91 days, where the following passengers were landed: Mrs. Stevens and two servants, Mr. and Mrs. Montefiore, family, and three servants alts, Mrs. White and servant, Miss Cresswell, Mrs. Ward, Miss Taylor, Messrs. Horden, Hart, G. Hart. Simpson, Fordham, Madden, and ten steerage. The latter port she left ,n the 5th instant, thus making the passage (including a detention of four dais) in 100 days. It may be safely said a more substantial ship never entered Sydney Heads. The arrangements on board. for a passenger ship, tire of the most superb description, and she being expressly built for this trade is the largest vessel in the line, her register tonnage being 1037 tons.
SG & SGTL Vol 8, p 362.
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