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Alliance arrives in St Helier Harbour

The paddle steamer Alliance was a regular operator in Channel Island waters towards the end of the 19th century.

Above and below: Alliance in St Malo

Alliance was built for the New South Western Steam Navigation Company in 1855 by Mare of Blackwell at a cost of £19,460, she was an iron paddler of 311 tons, 175ft in length and beam of 23ft, with Seward and Capel engines of 857 hp.

Alliance was named to commemorate the union between France and England, and after showing great speed on her trials from the Thames to Southampton, she was initially placed on the Southampton to La Havre route.

Island services

She did not run from Southampton to the Channel Islands until 1860, and her visits were very infrequent, although from 1876 she operated as a relief vessel on routes between the islands and France.

On 19 June 1878 Alliance collided with the French boat Francois at the entrance to Le Havre. The master of Alliance was held to be to blame for the accident, which caused the loss of two lives. She then underwent improvements and one funnel was removed. She was renowned for her passenger comfort and superior ventilation system.

On 6 September 1890 Alliance collided with the Wolf on the Cherbourg route.

From 1880 to 1896 she was positioned permanently on the Jersey station, although she was often replaced during the busy summer period by a larger screw steamer. She finished her life as a temporary hospital ship in Southampton Docks before being sent to be broken up in Holland in 1900.

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