Antelope, Gazelle and Lynx

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Antelope, Gazelle and Lynx


Antelope in the 1890s

Three new vessels were built for Great Western Railway in 1888-89 when the decided to take over the Weymouth-Channel Island service


Antelope was a 609-ton twin-screw steamer built of steel by Laird Brothers, of Birkenhead. Her maiden voyage to the Channel Islands was on 3 August, 1889 and she remained on service until August 1913, despite the introduction of larger vessels at the end of the 19th century.

On 10 June 1890 Antelope hit the Cavale Rock off Guernsey and went back to her buildrs for repairs. Refits in 1890 and 1896 saw the conversion of the ladies’ first-class sleeping cabins into one large cabin and then the ladies’ accommodation replaced the captain’s cabin on the quarter deck.

Another incident befell the ship in 1893 when she ran out of coal during a voyage in bad weather from the islands to England and had to shelter in Swanage Bay while a tug was sent with enough fuel for the rest of her journey,

1889 report

27 MAY 1889: [1]

On 4th May Laird Brothers launched from their works at Birkenhead a fine screw steamer Antelope . This is the second of three brand new steamers set to replace the ageing Aquila and Cygnus paddle steamers.

The new ship was named by Miss MacIver, daughter of David MacIver of Woodside, one of the directors of the company. There was a large gathering to witness the launch of the new ship.

The Antelope is a smart looking, handsomely modelled twin screw steamer of 600 tons, capable of 16 Knots. Her machinery consists of two separate sets of triple expansion engines.

At the moment she is being fitted out in readiness to begin work in July 1889. Antelope is lit by electric, and will have every modern facility, including a first class saloon amidships.


The Gazelle was a sister ship of the Antelope, completed at the same time, and in service until 1908, when she was converted to cargo and eventually sold in 1925.

She underwent similar alterations to those of the Antelope and had a relatively trouble-free career.


The third of the Great Western Railway trio was Lynx whose maiden voyage to the Channel Islands was on 4 August, 1889. She carried mail until 1912, when she was converted to cargo and eventually sold in 1925.

On 5 September 1890 whe collided with the Oevelgonne south of Portland and in March 1897 whe hit a rock while en route to Guernsey from Weymouth and had to be repaired in Barrow.

She spent most of the First World War in service in the Mediterranean as HMS Lynn and returned to cargo duties in Jersey in 1920.

On 31 December 1924 she was hit by a large wave between Jersey and Guernsey and lost her wheelhouse.

Notes and references

  1. From Facebook group Maritime Jersey, by Mark Pulley
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