Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
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Volume Eight - Pre-Victorian to the present day - more aspects - Peter Campbell - A Gallant Pioneer

'The Forbes McKenzie Act of 1853 had forbidden pubs from opening on a Sunday, but pleasure craft were conveniently excluded from the legislation and so began the trend for booze cruises, leading to the popular west of Scotland slang term for overindulgence as "steaming"'.

Peter's father died in 1871 and was held in high esteem. His obituary described him as 'one of the best known and popular steamboat captains.'

'Even after the death of his father, Peter Campbell was clearly close to his cousin Captain Bob and his application for his certificate of marine competence in 1882 listed his address as No 2 Parkgrove Terrace in Glasgow, the city residence of the steamship entrepreneur, who died in 1888. A year earlier, Captain Bob's sons Peter and Alec had relocated the company to the Bristol Channel, their eyes having been opened by the financial possibilities of a business in a corner of England that had a sizeable population, but few passenger services of note. The company P. and A. Campbell dominated for decades, seeing off all competitors and in some cases buying out their fleets.'

Peter had only just turned 15 years of age (1872) when he and three friends had a vision of forming a football team. For him, it was probably a release from his daily toil as an apprentice at the Stobcross Engine Works on the Clyde. I would like to leave the remainder of the Glasgow Rangers story to the book which you have to buy! Peter went on a number of voyages until he signed-on for that fateful voyage. Gary describes it:-

'Peter set off on Sunday 28 January 1883 from Penarth in South Wales on his second voyage with the St Columba, a 321-foot-long steamer of over 2,200 tons, which had been built on Merseyside in November 1880 for Liverpool company Rankin, Gilmour and Co., although the roots of the firm were Glaswegian. The St. Columba was bound for Bombay with a cargo of coal, but it never got beyond the dangerous waters off the west coast of France and, with hindsight, it should never have left its berth near Cardiff Bay in the first place.

The weather that weekend was dreadful and merited mention in the press at the time, as several disabled vessels ran into Plymouth harbour for shelter. The St Columba clearly entered a maelstrom and God only knows the horrors suffered by the crew in those final moments as the waves lashed the vessel, cruelly whipping them into the sea and certain death.'


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