This page is devoted solely to collecting information on the steam powered fishing vessel White Rose, launched in Nov 1899 at Ianstown, Buckie by J. & W. McIntosh. She was the first steam powered fishing vessel to be launched in the Buckie district.

If you can help with any info please contact me.

'- - - & when all was ready, Miss Williamina McIntosh, daughter of Mr. John McIntosh, the builder, broke a bottle of spirits on the stem, at the same time christening the vessel the White Rose & wishing her good luck'.

John McIntosh boatbuilder & daughter Williamina

White Rose A 149
(First steam powered fishing boat built in Buckie district)

Built of wood by J. & W. McIntosh, Ianstown, Buckie, Scotland. Launched November 1899.

Official No. 112907
Official Dimensions. Length: 87 feet 2 inches. Breadth: 19 feet 3 inches. Depth of hold: 10 feet 1 inch. Net tonnage: 41. Gross tonnage: 94. 30hp, 16 inch compound steam engine by Clyne & Mitchell, Aberdeen.


Built for Johnson & Co. Aberdeen. Partly owned by Mr. John Craig, Torry, Aberdeen, being the original skipper.
1913 owner shown as John Craig senior, 26 Wood St. Torry Aberdeen. Presumably sold the same year to James Muir, Cellardyke, Fife - re-regd. KY 179.
Requisitioned for war service 1915-19 (Pennant No. 1247). Anti-submarine net vessel fitted with 6pdr gun based at Immingham near Grimsby.
1922 sold to Pomona Steam Fishing Co. Ltd. Grimsby. Renamed & re-regd. Silverna GY 41.

This following information from the 'Grimsby Register of Sea Fishing Boats' thanks to John Wilson.

"White Rose" (Official No. 112907) was built at Ianstown, Buckie in 1900, and was registered in Grimsby on 23 June 1922 to The Pomona Steam Fishing Company Limited of Grimsby. The name was changed to "Silverna" with the sanction of the Board of Trade on 8 July 1922. The vessel was altered in July 1922, too (gross tonnage down from 94 to 89.46, net down from 40.92 to 37.56). The vessel was described as "Steam ketch, main and mizzen" and its mode was "Nets and lines".

The vessel was sold to Frank Andreas Peterson of 9 David Street, Grimsby, on 28 March 1925.

The registry was closed on 14 February 1929, when the vessel was "sold for breaking up purposes".

The location of the McIntosh, Ianstown, boat & shipbuilding yard
(The Portessie yard was close by - almost on the edge of the pic below, to the right of the Ianstown yard).


Thursday June 29th 1899


Messr's J. & W.R. McIntosh Boatbuilders have just laid the keel of a steam liner for Messr's Johnson & Co. Aberdeen. The vessel which will be 85ft keel & 90ft o'all is being built on the shore at Ianstown & will cost 1000 for the hull & 1000 for the engines. It is expected to occupy 3 months in building. Mr. W.R. McIntosh has presently in his building shed the largest Zulu he has yet constructed. She will be ready for launching on Tuesday 1st being the sixth boat Mr. McIntosh has launched since September. She is built to the order of Mr. George Smith "Jeem" & her dimensions are keel 56ft - o'all 74ft - depth 11ft - beam 19ft.

Brief history of the McIntosh boatbuilders

The McIntosh family had been building fishing boats in the area since around 1830, when John McIntosh began supplying scaffies to the fishermen of the district. They began building zulus of clinker construction around 1883, converting to the carvel method shortly afterwards. Some 120 plus zulus are listed as being built for fishermen as far away as Stornoway.

When the keel was laid for the White Rose in June 1899, all the Scottish built steam powered fishing vessels had been launched from large yards at Leith, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Peterhead & several yards in the Fife district.

John & William R. McIntosh, grandsons of the founder, accepted the challenge of building a steam powered fishing vessel, which required the acquisition of new skills and equipment, and in doing so pioneered a new era in fishing boat construction in the Buckie district, and probably in the whole Moray Firth.

The zulu mentioned in this article was the BF 178 Linnet pictured below.


Thursday Sept 28th 1899


The new steam liner being built for Messr's Johnson & Co. Aberdeen at Ianstown by Messr's J & W.R. McIntosh is nearing completion. Many of the local fishermen have inspected her as building has progressed, & have admired the fine fleet lines on which she has been built. One result has been that two families of Buckie fishermen, those of Mr. George Murray "Bodge" & Mr. George Murray "Burd" have placed an order with Messr's McIntosh for a vessel of similar dimensions to that now on the stocks, with the difference that while the present vessel will draw 10.5ft, the new one will draw 9.5ft. It is estimated the cost of the new vessel will be about 2500, about 1000 for the building of the vessel & the rest for engines &'c. Prices, have risen greatly of late, has added materially to the cost. It has not yet been decided where the engines will be put in. It is expected the keel of the new steamer will be laid within a month.

Buckie fishermen are impressed

This new style of vessel being built on the shore at Ianstown, attracted a lot of admirers from the local population who witnessed her construction.

The new steamer ordered by the Murray family of Buckie was the Frigate Bird pictured below, which was constructed as a herring steam drifter as opposed to the White Rose which was a steam liner. It is believed that the White Rose was used as a drifter after being sold from Aberdeen to Cellardyke in 1913.

BF 398 Frigate Bird.
Click pic for more info on Frigate Bird

Nov 23rd 1899


The first Buckie owned steam liner was built in Aberdeen, so it is merely in the nature of a return compliment that the first Buckie built steam liner should be owned in Aberdeen. At the time that the Star of Hope was launched it was freely remarked that if the venture caught on among Moray fishermen it would injure the trade of the local boatbuilders, seeing that wood & iron are two entirely different materials to manipulate in the manufacture of a fishing craft. The launch at Ianstown on Saturday of the White Rose of Aberdeen by Messr's McIntosh on the beach at Ianstown has been watched with great interest for months past by fishermen & others & although this is the first vessel of its kind the firm have tried their skill on, it at an early period of its construction became apparent that vessel was to exhibit the beautiful and fleet lines so clear to the mariners eye. As the skeleton became clothed those indications were emphasized, and many were the favourable comments on her beautiful mould. So much was the case that several Buckie fishermen have combined to place an order with the same firm for a similar vessel - the keel of which has already been laid.

The White Rose is a substantially built wooden vessel with oak & larch timbers. Her dimensions are 85'6" keel - 92'6" o'all - 19'21/2" beam - 13'91/2" from top of keel to top of rail & 11'6" to top of beam. It had been intended to launch the White Rose a week or two ago, but tides & weather did not prove suitable. On Saturday morning however the steam liner Caledonia A693 belonging to the same owners Messr's Johnson & Co. Aberdeen, arrived at Cluny harbour with the intention of towing the new boat to Aberdeen, where she will be fitted with her engines by Messr's Clyne & Mitchell. Meanwhile the ways for launching had been prepared, but at high tide a few minutes before launching at 12-25pm there was such a swell on the sea that it began to knock away some of the planks & undermine the supports, indicating the necessity to hasten the ceremony. By this time great numbers of fishermen & others had gathered in anticipation of the novel spectacle. The preliminary preparations were rapidly completed & when all was ready Miss Williamina McIntosh, daughter of Mr. John McIntosh, the builder, broke a bottle of spirits on the stem, at the same time christening the vessel the White Rose & wishing her good luck. The last wedge been driven out, the vessel began to glide gracefully stern foremost towards her new element, amid the cheers of the assembled crowd. With increasing speed she plunged into the water, the north staging yielding to the weight. The launch, however, had been most successfully accomplished, and the vessel got such a good send off that she held on to meet the Caledonia, which lay some distance offshore. A tow rope was speedily passed from her to the White Rose & in another hour the Caledonia put on full speed ahead for Aberdeen, & was soon lost to sight. The skipper of the White Rose is Mr. John Craig Torry, who is also part owner, & he will have with him two of his sons.

The launch site today

The picture below shows the approximate area in which the White Rose was built & launched. The McIntosh Ianstown yard was taken over by Jones Buckie Slip & Shipyard in 1918.

For more images of Ianstown & Portessie click the pic.

A successful launching

As there was no permanent slip at either the Ianstown or Portessie yards, a temporary slip, known as the 'ways' had to be constructed to enable a launching. This was a wooden structure, usually using timbers suitably greased to enable the slipping effect.

As can be seen from this article, the engines & boiler were to be fitted by Messr's Clyne & Mitchell of Aberdeen, so a towing vessel was required. In this case the Caledonia A 693, belonging to the new owners of the White Rose, was standing by to take her in tow.

John McIntosh the builder & his daughter Williamina
1899 - 1913 fished by Craig family of Torry, Aberdeen, as A 149.

1913 - 1915 & 1919 - 1922. Fished by James Muir, Cellardyke, Fife, as KY 179.

1922 - 25 + ? Fished by Pomona Steam Fishing Co. Ltd. Grimsby, as SILVERNA GY 41.

Sources & acknowledgements
Moray District Library
Buckie District Fishing Heritage Museum
Banffshire Advertiser
David Mair
David Williamson
Raymond Forward - Hearts of Oak website
Roger Griffiths - Ships Nostalgia website
John Wilson - Grimsby archivist
McIntosh family history sources