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General Steam Navigation
This page gives links to a series devoted to postcards and photographs of the General Steam Navigation Company (GSN). Additional pages will be added to complete the history.
A list of GSN Pages is shown below. The Table beneath gives links to complete history pages on selected individual ships in the fleet.
The General Steam Navigation (GSN) was founded in 1824, one of the oldest successful steamship companies in the world. It originally operated Thames, North Sea and English Channel cargo and passenger services. Services to Lisbon and Gibraltar was also operated. In 1836 the London & Edinburgh Steam Packet Co. was acquired with their six steamers. Mediterranean services commenced in 1882, increasing into a substantial network of cargo/passenger routes. In 1894/96 some voyages were made to West Africa. Between 1894 and 1901 voyages were also made to North and South America and Gulf of Mexico ports. During the Great War, 23 vessels were lost and a large rebuilding programme began at the end of the war. GSN was taken over by P&O in 1920, but the company continued its own management. Companies formed or taken over included, Great Yarmouth Shipping Co, Rhine-London Line, Turner, Edwards & Co, Grand Union Shipping Co, and the London & Dunkirk Shipping Co. The Moss Hutchison Line, Liverpool, with its Mediterranean trade was acquired in 1934 after the liquidation of the Royal Mail group of which it was a member. The New Medway Steam Packet Co. was taken over in 1936 to give GSN a monopoly of the Thames excursion business. The company and its subsidiaries lost 21 ships during the second World War, but these were replaced after the war. Two fine excursion motorships were built to replace two lost in the war. Whilst initially successful, passenger numbers began to drop through the late 1950s and 1960s. The final straw was probably the start of Stena Lines "Londoner" service from Tilbury to Calais, using modern car ferries, in 1965. The GSN excursion steamers were withdrawn at the end of the 1966 season. The UK partner in Normandy Ferries, formed the following year in 1967, was GSN, and early publicity material and postcards featured their name. Ironically, the service which hastened their closure ceased after just a couple of years. The traditional GSN cargo trades also gradually declined and the GSN became wholly owned by P&O Line in 1972, disappearing as an independent company.

Books on the General Steam Navigation & Coast Lines
Coast Lines Key Ancestors - M. Langlands & Sons by Nick Robins & Colin Tucker (ISBN: 978-1-902953-71-7)

Powell, Bacon & Hough by Nick Robins & Malcolm McRonald (ISBN: 978-1-902953-81-6)
The Burns & Laird Family Interests in the Formation of Coast Lines by Nick Robins and Malcolm McRonald (ISBN: 978-1-902953-90-8)

GSN Pages:-
GSN Header Page - this page
GSN Paddlesteamers
GSN Freighters
GSN Passenger Motorships
New Medway SP Co
Normandy Ferries
Associated Pages:-
P&O Ferries Header Page
Ferry Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
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Other names

 Crested Eagle (2)  New Royal Lady, Imperial Eagle

 Dragon  Ionic Ferry, Viscountess M, Charm M, Millenium Express II

 Eagle  Azur, The Azur

 SF Panther (1)  Peter Pan, St Clair

GSN Paddlesteamers - GSN Freighters - GSN Passenger Motorships
New Medway SP Co - Normandy Ferries
Ferry Postcards - Cruise Ship Postcards - Ocean Liner Postcards
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