puffers & vics




Builder J Hay, Kirkintilloch
Official Nr 133150
Yard Nr
Launched 22/1/1904
Delivered 1904
Length 66.4 ft
Beam 17.2 ft
Gross 68 tons
Nett 36 tons
Engine 2 Cyl Steam Compound

Launched in 1904 and sailed with Hay's until sold to Arran Shipping Ltd of Irvine in 1929. She was re-registered there in 1935. One remarkable feat associated with the Roman in this second part of her life is that for the almost 29 years she spent with Arran Shipping she was skippered by one man, the Company's owner, Alastair Kelso of Corrie. In Arran Shipping's ownership her principal trade was taking coal to the island's villages from the railheads at Troon and Irvine. Initially she would normally return to the mainland in ballast but as the Forrestry Commission's plantations on the island matured, she often had return cargoes of pit props, which were loaded at King's Quay near Brodick Castle.

Roman had one partially documented brush with Davy Jones Locker when, one stormy winter day, a coil of rope was swept from her deck and fouled her propellor as she approached Irvine Harbour. Fortunately her plight was spotted by the coastguard who despatched the Irvine Harbour Trust's 1887-built steam paddle tug "George Brown" to her rescue. (I hanv't yet been able to discover anything further on this incident and so if you know of it I would appreciate your getting in touch).

Eventually the cost of maintaining Roman to survey standards coupled with a drop in trade forced Arran Shipping to sell her for scrapping and she arrived at West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co Ltd at Troon on 17/12/1957.

As a footnote, the "George Brown" also ended her lengthy career at West of Scotland Shipbreaking just under a year before "Roman".

The photograph on the left below is of Roman in Hay colours unloading potatoes at Kilchattan Bay on the Isle of Bute in 1923. On the right and now with Arran Shipping she is seen grounded at the mouth of the Black Water at Blackwaterfoot on Arran.

The photographs below are from the Dan McDonald collection courtesy of the Ballast Trust and are reproduced under a Creative Commons license