- Packet ship
A packet ship was, originally, a vessel employed to carry Post Office mail packets to and from British colonies and outposts. The captains were generally also able to carry bullion, private goods, and passengers. The ships were usually lightly armed and relied on speed for their security.
Admiraltytook over control of the packet ships from 1823and replaced older vessels with naval ships made redundant by the peace that had followed the end of the Napoleonic wars. Steam vessels started to replace sail in 1830and this enabled a more regular and predictable service to be operated. After 1840, moves were made to contract out the services to new private companies.
Routes and ports
The international routes can be considered as two groups, those to Atlantic and Mediterranean ports, and those to northern Europe. There were also packets carried to Ireland.
Atlantic and Mediterranean
Packets have been carried through Falmouth in
Cornwallsince around 1688. The last packet arrived in that port on April 30 1851. Most routes had been transferred to Southampton which had been linked to Londonby railway - the Cornwall Railwaydid not reach Falmouth until 1863. Other ports handling packets include Liverpool(from 1840) and Plymouth(from 1850).
Routes ran at various times from
Doverin Kentand Harwichin Essex.
The usual packet route was from
Holyheadin Anglesey, Walesto Dublin, or Dún Laoghaire(previously Kingstown), in Ireland. A new road was built by Thomas Telfordto link Londonwith Holyhead over the Menai Suspension Bridge.
*"The Falmouth Packets", Tony Pawlyn, Truran, Truro 2003, ISBN 1-85022-175-8
*"Plymouth - Ocean Liner Port of Call", Alan Kitteridge, Twelveheads Press, Truro 1993, ISBN 0-906294-30-4
Packet (sea transport)
* [http://www.xjt60.dial.pipex.com Falmouth Packet Archives]
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