Image 2016 Aug image

The Anchor Line Building, Glasgow

Brian Mitchell MAGI Derry/Londonderry

The Anchor Line Building, designed by the Glasgow architect, James Miller, was built in 1905-7 for the Anchor Line Shipping Company.  Now derelict, it stands at St. Vincent Place (near George Square) in the centre of Glasgow.

From 1861 right through to 1939 ocean-going liners called at Moville, in the deeper waters of Lough Foyle, some 18 miles downstream from Derry, to pick up emigrants who were ferried from Derry in paddle tenders.  During this period, at various times, four shipping lines – Anchor Line, Anchor-Donaldson Line, Allan Line, and Dominion Line – made Derry a stage on the voyage from Liverpool or Glasgow to Canada or the United States.

The Glasgow shipping company of Handysides & Henderson, in 1856, inaugurated a new mail, cargo and passenger service, the ‘Anchor Line of Steam Packets’ between Glasgow and New York.  From 1866, the company’s Glasgow to New York steamships started calling at Moville and continued to do so until 1939.  In 1916 the Anchor Line and another Glasgow company, the Donaldson Line, merged their services and formed a joint company, Anchor-Donaldson, to operate the route to Canada.

The main competitors of the shipping lines which called at Derry for Irish passenger traffic at the turn of the twentieth century were the Cunard Line and White Star Line. These companies operated out of Liverpool and their ships called at Queenstown (now Cobh) on their way to the USA and Canada.