The Zeta, North Dock, Swansea 1865
The Zeta was built as a three-masted barque that was one of the first ever merchant ships to be full sail and also powered by propeller screw. The ship was designed and built by Alexander Stephens Son Ltd at Kalvinhaugh, Scotland. The construction builders were A.J.Inglis Ltd Glasgow. The Zeta’s tonnage was 734grt, and she measured 185ft in length 28ft in breadth and 18ft in depth and was powered by an American Collis Engine. She was owned by Sir Henry of Longland’s, (Lord Bath). Longland’s house is where the YMCA building stands today on St Helens Road. Lord Bath was a major ship owner in Swansea with a fleet of over 120 ships, mostly copper barques. The Zeta was registered in Swansea and was fitted out at the North Dock Swansea 1865. The Zeta’s maiden voyage was to Valparaiso, Chile to collect copper ore from the mines of Santiago. Because the Zeta had a screw she was able to safely navigate through the Straights of Magellan, South America under steam. This saved up to six weeks off the journey by cutting out the treacherous rounding of Cape Horn. The North Dock Swansea was created in 1852 out of the old riverbed of the River Tawe when the New Cut river course of the Tawe came into being. The Strand ran along side the dock and had railway arches carrying goods, coal and passengers. These arches linked up to the local railway stations and would link up the Great Western Railway (GWR) Swansea Vale Railway (SVR) and the London, Midland Scottish Railway (LMS). The linked stations were located at High Street GWR, The Midland Station, St Thomas SVR and LMS and Swansea Victoria Station main LMS line. North dock was closed to shipping in 1930 and left abandoned for many years until being drained and filled in. During the 1980s the old North Dock Basin was utilised and developed into what is now Park Tawe. Swansea Victoria Station was developed into what is now part of the marina development which includes the LC2 and Swansea Waterfront Museum. Where the Zeta is in this painting is were Plantasia stands today now Park Tawe South.