The Priday Family of Gloucester & the Castle Line Steamers

  • 24 Apr 2024
  • Severn Crafts
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Charles Priday was born in Quedgeley in Gloucester in 1839, the only son of Richard Priday & Pamela Priday (nee Heaven) . Richard Priday was the son of William & Elizabeth Priday and through one of Richard's brothers Charles the boat builder was related to Charles Priday - the Priday Metford Mill owner in Gloucester Docks.   

Charles moved to Westgate area of Gloucester as a young adult where he married Harriet Steel around 1859 and had a son Samuel Richard Priday born 1863. In the 1860s Charles opened a boat yard at Lanthony dock before he moved to a new location at the foot of the Westgate bridge in Gloucester. He started by building and renting rowboats and skiffs, Charles and his son eventually ran the Castle line of steamers namely  Holt Castle, Avonmouth Castle, Berkeley Castle, Windsor Castle and Hanley Castle.

Charles first wife died of Cancer in around 1872, but he married again in 1886 in Gloucester to Alice Paget with whom he had another child, a daughter Bertha Mary Priday.

In 1892, Charles and Alice moved to Worcester to the South Quay where they were to run another branch of their boat business from the South Quay, whilst Samuel continued to run the original business in Gloucester. The Holt Castle and the Windsor Castle ran from Worcester whilst the Avonmore Castle, Hanley Castle and Berkeley Castle ran from Gloucester.

Charles and Alice eventually took on the license of the Old Rectifying House at the Worcester Bridge, but sadly Charles died in 1910. His obituary described him as a pioneer in developing the steamboat industry in Worcester. After his death Alice carried on the business in Worcester, whilst their son Samuel continued with the business in Gloucester. 

Shortly after Charles death, Alice Priday married Mr Roberts and that is why she was the owner of the Holt Castle in 1910. She died around 1912 and his interned with Charles in Astwood Cemetery.

The Worcester business was then inherited by the daughter Bertha who married Mr Huxton thus completing the link with the Pridays, Bertha Huxton the owner of the Duchess of York/Duchess Doreen steamer.      Bertha sold the name of the Duchess of York to a Canadian Shipping Line and renamed the boat the Duchess Doreen after her infant daughter.

The Worcester business only came to an end in the early 50s when Berta died, with regards to the Gloucester boat business which Samuel Priday ran until 1911 when he sold it off and relocated with his family in Plymouth.


l would like to thank Mr. Gary Hargreaves for sharing the above family history & the connection of the Worcester Passenger Steamboat family business