A model of the steam-yacht Livadia, which was commissioned for Tsar Alexander II of Russia (1818-1881) and was built at John Elder & Co's Fairfield Shipyard in Govan. She was launched on 7 July 1880 in the presence of members of the Russian navy and aristocracy. Three Russian Orthodox priests came to chant prayers and hymns, while Russian sailors sang the responses.
Tsar Alexander II suffered badly from sea sickness and the unusual design of the Livadia (based on the shape of a turbot fish) was intended to make the yacht more stable. The Govan shipyard workers were unconvinced that the yacht was seaworthy, and were proved right - on her voyage to Russia by the Mediterranean the Livadia took on water, was difficult to control and proved to be extremely unstable, ironically causing a great deal of seasickness on board.
The Tsar was assassinated in 1881 before he had the chance to cruise on the yacht. It was subsequently converted to a coal barge and later beached on the Black Sea. It was broken up in 1927.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
coal barges, Fairfield Shipyard, John Elder & Co, Livadia, Russian Orthodox priests, Russians, sea sickness, ship models, shipbuilders, shipbuilding, shipyards, steam yachts, Tsars, turbots, yachts