It's time for part six of our stories about our historic fleet. This time we talk more about M/S Enköpings which has been named the world's oldest ship by the international Lloyd's Register. Lloyd's Register is itself the world's largest and oldest international ship classification society. At the end of this post, you’ll find a list with links to previous posts in this blog series.
On August 12, 1868, the new steam vessel "Enköping" arrived in the city of Enköping, an hour earlier than its biggest competitor, "Iwar Blue"! This even though the two boats had departed from Stockholm at the same time. "Enköping" was built on behalf of Carl Herman Backert, head shipowner of Stockholms Ångslups AB. Backert had realized the importance of a new and, above all, faster ship for the company to survive. At that time, steam vessels were very important to the farmers around Lake Mälaren when the boats transported goods from their farms into Stockholm. Backert could happily state that Enköping exceeded expectations in terms of speed!
Known “celebrity” from book by Hjalmar Söderberg
The ship operated the route Enköping - Stockholm for 16 years. In 1884, she was sold to Östhammar for SEK 12,000. By then she had already become well known, not least along Munkbrokajen in Stockholm. In Hjalmar Söderberg's autobiographical novel "Martin Birck's youth" the main character Martin describes the boats that passed the family's summer fun at Nockeby – Fyris and Garibaldi, Brage who never seemed to be in a hurry, the beautiful blue Tynnelsö and the brown Enköping who was called the coffee roaster, as it simmered past just like the simmering that occurred when roasting coffee. With the help of the boats, Martin was able to keep track of the time, as they all followed their timetables very punctually.
A grumpy captain with the nickname "Grundin"
In 1884, M/S Enköping was bought by Ångfartygs AB Östhammar and renamed "Östhammar". Gustaf Lundin, a well-known figure from the area of Östhammar, was appointed commander of the ship. He made himself known for his roaring from the bridge of command, but at the same time he was a man of few words. There are many stories about Captain Lundin and his daring adventures with "Östhammar" which several times ended with the ship running aground. In folklore, he was therefore renamed "Captain Grundin" (as “Grundin” alludes to the Swedish frase “Gå på grund” which means run aground). However, these jokes didn’t seem to bother him much.
A ship of many names and routes
After 16 years on the route Östhammar-Stockholm, she was sold and ended up in Lake Mälaren again, this time to operate Stockholm-Sigtuna under the new name "Skokloster". Until the year 1943, there were many new routes and more name changes; "Arholma", "Wäddö", "Gladfjorden" and "Södra Skärgården".
In 1943 she got a new owner and yet another name, "Soten". In 1946 the new owner installed an oil pipeline and in 1951 she was rebuilt and got new furnishings below deck. They put in sofas from a discarded bus and tables from a restaurant cart. "Neat and purposeful and we got to buy everything cheap", was the owner Erik Karlsson's summary of the result.
Strömma Kanalbolaget becomes the new owner
Strömma Kanalbolaget acquired "Soten" in 1989 and it was stated that she met all expectations. She regained her original name "Enköping" and underwent a complete restoration from 1989 to 1990, both externally and internally. In connection with the purchase, the ship was also given the title "the world's oldest passenger ship" according to Lloyd's Register of Shipping in London. M/S Enköping then competed with 76,000 ships all over the world!
During the summer you can book a guided day trip with M/S Enköping between Uppsala and Skokloster. In the evening, M/S Enköping departs from Uppsala for a fantastic three-hour shrimp cruise along the Fyris stream and Ekoln.
Today you can rent M/S Enköping for private parties and corporate events. In the beautiful dining room on the upper deck there is seating for 60 guests and in the slightly smaller dining room on the main deck there is room for 42 guests. The lower dining room is perfect for mingling and a pre-drink before dinner. If the weather allows, the sun deck is a perfect space to welcome your guests with a pre-drink. On board there is a fully equipped restaurant kitchen where the ship's own chefs prepare fantastic dishes. The boat is very popular for wedding and birthday parties as well as corporate events.
This is post number six in our blog series where we pay attention and talk more about a few carefully selected ships from our fleet. In posts we published earlier, we have written about M/S Gustafsberg VII, S/S Stockholm, M/S Waxholm III, M/S Östanå I and M/S Prince Carl Philip.