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Reunion News

A review and photos of what turned out to be a splendid weekend are now available on this site

The Celebration Dinner will include an auction of BI memorabilia from the estates of Harry Bancroft and Henry Severs. Proceeds to The Mission to Seafarers and Uganda Trust.

SpringbankWe have been given sponsorship from Springbank Distillers. Springbank Distillers are based in Campbeltown on the mull of Kintyre, the home of William Mackinnon and Robert Mackenzie. The company is proud to announce its association with BI and the 150th anniversary celebrations.

Andrew Mackinnon, the great-great-nephew of Sir William, will be our guest of honour at the dinner.

Bookings for all the events are good but there is still time to book for the dinner and the curry lunch. Numbers attending:

Dinner: 279
Curry Lunch: 203
Boat trip: is now fully booked  
Distillery Visit: is now fully booked
Talk: is now fully booked

A full list of all those booked for one part of the reunion or another can be downloaded here (updated Sep 1, 2006)

William Mackinnon and Robert Mackenzie were both natives of Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre in the Firth of Clyde. Mackinnon started his working life in Glasgow where he was employed by a merchant engaged in the Eastern trade. In 1847 he joined Robert McKenzie who was engaged in the coasting trade in the Bay of Bengal. Together they started the firm of Mackinnon, Mackenzie & Company. On 29 September 1856 they founded the Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Company which in 1862 was renamed the British India Steam Navigation Company. It was to become one of the greatest shipping companies in the world. It is appropriate therefore to hold this special event in Scotland, as without these two men none of us would have enjoyed the unique experience of being part of BI's history.

The venue chosen for the reunion is the Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow. This is on the River Clyde located close to the city centre. The Quarterdeck Bar, Mariner and No 1 Dockside restaurants overlook the river. There are 283 bedrooms, parking for 250 cars and a health and fitness centre with pool. The Celebration Dinner and Curry Lunch will be held at the hotel. To mark the 150th anniversary organisers Sue and John Spence have put together a really special series of events. See their letter here. The letter is a printable PDF and includes a booking form or you can download a separate booking form here.


Thursday 21 September

BI Retired Engineers' Lunch

The Engineers’ Lunch will be held in the Buchanan Suite at the Ramada Glasgow City Hotel, which is situated on Ingram Street, Glasgow. This is our usual venue though the name changes from year to year; who knows what it will be when we arrive? The cost of lunch will be notified nearer to the date but will be in the region of £25.00. Wine will be to your own account. The bar in the Buchanan Suite will be open from noon and we will dine at 1.00 pm prompt. The bar will remain open until 4.00 pm. (we are negotiating a later closing time). Outside these hours there are other bars in the hotel that we can frequent! All members of the BI Engineer Officers Association will be sent a letter with full details of the lunch during the summer of 2006. Contact James Slater: tel: 01706 351190; email:


Friday 22 September

Evening Cruise

We have chartered Clyde Marine’s Cruiser for a cruise on the Clyde. On the way downriver we will pass the old Barclay Curle shipyard where Rajula, Chantala, Dunera, Kenya, Uganda and Nevasa (built 1956 to celebrate the company’s centenary), to name but a few, were built. Cruiser is an all-weather, all-year cruising vessel which will comfortably hold 180 in an enclosed and heated interior. Cash bar on board. Embark from Crowne Plaza Hotel’s own pontoon at 5.45 pm, departing at 6.00 pm. The company are more than happy to fly the BI flag, so if you have one we can use either on the cruise or in the Argyll Suite on Saturday evening, please bring it along - the more the merrier. (As in Portsmouth, the BI flag will be flown at the hotel’s entrance throughout the weekend.) We should get splendid evening views of the city on our return journey, arriving at approx 9.00 pm. Clyde Marine have given us a discount on the cruise in recognition of BI’s historic links with the Clyde and our 150th anniversary celebrations. Cost approx £12.00 based on a minimum of 100. The initial proposal to charter Balmoral proved financially impractical and on this date she is not scheduled to run a public cruise that we could have joined. This is now fully booked


Saturday 23 September

Glengoyne Distillery

Departing by coach from the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 9.30 am. Tour of distillery including a dram of whisky and time to visit the on-site shop. Return to hotel at approx 12.30 pm - possibly with a drop-off for those who wish to do some shopping in town. Cost approx £9.00 per person including transport. ( ). This is now fully booked


"BI, Its Founders and Early Years" - A Talk by Professor J Forbes Munro

Professor Munro’s talk will be entitled BI, It’s Founders and Early Years. He is the author of Maritime Enterprise and Empire, winner of the 2004 Wadsworth Prize and joint winner of the 2004 Saltire Society Research Book of the Year Award. J Forbes Munro is Emeritus Professor of International Economic History, University of Glasgow. The talk starts at 4.30 pm in the Barra & Jura Suite and will last about one hour. Cost £5.00 per head to cover room hire and an honorarium.

Reception followed by Celebration Dinner

This will be held in the Argyll Suite at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. There will be a four-course menu on a Scottish theme with dietary alternatives on request. Andrew Mackinnon, the great-great-nephew of Sir William, will be our guest of honour at the dinner.

As usual please let me know if you wish to sit with particular friends or to make up a table, indicating your requirements on the booking form. Although you can’t always know at the time you book who else is going to be there, you can still suggest possible names. The organisers usually accommodate some, if not all, requests and try to ensure each guest knows at least one other person seated at their table. Dress is optional: Black Tie or Highland Dress or Jacket & Tie. We would not wish anyone to feel put off by imposing an arbitrary dress code so the final decision is left to you. However, we do think it is a good opportunity to dress up in best bib and tucker for those who wish to (or BI Mess Dress perhaps - if you have got it and can still get into it!!).

As we gather to celebrate the 150th anniversary of a great shipping company and in recognition of BI’s importance in all our lives, we have arranged for each dinner guest to receive a traditional cut-glass crystal whisky tumbler in a presentation box as a memento of this unique occasion. Made by Glencairn Crystal this traditional glass is a special limited edition which will be suitably engraved and bear the well-loved Britannia logo. The Celebration Dinner will cost £41.00 per person (including the whisky tumbler) based on a minimum of 200.


Sunday 24 September

Curry Lunch

This will be held in the Argyll Suite. As usual there will be choice of curries, meat, fish and vegetable, of varying strengths, which will be served along with the usual accompaniments, or dietary alternatives, at £18.00 per head, based on a minimum of 100.

If you would like to register on the Glasgow reunion mailing list, email or telephone 0114 230 4815

Download a printable Glasgow reunion booking form