S.S. William Muir

Notes by Keddie Law
The history of the Burntisland to Granton ferry is a long and chequered one.
19th Century The first regular crossing from Burntisland to Granton took place in September, 1844. Burntisland soon emerged as a leading player in the main railway line to the North and the year 1850 saw the introduction of the first roll-on roll-off ferry in the world, the Leviathan (which carried railway wagons and was designed, incidentally, by Thomas Bouch of Tay Bridge fame). This crossing became increasingly busy until the opening in 1890 of the Forth railway bridge.
Early 20th century The S.S. William Muir, pictured above around 1913, was a long-established ferry on this route in the early years of the 20th century. In 1910 the William Muir was retired for a major re-fit and its two funnels were reduced to one. It had a red funnel with a black stay ring, white band and black top, colours which were to be preserved by the paddle steamer Waverley. The Burntisland-Granton service was suspended in January 1917, to be resumed in July, 1919. The William Muir served as a minesweeper during the war and was retired from service finally in March, 1937.
Post-war years The Burntisland ferry was suspended during World War II from March 1940. In 1949 a limited service was re-instated, and an expanded service started in April 1951, but income was well below expectations and the ferry frequency was reduced until it was finally suspended on 12th December, 1952.
1990s A short-lived ferry service, with the catamaran Spirit of Fife, ran from 1991 to 1993.