Catherine Zeta Jones and The Zeta

The Welsh actress/film star Catherine Zeta Jones (wife of Hollywood superstar Michael Douglas) is a descendent of a ship’s Captain employed by Henry Bath & Sons and her middle name reflects the name of the vessel.

In the 19th century Henry Bath & Sons operated a number of ships which carried copper ore from Chile to the copperworks of the Lower Swansea Valley. Bath’s ships were well known along the Atlantic trade routes.

Many of the Bath company’s ships were named after the letters of the Greek alphabet, and the Zeta was pride of the fleet for many years.

She was Glasgow-built in 1865 by Alexander Stephen. Her fame is due to the fact that she was the first ship in the port to be fitted with an auxiliary steam engine and was well-known for her fast passages to the South Atlantic.

This small ship was built to withstand the harsh weather in the south Atlantic and the basic facilities of Chilean ports.

Some time before 1872 she had been sold by the Baths and renamed Urmeneta of Valpariso.

Details from Lloyds Register of Shipping 1875-1875

Ship’s Name: Zeta

Type: Barque

Built: 1865 in Glasgow [8 months]

Official Number: 51109

Built by: Alexander Stephens

Built of: Iron

Engine: DA 99 HP

Master: T. Walters

Registered Tonnage: Net: 696; Gross: 734; Under Dock: 640 [P.&F. 77 tons]

Registered Dimensions: Length 191.2; Breadth 28.2; Depth 17.5

Port belonging to: Valpariso

Port of Survey: Swansea

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