Of all the many ships which have belonged to the British India Steam Navigation Company's impressive fleet during its long history, the second Golconda must rank as one of the most remarkable.
Built as a speculation by Doxfords of Sunderland when their yards had some spare capacity in the mid-1880s, she was designed as a 2-decked whalebacked steamer and sported two funnels with a barquentine rig on four masts. Registered at 6,037 tons gross (3,960 net) and measuring 422 feet in length with a 48 foot beam, she was engined by her builders and achieved a speed of 13.9 knots on her trials. Her principal drawback was her inadequate passenger capacity -- only 80 First and 28 Second class -- which proved a major obstacle in selling her. Doxfords had initially hoped she might go to the Guion Line but when this came to nothing, she was offered to Canadian Pacific for their new Vancouver -- Hong Kong service; indeed, negotiations began so well that the vessel was launched on 8th February 1887 bearing the name of Transpacific. In the event, Canadian Pacific decided not to buy her and she was acquired by a Hull owner who renamed her Nulli Secondus, all of which took place whilst she was still unfinished. In August 1887, hearing that she might be available, the British India Steam Navigation Co. made an offer for her which was accepted and she was finally completed as Golconda (II) in December the same year.
Entering service on British India's main London -- Calcutta route, she enjoyed twelve successful years as B.I.'s flagship which was only interrupted by a brief government charter as a transport during the Boer War. Once she resumed her civilian duties however, she began to look increasingly obsolete and her limited speed proved a drawback on such a prestigious run. In March 1913 therefore she was transferred to the East African service and, in October 1915, was requisitioned as an Indian Army transport. After several return voyages to Europe, she was en route to London from Middlesbrough when she was mined off Aldeburgh on 3rd June 1916 with the loss of 19 crew.