The SS 'Cambria' at Holyhead Harbour, Anglesey, c 1927
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Holyhead had been used as a port since the medieval period and in Tudor times mail was brought there to be shipped to Ireland. It grew up when the railways arrived in the town in 1848 due to the increased trade to Ireland. At this time the London Midland & Scottish Railway owned two of Holyhead's harbours. By the 1920s however, the port was suffering from a decline in traffic. The London & North Western Railway owned SS Cambria was one of four used on the service between Holyhead and Dublin, the others being the SS Scotia, SS Anglia and SS Hibernia. The SS Cambria was also used on the service between Heysham and the Isle of Man, and between Holyhead and Greenore, in Northern Ireland.