PSS Earl of Bridgewater

Wooden Paddle steamer.
Possibly vessel launched for Duke of Bridgewater by James and Seddon, Liverpool, June 1823.
Owned Runcorn Steam Packet Co.
2 August 1824, boiler explosion at Liverpool (en route to Ellesmere Port)
3 people died.

From Liverpool newspapers:
  Sunday afternoon last [2 August 1824], about ha'past three o'clock, while the Earl of Bridgewater, Ellesmere steam-packet, was about to start from George's Quay, her boiler unfortunately burst, with explosion. There were, at the time, a considerable number of passengers on the deck of the vessel; and such was the force of the steam that several of them, including a young woman, were, according to the most correct account we can procure from eyewitnesses, blown a considerable height into the air, and fell in the river. They were fortunately picked up by the boats belonging to the floating-bath, and others from the shore. The female, who was picked up, was dreadfully scalded, as was also a boy. Three men also, named Bickerstaffe, Jones, and Gould, suffered severely. The young woman and the boy, who were instantly conveyed the Infirmary, we regret to say, both died, the former on Monday night, the other on Tuesday. Hopes are entertained of the recovery of the men, though their situation is precarious. Several others were less injured, and not a few stupified by the alarm and force of the explosion. Some of the individuals injured, were, in the first instance, carried to the house of Mrs. Slater, the receiving-house appointed by the Humane Society [set up to aid recovery of drowning victims], and experienced every possible attention from Mrs. Slater and the other inmates the house, as well as from the two men of the floating-bath.
  The name of the unfortunate young woman, who lost her life by this accident was Mary Artingstall. She was going spend with her parents, at Waverham Cheshire, the happy season of the wakes. We have to state, too, that another unknown individual has been lost to society: a boat, in which was Mr. Richard Lea, a tide-surveyor, was a short distance from the vessel at the time of explosion, and, seeing a man in the water, rowed to the spot, and endeavoured save him; but, unfortunately, missing a secure hold of him with a boat-hook, brought up only his hat; the body unhappily sank. The same boat picked up the female.
  A coroner's inquest was held on the bodies on Tuesday, and several witnesses were examined to the circumstances and cause of the accident. The investigation was adjourned Wednesday, and thence, for some important evidence not at hand, for some days longer.
  In the absence, therefore, of official information, we supply the following statement by a scientific gentleman of Manchester, who, we believe, has had considerable experience in the construction of steam-engines. It seems to throw light on the true cause of the accident. Being on board the Lady Stanley steam-packet [which sailed to Eastham], with some friends from Manchester, they had the opportunity of witnessing the accident which occurred on board the Earl of Bridgewater steam-packet Sunday last: The packet was just in the act of starting when the explosion took place. We thus observed that the report was not so loud as we should have, lying close, expected from the bursting of a steam-boiler; and on that account my friends, who were scientific gentlemen, were very desirous to ascertain the cause, examined the safety-valve, and found it in very excellent condition, and not weighing more than four or five pounds upon the square inch [about 0.3 of atmospheric pressure], and we were informed, that no extra load had that day been put on. We examined the boiler, and found that the accident had been occasioned by a defect in the angle-iron, (which is a piece of iron placed inside the boiler, and rivetted to the tops and side plates) it being improperly welded in the manufacture, which was clearly shown by a coat of rust in the seam. The boiler was 10 feet long, and the angle-iron was unsound nearly the whole length. We were much surprised the accident had not occurred before; and, therefore, do not consider that any blame can be attached to the persons who had the management of the engine.
  This the first accident of the kind which has taken place on our river since the introduction of steam-navigation. The engines, indeed, which are employed are the very first quality, faithfully manufactured on the most recent and approved principle, at establishments of the highest respectability; and, though we have here one lamentable instance of failure or neglect, as much is it in the interest of the owners of these useful vessels, to render them secure from all such casualties, that we trust every engine will, in future, be frequently and carefully inspected by scientific men, and any defects immediately supplied. The appointment of an inspector, expressly to examine the packet engines in the port generally, is devoutly to be wished, and it is also suggested, that engine machinery of complicated and fearful power should not be placed under the care of lads or incompetent individuals. In the present case, it is said that the boy, who unfortunately lost his life, was in the act of exhibiting some parts of the engine to strangers, when the catastrophe took place. He was, we learn, ignorant of the nature of the engine; and a boy (aged only 17), who, it appears, was the only engineer of the ship was, at the time, onshore. If such youths are to be trusted with the engines, of which they can have but little experience, we know not how the proprietors can expect the encouragement or confidence of the public.

Later, in 1841, the Earl of Bridgewater was involved in a collision in the Mersey with HM Mail Steamer Merlin.

PSS Alice

Alice: Wooden paddle steam passenger ferry
Built 1824 Mottershead & Hayes, 50 tons
Seacombe Ferry (on Mersey); owned J & R Parry.
Caught fire and sank: 7th March 1825.
Vessel still operating until 1833 at least.

Liverpool Mercury Friday, 11th March, 1825

Steam Boat Incident

On Monday morning [7th March 1825] the steam boat Alice, property of Mr. Parry, of Seacombe Ferry, took fire by some accident, whilst at anchor off that place. As soon as the fire was discovered, the men endeavoured to extinguish the flames; but, finding their efforts unavailing, they determined to scuttle the vessel, as the only chance of saving her from total destruction. She was immediately scuttled, and sank opposite the hotel. As she lay on the edge of the bank, the ebb tide (which was remarkably strong) forced her over into the deep water, where she now lies, and is likely to prove a complete wreck. The Alice was one of the finest steam boats on the river, and sailed very fast. Mr. Parry, we understand, was only half insured: his loss by the accident will, therefore, we regret to state, be very great.

Wooden paddle steamer Ribble built Mottershead, Liverpool, 1829
50 grt, 78 x 16 x 6.6 ft, engines 26hp
Owned at Preston then sold to act as a Birkenhead (Woodside) Ferry from 1832
13 February 1836, on fire, scuttled to put fire out, refloated

Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 19 February 1836
  FIRE ON BOARD THE RIBBLE STEAMER. On Saturday last, early in the morning, the Ribble, steamer, belonging to the Woodside establishment, caught fire by some means not yet accounted for. Happily she was near the slip on the Cheshire side, and prompt measures were resorted to by scuttling the vessel, and the flames were thereby subdued. She is, we understand, seriously injured by this untoward event.

William Stanley

Wooden paddle steamer, built 1837 by Wilson, Liverpool
Engines 50 hp by Fawcett & Preston.
Liverpool - Eastham ferry, boiler explosion 20-8-1838
Sold to City of Dublin Steam Packet Co. 1845

Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser, Tuesday 21 August 1838 :

ACCIDENT ON THE RIVER. - The William Stanley, plying between this place and Eastham, had one of her lower boiler-plates burst yesterday [20th August 1838]. No damage was done by the explosion, further than the inconvenience which was experienced by the passengers in having their persons covered with smoke and ashes.

The explosion was reported to have occurred at the Pier at Liverpool.

In the 1830's the steamer Lady Stanley provided the Eastham service, being later replaced by the Lady Bulkeley, William Stanley and Sir Thomas Stanley.

Main Index