Erin of Belfast lost 1833

Wooden paddle steamer Erin of Belfast, built Rathbone, Liverpool 1826, owned by the Belfast Steam Navigation Company for the St. George Steam Packet Company. 164 x 44 ft, 3 masts, burthen 500 tons, engines 180 hp, built Fawcett, Liverpool.
Traded Belfast to London, calling at Dublin and Plymouth. Left London on 10th February, calling Plymouth, for Dublin; last seen on 20th February 1833 about 40 miles off Lundy Island in distress in a gale. Foundered with all aboard (22 crew and about 26 passengers) lost. The St George company bought a replacement (also called Erin and built Greenock 1826) in 1834.

Description of Erin.

Chester Chronicle - Friday 15 March 1833:
LOSS OF THE ERIN STEAMER. There can, it appears, no longer remain any doubt of the total loss of Erin streamer, which is supposed have foundered in the late gale off Lundy Island, letters from Milford, dated the 5th inst, state that a large trunk, marked "Captain Foote," has been picked up in St. Bride's Bay, containing ladies silk dresses, music books, a gold watch and seals, and prayer books, marked "Augusta Foote." At West Angle, part of the wreck of a steamer, mahogany wainscoting with gilt numbers, and a mahogany table, have been washed on shore. As Captain Foote commanded the Erin, her melancholy fate is no longer questionable [sic; a later letter from Captain Foote states that he was not on board, though his trunk was; her advertised captain was William Toole]. The Erin had, we learn, about twenty six passengers on board, thirteen from Plymouth; and her crew consisted of twenty two individuals; amongst the persons who embarked from Plymouth were Lieut Rawlings (40th Regt.), brother of Mr. Rawlings, of His Majesty's Victualling-office; Messrs. Smitwich, Cleverty, and Mennie, in the cabin; Mrs. Dayney and four children, Jones, Hodsen, Sergeants Whadburne, Tichburne, Child, and Kirk, in the steerage. The crew consisted of 22, in all upwards of 50 individuals, the whole of whom have doubtless met a watery grave. Her cargo consisted of 800 chests of tea, and a valuable assortment of general merchandise. The loss is therefore great; of course, that is nothing compared to the sacrifice of life.

Details of the building of the Erin at Liverpool:

Belfast Commercial Chronicle - Monday 07 August 1826
The Erin Steam-ship. This beautiful vessel, the largest steamer ever launched at this port [Liverpool], now lying in the Sloyne, will, in a few days be completely fitted up. Her engines of 95-horse power each are already fixed. She is intended exclusively for the linen-trade and for passengers, between Belfast and London; and we shall next week furnish an account of her admirable adaptation for that purpose. [also described as launched in February 1826, from the building yard of the late Mr Rathbone]

Liverpool Mercury - Friday 18 August 1826:
STEAM NAVIGATION. THE ERIN STEAM-SHIP. The public prints have, lately, been occupied with long and minute accounts of steam-boats recently built and fitted up on the shores of the Clyde; and the builders and the proprietors of the far-famed United Kingdom have had their due share of commendation, for the skill exhibited in the construction of that huge steamer, and the amplitude and elegance of her equipments. Justly proud, however, as our Scottish neighbours may be of having fulfilled a contract for the largest, and certainly one of the finest steamships that navigate the British waters, we are by no means prepared to concede to them, that their vessels excel those of the Mersey in neatness of model, in fidelity of workmanship, or in general adaptation to the purposes for which they are intended. Judging from the regularity and speed of the passages daily accomplished by the Liverpool steam-ships, we are inclined to decide that on the average, they are speedier than those of the Clyde: but to be fastidious on this point would evince ignorance of the fact, that the builders are generally tied down to a peculiar construction - to a prescribed draft of water, and a certain capacity for stowage - (the engines, too, being of a certain power) and that consequently the unshackled ingenuity of the respective draftsmen has seldom been fully exerted in experiments to arrive at that model which should exhibit the maximum celerity of vessels propelled by steam. Improvements may therefore yet be made in this respect, and, as a point in advance, it is gratifying to observe, that contrary to general expectation in the earlier stages of steam navigation, vessels have recently been built to carry large quantities of goods as well as to accommodate travellers, without (such is the adaptation of the propelling power, combined with the skill of the ship-builder) much or any diminution in the rate of sailing, when compared with those lighter vessels constructed exclusively for the the speedy conveyance of passengers. Many instances of this new triumph of steam navigation might be adduced, but it will be sufficient to select one vessel recently launched and fitted up at this port, to prove, that a steamer may combine a large capacity for stowage with great speed on the water, and the most sumptuous accommodation for passengers.
The Erin, a vessel of elegant model, and the largest steamer ever built at this port, was launched from the building yard of the late Mr. Rathbone, in February last, from which time up to the period of her departure, a few days ago, a great number of workmen were employed on board in fixing the engines and completing the cabins. The whole vessel was converted into one huge floating workshop, and the visitor was stunned by the din of the joiner's mallet, the anvil, and the busy hammers of the blacksmiths "closing rivets up." Captain M'Kibbon, a skillful seaman, who is also part owner, superintended the building and fitting up of the vessel from the beginning. When her equipments were completed, she was brought to anchor off George's Pier, and on Monday se'nnight a great number of gentlemen embarked, with the owners, on a trial excursion on the river, when they were not less delighted by the superiority and elegance of the vessel and her great speed, than gratified by the munificent hospitality with which they were received.
The Erin admeasures about 480 tons, and has a fore and after hold, capable of stowing upwards of 300 tons of goods, the centre being, of course, occupied by the engines. She is built on the most approved principles, her floorings are of solid timber, and her sides diagonally fastened, and is otherwise strengthened in a superior manner; her timbers are entirely of English oak; and some idea of her strength may be conceived from the fact, that a beam athwart ships, forming the extreme breadth, of the same durable timber, is 45 feet in length, and 18 inches (square) in thickness. The whole vessel is of proportionate strength, and as a specimen of naval architecture is highly creditable to the builders. The Erin has a poop, or raised deck abaft, which admits of the elevation of the cabins under it, and from this eminence the stranger is struck by the fine extent of deck which presents itself; the whole length being 164 feet, and the extreme breadth upwards of 44 feet, an expanse equal, indeed, including the flange of the paddle-wheel apparatus, to the deck of a sail ship which would measure upwards of 1200 tons. The higher deck or poop is neatly fitted with seats for the passengers, one of which encircles the large top light of the cabin. The brass railing along the front of this deck is unusually massy; and the binnacle and steering wheel are of the newest and most costly construction. Above the rudder case we observed a hand pump, which, we understand, communicates with a cistern in the run of the ship, of sufficient dimensions to contain an ample suply of pure water for a long voyage. Another concealed cistern, on the top of the entrance to the cabin, affords the rooms below a constant supply by pipes for washing or other purposes.
On each side the main deck, in a line with the paddle boxes, is a deck cabin, or half-price cabin for steerage passengers, most comfortably fitted with beds; also cabins for the mates and engineer, store-rooms, room for cooking with costly steam apparatus, water closet, and births for nine horses.
On descending to the engine-room, the spectator is astonished at the stupendous size and clockwork fineness of the gigantic machine before him: and when it is in motion, he cannot approach it without awe, mingled with no small degree of pride, to witness the triumph of man in thus, as it were, imparting life and boundless power to inanimate nature. The engines (there are always two in such vessels, supplied with steam from a common boiler), are of 180 horses' power, and are made by our celebrated townsmen, Messrs. Fawcett and Co. The castings are beautiful, and modelled with much taste, the supporters are Ionic pillars fluted bearing a corresponding entablature and cornice, thus combining the chastest ornament with the indispensable fastenings of the machine. We have no pretensions to much skill in such matters; but, on an examination of the finely proportioned component parts of these engines, the precision with which they are finished and fitted, the fineness of the joints in every way combatting the friction, and the compactness of the whole, we may venture to place our ingenious townsmen in the first rank among the mechanists of the age in the construction of marine engines. The boilers are of enormous dimensions, and such thickness as to dispel all apprehension of accidents. The rivets, we observed, are extremely neat, and are made all alike by a peculiar tool, which leaves upon them no mark of the hammer. The paddle wheels driven by these engines are twenty-one feet in diameter, the largest yet made at this port, and well calculated to reduce the disadvantage so observable in small wheels by the paddles lifting the water behind as they turn.
We now proceed to the cabins, which, though extremely commodious and handsomely furnished, will not require a long description, inasmuch as they are in that chaste taste which Shakespeare recommends with respect to wearing apparel - that is, "costly, not gaudy." The entrance, which is only a few feet down from the main deck, is panelled with the finest mahogany, polished in the French manner. The main or dining cabin is a room 30 feet by 15. Sofas run the full length on each side, and opposite these are four square tables contrived so as to form two long tables when occasion requires. The walls are handsomely papered and adorned with some good paintings in rich frames. Two small rooms are taken off abaft, (one of them the captain's cabin, the other a sleeping room) by an upright partition. These rooms communicate by two mahogany sliding doors glazed with frosted or stained glass, through which, when they are closed, the light from the stern windows is poured in with a pleasing and mellow effect as if from a shrubbery. These doors may be opened when more light or a view astern is desired. This contrivance renders the stern side of the cabin (which would otherwise hang out) upright, as well as the other sides, and gives the whole the appearance of a drawing room. The roof is French white, with a delicate streak of gilding round the cornices. Between these two doors, directly against the rudder case, is the fire-place, the chimney-piece of which is of white marble, supported by two pillars of the same in material. Facing this, and in the middle of the opposite side, is a handsome sideboard, with a bookcase below, containing a number of the most select works. Over this is a mirror the full length of the sideboard, facing another large mirror over the chimney piece. The cabin is mainly lighted from a circular window in the roof, from the centre of which is suspended a lamp of four branches, of the most elegant embossed brass-work, gilded. Some idea of the richness of this article may formed from the fact that it cost no less than twenty guineas. Two lamps, of half that value each, are suspended in the other cabins.
A mahogany door, corresponding with the door to the main cabin, leads from latter to the gentlemen's sleeping room, for there are no beds (a desirable riddance) in the main cabin. This room is fifteen feet by fourteen, and has a light from the roof, as well as a side window looking upon the main deck. The sleeping tackle (as Jack would say) is excellent - good morine[sic, ?] hangings, feather beds and mattresses, and fine linen in every birth. It is calculated to accommodate eighteen passengers. The floor, as in the other cabins, is covered with a fine Brussels carpet, and fitted with mahogany chairs, sofa, &c.
The ladies' sleeping room enters from the passage to the main cabin, is nearly as large as the other and is fitted up in an equally comfortable manner. The basic stands are supplied by pipes from a cistern on deck; a water-closet adjoins the ladies' apartment; and nothing seems wanting to ensure the convenience of the passengers.
The Erin is intended to convey goods and passengers between Belfast and London, calling at Plymouth, and other intermediate ports in the South of England, and there is no doubt will be a great accommodation to traders, as well as to voyagers. She is owned by several spirited mercantile gentlemen of the former place under the firm of the "Belfast Steam Navigation Company." The engines during her excursion on the river were found to work with great power and regularity, and the vessel occasionally made good twelve knots an hour. The Erin cost, we understand, upwards of £20000.
In selecting the Erin as an example of the excellence of the steam-traders built and equipped at Liverpool, we by no means give her a preference over others of the port, whether they be calculated to convey goods and passengers or the latter only. All of them, and particularly those lately built, are worthy of admiration, as well for their regularity of despatch, as for the elegance of their accommodations. In the latter respect different tastes have been displayed, and in some a greater profusion of ornament is observable than in others; but in all, the apartments for passengers are more costly, and more splendidly fitted up than, with perhaps few exceptions, the state rooms in the mansions of our nobility, and were it not that low ceilings are indispensable in vessels, would far outstrip them in magnificence. The pleasures of a trip in one of them, with an intelligent company on board, can only be estimated by those who have experienced it. They are literally floating palaces, propelled with the regularity and nearly double the velocity of a mail-coach. Their introduction has formed a new era in the history of navigation, and they have, as it were, approximated or drawn nearer to each other, the several great towns of the empire and through them have given propulsion to commerce and a facility of intercourse between classes of the community before remote from each other, - the increasing blessings of which it will be for the future historian to record.