Wooden paddle steamers sunk January 1839 in Mersey River and at Caernarfon. See also Wrecks in Liverpool Bay in the 1839 Hurricane
Duke of Bridgewater, Runcorn Steam Packet, built James & Seddon, South Shore, Liverpool, July 1822, 68 tons, 78 x 18 x 7 ft, 22 hp. [often called Bridgewater in Liverpool Newspapers]
Eclipse, built Liverpool, possibly Rathbone & Co, 1823
69 tons, engines 24 hp by Fawcett & Littledale.
Runcorn Steam Packet, service started May 1823.
Refloated and repaired at Runcorn.
Admiral, Seacombe Ferry, built Mottershead & Hayes, Liverpool, 1835. Also called Admiral Lord Nelson in some reports.
All three vessels were in the Mersey when the hurricane force winds
caused big waves that sank each of them. Records show that the Eclipse
was refloated and eventually put back in
service. The Admiral is listed as lost - and a new large wooden paddle
steamer called Admiral was built in 1840 at Port Glasgow for the Glasgow -
Liverpool service. The Duke of Bridgewater was raised and offered for
sale at Runcorn.
There was loss of life - a fireman from the Eclipse, 2 crew aboard the Admiral and all 7 crew of the Duke of Bridgewater [note some possible confusion between reports which describe the Bridgewater packet and the Duke of Bridgewater packet: at this date these seem to be the same vessel (Gore's Directory gives Duke of Bridgewater in 1825, 1827, 1829 and 1834 editions); the Earl of Bridgewater was definitely a different vessel, however].
There was also damage to the Woodside steam ferry Ribble: At Cornhill, the Woodside steamer Ribble came alongside a total wreck.
She was put back in service.
Newspaper reports of sinkings.
[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 11 January 1839]
Admiral, Seacombe Ferry boat, and the Eclipse and Duke of Bridgewater steamers, are sunk in the river.
[from Morning Chronicle - Wednesday 09 January 1839]
The [Duke of] Bridgewater, Runcorn steamer, a total wreck under the wall of the Brunswick Dock pier.
The Admiral, Seacombe-ferry steam boat, sunk a little further on, and only a small part of her topmast could be seen.
GEORGE'S PIER-HEAD. - The Runcorn steam-boat, Eclipse, went down. The fireman, an old and worthy servant of the company, missed his footing in attempting to get ashore, and, falling into the river, was not again seen.
[from Leeds Times - Saturday 19 January 1839]:
The accounts report 14 wrecked by the Brighton, 14 by the Pennsylvania, about 53 by the Lockwoods, and 2 the sloop Conway, 4 in flat, 7 the crew of the Runcorn steamer [Duke of] Bridgewater, 1 in the steamer Eclipse, 3 riggers swamped in boat, 2 in the Seacombe steamer.
Details of the history, fate, etc of each of these vessels:
Start of Duke of Bridgewater service.
[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 19 July 1822]:
A fine new steam packet will be launched to-morrow, at eleven
o'clock in the forenoon, from the building yard of Messrs. James
and Seddon, South Shore, intended to ply between Liverpool,
Weston Point, and Runcorn.
[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 26 July 1822]: TRAVELLING BETWEEN LIVEPOOL AND MANCHESTER. The public are respectfully informed that a new, beautiful, and strong-built STEAM PACKET, called the BRIDGEWATER, will commence running, in a few days, between Liverpool, Weston Point, and Runcorn. From the superior construction and power of engine, she is expected to perform her passage in a much shorter time than has hitherto been done; and, for the better accommodation of Travellers, the Steam Packet, in conjunction with the Canal Packets, will establish a regular conveyance, during the summer months, to and from Machester and Liverpool, daily.
[from Liverpool Mercury - Friday 09 August 1822]: We are informed, that the fine new Runcorn steam-packet, Bridgewater, made her passage on Tuesday, against a strong head wind, from Runcorn to Liverpool, a distance computed at 20 miles, in the short space of one hour and a quarter.
Coastal excursion to Lake District [from Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 29 July 1826]:
There have been two steam vessels at Ulverston the last week, the Harriet and the Bridgewater. The Harriet arrived on Sunday and immediately proceeded to Peel with passengers; she returned again to Ulverston the next tide, and afterwards sailed for Liverpool. The Bridgewater arrived on Wednesday with passengers from Liverpool.
[from Liverpool Albion - Monday 31 May 1830]: FOR SALE, The remarkably fast-sailing Steam-packet BRIDGEWATER, Burthen about 90 tons, carpenter's measure, with a compact and well-constructed Engine of about 26 horse power; diameter of Cylinder, 31.5 Inches; length of stroke, 33 inches; built in Liverpool of the best materials; has three cabins, two of which are neatly fitted-up for passengers. From her light draught of water [4 feet 6 inches] she is well adapted for a short coasting voyage, or for a ferry. Her speed in smooth water is equal to any steamer of her class on the Mersey, and her qualifications in a gale of wind and heavy sea have not been surpassed by any. Apply at the Bridgewater Steam-packet Office, 19, Nova Scotia.
[from Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 12 June 1835]:
ACCIDENT ON STEAMER. James Morrison, a waterman, belonging to the boat "Dick," which plies for hire on the river, was proceeding with his boat on Tuesday last towards Wallasey Hole, when near the west wharf, he observed the body of a man floating on the water. He towed it to Seacombe Slip and delivered it to a police-officer. The body was subsequently ascertained to be that of Jacob Leech, a shoemaker, residing at Runcorn, who fell overboard on the 24th of May last from the Duke of Bridgewater, steam-packet, as it was proceeding round the Floating Light. An inquest was held upon the body, and a verdict of Accidental Death returned.
See also minor collision between Duke of Bridgewater and ferry Ennishowen in 1837.
[from Chester Courant - Tuesday 19 February 1839]: To be sold by private treaty.
THE WRECK of the DUKE OF BRIDGEWATER STEAMER as it now lies at Mr. Mason's yard, Runcorn, together with all the rigging, spars, chains etc., as well as the Engine and Boiler, which had a thorough repair in October last. As she will be permitted (if required) to continue to ply upon the station between Runcorn and Liverpool, it presents an eligible opportunity for an advantageous speculation - Further particulars apply.. Runcorn Feb 15
[from Liverpool Mail - Saturday 13 January 1844]: STEAMERS for SALE or HIRE.
STEAMER BRIDGEWATER. 37-horse engine, boilers nearly new, and drawing 4 ft. 10 in. water. Length 74 feet. Extreme breadth 28 feet. Depth 7 feet. Admeasurement 33 54-100 tons new measurement;... Both Packets are well adapted for Towing or Ferry purposes. The Bridgewater is now at liberty,... - Apply to JOHN SOTHERN, 41, Castle-street.
Possible builder of Eclipse [from Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 28 December 1822]:
List of steam vessels building at Liverpool to be launched next year:
By whom, station, Length on deck
Rathbone & Co Liverpool, Runcorn, 89 ft
Start of Eclipse service [from Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 22 May 1823]:
THE Proprietors of the ECLIPSE, new STEAM-PACKET, present their Friends and Public with an acknowledgement of gratitude, for the liberal support they have experiences since this Packet commenced plying (between Liverpool, Weston Point and Runcorn,) and flatter themselves that as the Eclipse far surpasses any other packet (on the River) in point of beauty, expedition and accommodation, they will still continue to merit a decided preference.
The Eclipse is propelled by a double Engine, which is so constructed, that the disagreeable noise and motion (common in other packets) are not in her perceptible.
During the summer months, passengers may proceed through without detention, as the Old Quay Co.'s, Manchester Canal Packets, and the Eclipse, will daily meet along side each other at Runcorn, so that the unpleasantness of carrying luggage from one packet to the other will be prevented, as well as the expences incurred thereby; a convenience not to be had by any other conveyance on the passage between Liverpool and Manchester.
[Liverpool Mail - Saturday 26 January 1839]:
RUNCORN. The Eclipse Packet. This steam-packet, which was wrecked in the late hurricane, has been got up. Her decks and cabins were completely carried away, but her engines were not found to be seriously damaged. On Monday, she was purchased by Mr. Brundrit, ship builder, Runcorn, for the sum of £310. The Bridgewater packet has not yet been got up.
[From Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser - Thursday 17 January 1839]:
SALE: On Monday next, the 21st instant, o'clock, at the house of Mr. Israel Irlam, Nova Scotia. The ECLIPSE. Steam-packet. With two Engines and Boilers; also two Boats, and sundry articles belonging thereto. Further particulars will be announced. Apply to ISRAEL IRLAM.
Wooden paddle steamer Eclipse, built Lang & Denny, Dumbarton
174grt, 98nrt, 108 x 18 x 11 ft, engines Napier 150hp
1828 registered Belfast, 1837 owned Liverpool, in 1838 serving Bangor, Caernarfon, Porthdinllaen, Barmouth weekly from Liverpool.
During hurricane of 7-8 January 1839, driven ashore at Caernarfon.
Captain William Evans and all aboard saved.
Vessel repaired at Caernarfon.
Note that a Runcorn ferry, also called PS Eclipse, was sunk by the same storm while tied up at Liverpool - that was a different vessel - see above. There are some reports that Eclipse (built 1826) was chartered as a Runcorn Ferry - but this could be based on confusion with the other Eclipse (built 1823).
[from North Wales Chronicle - Tuesday 04 September 1838]:
STEAM COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PORTHDYNLLAEN, CARNARVON, BANGOR and LIVERPOOL. during the winter months.
The Public are respectfully informed that the superior cargo Steamer ECLIPSE, Will commence plying between the above places for the Winter Months, on or before the 1st of October next. The ECLIPSE is a very fast going and superior cargo vessel; burthen 200 tons, 104 tons register, with two engines of 100 horse power, and the want of a regular, safe and commodious trader having been long felt and complained of by shippers, the owners have much satisfaction in meeting the wishes of the Public. 18, St. Paul's-square, Liverpool, Aug. 26th, 1838.
[from Lloyd's List - Friday 11 January 1839]:
Carnarvon, 9th Jan. The Eclipse (s) Williams, of Liverpool, broke from the Quay 7th instant, was driven on the Beach, and has received considerable damage.
[From North Wales Chronicle - Tuesday 04 June 1839]:
CARVARVON PATENT SLIP. At about 10 o'clock in the evening of Thursday, the Eclipse steamer was launched. This vessel, as our readers will remember, was driven ashore near Carnarvon, in the memorable and fatal gale of the 7th of January, last. She had sustained considerable damage, and has been for some times on the slip, undergoing the repairs which were necessary to render her sea-worthy. Her present appearance reflects credit upon the parties employed, she is going to Liverpool to be fitted up.
Another wreck with loss of life in the Mersey:
Liverpool Mail - Thursday 10 January 1839:
Shortly afterwards the smack Charlotte [of Conway], with salt, sunk opposite the Clarence Dock Pier. There were three persons on board at the time. Of these, two, John Jones and Robert Roberts, were drowned. A young man, son to Jones, was saved by the exertions of tbe police on the station.