Wooden paddle steamer built 1834 Russell & Sons, Birkenhead, 258nrt, 149
x 24 ft.
Engines 180 hp built Fawcett & Preston, Liverpool.
Owned Waterford Steam Navigation Co.
Voyage Waterford to Liverpool with cargo: flour, butter, 77 head of cattle, 105 pigs.
Captain Hearn, 127 passengers and crew
5 April 1845 aground on West Hoyle Bank in calm weather
All (except 2 in some reports) aboard saved by the Point of Ayr lifeboat
Wreckage sold in situ for breaking.
LAUNCH. - On Saturday last, the Mermaid, a fine new steamer of 420 tons measurement, and to be fitted with engines of 180 horse power, was launched from the building yard of Messrs. Robert Russell & Co., North Birkenhead. She is intended for the trade between Waterford and Bristol, and will ply in conjunction with that well known steamer, the Nora Creana. [from Preston Chronicle - Saturday 11 October 1834]
Reports from contemporary newspapers
At an early hour on Saturday 5th April 1845, the paddle steamer Mermaid was seen to have struck on the West Hoyle Bank. The weather was good and the cause of the accident was not known.
Reported by the Chester Chronicle: A gentleman, who was aboard that ill-fated steamer when she was wrecked off the Welsh coast, informed the Dock Board that the vessel had struck at eight o'clock in the evening [Friday 4th April 1845], and that her crew fired guns and skyrockets, burnt blue lights, and made signals of distress during the whole night. In the morning, the captain sent off his gig to the Point of Ayr lighthouse, the keeper of which, on being questioned, admitted having heard the guns and seen the signals, without being able to give any satisfactory reasons for his neglect in not sending express to the life-boat station, whither the first intelligence was taken by the Mermaid's men. Complaints were also made of great delay in getting off the wreck, the life-boat being chiefly manned by volunteers, and not by the regular crew [regular crew received a salary]. Had the gale freshened in the slightest degree, all on board would have been lost. In consequence of these statements, the rewards voted to the men [by Liverpool Dock Board, their employers] for saving the passengers and crew of the Mermaid, in number 127, were withheld until enquiry was made.
Before Justices Sir Pyers Mostyn and Henry Parry (clerk): depositions were accordingly taken at Newmarket [near Prestatyn] Petty Sessions, on the 12th April by which it appeared that the crew of the life-boat had been exceedingly expeditious in getting their life-preserving vessel under weigh, and that the volunteers were taken to complete the numbers solely for the purpone of making greater expedition. These depositions were sent to the Dock Committee, who completely exculpated the 11 lifeboat men.
There is a fact connected with the loss of this vessel which may hereafter involve a question at law. There were insurances effected upon her to the amount of £10,000, to come into force from twelve o'clock on Monday, the 7th of April, at which time she was ashore.
The vessel had broken up and was salvaged in situ.
Advertisement 15 April in Liverpool Standard: For sale: The HULL and principal part of the MACHINERY, together with the BOILERS, of the Steamer MERMAID, about 260 tons register, as she now lies stranded on the West Hoyle. Also, the Standing and Running Rigging, Sails, Anchors, Chains, Winches, Guns, Deck Crane, quantity of Copper and Copper Pipes, Brass, Lead and Iron, Cabin Fixtures, Furniture and Stores saved from the above vessel, stored at our depot.
Location of wreck: said to be nearly dry at low water, and given as 3.5 miles or as 2 miles from Point of Ayr Lighthouse. As soon the news of the wreck reached Liverpool, steam tugs were sent to discharge her; and it was reported that the cargo was safe, and that the live stock were saved with a trifling exception. The vessel was a complete wreck, but she was insured. Many smaller items from the vessel were recovered - and advertised for sale. Because she lay in shallow water, much of the engine and boilers may also have been salvaged.