Liverpool Mercury, Dec 2nd 1851


On Friday last this town and neighbourhood was visited by a fog which has not been equalled for many years in density and duration.

On the river the fog prevailed to a great extent, and seriously interfered with the passenger traffic between Liverpool and Cheshire. The Rock Ferry and Tranmere boats did not run at all, and the Woodside boats only crossed at intervals, densely crowded. The river providentially was almost bare of shipping and that prevented many accidents which otherwise might have occurred. The Seacombe boats ran only till midday, and the Egremont ones ceased at 3pm. The steam tender SATELLITE came into collision with the barque ELLEN and lost her steam pipe, and the Rock Ferry steamer got ashore at Seacombe but no serious injury resulted. The bell opposite the baths and that on the Woodside Pier were ringing incessantly the whole day, and were of great utility in guiding the steamers to their respective landing places.

The mist on the Landing Stage and that in Cheshire froze as soon as it touched the ground, which was more than usually slippery in consequence. About 10am the THOMAS WILSON, Seacombe steamer was run foul of by the INDEPENDENCE steam tug. The ferry boat had a number of people on board. She had her paddle boxes injured and became disabled, she was towed to the Landing Stage by the INDEPENDENCE. The Monks Ferry boat came twice in contact with the ELIZA PRICE but no damage was sustained. About 6.30 the IRON DUKE ran against the Landing Stage and received some slight damage, and proceeded to sea shortly afterwards.

A number of residents on the Cheshire side were prevented from reaching their homes and remained in Liverpool till the following morning. They were obliged to procure temporary lodgings for the night, and even those who did get across to Woodside from Liverpool, and had to proceed to more distant localities on the Cheshire shore, and especially that portion whose route lay north of Wallasey-pool, experienced much inconvenience and danger in groping their way through the mist. The railway-boat which ought to have arrived at the Landing Stage at 6,30, did not arrive until 7, and then presented a dilapidated appearance, having been in collision with a barque lying opposite Woodside, and suffered the loss of her stanchions and bulwarks. The only boats that ventured to run after 5pm were the NUN and the WIRRAL belonging to Woodside ferry. One started off on the Cheshire side on the arrival of the other, in order to prevent the possibility of collision. The passage both ways made at half speed, with frequent stoppages of the engines, and seldom occupied less than half an hour. The boats were crowded, 500-600 persons being carried over at each trip.

The fog prevailed on Saturday but not to the same extent as the previous day, and did not seriously interfere with the navigation on the river. In the evening about 7.30 a soldier, Robert HILL belonging to the 7th Fusiliers, whilst going on board the steamer TRAFALGAR, with some companions bound for Dublin, lost his footing, and, falling into the dock, was drowned. The accident is attributed to the fog.

On Saturday night Captain YBAGARAY, of the barque FELIFA loading in the Georges dock for Guayaquil, whilst on the way to his vessel, which has an outside berth, tripped over a rope and fell into the dock. He was taken out about ten minutes afterwards, the usual restoratives were applied, but, without avail, it is thought he may have struck against something in the fall. The night was very dark and a thick fog prevailed at the time.

The same evening a man named James GALLAHER fell into the dock at the south end of the Princes dock, and narrowly escaped a watery grave. He so far recovered as to be able to walk home.

Such was the density of the fog that it was with great difficulty passengers could find their way to the boats at the Landing Stage. Persons landing at the Cheshire side were also subjected to great risk. About 9pm the passengers had landed from the Woodside steamer, and were proceeding up the slip, when two gentleman, not being able to see the shortest distance before them, walked into the river. Fortunately they were rescued without sustaining any injury beyond a thorough drenching. At a late hour, from the same cause, another gentleman, after having landed, instead of proceeding the pay gate, turned round, and walked into the Mersey. He was also rescued, but had a narrow escape from drowning.

Even in the town the streets in the early morning were almost impassable by vehicles, and the risk of contact with each other was exceedingly great, though we have not heard of any accidents, On Sunday morning the weather was exceedingly thick and hazy, more particularly at the entrance to the port. The NIMROD steamer which arrived on Sunday morning from Cork, was compelled to anchor off the north-west light-ship, where she remained till yesterday morning, and then came into port.

Yesterday morning a fog prevailed on the river, but it did not interfere with navigation. Towards noon the sun broke forth, and the atmosphere became tolerably clear.


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