The Victoria Steam Tug and the Magazine Life Boat, Rescuing passengers from the St. Andrew Packet Ship in the hurricane of 8th January 1839, painting by Samuel Walters

Terrible storm and loss of life, January 7th 1839

Terrible storm and loss of life, January 7th 1839

Liverpool Journal January 7th 1839

Part of the spire of St John the Baptist's church at Toxteth Park has been blown down. The wall of St Jame's Church has been completely levelled, and the trees uprooted to exposed the coffins. The handsome stone front of the Wesleyan Chapel erecting in Great Homer St, the walls of which had but the preceding day been completed, fell with a terrific crash at 4am

Liverpool Mercury January 11th 1839

Terrible storm and loss of life

A storm the most awful, whether we consider the violence of the gale, its continuance, the amount of property damaged or destroyed, or the loss of human life with which it was attended, that has taken place in this town, perhaps in the country, for many years, commenced on Sunday night last, and continued with little, if any intermission, till the following afternoon. During the whole of Sunday the wind blew strongly from the south-east, and the glass fell considerably, but many vessels commanded by experienced captains, went to sea, and there was nothing to indicate the frightful storm which followed. Suddenly, the wind shifted to south-west, and, increasing rapidly became a perfect hurricane soon after midnight. It continued to blow in this dreadful manner for many hours without a moment's cessation, sweeping down chimneys and chimney pots, tearing up slates by thousands, snapping in pieces large trees, casting down thick walls, driving vessels on shore, and spreading death and destruction on every side. In the higher parts of the town the best built houses rocked and shook as the gusts rose, and gathering strength pressed against them. It was a sleepless night to thousands, and it was truly awful to listen to the alternate moaning and roaring of the winds, to hear the slates and bricks dashing against the pavements, and to feel the solid walls vibrate to the blast. During the whole night the crash of falling slates was incessant, and it is remarkable as it is gratifying that the night police, who were exposed to the whole fury of the storm should have escaped without injury.

At daylight on Monday the whole town presented evidence of the elemental war which had raged during the whole night, the streets everywhere strewn with wreckage, in many places vast masses of bricks, ruins of fallen walls and chimneys, lying piled in heaps. There was not a street in the town which did not present these traces of the elemental war which had raged during the night and was still raging, scarcely a single house in the town which was not in some way injured by the storm. Passengers hurried along keeping a careful eye on the roofs above, lest some missile, bricks, slates, fragments of chimney pots should stop their progress. The shops had their windows closed throughout the day, in many instances spars were nailed across the shutters, to keep them in their places. The loss of life both on land and water was frightful, there is scarcely a part of the town in which some fatal accident did not occur.

The most unfortunate district seems to have been the neighbourhood of Great George-square, in the immediate vicinity of which it will be remembered the daughter of Mr WINSTANLEY was killed in the great storm of December, 1823. In Cornwallis St, a large stack of chimneys fronting the west, belonging to the house occupied by Mrs LAWRENCE [mother of James LAWRENCE, brewer] fell in, between 4 and 5am, and carried with it all the opposition until it reached the cellar, burying beneath it Mrs LAWRENCE and four other persons. The melancholy tidings being conveyed to Mr LAWRENCE, he hastened to the scene of devastation, and with the assistance of the police, after two hours exertion, succeeded in rescuing from death four of the sufferers, but his mother, alas! merely breathed and expired.. In the death of this amiable lady the poor have to lament the death of an invaluable benefactor, and the various charities a liberal supporter.

Almost at the same time, and whilst the body of Mrs LAWRENCE was being carried to the house of a friend, the roof of the house of Mrs Thomas MARSH, a little below the south end of Dr RAFFLE'S Chapel, on the opposite side, was driven in by the fall of a stack of chimneys which fell into the bedroom of her two sons, one aged 19, the other 17, forcing its way into the parlour beneath, where a servant named, Bessie CRANE, aged 20, was engaged in lighting the fire, from thence the increased rubbish descended into the cellar, carrying beneath its ruins, the three victims. After a considerable lapse of time their lifeless bodies were dug out of the ruins. The bereaved mother, a widow, not many months ago, found her husband lying dead at her side. About 4am the chimneys of the house occupied by Mrs McNEIL, at the corner of Great George-square, facing into Nelson St, which were exposed with their broadside to the wind, fell with a dreadful crash, burying two gentlemen and two females in the ruins. Happily, however, they were all extricated, without having received fatal injuries, by the assistance of neighbours and the police.

In Great Nelson St [now Lord Nelson St] and the immediate neighbourhood, the severity of the hurricane was severely felt. A stack of chimneys belonging to Mr W. DANSON [of the firm of Edwards, Danson and Co] fell and penetrated the roof into the bedroom of his servant, Ellen BULGER, and her fellow-servant. The latter, terrified by the storm had risen and, whilst urging her companion to follow her example, partially dressed herself. Her advice was unfortunately disregarded, when the roof suddenly gave way, and the mass of ruin fell upon the unconscious victim Ellen BULGER.

Mr WHEATON, in the same street, was visited, at the same time [about 6am] with a severe shock. The chimney of the room where his son was sleeping, a young man aged 19, fell, carrying with it the whole roof. The mass of rubbish so completely filled the room, that the upper panels of the door were obliged to be broken to ascertain the extent of the damage, when it was found that he was buried beneath the rubbish. The alarm was given, and the aid of police called for, but in vain, when one of their female servants and a neighbour, Mr GORDON, effected an entrance from the yard at the imminent risk of their lives, and eventually succeeded after laborious excretion of 2hrs, in rescuing the object of their search from his perilous situation, without any other injuries than a few bruises. A miraculous interposition of Providence, as the only protection between him and death was the strength of the lath and plaster, which rested partially against the wall immediately adjoining the upper part of his body, enabling him to breathe whilst his friends effected his rescue.

In the earlier part of the night, the roof of a house in Clayton Square fell in, seriously injuring a gentleman asleep in an upper story. Shortly after midnight a garden wall in Oakes St, 3yds high, and 16yds in breadth was blown down, being fairly lifted from its foundation, and almost in one solid mass carried into the middle of the street.

In Williamson Square the chimneys on the house occupied by Mr GRIFFITHS, tailor, were blown down, and entered the roof. The chimney of a house in Silver St, occupied by Mr William HEAPS, was also blown down. It fell against the wind, otherwise, some of the inmates of the house would have perished, as the chimney was a very lofty one. A stack of chimneys fell through the house of Mr WALTHEW, Sydney St, East, at 6am, Mr WALTHEW was killed in his bed.

Shortly after 5am, the roof of Mr James DARLINGTON'S house, 8 Shannon St, was driven in. A man named John LEE, a plasterer and another individual named Gowan EVANS, were in bed together, both were buried in the ruins, but were with some difficulty extricated by the police. EVANS was slightly injured, but LEE was dead when taken out.

About 6am the roof of Mr QUALTER'S house in Sydney St was blown in and Mr QUALTER was killed. His wife fortunately escaped, though in the same room as him. Inspector ANGUS was on the spot with a party of police and he rendered every assistance in extricating the deceased husband and bereaved wife from the ruins.

At an early hour there were five casualties brought into the Northern Hospital, arising from the consequences of the storm. Four being of a serious nature, we give them as reported by the authorities there :- William GELLER, porter, skull fractured by a slate falling from premises in Water St.

Nathaniel SANKEY, in the employment of the Steam Tug Company, fractured knee and injured in the shoulder. William STITT, sailor, extent of injuries not ascertained. John FURNISS, belonging to the brig MERCURY, severely wounded in the face and shoulder. The windows of the hospital experienced the effects of the boisterous element, the small door of the entrance was split in two and torn from its hinges by the violence of the wind. At the North Dispensary fifteen panes of glass were broken. One man was brought in who had been blown under the wheels of a cart and was seriously injured.

The stage of Messers J and T. PARTINGTON'S mill in Limekiln Lane, was blown down at the time they were upon it, the latter in his fall, met with a severe injury, his leg being much bruised, though it is thought the bone is not fractured, the former escaped by clinging to the rope of the wheel, by which he lowered himself nearly to the ground.

Am immense number of lamps in various parts of the town were broken by the storm and the lights extinguished. The wood stands in Cleveland Square Market were blown down, and many dashed to pieces. In every quarter, windows and even window-frames and doors have been blown in, and other minor damage inflicted

. The North-shore mill, or cotton-factory, a very extensive building not long since erected, presents the extraordinary appearance of one portion without roof and two upper stories. The loss of cotton considerable, as the appearance of the intervening space between the canal and Everton was inexpressibly strange. In Great Mersey St the trees in front of the houses appeared as during a snow storm and the hedges and trees from thence to Everton afforded an excellent imitation of a hoax frost, so delicately was the carded cotton sprinkled upon every object obstructing its passage through the troubled air. It appears that one of the keepers was awoke at a quarter to twelve by the noise of the hurricane, the wind blowing a heavy gale, shaking every room in the mill. At 1am the storm began to increase mixed with rain. At twenty minutes before three he went through the factory to examine it, the first room he entered was No 3, the west windows of the north wing were breaking rapidly with the force of the wind. In room No 4, the wind entered with such force, the glass flew with great violence that he retreated, he dared not take lights into room No 5, in consequence of the great quantity of cotton contained in the room, he heard the windows smashing and proceeded to room No 7 and experienced a tremendous rush of wind, as though the roof was blowing off, and proceeding to room No 6 found a few panes of glass had broken. At 5.10 am he heard an awful report, appearing like something has fallen into the building, which proved to be a portion of the roof. The machinery in that and room No 6 is greatly damaged. The falling of the roof burst the flue of the large chimney, room No 4, is damaged in the windows, but not in the machinery. Other portions of the roof are damaged

At 4am upwards of 100yrds of the wall of Kirkdale Gaol was blown down level with the ground. The wall fell against the weaving shops of the prison, knocking many of them down and breaking the looms and leaving pieces to blow.

Twenty-three bodies taken from the wreck of the LOCKWOODS were brought to Liverpool last evening and deposited in the Workhouse, inquests will be held upon them today. Four bodies remain entangled in the rigging of the vessel which lies on the North Bank.

The body of Mr PARSONS of Manchester one of the passengers in the PENNSYLVANIA, packet-ship, wrecked on the North Bank, has been washed on shore at Wallasey, and was conveyed yesterday evening to Manchester for interment.

A stack of chimneys fell on the roof of Mr Robert McCLELLAND'S house, Richmond Row at 4.30am on Monday, carrying destruction into the bedrooms. Fortunately the family had removed in time to a lower apartment, and no lives were lost.

A most providential escape occurred at the house of Mr COVENTRY, Phythian St, of the firm of Coventry and Glover. Soon after 5am the family were alarmed by a violent crash, and discovered a stack of chimneys at the back of the premises had fallen upon the sleeping room of the two elder children, one five, the other seven, carrying in the roof and burying every vestige of the bed, with the children in it, beneath the ruins. Notwithstanding the apparent hopelessness of their situation, the prompt assistance of several of the neighbours was successfully exerted in rescuing them both alive. The rafters having fallen upon the bed in such a position as to avert immediate contact of the brickwork, the younger boy escaped unhurt, and his brother, though severely bruised and nearly suffocated, is likely to do well.

Yesterday a Coroner's inquest was held on the body of a man named Thomas EASTHAM which was found on a bank opposite to a gut called the Chester Hole. The deceased was one of the crew of the sloop George, and along with others was in the vessel which was moored near to St George's Dock, during the storm. About 5am on Monday the sloop dragged her anchors and ran against the quay, and the deceased in endeavouring to land fell from the boom and was drowned.

Liverpool Mercury January 18th 1839

Terrible storm and loss of life

In Copperas Hill a stack of chimneys belonging to Mr PARDY, fell upon the adjoining house, occupied by Mr MURPHY, carrying with them the whole of the front room. The bed from which Miss M had but a few minutes previously risen, was covered in ruins.

In a field in Fairclough Lane, 26yds of a wall brick thick about 4yds high, and supported at intervals with buttresses, were blown down. It fell to windward in a solid mass, only a few bricks being displaced.

A remarkable escape occurred at the residence of a gentleman in Great George Square. A lady and her daughter, visitors, slept in one of the rooms and being awakened by the storm and very much alarmed, the daughter rose to procure a light. This she did by the means of a lucifer match, and she had only just removed to another part of the room when a window before which she had been standing a minute before blew in, carrying all before.

The roof fell in at Mrs TUBMAN'S 49 Rodney St, Miss TUBMAN and her niece were sleeping together, were buried in the fallen mass. They were indebted for their extrication to two gentlemen lodging in the next house, Messers FINLAY and BAGOT, and to a third gentleman who was passing by in the street, who promptly rushed to the rescue. One policeman was afterwards at the scene, but the ladies were indebted to the three gentlemen who with great difficulty and at considerable personal risk, accomplished their generous enterprise. Neither Miss TUBMAN nor her niece received any injury.

At Wavertree, Mr HUGHES, veterinary surgeon, employed by Mr LUCAS of the Repository, was called to a horse taken ill belonging to R. WRIGHT Esq, Stand House, near Childwall. He started home on Monday morning on horseback, between 1 and 2am and had not proceeded far when the trees on all sides were breaking and the wind sending him into the road. The water was blown out of the pits near Wavertree right across the road, and it was with great difficulty he could get his horse to face the spray. In Wavertree the glass out of the windows was breaking, and he was very nearly being cut with it. The wind blew the strongest about 100 yds from the crossing of the railway, where he was completely stopped, and obliged to turn back 40 or 50yds before he could get turned round, which he did after some delay. At the plantation of Wavertree Hall the noise of the wind and the breaking of branches was truly awful. He at length reached home after one of the most awful nights that any one experienced. He states that when he got into the town the glass and slates were flying, and it was miraculous how he escaped. He had to walk from the Repository to Brownlow Hill, and did not receive the least injury.

At St Helens in addition to the accidents that happened in the town and neighbourhood, the theatre was entirely blown down and most of the scenes and property destroyed, besides depriving about 18 persons of situations for the present.

At Knowsley on Tuesday last Lord Derby's forester made a return to his Lordship of the number of trees in Knowsley Park, uprooted and destroyed by the hurricane, the number exceeds 3,000 by some hundreds.


The Merchant Ship Lockwoods Caught in a Gale off Liverpool painting by, James E Buttersworth

Shipping disasters and loss of life

Liverpool Journal January 7th 1839

The OXFORD is on shore near Bootle Land-marks, dismasted. The CAMBRIDGE, which hauled into the river yesterday afternoon is on shore near the Princes Pier. The VESTRAL for Constantinople, is aground to the north of the Clarence Dock. Sank off the Prince's Pier the Seacombe ferry-boat ADMIRAL. H.M, Steam-packet REDWING [on the Post-office service] and 13 other vessels are on shore on Bootle Bay. The ANNA AGATHA from Rotterdam is aground in the river. Three brigs and three flats are total wrecks in the Prince's-basin. A brig and schooner have sank in the river, and another brig is sinking, deserted by the crew. The tug-steamer MONA is ashore near the Brunswick Dock

Liverpool Mercury January 11th 1839

Terrible storm and loss of life


Victoria [steam-tug] has arrived with 26 persons from the PENNSYLVANIA, and 22 from the LOCKWOODS. Capt SMITH and the 2nd mate of the Pennsylvania were washed overboard yesterday and drowned, two men were left in the main and one in the mizzen top, all dead, and several drowned in the cabin. The whole of the survivors except two who refused to leave the Lockwoods have been brought on shore from both vessels by the Victoria.

Reindeer, for Belfast is putting back, in tow of the Unicorn steamer.

Ann Poley, Hunter, hence for Lisbon, is on shore near the Ribble, three men drowned.

Harvest Home, Kenn, hence for St Thomas is wrecked on Mad Wharf, carpenter and one man saved, it is feared the remainder of the crew are drowned.

Monkey, hence for Gibraltar is wrecked near Formby, three men drowned.

Victoria, Chandler, from Charleston to this port, is on shore near Leasowe Castle and ebbs dry.

Ward, Masters, from St Johns, N.B, is at anchor off the N.E Buoy, with loss of yards.

A brig and schooner was driven on shore at Formby Point this morning.

Blackpool, Jan 8th, the Dorris Carty, from Liverpool to Wrexham, is on shore with loss of sails etc, The Arion, Davies from Bangor to Shoreham is also on shore here. The Crusader must go to pieces if the weather continues as it is at present, the ship is nearly covered at half tide.

Heysham, Jan 8th, the Alert, Hall, from Liverpool to Sligo is on shore off this place and it is feared will go to pieces. The Mona Castle from the Isle of Man to Liverpool, is on shore near this, cargo discharging. The Yeoman, Thomas, from Liverpool to Demerara, which sailed on Sunday is on Lancaster Sands, cargo washing out, masts standing, no account of the crew

The committee of the Liverpool Humane Society met yesterday and appointed Mr COURT of the Underwriters-room as secretary and treasurer, they also appointed two gentlemen of the committee to endeavour to discover the residences of those persons saved from the wrecks in order to supply them with immediate relief, the following is the result :-

John SAYERS, plasterer from Leamington, lost his wife and two children and all his property, was relieved and will be sent home - at present in the Poorhouse.

Elias MARTIN, miller from Tipperary, lost all his property, was relieved and will be forwarded to Kingston, Canada, where he has friends - at present in the Poorhouse

John MAHONEY, furnished with funds to proceed to Kerry.

C. WILLIAMS, furnished with funds to proceed to Welshpool

The above hold a respectable station in society, but had lost all their property in the wrecks.

James TOMLINSON, wife and four children, a joiner by trade, lost all his property, but saved all his family, were furnished with clothes and funds for their temporary wants. Resided in Bristol, but remains in Liverpool, to endeavour to procure work.

William LOCHURRAN, at present in the Northern Hospital was recovering from some slight injuries, and had relief given. All preceding are saved from the LOCKWOODS

Edwin REDMAN, seaman on board the Brighton, frost bitten and injured, has friends at Swansea, and will be sent home when fit to move, at present in the Northern Hospital.

Patrick MALEY, labourer from Leitrim, lost his property, has a brother in New York, and will be sent there.

John AKITT, boiler-maker, lost his sister and all his property, will be sent to West Bromwich, - at present in the Poorhouse

Daniel WHALLEY and child, brickmaker, brother-in-law to William VASEY of West Bromwich, has lost his wife and two children, father and mother, two brothers, with their wives and nine of their children, with all his property. Will be sent home, has received clothes and temporary relief.

Mary BOURNE had no friends on board and resides in the county of Devon. Much bruised and in the Infirmary, will be sent home when recovered.

R. BOWN, confectioner from Warwick has lost his wife and one child, was relieved with clothes and temporary funds, intends to return to Warwick, in the Northern Hospital.

Margaret UMALVANNEY, husband resides in America, lost two children, father, mother and sister, and expects to be confined about March, at present in the Northern Hospital severely frost-bitten

Charles SMITH, wood turner from Sheffield lost his clothes and property, has a wife in Sheffield, will return when able - at present in the Poorhouse

William VASEY, and his two children, and one child of his brother's, from West Bromwich, lost his wife, brother and brother's wife, one child of his brother-in-laws saved, lost all his property, was relieved and will be sent home.

William COHAN, shoemaker, and wife, wishes to return to Newtown, Queen's County, lost all his clothes and property, relieved, will be sent home when able to move, sent to the Workhouse.

William MONCRIEF from Perthshire, lost all his property, relieved and wishes to be sent home.

Those persons in the Poorhouse are comfortably accommodated having a room appropriated to themselves, where they will remain receiving the kind attentions of the Governor and his wife, until they are fully recovered to proceed to their respective destinations.

Liverpool 10th Jan 1839, William HUSON, Jaques MYERS.

Liverpool Mercury January 18th 1839

Terrible storm and loss of life

Further particulars


The whole of the sand-banks and the beach on the north end of the Wirral peninsula, from the Rock Point to Hilbre Island, have since Tuesday presented a lamentable spectacle of the effects of the storm. The five fine ships, the BRIGHTON, PENNSYLVANIA, LOCKWOODS, ST ANDREW and VICTORIA, were seen aground in various positions, and exposed to the beating of breakers. Most of their cargos were already washed out, and, with fragments of other smaller vessels and portions of their contents, were strewed along the whole line of the coast. In Hoylake several small craft were thrown up and others wrecked, including amongst the latter a schooner and two flats, one of which was bottom up. The beach was full of wrecks and most of the small boats were destroyed. The larboard side of the BRIGHTON was beaten out, and portions of it driven on shore at Hoylake.

Wreck of the St Andrew

The St Andrew a fine New York packet-ship, sailed on Sunday about 2pm. At five a smart breeze sprung up, at twelve a severe gale, which increased to a complete hurricane by 2am. At that time the sails were torn to ribbons, these sails were quite new. One of the hands was dashed from the yardarm on the deck and was severely injured, but is still alive. At that moment Captain THOMPSON ordered the men aloft, but, seeing death staring them in the face they refused. After the loss of her sails the ship became unmanageable, and in this condition she remained until the forenoon on Monday, when an attempt was made to relieve her by cutting away the upper part of her masts, she was then rigged with a misensail and foresail. Early on Tuesday morning in a crippled state she was steering for Liverpool. About 10-30am she struck on the Burbo Sand, with both anchors down, the sea beating heavily. The life-boats were sent off to extricate the passengers, who were conveyed on board the VICTORIA steam-vessel and thus providentially saved. The steady and honourable conduct and presence of mind of Captain THOMPSON during the whole of this trying occasion is beyond all praise. As soon as the ship struck almost the first thing he did was to stave all the spirit-casks, every bottle containing wine or spirits was emptied or destroyed, he being apprehensive of the consequences to the crew.


Wreck of the Pennsylvania

The fine hotel known as Leasowe Castle [on the sea shore between Wallasey village and Hoylake, has since the hurricane, been the scene of great and melancholy interest. On Thursday it being known that and inquisition would be held at the Castle on the bodies picked up on the immediate shore, the interior of the Castle was crowded in almost every apartment, and many visitors sauntered about in the pleasure grounds, or strolled on the shore below, viewing the scene of devastation. In one of the out buildings [a stable] lay the bodies of three of the sufferers out of the ship Pennsylvania, and in an apartment in the house lay the body of another. Those in the stable in the wet clothing in which they were picked up were the bodies of Mr Edward Lamb PARSONS, a merchant of New York, tall slender make, fashionably dressed on his person lay a small Indian rubber of Macintosh life-preserver, found in his breast, the cloth sewn in tubes, but apparently not inflated, and too small to be efficient had it been so, he also had a considerable amount of property. Another body was that of Mr SUITOR, a cabin passenger, a fine young man of dark complexion with whiskers. The other body was the body of the mate, Mr BLYNDENBURGH, a stout man in seafaring garb and boots. The body in the house was that of Mr DOUGLAS, also a cabin passenger, he was stripped, and covered with a blanket, attempts having been made to restore animation. Amongst those present at the inquest was a tall good-looking young gentleman, named THOMPSON, the only survivor out of the boat in which those named and about eight others perished.

The following evidence taken on the inquisition details not only the accident by which the parties named lost their lives so late as Tuesday afternoon, but furnishes in the evidence of Mr THOMPSON, the sole survivor, some painful particulars of the wreck of the vessel :-

Mr John CONNOR, merchant of Manchester identified the body of Mr PARSONS, who he believed was about 32yrs of age. He also knew Mr DOUGLAS, whose body was lying in the Castle, and who was, he believed about 35yrs of age and a partner of the house of Thompson and Co, of New York.

Mr Henry Graham THOMPSON of New York [the young gentleman before alluded to] was then called and said, " I was a cabin passenger in the Pennsylvania, which was a first-class American packet-ship. We sailed from Liverpool on Sunday the 6th inst. Mr William DOUGLAS, who was lying dead in the house, Mr SUITOR [a Scotch gentleman, who resided chiefly in South America] and Mr BLYDENBURGH, the 1st mate, both lying dead in the stable were on board the vessel. The ship sailed down the channel till she was off Point Lynas when the gale came suddenly at about 11pm. It blew a complete hurricane and soon carried away our sails, and many of our spars. I was sea sick and being below part of the night did not see all that occurred. The storm continued throughout Monday, and we did not know where we were the spray being so thick, we were, in fact, drifting at the mercy of the waves, it was impossible then to set any other sails, and no man could stand on decks. We passed another night [Monday] on board in the same dangerous state, and expected to go to pieces before morning. On Tuesday morning we found ourselves off the Ormsheads, towards afternoon we got some sails set and ran before the wind [the witness here must be mistaken, as a lee-shore was not far distant, the probability is that the ship was laid to, as close to the wind as possible, but that she was drifted to the eastward] We at length [he continued] got ashore. The Light Ship was not previously to be seen. Our ship struck where she now lies opposite the township of Wallasey. She thumped so hard that the mate said he feared she would soon go to pieces, her timbers soon after gave way. Some of us in the afternoon took to the boats that hung over the stern, I think there were 10 or 12 in the boat, the captain J. P. SMITH told us to take the boat, and take as many passengers as we could. The deceased Mr PARSONS, Mr W. DOUGLAS a Mr BARROW [not found], myself and about 7 others went in the boat. It was about 3pm, the captain remained on board as did most of the crew. We made for land, about 3 miles, when we had got within a mile of it the boat was swamped. The waves rolled so high that one of them took the boat by the stern, and filled her so high as to push her bow under water. We did not attempt to pull her with the oars, but, only to keep her in the direction in which the waves run, as she would have instantly upset had a wave struck her on the side. She filled with water and I being in the bow was thrown by the shock into the sea. When I recovered and found myself above the wave that had filled us, I was some yards astern of the boat, in which I saw the remainder of the men. A wave broke over me and when I looked again, I saw the boat upset and 3 or 4 of those who had been in her holding on by her keel. I saw Mr PARSONS and Mr SUITOR in the water, they both afterwards had hold of me, Mr SUITOR held me some time, but I dove under the water to make him let go, and he quitted his hold. I saw that he was perfectly sensible at the time, and I pulled him under the water to get clear of him, I saw nothing more of them till I saw their bodies. I had possession of my reason all the time, I did not swallow any salt water and I consider myself a good swimmer."

John ARMITAGE, a labourer, saw the boat coming on shore full of men, and saw it afterwards upset about 60yds from shore. It was about 3pm, he followed it as it drifted, expecting to pick up some of the men if they came near the shore, there was another man with him. He saw two of the men from the boat swim towards the shore and gain a bank near it, he and his companion stood by to receive them, up to their middles in the tide-way, there was a gutter formed by the tide between the witness and the men. They fought over the bank into the gutter which was very deep, exhausted and benumbed they went down and came up again, and struggled with their arms attempting to swim. He and his companion went further into the water, and tried to get them out, but they could not and they disappeared. Witness and his companion [a youth] walked about to see if the waves would bring them ashore, and saw one of the corpses, 20 or 30yds from the side, went after it and with the assistance of the boy, William DODD, drew it out, finding no sign of life they carried the body to Leasowe Castle. It was put into the stable and was the body of Mr PARSONS. The property found upon him in the presence of the witness was £108-10s in gold, and two half sovereigns and 18s in silver, also a bunch of keys, a penknife, a pencil, gloves and a handkerchief. The property was delivered to Mr Louis BUZZARD, the landlord of the Castle.

Samuel ARMITAGE said, he went down to the shore to assist, along with the last witness, and they had just got Mr THOMPSON [the only survivor] on shore, when they saw three men on the boat's keel. They were washed off and two of them were alive, and stood on the bank till they came to the gutter, where they were drowned. The deceased Mr PARSONS, sunk out of sight several times before he altogether disappeared and witness followed him. They tried hard to save him by taking hold of each other's hands but could not. Witness at length saw one of them appear close to where the boat had drifted, and assisted his companion by locking hands to get him out. He was quite dead. He had on a jacket, two red flannel shirts, blue trousers and boots. They took the body to the castle, this was Mr BLYDENBURGH.

Mr JONES, keeper of the Leasowe Lighthouse gave evidence to the effect that he picked up Mr DOUGLAS floating on shore, and, finding some slight indications of remaining vitality, with assistance, carried him promptly to the Castle. At the inn every possible exertion was made to restore animation, by stripping him and placing him before a large fire in a blanket and rubbing with hot salt in flannel, but without any appearance of returning vitality. He was alive, until they had nearly reached the Castle, Mr LYTHGOE a surgeon of Wallasey, afterwards arrived, and made some subsequent endeavours to restore him, but all too late.

This being the whole evidence, the coroner summed up in a brief and able manner, and the jury returned a verdict accordingly, - to the effect that all the deceased had been, "accidentally drowned."

Mr THOMPSON the survivor from the boat left instructions at the inn for the respectable burial of the remains of Mr DOUGLAS and Mr SUITOR, and an order was received from Liverpool for the interment of Mr BLYDENBURGH. The body of Mr PARSONS was conveyed from the Castle in the hearse to Seacombe, immediately after the inquest, and thence to Liverpool.

The fate of the passengers and crew of the Pennsylvania, 14 including the captain and 1st and 2nd mates were drowned, 26 were saved. Those on the rigging during the night included the stewardess a native of Shropshire, [who survived] those who perished from starvation and the effects of the cold, 2nd cook, John LENYA, 2nd steward Dewit REITNER. Those rescued included 3rd mate Mr RICHARDS, Mr ESSEX, Chief steward, and the stewardess.

Mr RICHARDS, 3rd mate of the Pennsylvania, son of the late respected Silas RICHARDS Esq, gives the following account of the melancholy event :- "At about 11.30am on Sunday, Captain SMITH came on board in most excellent spirits and desired the ship to be got under weigh immediately, which being done, we had a fine run, with a south wind as far as Point Lynas, which we reached by 9am, when a dead calm came on for 10mins, at the expiration of which it began to blow very fresh from the south-west. We then close reefed our topsails, furled the mainsails and endeavoured to reef the foresail, but, failing were compelled to furl it. Things continued in this state till 2am, on Monday, when the wind changed to the west and blew a perfect hurricane, carrying away our fore and misentopsail yards, taking the maintopsail clean out of the boltrope, and blowing the courses, though furled at the time into mere ribbons. At daylight we found that our foreyard was very badly sprung. During the whole of this day we were employed in clearing the wreck and wearing the ship every 4hrs. About 2am on Tuesday we succeeded in bending a new foresail to run up with, when daylight came we made every effort to regain the harbour, keeping an anxious look out for the Light Ship, and following in the track of the LOCKWOODS, which kept about half a mile ahead of us, but being bewildered by the absence of the Light Ship, we dropped anchor abreast of Hoylake beach, 2 or 3 miles from shore. When, we had got about 30 fathoms of cable out, the chain snapped, and the ship after drifting for 12mins to leeward, struck very heavily on Hoyle Bank, and after thumping 8 or 9 times, filled. When she had thumped 2 or 3 times, the 1st and 2nd mates, 5 of the crew and 5 passengers went off in the jolly-boat. As soon as she filled we cleared away the long-boat, but, to our consternation we could not find lines to hoist her out with, and just as we were straining every nerve to hoist her out by main force, the vessel shipped a heavy sea, which staved the boat and bruised Capt SMITH very much, on which he made an attempt to spring into the main rigging, but, failing, he fell down between two water casks, when she shipped another tremendous sea, and Capt SMITH exclaiming "Oh! my God, " was washed overboard, and never seen more. This was at 3pm. Just before the sea came I ordered the men into the rigging, to save themselves, and I followed them myself, when we finally took to the main and misen tops, and wrapped ourselves up in sails, for preservation from the weather, and in this condition we remained till 10.30am, on Wednesday, when we were rescued from our perilous situation, and put on board the VICTORIA steam-tug, which brought us all to Liverpool, except three of the crew, who were starved to death in the rigging during the night. I ought to observe that the Magazine life-boat would not have attempted to render us in the least service if they had not been shamed into doing so by a small green gig, which succeeded, after a desperate effort in reaching us."


Liverpool Mercury January 18th 1839

Terrible storm and loss of life

Wreck of the Lockwoods

Inquest on 28 of the persons drowned, held on Friday before P. F. CURRY Esq, coroner, touching the deaths of John CAIRNS, Samson WORSLEY, 5 men unknown, 9 women unknown, 5 boys unknown and 5 girls unknown all lying dead in Liverpool.

Edward TOMKINS, mariner, 1st witness called, said, "On Sunday last about 1pm I sailed from Liverpool on board the LOCKWOODS, bound for New York, with emigrants. The crew, including the captain and officers consisted of 25 persons. There were 80 to 85 passengers on board. When we sailed the wind was about S.S.E, blowing moderate. Towards nightfall, as there was every appearance of the wind increasing the captain ordered the topsails to be double reefed. About 10 or 11 a night it came on and blew a gale of wind, the fore and main topsail was blown out of the bolt ropes. About 2hrs after this the wind chopped round from W.S.W, to N.W, and continued to increase in violence till it blew a complete hurricane. There were no lights to be seen, and I could not tell exactly where we were, but we were lying to. At daylight our foresail was blown out of the bolt ropes. The 2nd mate was disabled on Sunday night by an accident, and I commenced doing duty myself. After our foresail was blown away, we were ship and set the mainsail. During Monday, I could not say where we were, but, on Monday night we were, off Blackcombe, on Tuesday morning we bore up for Liverpool, at that time I believe both passengers and crew were safe. We got up as far as the Spencer Cut Buoy, and had the floating light-ship been at her moorings, I have no doubt we would have been safe. The mate was forward and I was on the quarter-deck with the captain, all looking out for the light-ship. About mid-day on Tuesday we let go our starboard anchor, that we also lost. Soon after losing our first anchor, the ship struck upon a bank, the false keel of the ship came up immediately afterwards. Several seas came on board of us, and soon afterwards made a complete breach over us and the vessel filled. There was the pilot boat No 5, beating about to render us what assistance she could, the captain, carpenter, steward, cabin passenger, one seaman and I, went on board the pilot boat in the captain's gig, and we were taken from the pilot boat in their boat to the steam-tug VICTORIA which was lying to also for the purpose of rendering assistance. The steam-tug had a life-boat at her stern tied by a rope, but before we got on board the steam-tug the life-boat left the tug altogether. The 2nd mate and some of the seamen of the LOCKWOODS came on board the steam-boat in the pinnace, which was in danger of being lost, the moment the men in the pinnace were picked up the pinnace was swamped. The steam-tug then went to the LOCKWOODS, close under the starboard quarter, and struck against her several times. Several of the persons then jumped on board the steam-tug. There was a small line thrown from the steam-tug to the LOCKWOODS, and a hawser was then made fast, and hauled on board the tug, soon after it broke. There were 3 0r 4 more hawsers made fast in a similar way but they all broke. The steam-tug remained there as long as it could render any assistance, and finding it could not save any more, it left and returned to Liverpool, with about 30 to 35 people off the LOCKWOODS on board. It was dark when the steam-tug left, it went under the starboard quarter of the LOCKWOODS several times, rendering all the assistance they could render, putting their own boat in jeopardy, and their lives also, as they were in danger of having the tug knocked to pieces. The captain and officers of the LOCKWOODS did everything they could to save the vessel up to the time of the striking. When she struck there were 3 fathoms of water, for I hive the lead myself. The chief mate remained on board till the last. I saw a steam-boat about us before we struck and I think she might have rendered us as much assistance as the VICTORIA. She did not do so, but went away, I do not know her name. Neither the captain or any of the men to my knowledge, asked for any fee or reward for taking us on board the steam-tug, either before we were taken on board or afterwards."

Thomas FLECK, said, "I was 1st mate on board the LOCKWOODS, burthen of which was 872 tons, with a crew of 25. We sailed on Sunday between 1 and 2pm, the wind being moderate from the S.S.E, we went down the new deep. About dark there was every appearance of a storm approaching and we then commenced reefing our sails. About midnight it blew a hurricane, the last land we saw was between Point Lynas and the great Ormshead. The next morning we could not tell exactly where we were, we had been drifting down the Lancaster coast, about 3pm we found ourselves off Blackcombe, we then wore the ship round and made for Liverpool. After leaving Blackcombe the next land we made was about the Ormshead, the gale still blowing. It was then about 10am on Tuesday. As we had no canvas to take the ship out, we bore towards Liverpool. We kept the lead constantly going, and by the means of that and the run we had made, we expected to have seen the floating-light about 12 o' clock, or else the pilot-boat. About 1 o' clock we struck on a bank, which I think is the North Bank. Not seeing the light-ship to guide us we were all abroad in our calculations. About half an hour before we struck I saw a steam-boat plying about to windward, but I do not know her name. After we had struck on the bank I saw a pilot-boat and a steam-boat, the latter of which proved to be the VICTORIA. I went forward to get the pinnace ready, the captain being then aft on the poop, the pinnace was lying bottom upwards, on top of the long-boat, and we had this casted ready for use. After some time I returned aft, and found that the captain and some men had left the ship in the captain's gig. After the captain had gone I waited to see if the steam-tug or pilot-boat would render any assistance before I launched the pinnace. The crew got very uneasy, and the seas began to wash over the ship, the crew were determined to launch the pinnace, and I said they might do so if they would take some of the people with them.. The 2nd mate and some of the crew left in the pinnace, together with some of the passengers, and were taken up by the steam-tug. As soon as it was practicable the steam-tug ran under our starboard quarter, and many people on board the LOCKWOODS jumped on board the steam-tug, which remained with us until about 7 o' clock then left. There were as many got on board up to her leaving as could, but, had she remained longer more might have been saved. If the steam-tug had remained in the channel till low water the sea would then have been calmer. The steam-tug however could not have got alongside of us before, but a small boat could have plied betwixt us. Had the life-boat remained with the steam-tug I think all hands might have been saved. At daylight the next morning I saw the steam-tug, and at 8am she came nearer to us in the channel, and the Hoylake boat was coming off the main. It was about 3am on Wednesday that the ship began to break up, and several passengers were washed away, before the ship began to break up, part of the passengers were in the mizen rigging and part in the mizentop, but fearing the masts would fall, we all came down again to the poop. The sea at this time was washing right over us, and there was only two of the crew besides myself left on board, all the rest, excepting one who was drowned during the night, having been taken away by the VICTORIA. From the time the steam-tug left us on Tuesday night, till the following morning a great number of the passengers perished. I counted about 30 dead on the poop in the morning, all of whom, I think, died of the cold and the sea washing over them. The Hoylake boat, on Wednesday morning took the remainder of the survivors from the wreck. There was one passenger who would not leave the wreck, as his wife was then nearly dead, I did all I could to persuade him, even getting the rope tied around him and got him to the side, but after all he would not leave. Excepting him, I was the last man to leave, and before doing so I overhauled every part of the wreck to ascertain if there was anyone else alive on board, and I would not even then have left without the woman, but the boatmen said they would not have any half-dead people on board, and if I did not come they would leave me too. I was then taken on board the steam-tug, and I immediately informed them of the two I had left on board. They then towed up the life-boat abreast of the wreck and the man and woman were taken away by the life-boat. I believe there were between 80 and 90 passengers. During the night of Tuesday I went down to the cabin, and found some ale, porter and spirits, which I distributed amongst the survivors."

Cross-examined by Mr WRIGHT, who was employed on behalf of the Steam Tug Company, "The steamer I saw plying to windward after we struck was not the same as afterwards which rendered us assistance. When the Victoria left us there was about 12 or 14ft of water, and a heavy sea running. There would be from 6 to 8ft about the wreck at low water. I cannot say whether the tug could have come again under our quarter with safety. I know that if she had damaged or lost one of her paddles she would have been useless. They treated us with great kindness on board the tug, there were provisions on board. I f any man has stated that I told him either the master or the crew threatened to abandon the wreck unless a sufficient remuneration was given, or that they used harsh or unfeeling language to the crew and passengers [of the LOCKWOODS] it is false."

Cross-examined by Douglas FRASER, who was one of the passengers on board the LOCKWOODS. "There was a strong smell below on Monday afternoon, the cook told me he could not go down for coals it was so great. I cannot tell if it was smoke or steam coming from the after hatch. There was an alarm got up that the ship was on fire, but there was nothing in it. This was about 10mins before we struck, there was nothing of a combustible nature in the cargo that I knew of."

Peter ROBERTS, an Irishman belonging to Hoylake, deposed that on Tuesday morning he and others went in a boat to the wreck of the LOCKWOODS. On the top of the poop deck they found 21 bodies, men, women and children. The bodies were in all positions some lying some sitting up. Two other bodies were found on the main deck. They brought all the bodies, 23 in number to Liverpool, where they were taken to the Workhouse. When they left the wreck there were 2 or 3 more bodies in the vessel, but so jammed in the rigging that they could not remove them.

Joshua HOWELL, clerk to the commissioner of police stated that in consequence of orders from the police commissioner, he went on Thursday to the wreck of the LOCKWOODS, and found two dead bodies, those of a woman and a boy, in the starboard mizen rigging. Owing to the tide being nearly at its height, they could not discover any more bodies. He brought the two which he found to Liverpool and they were taken to the Workhouse.

James DOWDALL, Governor of the Workhouse, deposed that on Tuesday the bodies of 10 males, apparent ages, 2 from 60 to 70 yrs, 1, 50 to 55, 2 , 20 to 25, 2, 15 to 17, 1, 12 to 14 and 2, 6 to 8, also the bodies of 15 females, 2, from 60 and 70, 7, from 25 to 35, 1, 14 or 16, 1, 12 or 14, and 4 between the ages of 3 and 8 mths, in all 25 bodies were brought to the Workhouse.

William HUGHES deposed that he was master of No 1, pilot boat. On Tuesday he went to the Steam Tug Office to apply for a steam-boat to take the pilots round the Rock. £20 and then £30, were offered, but no agreement was then made. The VICTORIA steamer, however, was afterwards obtained, and the witness, with the master pilot of No 4, and 13 branch pilots, proceeded with her to the Magazines, and took the life-boat in tow. That was about 1 o' clock, they then went outside the Rock, and proceeded first to the packet-ship St ANDREW, from which they took 26 persons. Having done this they were proceeding to the LOCKWOODS, with the life-boat in tow, when the men in it complained that the steamer would tow them under. The engineer was ordered to slacken speed, but the same complaint was still made by the man in command of the life-boat. Several of the branch pilots on hearing this volunteered to man the boat. He accordingly asked the crew of the life-boat to come out and go on board the tug, but the man in charge of the boat replied that he would not go out of her until he got to the Magazines. He immediately afterwards let go of the rope, set his sail and steered for Liverpool. Captain ECCLES then steered the VICTORIA direct for the LOCKWOODS. As they were proceeding towards her, they picked up 5 or 5 persons in the boat of pilot-boat No 5, and, shortly after the same number from the pinnace of the LOCKWOODS. The witness then describes the persevering and gallant manner in which the captain of the steam-tug contrived repeatedly, after the breaking of the hawsers, to get under the starboard quarter of the LOCKWOODS, every time he managed to do so, saving a number of their lives, until at last the danger, both to the steamer and the persons on board, begged of Captain ECCLES not to make another attempt. It was then dark, the water getting very low, and there was on board the tug 56 persons, that had been saved, besides 15 pilots and the steamers crew. The PENNSYLVANIA was ashore about 200yds from the LOCKWOODS, they could not get near her as they had no boat fit to approach her. There was on board one small boat, but it was unfit for the purpose. If they had, had, the life-boat they could have saved many more both from the LOCKWOODS and the PENNSYLVANIA. They then came to Liverpool and landed the persons saved. The weather was so thick and boisterous that they could not again put to sea until 5am on Wednesday. Captain ECCLES was anxious to have gone much earlier. When they got round the Rock, Captain ECCLES steered for both wrecks and remained waiting for daylight. They heard people shouting from both vessels, but could not render assistance, it was blowing so stormy with a heavy sea. With the assistance of the Hoylake boat and the two gigs which the VICTORIA had taken out with her, a number of persons were rescued from both vessels. The Magazine life-boat afterwards came up, proceeded with one of the gigs to the PENNSYLVANIA, and returned with the remainder of her crew, in all 26 persons. From the LOCKWOODS, 22 persons were brought that morning, they then returned to Liverpool. Witness was of the opinion that Captain ECCLES acted as a prudent and humane man, on the night of Tuesday, by coming to Liverpool and landing the persons then saved, and that Captain ECCLES and his crew together with the branch pilots did all that men could do to save the people from the LOCKWOODS. "You may go Liverpool through, " said the witness, "and I do not think you will find Captain ECCLES'S equal for perseverance, when the lives of individuals are at stake."

Cross-examined by Mr LOCKWOOD - He knew the captain of the LOCKWOODS, who was brought on board the steam-tug by a small boat belonging to the pilot-boat No 5. There were 4 or 5 other men with him. The moment he came on board he entreated them to do all they could to save the lives of the people on board the LOCKWOODS. He assisted in every possible way, and never left the deck. Witness considered that the captain ran a greater risk of losing his life, by coming in a small boat the way he did, than he would have done by remaining on board the LOCKWOODS. He went with them in the steam-tug to Liverpool, and returned with them a second time to render all the assistance he could.

Thomas HARRISON, master of pilot-boat No 4, corroborated the evidence of the last witness.

Edward Pellew ARTHUR, manager of the Liverpool Steam Tug Company, deposed that the VICTORIA which was their best boat, was ordered by the directors to be manned, and sent out without remuneration. The directors ordered him to send out the HERO with the VICTORIA, but she could not go having carried away her starboard cross-head on Tuesday morning, and every exertion was made to get another without effect. The men at the foundry were working all night for the purpose.

Elias MARTIN, a miller, was one of the passengers on board the LOCKWOODS, One of the passengers named CEARNS, had with him his wife, two daughters and two grandchildren. Witness had seen the bodies and recognised them as CEARNS, his wife, and one daughter.

John SAYER, a plasterer, a passenger on board the LOCKWOODS. His wife and two daughters died before he left the vessel. His two daughters died on the night of the 8th inst, and his wife about an hour before he left on the 9th inst.

Robert BROWN, a confectioner, had a wife and son on board. They both died early on the morning of Wednesday the 9th inst. He attributed their surviving so long to the kindness of the mate, who gave them some strong spirit.

Charles Thomas SMITH, a wood turner, also a passenger on the LOCKWOODS, deposed that he was on the starboard side of the vessel when the captain's gig was lowered. Heard him order the carpenter and a seaman to go into the boat, just after they had got in a wave capsized it. The carpenter, by great exertion got hold of the boat and got in again, and the seaman was got on board the LOCKWOODS by a rope. Two other seamen then went into the boat together with two passengers. The captain followed, and witness heard him say, "I'll have a steamer alongside of you in thirty minutes." Many of the passengers thought that the boat would be lost, from the roughness of the sea, but in about an hour and a half the captain came alongside the ship in a steam-boat.

Another witness, Francis Benjamin HOGG, also proved that the leaving of the vessel by the captain, instead of being done merely to consult his own safety, was a insidious though bold act for the purpose of obtaining assistance. The witness spoke highly of the whole conduct of the captain.

The jury brought in a verdict of accidental death. They passed an encomium upon the conduct of the VICTORIA, its captain, the crew, and pilots, and disapproved of the conduct of the Magazine life-boat.

On Thursday an inquest was held on the body of Thomas EASTHAM, which was found on a bank opposite to a gut called the Chester Hole. The deceased was one of the crew of the sloop GEORGE, and along with others was in the vessel, which was moored near to the George's Dock, during the storm. About 5am on Monday the sloop dragged her anchors and ran against the quay, and the deceased, in endeavouring to land fell from the boom and was drowned.

Liverpool Mercury May 3rd 1839

The LOCKWOOD'S passengers who sailed from this port in January last on the day of the memorable storm, the vessel becoming a total wreck off the Hoyle, many passengers perished, the majority of those who were saved embarked on board the ROBERT ISAACS, on the 21st January, from this port to New York, and, after enduring unparalled hardships, and being knocked about for upwards of 10wks in the Atlantic, with death almost hourly staring them in the face, were landed again in Liverpool, without reaching their destination


Loss of the "Harvest Home" - the Formby life-boat

To the editor of the Liverpool Mercury

Sir, - Allow me to hand you the following melancholy particulars relative to the loss of the Harvest Home, of Dundee, and the inefficiency of the life-boat crew at Formby

The Harvest Home was one of those ill-fated vessels which sailed from Liverpool on Sunday the 8th inst. She was bound to St Thomas with a general cargo, and left Liverpool that day at a quarter before three o'clock in the afternoon in company with many others. The wind was favourable until the vessel got near Holyhead, when it came from the N.W, blowing a complete hurricane The sails were soon blown from the yards and the vessel was then left to the mercy of the winds and waves, however, she kept to sea until Tuesday morning when she struck on Madwharf Bank about 10 o'clock. The captain wished to run for Formby Channel, but for want of his sails was unable to effect this purpose. Immediately after the vessel struck a signal of distress was hoisted but no answer was made to it from the shore. The carpenter and one of the seamen were then ordered to clear away the long-boat, and while in the act a sea broke over the vessel, carrying the boat, with the two men overboard, they got into the boat and were safely landed on Formby Beach. These men lost no time in giving information to the life-boatmen that the rest of the crew had taken to the rigging, and could be saved if the life-boat could be put off to their assistance, but, shocking to relate, they refused to go, although the ship's longboat came on shore without being injured. Their answers to the many entreaties made to them was, "that they should not risk their lives to save others" The helpless crew got into the foretop and lashed themselves, submitting calmly in their fate. About 12 on Tuesday evening one of the boys died from the effects of the cold and hunger, the 2nd mate, three men, and the other boy, soon followed. At length the captain perished about 3am on Wednesday during a new squall. The chief mate and the cook were the only two left to relate the unfortunate disaster. On Wednesday a large boat passed within a stone cast of the wreck, apparently bound to Liverpool, and Mr TINKER, the mate called to them, they heard, and looked over the boat's quarter, but continued their course without offering any assistance. A stream-boat also passed within half a mile of them.

The sad news only reached Liverpool on Wednesday afternoon, and I, accompanied by a friend, immediately proceeded to Southport. No boat could be got that night, but Mr BALL the agent to Lloyd's to whom great praise is due, kindly procured one in the morning, with six hands. We had 11 miles to row before we got to the wreck, and had to contend with a contrary wind and heavy roll of the sea. It is not until they saw us making towards the wreck that the life-boat would put out, and having only a mile and a half to go, they arrived before us, and took the mate and the cook off the wreck, who were still alive. The dead bodies of Captain KENN, a seaman, and a boy, were also brought ashore, the others had fallen off the top. These poor fellows were 50 hrs in the rigging, and within one mile of the land at low water!

After surveying the vessel, then under water, and pulling round her twice, we proceeded to land, and arrived in time to see the bodies put into the deadhouse. Mr TINKER and the cook were carried to the inn at Church House by my directions, where they were kindly treated by the landlady, and provided with a warm bed. An express was sent to Southport for a surgeon, who soon arrived, and gave prescriptions for the recovery of their frost-bitten feet. They are now recovering in good spirits.

The bodies of Captain KENN and WEBSTER, his apprentice were interred yesterday in the Necropolis, they were accompanied to the grave by a numerous body of Captain KENN'S acquaintances.

By giving publicity to the foregoing, you will greatly oblige,

Sir, your very obedient servant,


Owner of the Harvest Home

Liverpool, 14th January 1839.


Liverpool Mercury January 18th 1839

Valuable services of the Steam Tug Company in the late storm.

At the meeting of the directors of the Steam Tug Company, held at their office, New Quay, on Tuesday 8th inst, to take into consideration the best method of affording prompt relief to the vessels outside the harbour.

"Resolved - that the large boat VICTORIA, proceed immediately to render any assistance in the saving of life and property, and that she call at the Magazines for the life-boat to assist her."

The report of the master of the VICTORIA steam-tug, who was deputed to execute the benevolent orders of the directors :- Statement of Mr ECCLES the master of the VICTORIA steam-tug :-

"Left the pier yesterday, the 8th inst, 1.30pm with 16 pilots on board. At the Magazine took in tow the life-boat belonging to the Dock Trust, and proceeded through the Rock Channel, against a very heavy head sea. About 3.30pm got abreast the ST ANDREW, New York packet, then beating off the North Bank. Sent the life-boat and our own boat to the vessel, with two pilots who had volunteered to assist, which, in two trips succeeded in rescuing 23 of the crew. After which proceeded towards the wreck of the LOCKWOODS. At this time the hands of the life-boat refused to proceed any further, or even allow the crew of the tug or the pilots the use of the boat, but slipped the tow rope and made sail for the Magazines. Afterwards picked up a pinnace from the LOCKWOODS, nearly full of water with 7 persons therein, whom we rescued and the pinnace immediately went down On nearing the LOCKWOODS, run the tug under the poop, the only part visible above water, and on which were a great number of passengers and crew. After many attempts succeeded in saving 26 persons, making with those from the pinnace 33. At this time the tide had receded making it dangerous in the highest degree to remain any longer near the LOCKWOODS, about 6pm bore up for Liverpool, and landed the unfortunate individuals saved, 56 in number.

"This morning the 9th inst after taking in fresh coals, 12 boatmen, and 2 stout gigs, proceeded at 4am, round the Rock, to endeavour to rescue the remaining persons on the wreck of the LOCKWOODS, and also those on the PENNSYLVANIA. At 7am got abreast of those vessels, the sea breaking over them furiously, found it impossible to send the gigs to them. At 8am observed a fine fishing boat coming from Hoylake, which came alongside the tug, and we put into her two more oars, and took her in tow to place her in the best position for getting to the wreck of the LOCKWOODS, which she succeeded in reaching and in two trips, brought to the tug 22 persons. During this time despatched one of our gigs to the PENNSYLVANIA, which brought off a part of her crew to us, and the Magazine life-boat which had come up, also made two trips, and brought from that vessel a number of others. At this period the life-boat from Hoylake came to us, desired them to go to the LOCKWOODS to bring off a man and his wife, the woman being in a helpless state, the husband was unwilling to leave her, and unable to assist her into the fishing boat, after which, proceeded to Liverpool with the persons saved, 22 from the LOCKWOODS, 26 from the PENNSYLVANIA, making a total saved by the VICTORIA tug of 104 persons.

"I am of the opinion that if the Magazine life-boat had not left us on the 8th inst, that we should have succeeded in saving the remainder of the passengers and crew of the LOCKWOODS and PENNSYLVANIA."

"N.B, the number supposed to be lost is stated to be from 40 to 50."


The following has been handed to us by Mr T. M. I. TILBY, to whom it was given by Captain EDWARDS, of the MOUNTAINEER Steamer, trader between Swansea and Liverpool, and is a narrative of what occurred during Captain EDWARD'S voyage to the latter place he having fallen in with the unfortunate vessels, ST ANDREW, LOCKWOODS and PENNSYLVANIA about 11am on Tuesday the 8th inst :-

Liverpool, January 10th 1839

Mr T. M. I. TILBY, Agent for the Mountaineer Steam-boat, Liverpool

Sir, - about 11 o'clock, Tuesday aforenoon last, blowing hard from about N.W, with a heavy sea running, whilst making for the Rock Channel, saw three vessels apparently in great distress, to the westward of the North Spit, two were under sail, with their heads to the southward, the other at anchor about a mile to the westward of the bank. Made our way to the ship at anchor, which proved to be the ST ANDREW. Could not approach near enough to hail her, owing to the heavy sea and wind. Stopped as near as we could by her for an hour and a quarter, when she drove on the bank. Finding it impossible to render any assistance while she was in that situation, went off to another ship riding at anchor off the north-east buoy, which proved to be the WARD, of St John's N.B. Hailed her and found she required no assistance, further than to desire us, we understood, to tell her consignees to send out an anchor and cable.

Afterwards proceeded towards a sloop on shore, dry on the West Hoyle. Could see no one on board and was unable to send a boat to her from the sea and wind. Then bore down to the leeward of the bank, to the two vessels before mentioned as over weigh, but had since driven on the bank, with a view to render any assistance. They proved to be the PENNSYLVANIA and the LOCKWOODS. Kept ranging to and fro along the leeward side of the bank in hopes of rendering some assistance, expecting that her boats might have succeeded in getting ever into deep water. At this time it was about 3pm, and the weather a little more moderate.

About 3-30pm, observed a steam-boat with a life-boat in tow which proved to be the VICTORIA tug-boat. On near approach we made signals by waving our hands, and afterwards by hailing them to go to the LOCKWOODS and PENNSYLVANIA, the outer ships which were then in great danger, the sea breaking heavily over them, but still I think they might then been approached by the life-boat. In the meanwhile the life-boat had taken out part of the crew of the ST ANDREW, which had beat over the bank into deep water, and was drifting towards the main. Again ran up to the steam-boat, which was close to the ST ANDREW, and asked them to go to the two outward ships, telling them that I would undertake to rescue the remainder of the crew and passengers of the ST ANDREW. I received no very courteous reply. I then said, If they would not go we would, if they would give us the life-boat, but I heard them take no answer to the offer. However, after about half an hours delay, I was glad to see the steam-tug, and life-boat in tow, proceed towards the two outer ships, as it was then getting dark, and their peril was imminent.

It was about 4-30pm, I got my boat out and went alongside the St Andrew and took off the captain and 15 or 16 crew, which I was informed by the mate were all except 3 hands who would not leave the ship. Whilst engaged in taking out the crew in our small boat, the life-boat passed inwards under sail, hailed her, and asked where she was going, the reply was that she could not tow astern the steam-tug. Hailed her again, when they said they were going in for another steam-tug. She proceeded on without offering any assistance in getting the crew, by this time it was about 5 o'clock. The ST ANDREW had drifted on the main, and the LOCKWOODSS and PENNSYLVANIA were still on the bank, with the steam-tug near them.Bore up, and made the best of my way to Liverpool, where we arrived at 7.30pm.

I was fortunate to have the assistance of Captain ROSS, late commander of the STAR, and Captain WADE of the ANN, who were passengers with me, and I beg to return them my sincere thanks for their unwearied exertions during all the trying circumstances of a most dangerous voyage - remain, Sir, your very obedient servant, J. EDWARDS

We the undersigned having been passengers in the MOUNTAINEER during her last voyage, and being captains of merchant ships, do confirm the correctness of the foregoing statement, and beg to bear testimony of the able and seamanlike manner in which Captain EDWARDS managed his vessel under very trying circumstances, and to the humane anxiety manifested by him to rescue the crews and passengers - John WADE, Schooner ANN, David ROSS, late Brig STAR. Captain THOMPSON of the ST ANDREW, has called upon us and requested permission to offer through the columns of the "Mail", his testimony to the humane and earnest exertions of Captain EDWARDS and to the ability of which he displayed in the government of the vessel in so difficult a situation. Captain THOMPSON considers the services of Captain EDWARDS to have been the most valuable, inasmuch as they were rendered voluntarily, and without expectation of reward. We are informed that this is not the first occasion in which Captain EDWARDS has deserved the award of the community.



We lament to find that these infamous wretches, the wreckers, have been at their fiendlike occupation, both on the Lancashire and Cheshire shores, plundering what the elements had spared, instead of seeking to alleviate the calamities of their fellow-creatures.. It has been heard in Liverpool that a body of above 100 of them had congregated together, about a score of police-officers had been sent out to protect property, and to disperse the ruffian marauders. Their object soon affected, 26 wreckers were taken into custody, but, having been lodged in an unsecure place, 20 contrived to regain their liberty.

This grasping and inhuman spirit, has been manifested, in a slight degree among the boatmen of Liverpool. On Thursday several boats went out to the banks whereon lie the wrecks of the ST ANDREW, PENNSYLVANIA and the WARD, and began to plunder the vessels of all they could lay their hands on. The police hearing of this sent out a body of men, who apprehended several of the fellows and lodged them in the bridewell. The PENNSYLVANIA has suffered most from the depredations of these men, her state cabin has been almost entirely stripped.

The following men are in custody on suspicion of having stolen property belonging to either the wrecked vessels, or to the crew and passengers:- John BIBBY, master of the fishing smack, No 20, on whom was found 40yds of new cloth, valued at £12, Peter LLOYD and William COLLINS, on suspicion of stealing wearing apparel, Robert ROBERTS, Hugh SMITH and Jackson CAIN on similar charges. A boatman named Samuel CAIN has also been apprehended, having in his possession silken goods , valued at £8. In the fishing smack belonging to BIBBY there were also found books and wearing apparel worth £4, supposed to belong to one of the wrecks.

Letters to the Editor, Liverpool Mercury

The Liverpool Pilots

To the editor of the Liverpool Mercury

Sir, - If not too late, I take this opportunity, through the medium of your valuable paper, to acquaint the public that although the late hurricane was the severest ever felt on this coast within memory of the oldest inhabitant, the pilot-boats on the Western station, weathered the storm without receiving damage of any consequence, although that powerful and fine mail-packet, AVON, had to look for shelter from the pitiless storm. Had it not been for the superior fine boat No 10, the Town of Liverpool, Captain John MARTIN, and her gallant crew, being off the Ormsheads, on Tuesday morning, the 8th inst, the fine American ship NAPIER would most probably have added another to the melancholy wrecks on the north bank, and if the LOCKWOODS, PENNSYLVANIA and the ST ANDREW had, had the good fortune to have hove to when they made the Ormshead that morning, for about 2hrs, No 10 would have inevitably fallen in with them, whilst leading the NAPIER up, for at 2.20pm they could seethe ships to eastward. At the time the pilots missed the Floating Light, the ships were then on the north bank, which they had to pass with the NAPIER following them, -Yours, J.W.

Misconduct of the Magazine Life-boatmen

To the editor of the Liverpool Mercury

Sir, - A pilot on board of the VICTORIA tug-boat states that they succeeded in saving 30 lives from the LOCKWOODS, but the tide leaving them they were obliged to leave her a small distance. The Magazine life-boat came to them, and they were requested to fetch the rest [near 40] from the LOCKWOODS - they refused. The pilots then volunteered to fetch them if they would let them have their life-boat. This they refused also, and told them if they wanted it they must fetch it from the Magazines, and to the astonishment of all left them. The pilots say they could have saved them all in half an hour, the consequence is, those left on board were starved to death. I am sure you will not allow this sad statement to pass unnoticed, and hope you will be the means of bringing them to account. - Yours, John REES, 28 Tithebarn St, Jan, 10, 1839

Liverpool Mercury January 25th 1839

The North-west Light-ship

To the editor of the Liverpool Mercury

Sir, as various false reports are in circulation respecting the North-west Light-ship breaking away from her moorings during the storm of Monday the 7th inst. I have deemed it due to myself and the crew under my command to present the public with a faithful account of the lamentable affair :- In the first place it is stated that the Formby Light-ship never breaks adrift. This I beg leave to deny, this occurrence having frequently happened to her, whilst, on the contrary the North-west Light-ship has done so far the last six years. So much, then for the accuracy of that report. It has been insinuated that I nicked the chain, and thereby caused the ship to part from her moorings. This I scarcely need say, is scandalously false, as it would have been certain death, and consequently worse than madness, to attempt going over the bows of the vessel for any such purpose. Besides, Sir, I should be unworthy the name of a British seaman and a man, if [knowing that the removal of the Light-ship might place the lives of hundreds of my fellow-creatures in jeopardy] I should have committed so cowardly an action as has been imputed to me. The charge of cowardice I spurn with contempt, for, had it been in my power, she should have remained in her place until her timbers were sent asunder. One chain broke at 7.30 am, and the other at 11, leaving us no alternative but making for Liverpool, which, with the ship PROVIDENCE, we were enabled to do.

Something has been said of the ship WARD riding 6 miles to the westward, this is untrue. She was 6 miles to the eastward, under the lee of West Hoyle, where I might have ridden with one anchor in safety. Hints have been thrown out of my in competency for the situation I hold, but I am happy to say that the Dock Committee, after a careful investigation, are fully satisfied with the course of conduct I have so far pursued.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant


Master of the North-west Light-ship

Report of the Dock Committee

Liverpool Jan 17th 1839

Liverpool Mercury February 15th 1839

Town Council proceedings, Wednesday, Feb 13th

Dock Committee - the late hurricane

In brief:-

The report of the Dock Committee was read by the Deputy Town-clerk. It detailed the steps taken in reference to the breaking away of the N. W. Light-ship and the conduct of the crew of the Magazine and Formby life-boats, and other matters connected with the late disastrous hurricane, which were afterwards made the object of discussion. It also stated that orders had been given for the building of two new life-boats on the best plan.

Mr John SMITH, said, that before these proceedings were confirmed, he thought the Council should be in possession of the whole of the evidence taken before the Dock Committee in connection with the whole of the circumstances relating to the late disastrous hurricane. It was due to the Council as representing the town, it was due to the public, who felt keenly and sensibly on this painful subject, it was due to the relatives and friends of those who perished, say further it was due to the Dock Committee themselves if they valued their reputation as a public body, that the most complete information on the subject be given. He disclaimed any intention of casting a censure on the Dock Committee or any individual, as an impartial man he wished to see the evidence before he pronounced his verdict. It might turn out eventually, and he hoped it would, that the Dock Committee had acted with energy, judgement and discretion, at present however there was a very different impression in the town, and it was therefore desired that the whole truth must be elicited, that the public mind might be disabused of erroneous impressions, and full justice be done to all parties concerned.

A memorial was read from the Magazine life-boat men complaining of misrepresentation on the part of the Dock Committee and praying for a further inquiry. A certificate was read on their behalf from Captain DENHAM, the late Surveyor, stating, amongst other things that the life-boat was unfit for service.

Mr Alderman LEATHOM, believed the Humane Society had these men before them on Tuesday, and had determined not to grant them any reward, he certainly felt for the men. They had been most unjustly dealt with, and a number of unfounded accusations had been brought against them.

Mr Alderman BENN, said there were 15 pilots on board the steam-boat, all perfectly fresh who volunteered to take possession of the life-boat, and go to the LOCKWOODS in which case all the poor creatures on board the vessel would have been saved. The answer by the life-boatmen was that they did not feel justified in giving up the boat

The Mayor said, one of the pilots on board the VICTORIA had entirely confirmed the statement of the men, he said, the only offer made to them was by William HJUGHES, who called out to them just as they were leaving the VICTORIA, "Come out of her and I will go myself."

Mr Alderman BENN, said, the boatmen themselves had admitted that they were asked to give up the boat, but they said they could not go on board the steamer on account of the surf. The pilots, on the other hand said it was comparatively clam, and the passengers from the ST ANDREW in an open boat, were taken aboard the steamer.

Mr Isaac HOLMES, said the men courted investigation, but in referring to their petitions to the Dock Committee, it would be referred to the men who had already passed their opinion upon it. It should be referred to some old coasting captains, for scarcely half of the Dock Committee were persons fit to have a matter of this kind referred to them. The men said they had a line of 30-40 fathoms by which they were fastened to the VICTORIA. At that time the surf was very high and they were afraid for their own lives. And what sort of boat was it? Not a life-boat, but a death-boat, a boat in which Lieut WALKER and three men had lost their lives at Formby, and the Dock Committee had been informed months before what sort of boat it was, that was the condition of the boat at the time. She had lost her rudder, and one man was employed steering with an oar, two were bailing her, and two were holding on to the VICTORIA steamer, and were the Dock Committee who had not done their duty, to blame these men for not doing theirs? If the Dock Committee had provided a proper boat, they might have expressed their regret, but now their regret should be, "that they had left undone the things which they ought to have done" They ought not to have endeavoured to cast any slander on men whom they had placed in an unworthy boat. There was now no life-boatmen on the other side of the water, but the men said they were willing to organise themselves again, and go, if they had an opportunity to clear themselves of this slander, and were provided with a proper boat.

Mr Alderman EVANS said that after all this farrago of words, calling the Dock Committee slanderers, he could not remain silent, but must observe throughout the whole of the investigation, not one word of disapprobation as to the boat itself had appeared. This was altogether new, if there was any truth in what had been alleged against the life-boat, these men must not have overlooked it. If the boat had really been bad it would have been a strong point, and they would have heard of it from other quarters, but this was the first time it had been mentioned.

Mr D. HODGSON, said he had been informed that Captain DENHAM had reported to the Dock Committee the insufficiency of this very boat, so long ago as September last.

Mr Alderman LEATHOM, six of seven years ago when he first entered the Dock Committee, the life-boats were so heavy and cumbrous that it was difficult to launch them, and 3 or 4 boats of a lighter construction were ordered to be built. This boat at the Magazines was one of the new boats, built four years ago. It was very likely Capt DENHAM made a report at the time mentioned, as he was in the habit of reporting once a month. In November last the life-boats at Formby and the Point-of-Ayr, Hoylake and the Magazines were thoroughly examined. One new life-boat had previously been ordered, and two others had since been ordered to be built, the intention being to have two at every station. a large and a small one, so that the men might not say at one time that the boat was too heavy to be got off shore, and another that the boat was too small. He was sure everything would be done to render the establishment satisfactory

Mr Alderman BENN, said the men were so convinced the boat was a good one, that they would not give it up, and they never complained that it was unfit for service.

Mr Alderman SHEIL, from all that he had heard, he thought they ought not to come to the decision that everything had been done that ought to be done. He certainly was not satisfied as to the drifting of the Light-ship, which was the great cause of all disasters. His opinion was confirmed by seafaring men, that where there was a good holding ground, there was the means of securing the vessel, that the difficulty was trifling and could at all times be surmounted. If this principle were correct, there could be no excuse for the Light-ship taking it into her head to come and pay them so many visits. The Council ought to take care that lives were not lost in consequence of bad management or want of attention. It did not appear that the pilots had been examined in the presence of the boatmen, as it ought to have been, because a very trifling occurrence might have a very powerful effect on the conduct of the men, either as regard their exculpation or the contrary. For instance one of the gentlemen had spoken of a towing line of 50 to 60 fathoms, that could scarcely be, but supposing it was 50 or 60 ft only, it must have been exceedingly difficult, under such circumstances to carry on a conversation which would be distinctly heard, the sea made a great noise, and the wind was not very quiet, the parties might easily have misunderstood each other, the boatmen might have thought the proposal made to them very different than what it was. What measure did the steam-boat adopt to enable the men to come alongside ? He had heard the steamer was going at a rapid rate, and towing the boat under water. Measures must be adopted to prevent such accidents in the future.

Mr I. HOLMES said the men did not consider the boat to be safe, they said she had capsized 3yrs ago, when Lieutenant WALKER and three men were drowned, and they had complained to Captain DENHAM and the Dock Committee.

Mr COOPER, observed that not a word had been said about the Formby life-boat. The Harvest Home was on shore at 10am on Tuesday, thee men remaining in the rigging till the Thursday following, no exertions were made by the Formby lifeboatmen to rescue the sufferers, though she was only about a mile from shore, nothing was done by the Dock Committee. Mr BLAIN went down to formby and afterwards to Southport, and when he had gone 10 miles in an open boat and was approaching the wreck the Formby life-boatmen pushed off, but the lives of all on board excepting two were lost. There certainly ought to be a strict inquiry into the conduct of these men, and the public ought to be put in possession of the fullest information.

Mr Alderman LEATHOM, stated, that one of the mooring chains had been got up two days ago, it was currently believed that the chains had not broken, but that the crew had slipped their moorings from want of courage to stay and face danger. The most important chain had been recovered, and showed the chain had broken about 10 fathoms from the bows. It was lying for inspection at No 1 Graving Dock, and it afforded conclusive evidence that the second chain had broken also.

Liverpool Mercury, March 8th 1839

Dock Committee

The report of the committee stated that Lieutenant JONES had been appointed Assistant Surveyor, at a salary of £150 per annum. The committee considering the services rendered by the Magazine life-boatmen in saving 47 persons from the late wrecks, though they still regretted that the men had cast off from the steam-boat, ordered that £50 be distributed amongst them under the direction of Mr TOBIN, and voted £5 to the keeper of the life-boat at Formby.

Liverpool Mercury, March 29th 1839

Dock Committee

As the conduct of the Dock Committee towards the Magazine life-boatmen has been much misrepresented we have pleasure in copying the following paragraph on the subject from the Albion :-

"The Mail charges the Dock Committee with having been guilty of 'gross injustice towards the Magazine's life-boatmen' Now what was the evidence on which the committee deemed it to be their bounded duty to censure those men ? We have now lying before us the evidence of certain pilots taken from the General Committee of the Docks, at their meeting on the 17th January, in which occurs the following testimony, which shows that the committee did not venture to censure the life-boatmen on inadequate grounds :-

HUGHES, pilot says, "about 1pm on Tuesday, the 8th of January, he embarked with 15 other pilots on board the VICTORIA. When off the Magazines, took the life-boat in tow, and her crew into the steamer, and went to the ST ANDREW, Took off 26 persons. The pilots asked the life-boat crew to come again into the steamer, but, the weather being moderate, they said they would remain in the boat. About 10 mins afterwards, though still as moderate they complained they were getting wet, and caused the captain of the steamer to slacken speed, when HUGHES asked the boat crew to come out and he would get into her. A dozen pilots offered to accompany him, and he then said to the captain that they would man her themselves. They were then a quarter of a mile from the LOCKWOODS. A few minutes afterwards the life-boat crew let go of the rope, and sailed direct for Liverpool. The LOCKWOOD'S pinnace got under the paddle-wheels of the steamer and went down. If they had, had, the life-boat, it is his opinion, that every soul on board the LOCKWOODS might have been saved. I am of that opinion. I am quite satisfied they might. When the crew were requested to give her up, every soul might have been saved from the LOCKWOODS. That he asked the crew to come out of her, and that they, the pilots would manage her. They could easily have got the crew of the life-boat on board the steamer, but they refused to give the boat up, and let go the rope, with not a bucket of water in her and left."

Leasowe Castle


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