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accidents with steamships in Bristol
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Image by brizzle born and bred
image above: 2007 MV Balmoral in Cumberland Basin, Bristol Harbour.

(copyright Details Description=MV Balmoral in Cumberland Basin, Bristol Harbour Supply=self-made Date=8 Sept 2007 Author= Rodw)

Mv Balmoral was nevertheless searching ship shape and Bristol style and it was tough to believe that she was indeed 60 years old and had started her life as an Isle of Wight ferry.

Steamships Bristol

Though coal to fuel them pushed up fees, steamers were valuable where a short and regular service was needed, such as for the mail or for wealthy passengers. 1 of the 1st firms to invest in steamers for the mail service was an Irish stage-coach firm. Later this firm became component of the famous P&ampO shipping company. These initial steamships, which utilized paddle-wheels, had an benefit over sailing ships due to the fact they were not held up when winds had been in the wrong direction or if there was no wind at all. They had been also extremely effortless to manoeuvre in narrow waters such as canals or rivers.

Britain was a globe leader in steamship production.

The early steamers weren’t pure steamships at all, but wooden-hulled hybrids.

There have been numerous collisions and other accidents with steamships in Bristol.

1850 As the steamship Red Rover waited at the entrance to the Cumberland Lock in the Floating Harbour, it suddenly exploded, sending up a large cloud of steam. As the steam gradually cleared, a scene of wonderful carnage was revealed to horrified onlookers. The boat carried almost fifty passengers, who were blown skywards, along with fragments of the ship. Now they have been in the water, most struggling and screaming, a handful of ominously still.

Several little boats were launched to go to their help and cars had been commandeered to transport them to the Infirmary. An inquest was opened the following day at the Commercial Hotel, Hotwells Road.

By the time the proceedings terminated some days later, the dead had been listed as William Brewer (41), Charles Keating (26), William Cooper (23), Isaac West, Robert Pavey, Henry Starr (21), Samuel Jefferies (28), Eliza Fulford (28) and her daughters Susan (8) and Mary Ann (6), Thomas Venn (two) and William Nicholas. Many much more folks were mentioned to be in a hopeless situation.

The final named was the engineer aboard the ill-fated steam ship and witnesses at the inquest stated that, shortly just before the explosion, he turned off the safety valve, causing a create-up of steam pressure. Even so, other witnesses were equally certain that the trigger of the explosion was not excess stress, but a lack of water in the boiler.

The Red Rover was really an old, slow ship and some felt that it was not match for use as a passenger ferry. The owner, Mr Anderson, was on board with his wife at the time of the explosion – each survived and Anderson was later to tell the inquest that the boiler had extremely lately been repaired, despite the fact that the inquest jury questioned the top quality of the repair work. By likelihood, the ship had been thoroughly inspected by an engineer on behalf of an individual who was contemplating purchasing it and he told the inquest that it seemed in good order.

The inquest jury at some point recorded verdicts of ‘accidental deaths’ on all of the victims, adding that they believed Mr Anderson bore some duty for the tragedy. When coroner Mr J.B. Grindon asked if they wanted to return a verdict of manslaughter against Anderson, they unanimously mentioned that they did not.

1898 A fire broke out on board the steamer Xema, which was moored in Bristol Docks, and cabin boy William Hawkins was trapped by the flames. The crew tried to get to him through a porthole and then reduce a hole in the deck, but Hawkins had roasted in the furnace-like heat by the time his rescuers reached him. When the fire was extinguished, the body of one more crew member, Daniel Kidney, was found in the steering gear property.

The fire originated in a paraffin storage locker, which was located quite close to a steam pipe. At the subsequent inquest, the jury returned two verdicts of ‘accidental death’, recommending that flammable substances ought to be stored away from steam pipes and commending all those who battled in vain to save sixteen-year-old Hawkins.

1859 The Porto Novo returned from Africa with a cargo of palm oil, bar wood, ebony, coconuts and beeswax. As the ship was being unloaded in Bristol Harbour, labourers James Swift and Robert Muffin accidentally dropped a candle, which ignited some spilled gunpowder in the hold. Each badly burned, they had been taken to the General Hospital, whilst their colleagues set about dealing with the fire resulting from the explosion.

At very first it was only a small blaze and the men had been confident of extinguishing it. Even so, as the flames created make contact with with the hugely flammable cargo, the fire burned out of control, defying their efforts to douse it with water. Ultimately a message was sent to the fire brigade for help. By the time the fire brigade arrived, there was little hope of controlling the conflagration, which was now threatening other ships. Consequently the harbour master gave orders for all surrounding ships to be moved and decided to scuttle the Porto Novo, in the hope of saving some of her cargo.

Holes were cut in the side of the ship but, as properly as getting very flammable, her cargo was also very buoyant and she refused to sink. Fed by the palm oil and beeswax, the fire burned so furiously that the complete city was illuminated. Eventually, the fire waned sufficiently for men to cut off the ship’s masts in the hope that this would sink her.

The fire burned for more than twelve hours prior to it was lastly brought beneath manage and the ship was totally destroyed. Even though the cargo was insured, the ship itself was only partially covered, resulting in massive economic losses for its African owners.

1855 Hill’s Bridge (aka Bath Bridge), which spanned the canal between Bath Parade and Totterdown, was a big, cast-iron single arch, constructed by the Colebrookedale Iron Performs in 1805. In 1808, a defect in the stonework on which it rested caused its collapse, resulting in a number of deaths and injuries and, on 20 March 1855, there was yet another equally severe accident, when a coke barge, John, hit the ironwork.

The bridge quivered violently for a handful of moments prior to collapsing, throwing carts, gigs and pedestrians into the canal. Even though many men and women swam to safety, it was believed that numerous much more had drowned, imprisoned in the mass of tangled ironwork.

There was wonderful difficulty in determining the exact quantity of casualties and fatalities, because nobody knew precisely how many people were on the bridge at the time of the disaster. As an added complication, it was believed that bodies had been washed out to sea by the changing tides.

Missing and presumed dead were carter William Bevan and William Cooksley, who was last observed speaking to Gwynne Thomas at one finish of the bridge. When the barge struck, Cooksley was plunged into the water, whilst Thomas miraculously remained safe on the side of the bridge. By 11 April, Cooksley’s body was the only one to have been recovered.

At the inquest on his death, held by coroner Mr J.B. Grindon, fourteen of the fifteen jury guys had been happy with a verdict of ‘accidental death’. The fifteenth held out for a charge of ‘culpable negligence’ against barge captain John Domican, who was arrested right away after the incident. (Domican had always insisted that a robust tide had accidentally pulled the barge into the bridge help.) The coroner accepted the majority verdict and there is no evidence that Domican was ever charged.

1854 Coroner Mr H.S. Wasbrough held an inquest at Bedminster police station on the death of nineteen-year-old Edwin Doddrell. On 29 August, Edwin and his buddy Henry William Keey (or Kesy) hired a boat to row around the harbour, as they had completed a lot of instances prior to.

As they rowed towards Hotwells, Henry noticed the steamboat, Lincolnshire, apparently moored in the centre of the harbour, but, as the boys drew nearer lie realised that Lincolnshire was moving really gradually towards them. Henry remarked on this to Edwin, telling him to row harder so that they would miss the steamer. Alternatively of performing so, Edwin stood up in the boat and turned round to look. Henry shouted at him to sit down and row but Edwin lost one of his oars.

All of a sudden, the Lincolnshire collided with the rowing boat, tipping each boys into the water. Henry started to swim for shore, losing sight of Edwin.

The Lincolnshire lowered a boat to appear for him and a group of boys in a rowing boat joined in the search, but to no avail. As it started to get dark, Henry climbed into the Lincolnshire’s boat and was taken to the water police, who identified Edwin’s physique at half-past ten that evening.

At the inquest, the Captain of the Lincolnshire, William Rees, stated that he had observed something in front of his steamer and sounded his whistle. The rowing boat then steered straight across his bows and, though he instantly went into reverse, it was too late to stay away from a collision.

The inquest jury returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’.

1866 As the steam tug Black Eagle towed a Norwegian barge at Hotwells, her boiler all of a sudden exploded, showering properties on St Vincent’s Parade with debris. Although the harm to home was in depth, there have been no lives lost on shore but the 5- man crew of the Black Eagle perished in the disaster.

Some persons in the Hotwell Road saw big pieces of the boiler rise to a height above that of the floor of the Suspension Bridge, and afterwards a portion of the boiler weighing 4 cwt. was located in Mr. G. Stacey’s garden, Prince’s Buildings, at an altitude of practically 300 feet above the deck of the tug. The windows of homes in St. Vincent’s Parade had been smashed by the explosion.

The roof of No. 7 was reduce via, and the chimney-stacks had been knocked over. This property and No. 8 (Mr. Leonard Bruton’s) suffered most damage. A very good deal of injury was also done to the dockmaster’s residence, and the wonder was that no one in or near these houses was hurt.

There were some remarkable escapes. The physique of the captain of the Black Eagle (William
Woodman) was right away identified on the bank of the river. There was a massive wound in his head. The mate (James Livings) and the engineer (George Ledger) were found killed on the boat. Four other people have been blown into the water and drowned, the body of one of the crew William Huish being picked up in the river at Sea Mills many days soon after.

The boat was refloated on the third day right after the accident. The owner (Mr. Sturdy, of Cardiff)
was at a loss to account for the explosion. The tug was but 5 and the boiler only three years old. It had been tested to practically twice the normal stress upon it. Bristol engineers recommended that the explosion was due to a sudden inrush of water into an almost empty red-hot boiler. In this way steam would have been generated to an amount that no security-valve could take off.

At the coroner’s inquest the Chief Engineer to the Board of Trade (Mr. Galloway) was present, and he favoured the theory that a sudden improve of steam triggered the explosion. This, of course, was an accident in no way reflecting on the safety of the port.

The bodies of William Huish, Daniel Woodman, George Ledger and James Livings had been recovered and, at the time of Huish’s inquest, the body of the fifth crew member was nonetheless missing. (It was also rumoured that a woman and kid had been on board at the time of the explosion.) The sole survivor of the disaster was a modest black and tan terrier, who swam to the Somerset bank of the Avon.

It was the second boiler explosion on the boat, the prior one near Cardiff in 1859 resulting in the deaths of eight crew members. As a result the boiler was reasonably new and, even though several theories were sophisticated, the result in of the explosion was never conclusively determined.

On November 10th, 1851, the Demerara was wrecked in the Avon by means of careless navigation. She was a new paddle steamer just turned out of the hands of Mr. William Patterson, in whose yard the Wonderful Western had been built. The Demerara was the largest ship, save the Excellent Britain, that up to that time had left stocks, her registered tonnage getting about 3 thousand. She had been constructed to the order of the West India Mail Steamship Organization, and was launched on September 27th.

On the day of the disaster she left Cumberland Basin in tow of a Glasgow tug to go to the Clyde to be fitted with engines. She was late on the tide, which had begun to ebb. The tug was began at the dangerously high speed of seven or eight miles an hour, in the hope of creating up for lost tide.

Mr. Patterson, who was aboard the Demerara, was alarmed, and spoke urgently to the pilot. Speed was then decreased, but not sufficiently, and soon following passing the Round Point the bow of the new boat heavily struck the rocks on the Gloucestershire bank. The sturdy ebb tide swung the ship across the Avon. The tide left her, and she settled down, rivets beginning and the deck twisting.

Here was not only damage to the ship, but a blocking of the port as effectual as any that had occurred during the past century or two. For that reason nearly superhuman salvage efforts were produced on the next tide, and the ship was at some point removed to the side of the river, in front of Egelstaff’s quarry, so that the navigation was totally free.

This was done &quot at evening,&quot says Latimer, &quot amidst the blaze of tar barrels and torches, presenting a remarkable spectacle to thousands of persons who had assembled &quot to watch the proceedings of the huge body of workmen engaged.

It was thought to repair the ship where she lay, but unhappily she was not correctly secured, and about an hour later she broke from her moorings, and was again carried across the river, where she lay till the morning tide, and suffered more harm.

At some point she was refloated, and was taken back to dock. Exaggerated reports of the damage have been widespread. The ship, insured for her complete cost (48,000), was abandoned by underwriters as a total wreck, worth 15,000. She was, however, repaired, sold on July 13th for 5,600, and once more in September, 1859, for 200 much less. By that time she had turn into the British Empire, getting converted into a sailing ship. In June, 1858, Mr. Patterson was obliged to seek the advice of his creditors, and it was then stated that he had lost 5,900 by the Demerara, in addition to heavy losses on other ships he had built. Mr. Patterson had globe-wide fame as the builder of such ships as the Excellent Western, the Excellent Britain and Severn (for the Oriental Co.), the Royal Charter and the Demerara itself. He also constructed the initial of the naval steamers, the Dasher and a lot of gunboats and mortar-boats. He had a share of the orders for gunboats given out hurriedly by the Government for use in the Crimean War. The Earnest, Escort, Hardy, Havoc, and Highlander have been built in Mr. Patterson’s and Messrs. Charles Hill &amp Sons’ yards at that time.

And although some contractors elsewhere turned out rotten boats, those built at Bristol have been totally up to specification. Material and labour, Nonetheless, rose in price, and it was stated at the time of his failure that Mr. Patterson had given that 1850 lost 21,000 by constructing gunboats. The total liabilities had been 8,498, of which five,177 were unsecured. The Demerara’s figure-head, &quot the left-handed giant,&quot as it has been referred to as, from the manner in which it is holding its spear, stands on a bracket outdoors a corner property in Quay Street, and has been preserved there for several years.

German steamer, Kron Prinz, on Wednesday, April 1st, 1874

But the subsequent to be recorded was one which once again seriously damaged the reputation of Bristol in that respect for a extended time. This was the wreck of the German steamer, Kron Prinz, on Wednesday, April 1st, 1874, and occurring as it did soon right after a large sum had been spent on works of river improvement, sanctioned by the Corporation’s Act of 1865, the mishap was especially annoying to the Docks Committee and their officers. There was a natural disposition to attribute it to a want of caution on the portion of those in charge of the ship, which, it was mentioned, ought to have had a second tug.

The Kron Prinz was from Sulina, with 7,000 quarters of barley for Messrs. R. &amp H. Adams, and came up the river at higher water. When close to the Horseshoe Point she struck the right bank, and could not be moved. She lay a few hundred yards below Sea Mills Station, and, luckily, in a position that did not block the river. But it was not until Tuesday morning, April 21st, 3 weeks after going aground, that the vessel could be refloated. About half her cargo was instantly washed out by the action of the tide, and afterwards, to lighten the ship, numerous men were engaged in removing the rest of the grain, which had grow to be mixed with mud as the result of successive tides going over the hull.

The river bank was strewn with barley for a considerable distance. At midnight on the 20th April a large gang of men from Messrs. Charles Hill and Sons’ shipbuilding yard, Wapping, below the path of Mr. W. Patterson, the firm’s acting manager, left Cumberland Basin to make a final effort to refloat the ship. Wonderful preparations had been made on board. The hatches had been caulked down, the masts and funnel removed, and enormous hawsers had been fixed, reaching higher up more than the railway into Shirehampton Park. Numerous tugs were at hand, and in all about 120 shipwrights, riggers and labourers have been engaged. Soon after numerous hours’ laborious work, and with the support of the tide, the ship was righted, and slid down into the bed of the river.

There had been daily crowds of folks to see the wreck, but when she was floated several thousands of spectators visited the river banks. Numbers looked on from the Suspension Bridge, and one of these, in a communication to the Occasions and Mirror, said he saw the Demerara across the river, but the sight was not so dreary as that of the dismantled Kron Prinz, since, even though the Demerara broke her back, she remained virtually upright, and as a result recommended hope, &quot but for the floating and denuded hulk, side uppermost, and shorn of all its accessories that suggested life, upon which I looked down from the Suspension Bridge, there was no hope.&quot The damage was estimated at £34,000.

(scource Bristol Records Office. Bristol Journal, Bristol Mercury, The Occasions, Western Mail, A Grim Almanac of Bristol by Nicola Sly The History Press)

Bristol Channel Shipping Accidents

A Light Touch
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Image by CoCreatr
In the morning, in front of the mirror
and in life, in front of people
a light touch goes a extended way.

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History: Possibly there is an innovative angle to it? Possibly it was accomplished prior to? I just had to try that. New brush, unpacked, clamped to a tripod in front of the mirror, illuminated by a modest LED keylight into the stem and exposed for four seconds in an virtually dark bathroom.
Amateur photo inspired by the expert perform of (amongst others) Magda Indigo

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