The Great Eastern in the Mersey


August 27, 1888
After an absence of less than twelve months the Great Eastern steamship is again in the Mersey, where, having undergone many vicissitudes in a comparatively short career of 31 years afloat, she is to be broken up and become a thing of the past.

Her history is too well-known to need recapitulation. Her last voyage, from Greenock to Liverpool, was not marked by any untoward incident, although she experienced a strong gale, which necessitated the exercise of the greatest care and discrimination in her navigation.

She was under the command of Captain Collier, who has had charge of the ship on behalf of the present owners, Messrs. Henry Bath and Co, of Liverpool and London, since December, and was manned by a crew of about 115 hands all told.

She was accompanied by a Liverpool pilot (Mr. Dudley), who took charge of her off the Calf of Man. Two Liverpool tug boats, the Pathfinder and the Stormack, were chartered to assist her round fro the Clyde to the Mersey, and although the vessel is under her own steam, three powerful consorts, looking mere pigwies in contrast with the giant proportions of the Great Eastern, rendered her very valuable service.

Although it was deemed prudent when off the Calf of Man for the tugs to temporarily cast off from the ship, she was not in any peril during the voyage. She was off the bar at an early hour on Saturday morning, and came into the Mersey with the flood tide. Her progress up the river was naturally watched with interest from both shores, the Liverpool landing-stages being crowded at two o’clock in the afternoon, at which hour the passed up to the Sloyne.

It was noticed that since she was last seen in the Mersey she had been divested of her huge paddle wheels. Her draught of water was 15 feet forward and 21 feet aft. About an hour after high water the vessel was beached on the Cheshire shore, a short distance south of the New Ferry pier, where at low water the huge hull stands high and dry. She is fastened with two kedge anchors from each bow.

Yesterday large numbers of people went by the New Ferry and Eastham ferry steamers for the purpose of seeing the big ship. It is understood that the owners will proceed to have her dismantled and broken up at once. Her ponderous machines will first be taken out, and, if she can be lightened of this weight in time to take advantage of the next spring tides, the hull will probably be floated higher up the beach to facilitate the operations.

It is estimated that about £20,000 – an amount equal to the price paid for her by Messrs. Bath and Co. – will be expended in converting the ship into portable fragments.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: August 27, 1888; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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