Ann of London

Heavy Gale
A Barque Ashore Near The South Pier

Last evening, the north-east coast was visited by severe gale from ESE. About half-past nine, the rain began to pour down in torrents, while violent squalls of wind blew every minute. The night was fortunately, however, not dark, and the outline of the harbour and of vessels passing and repassing up and down, could clearly be seen from either bank. A little after ten o’clock, an unknown barque was discerned beating up for the Tyne, which she soon after entered, and with much anxiety the lifebrigadesmen and others, who were on the watch, beheld her, unaided, thread the narrow channel. The sea was rough, but not more so than might have been expected. Just as the vessel glided through the harbour entrance, and seemed to have reached a haven of safety, the violence of the storm culminated. A terrific squall caught the barque on the stern so suddenly as to drive the men from the wheel, and to disable the steering apparatus. All control was now lost over the vessel. Blue lights were burned on board a signal the shore that she was in distress. The wind taking her behind - her maintopsail and foretopsail being set - sent her careering over the waves, until she pitched hard and fast into the sand on the north side of the South Pier. The tide had ebbed for some hours, and was nearly out, so that the vessel struck not far from where the ill-fated steamer Eagle rears up its gaunt framework. On sight of the blue lights, three guns were fired from the Spanish Battery, and three from the Castor, and before long two lifeboats were launched and manned. By this time, however, the rocket apparatus had been run down the pier to a spot opposite the unfortunate vessel. Here attempts were made to fire the rockets, but for some reason they proved unsuccessful, two miss-fires taking place. The barque, lying broadside to the sea, felt its full force, and as each huge breaker struck her, she tottered from side to side, as if she about to go over. The lifeboats reached her in a very short space of time, and after some delay, the crew being unwilling to abandon their vessel, all them, including the captain, were taken into the "Tyne," which had arrived first. The lifeboatmen soon landed the shipwrecked mariners at the Coble Landing, where they were taken into the Globe public-house and well cared for. Long ere this the pier side was lined by spectators, who had been roused by the report of the guns, the jetty on the north side of the pier, which projected a ¬†good way into the sea, almost opposite the shipwrecked vessel, being a coign of vantage, was crowded with people. The vessel proved be the barque Anne, of London, commanded Captain Ashton, of East Hartlepool She left London on Thursday, in ballast, with a crow of seven men, bound for the Tyne.

Tuesday, Noon

The storm still continues. The morning tide has drifted the barque further inshore. She now lies firmly embedded in the sand, about two hundred yards west of the wreck of the Eagle, and only short distance from the brigadehouse. The yards and sails are being taken off, and the seamen's effects have already been removed. There seems to be little hope of getting the barque off, unless the weather should moderate. Already her bottom is greatly damaged.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 October 1871