Brig Ashore at South Shields
Vessel Becomes a Total Wreck
Crew Saved by Rocket Apparatus
Lifeboat Rescues the Captain

Between ten and eleven o’clock this forenoon a serious shipping disaster occurred at the mouth of the Tyne, resulting in the Swedish brig Celine, of Malmo, striking the pier and becoming a total wreck. The vessel left Tyne Dock in tow of a tug, intending to proceed to Blyth. She was light, and after getting nearly to the mouth of the harbour she encountered a strong wind from the north-east and a pretty heavy sea, the combined effect of which was to cause the tow rope to break. She immediately drifted towards the South Pier, but the tug came up to her again and got another line aboard. The crew gave the rope a turn round the windlass, but to their dismay the windlass itself was torn away from the deck.

The brig was now left entirely to the mercy of the wind and sea and she was carried with great force against the South Pier, striking the superstructure with her foremast, which together with her jib-boom and part of her bows, were completely swept away. She then drifted down the side of the pier, bumping heavily against the pier side as she went.

Eventually she stranded on the bed of rocks about 200 yards eastward of the ferry gangway, and remained fast. A heavy sea was washing up, and the wreck pitched over from side to side in such a way as left little doubt but that she was a doomed ship. Ten minutes after striking her foretopmast came tumbling down upon the deck, and her mizzenmast was also partially destroyed. Fortunately the crew were able to escape injury, although the mate had a very narrow escape being struck on the head.

Meanwhile, the coastguard, under Chief Boatman Williams, had brought the lifesaving apparatus down the pier. Almost as soon as the vessel stranded the alarm guns were fired and the coastguardsmen on their way with succour for the shipwrecked men. The vessel was so close to the pier that there was no difficulty in throwing the heaving cane aboard. Communication was soon established and the crew of seven hands were safely landed. The captain, Mr Chas. W. Aspland, however, stayed with the view of getting his papers. Eventually, the vessel was breaking up so fast he had to jump for his life into the lifeboat, which was brought close alongside.

The seven men were taken to the Life Brigade House, where hot coffee, bread, cheese were provided for them.

The Celine proved a tight and compact craft otherwise the terrible bumping she experienced on the rocks would have torn her to pieces very much sooner than was the case. Ten minutes after the foremast fell, the mizzenmast, yards and rigging came toppling down in a tangled mass.

The members of the crew were unable to get any of their clothes or effects ashore.

The coastguardsmen were assisted in their efforts by the boatmen who regularly ply business on the beach, and by several members of the Volunteer Life Brigade.

The alarm guns also brought a big crowd of sightseers, who watched the rescue work with keen and exciting interest.

Narrow Escape of the Master

During the course of the morning a large number of persons made their way down the South Pier to view the wreck, which is lying on her port side and is now partly submerged. The vessel may be considered a complete wreck, as her back is apparently broken.

The master, Captain Aspland, who was rescued by the lifeboat, Bedford, had rather a narrow escape. Captain Aspland at the time of the wreck was desirous of saving the vessel’s papers, and for this purpose was obliged to go down below to the far end of the cabin. On securing the necessary papers, he was caught among the wreckage, and for a while had considerable difficulty in extricating himself, On reaching the deck, the lifeboat Bedford came under the brig’s quarter, and securing a line, Captain Aspland lowered himself down into the lifeboat.

The Celine was 315 tons register, and was built in 1859 at Sunderland. She was formerly the Merry Monarch.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 21 April 1903

The Wreck on the South Pier

The crew of the brig Celine of Malmo, which was wrecked at the mouth of the Tyne yesterday, having lost nearly all their effects and being left practically destitute, were put into the hands of Mr John Rudd, hon. agent for the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society. This gentleman attended to their immediate needs, and then took them to the Sailors' Home at North Shields, where they were received by the supt., Mr R. Brown, and board and lodging will be found them the expense of the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society, through its representative, Mr R. J. D, Brown, until they can be sent to their various homes.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 April 1903

At the Golden Lion Hotel. King Street, South
Shields, on
TUESDAY, the 25th Day of August. 1903,
At 3 o'clock in the Afternoon,
The following Proceeds RECOVERED FROM THE
WRECKS of the above named Vessels.


Lot 1.—Steel Plates and Angles, three pieces Steel Plates and Angles. Estimated Weight of the whole the above material between 50 and 60 tons.


Lot 2.—The Remains of the Hull, about 30 tons Firewood, Portions of the Foremast, Mainmast, Topsailyard, and 11 other Broken Spars, about 1 cwt of Old Canvas, two Sails in fair condition, one foghorn (damaged), one small Drum Mineral Oil (damaged).

Lot 3.-About 630 feet of Cable Chain, about 600 feet of 1" Cable Chain (much worn), about 260 feet of 5-8" Cable Chain, about 40 feet of 3/8” Cable Chain, two Anchors, about two tons Scrap Iron.

Lot 4.—About two cwts of Muntz Metal Bolts.

Lot  5.—Telescope.

The Goods to be OFFERED FOR SALE are now lying in the undermentioned Places, viz.;—

Lot 1. — At the Herd Groyne and in the Southern Wavetrap adjoining same

Lot 2.—As to the Hull on the Herd Sands and as to the balance at the Commissioners' South Pier Works, South Shields.

Lots 3, 4 and 5 —At the Commissioners' South Pier Works, South Shields.

For further particulars and conditions of sale apply to the Auctioneer, 70 King Street, South Shields, Nat. Tel. 193, or to Messrs Bramwell & Bell, Solicitors, Maritime Buildings, King Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and at Saville Street, North Shields.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 August 1903