Constantine ashore

Serious Collision off the Tyne
A Steamer Damaged and Run Ashore
Rescue of the Crew

Early this morning the inhabitants residing in the vicinity of the Lawe, South Shields, were thrown into considerable excitement by the booming of the alarm guns intimating a vessel in distress. A large number of persons soon found their way to the South Pier, when it was discoved that a serious collision had occurred at the mouth of the Tyne, between two screw colliers, resulting in serious damage to one of them. The steamer Constantine, one of the oldest Tyne traders, it appears, was approaching the harbour mouth, and just when she was rounding the South Pier, another steamer, stated to be the Trevethick, coal-laden, which was outward bound, came into collision with her. The blow, as stated by one of the pilots on duty, was terrific, and the crash was heard by the coastguard on shore. Directly afterwards the Constantine was discovered to have sustained extensive damage, and she gave such alarming indications of foundering that her head was put for the shore, and she was run on the rocks, south of the south pier. The alarm guns was fired and the rocket apparatus, in charge of the coastguard, under command of Chief Coastguardsman Collins, and attended by members of the Volunteer Life Brigade, was brought to the scene of the casualty. The weather was very fine, and there was no danger to the crew, but it was thought that the steamer might heel over. Five of the crew were brought ashore by means of the rocket apparatus. In the meantime the lifeboats Tom Perry and James Young had been got out and proceeded to the spot with every possible haste. Three of the crew of the Constantine had got on board the other steamer during the time of the collision, and these were taken off by a small boat and landed on the South Pier. The lifeboats brought the remainder of the shipwrecked men ashore and landed them at South Shields.

The damage to the Constantine, which is lying with her head immediately pointing towards the shore and is perfectly upright, is very extensive. The breach caused by the collision is a very large one, extending from the taffrail almost to the keel, abaft the starboard beam. At high water the after part of the vessel is full of water. It is regarded as remarkable, owing the tremendous breach, that the Constantine did not immediately founder, and it was only the prompt measures of the master, Captain Brown that prevented such a calamity.


The vessel is on a rocky bottom, and it is feared that she will have sustained some damage by contact therewith. Fortunately the steamer affords no obstacle to the navigation to the entrance of the harbour, but there is a danger of her falling over seaward, there being a drop of six feet on that side. A .large number of persons viewed the stranded vessel this morning.
The Constantine is registered at the port of London, but owned in Newcastle. She was built Low Walker in 1866. She is 204 ft. 9in. in length, breadth 28ft. 3in., and depth of hold 16ft. 6in. Her gross carrying capacity is 798 tons.

The S.S. Trevethick Damaged

The screw collier Trevethick, which was in collision with the Constantine, is at present moored at Smith's Buoys, North Shields. She sustained considerable damage to her port bow.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 September 1895

Floating of the Steamer Constantine
Smart Piece of Work

Yesterday afternoon, in the presence of many hundreds of people congregated on the South Pier the steamer Constantine, which was stranded, last week after collision with the steamer Trevethick, was successfully floated and taken into Shields Harbour. The contract to lift the Constantine was in the hands of Mr David Andrew, one of the surveyors on the permanent staff of the North of England Iron Steamship Insurance Association, who entrusted to carry out the necessary repairs, etc., the workmen Mr Wm. Hepple, engineer, of South Shields. As the breach in the side of the steamer was a very large one and extended under water at low tide the job was one that required much skill and promptitude, as it was impossible to work after the tide had risen. Mr Hepple's men, however, proved fully equal to the occasion, and executed the job with a neatness and despatch that was worthy all praise. Operations were commenced at nine o'clock on Saturday night, and the men worked until one o'clock on Sunday morning. They resumed at six in the morning, and by three in the afternoon everything was complete. A patch of three-inch planking was securely placed over the breach, and made perfectly tight by caulking, a process of very difficult nature under the circumstances, as a portion of it had to be done under water. But everything had been thoroughly planned out by Mr Andrew, who has had a large experience in work of this kind, and the staff, who were working under the personal supervision of Mr Hepple, carried out their duties most skilfully, and without hitch. While the patching was going on the water in the vessel was being pumped out by the ship's ballast pumps, and the usual salvage pumps were entirely dispensed with. A few minutes after three in the afternoon, the vessel began to move, and at 3 - 15 she was fairly afloat, when the tugs Titian and John Batey brought her clear off and eventually towed her safely into the harbour. Last night as the vessel lay at Salmon's Quay the repair work was tightened and the steamer was made ready to go into dry dock.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 September 1895

The Recent Collision off the Tyne

The screw collier Constantine of Newcastle, will be remembered was run ashore alongside of the south pier to prevent her foundering in deep water after collision, and afterwards floated, will leave the Tyne today for Sunderland, where she will be repaired. The Constantine, as already stated, received extensive damage to her starboard side, and was placed in Moralee's Dry Dock Company, Limited, South Shields, where the breach caused by the collision had been patched with wood and was made perfectly safe for her passage to the Wear.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 October 1895

Local Shipping Case
The S.S. Trevethick v. the S.S. Constantine

Yesterday the Admiralty Division, before Sir Francis Jeune, sitting with the Trinity Masters of the High Court, this claim and counter claim for damages arising out of a collision between the s.s. Trevethick, of Newcastle, and s.s. Constantine, also of Newcastle, which took place on the 30th September last, about a quarter of a mile to the southward and eastward of the south pier head at the mouth of the Tyne, came on for hearing. The Trevethick (of 459 tons net register), was in course of a voyage from Tyne Dock to London, with coals, and the Constantine (of 467 tons net register), was bound from London to the Tyne in water ballast. The plaintiff's case was that the Constantine was improperly manoeuvred outside the entrance to the harbour, and so hampered the Trevethick as she was coming out of her own proper side of the entrance, The Constantine, with her starboard side, struck the stem of the Trevethick, doing her damage. The Constantine herself, however, sustained the greater damage, and for this her owners counterclaimed. Sir W. Phillimore, Q.C., and H. Stokes appeared for the plaintiff, and J. G. Aspinall, Q.C., and Mr B. Aspinall for the defendants.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 December 1895

The Trevethick v. Constantine Collision Case

Yesterday, Sir Francis Jeune, President, sitting with the Trinity Masters in the Admiralty, London, delivered judgment in this claim and counter-claim for damages arising out of a collision between the s.s. Trevethick and the s.s. Constantine, both of Newcastle, at the mouth of the Tyne on Sept 30 last. Serious damage was caused to the defendants' vessel as well as the plaintiffs'. His Lordship, in giving judgment, said that he had come to the conclusion that both vessels were to blame for the collision, the Trevethick for improperly porting her helm, and the Constantine for not shaping a course when entering the harbour the mouth of the Tyne. Judgment accordingly.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 December 1895