Disastrous Collision off the Tyne
A Steamer Sunk
Exciting Scenes

Last night the s.s. Crystal, Newcastle, Captain Stannard, was sunk off the by collision with inward-bound steamer. It appears that the Crystal left the Albert Edward Dock about 8.30 p.m. with part cargo, bound for Dundee, to complete loading for New York. She proceeded down Shields harbour attended by the steam-tug Gauntlet, the weather being hazy at the time. When she had got a short distance outside the piers, about nine o'clock, she was suddenly struck abaft the bridge, on the starboard side by an unknown steamer inward bound. The Crystal immediately began to fill, the water first making its way into the engine room. In addition to the crew there were on board three of the officers' wives, one of whom had a baby in arms, and there was at once much anxiety felt concerning their safety, as there was abundant evidence that the vessel would speedily founder. The unknown steamer after getting clear, proceeded her journey, leaving the unfortunate Crystal rapidly settling down. The tug Gauntlet however rendered prompt aid, and shortly after two other tugs came alongside, when two lines were placed aboard, and the steamer was towed some distance with a view heading her, but she ultimately foundered. Happily the ladies and crew were got safely aboard the tugs before the final catastrophe. The Crystal lies sunk right in the fairway, half-a-mile south by east of the South Pier end, in nine fathoms of water. Her head light was visible at high water and burned during the whole the night. The steamer with which she was in collision is stated to have been the Ida, bound from London. The Crystal is a vessel of 2,613 tons gross, and is 330 feet in length. She was built at Sunderland in 1881, and was a well-known New York trader the Tyne.

Statement by the Crew

Late last night, Captain Stannard, and crew, belonging to the large screw steamer Crystal, of Newcastle, were landed at North Shields, and reported that their vessel had been run into and sunk about half a mile off the Tyne piers. It appears from a statement made by the crew of the Crystal, that she had on board part cargo, and had left the Coble Dene Dock, about eight o'clock the same evening, bound for Dundee, to complete loading operations for New York. All proceeded well till the Crystal was about mile outside the piers, when she was suddenly run into by another screw steamer apparently inward bound, striking her a tremendous blow abaft the bridge on the starboard side, cutting a large hole through the plates. The night was dark and hazy, and nothing could seen at any great distance. When it became known on board that the damage was of so serious a nature that she was rapidly filling, considerable excitement prevailed. To make matters worse, there were board some of the officers wives, and a baby. The crew immediately set to work to ascertain if it was possible to save their vessel from foundering. It was soon discovered that she was settling down, the water finding its way into the breach, and completely flooding the engine room. Without delay the women were transferred to the tug Gauntlet, which had been in attendance on the steamer, and other two tugs arriving hawsers were got on board the Crystal, and they immediately commenced towing with a view of bringing her into the harbour, but it was ultimately found a sheer impossibility to bring the steamer into safety, as the engine room, was filling with water, and she was giving unmistakable signs of foundering, whereupon the crew safely got on board one of the tugs. The Crystal, went bodily down just half mile from the South Pier. The crew were appears, unable to save any article of clothing whatever, and landed with what they stood in. Several of the crew are at present lodged at the Sailors' Home, North Shields, where their wants were attended to by Captain S. Wood and Mrs Wood.

Another Account

A disastrous collision occurred on the Tyne about half-past eight o'clock, last night, whereby a laden steamer was sunk, and another steamer badly damaged. It appears that at the time mentioned the s.s. Crystal left the Tyne, laden with a general cargo, for America, via Dundee. When about mile outside the piers she was ran into by the s.s. Eider, in ballast, which was making for the Tyne, from London, The bows of the latter vessel penetrated the Crystal amidships, on the starboard side, and cut her below the water's level. She made water rapidly and the crew were got to work to keep the water sufficiently under to enable the captain to reach the harbour again. But the most strenuous efforts proved of no avail. The sinking vessel was put round to the harbour and the assistance of a steam-tug was employed, but before she reached the piers she filled with water and foundered. Between the time of the collision and the ultimate sinking of the steamer about three-quarters of an hour elapsed. The crew saved themselves by taking to their boats and they were picked up by the steam tug and landed at North Shields. The Eider received considerable damage to her bows, but reached the Tyne in safety. It is stated that she proceeded to Wallsend for the purpose being docked.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 8 January 1892


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the large screw steamer “Crystal," 330 feet long, lies sunk in about seven fathoms at low water outside the entrance to the River Tyne, about 200 yards south of the line of Harbour Leading Lights, and about 400 yards east the South Pier end.

The vessel is in an upright position, heading west, with both Masts visible, and with the following marks and compass bearings, viz.—

Castle Light……………………………….NW2/4N
South Groyne Light……………………....W3/4N

The sunken vessel is marked by day by a Green Buoy placed a little to the eastward thereof, and at night a steamtug exhibiting two White Lights placed horizontally, will ride, when practicable, in close proximity thereto.

By order,

R. URWIN. Secretary.

Tyne Improvement Commission Offices,
Jan. 8th, 1892.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 January 1892

The matter was considered by the Tyne Improvement Commissioners at their meeting on 14 January 1892.

The Wreck of the Crystal

The Trinity House having decided that this wreck, lying half a mile off the South Pier, was within the jurisdiction of the Commissioners, the secretary had written to the owners holding them liable for its removal or any expense incurred therein by the Commissioners. The owners maintained that the vessel was sunk in the open sea, they had abandoned it, and that the Commissioners must look to the savings of the wreck for any outlay. The Chairman moved that the screw-steamer Crystal, as she now lies sunk in the approach to the harbour is, in the opinion of the Commissioners, an obstruction and danger to navigation in such approach, and that the notice given by the secretary to the owners of the vessel be acted on, and the obstruction removed, if necessary, by destroying it without further delay, and that the harbour master and engineer hereby instructed accordingly. Mr Stout seconded the resolution, which was unanimously adopted.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 January 1892

The Collision between the Ida and the Crystal

The Associated Shipping Press says:— Another collision case has been amicably settled without the assistance of the law—viz., that of the Ida and Crystal. The former steamer has, we hear, admitted liability, and has agreed to pay at the rate of £6 a ton towards the Crystals loss. The Crystal was, of course, a much larger and more valuable steamer, and the £6 a ton will by no means cover the loss, but it will be something out of the fire.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 29 January 1892

The Sunken Steamer Crystal

Discharging operations from the sunken screw steamer Crystal have been for the past few days suspended in consequence of the stormy state of the weather, although a large quantity of valuable metal has been already recovered. The sailing vessel Flora, belonging to Faversham, has arrived in the Tyne, from Whitstable, having on board a quantity of explosives, which are intended to be used in connection with the blowing up of the Crystal. The Flora is at present lying moored at the powder buoys, Jarrow Slake. The exact date when the Crystal will be blown up is not yet known.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 February 1892

The Sunken Steamer Crystal
Blowing up the Wreck

Operations have been commenced in connection with the blowing of the sunken screwsteamer Crystal. It is intended to blow the vessel to pieces by degrees, and it is anticipated that the work will completed within twenty four days. At the present time, operations are confined to blowing the decks and the upper parts of the vessel, so to allow easier access to the ship's hold. The charge is fired by electricity at a distance of 200 yards. Operations can only be carried on in fine weather and a calm sea.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 February 1892

The Steamer Crystal

The operations in connection with the blowing of the sunken steamer Crystal have been suspended for some time in consequence of the heavy sea on Shields bar. A large portion of the vessel's decks have, however, been destroyed. Operations will be resumed when the sea becomes smooth.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 27 February 1892

The Steamer Crystal

The operations in connection with the blowing of the sunken steamer Crystal were resumed yesterday, having been greatly interfered with during the past few days by the stormy weather.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 March 1892

The Wreck of the Crystal

The blowing operations in connection with the sunken screw steamer Crystal, have been earned on for the past week, and it stated that the hull of the vessel has been almost entirely demolished.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 11 March 1892

146 CASKS (weight about 44 tons) of STAR ANTIMONY, recovered from the steamer Crystal, lately sunk near the Tyne entrance.

T. GLOVER & SON, instructed the Tyne Improvement Commissioners (pursuant to the statutory provisions in that behalf), will SELL the above mentioned ANTIMONY by PUBLIC AUCTION on Wednesday. April 13th. at 3 o'clock prompt, at the Central Station Hotel, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The Antimony will be sold in convenient lots, and may be seen any day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., at the Commissioners Warehouse, Albert Edward Dock, River Tyne.

By order,

R. URWIN, Secretary,

Tyne Improvement Offices,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, April 5, 1892.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7 April 1892

The Wreck of the Crystal
Singular Discovery

During the past few days a survey has been made by the officials of the River Tyne Commissioners, with the object of ascertaining whether the wreck of the sunken steamer Crystal had been completely dispersed. On examination it was found that portions the wreck were still standing, namely some of the winches and boilers, and it was deemed necessary to fire a charge yesterday, to blow the standing wreckage down. Portions of the iron belonging to the Crystal have been salved. During the recent blowing up operations, it was discovered that the wreck of the Crystal was lying right across the wreck of the steamer Stainsacre, which sank some six years ago, off the Tyne.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 May 1892

The Sunken Steamer Crystal

The operations in connection with the removal of the screw steamer Crystal, which was sunk in collision at the entrance of the Tyne, have been greatly retarded in consequent of the unsettled state of the weather which has prevailed during past three weeks, and which has also prevented the necessary surveys being made. Of course this retarding of operation has told greatly against the efforts of the contractor, Mr Edwards, of Whitstable.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 June 1892

The Sunken Steamer Crystal

Mr S. L. Edwards, of Whitstable, marine service contractor, has, it is satisfactory to know, at last succeeded in dispersing wreck of the screw steamer Crystal, sunk in collision off the Tyne. We are sorry to learn that owing to the exceptionally bad weather which has prevailed during the operations, and fact the Crystal was sunk on the top of the debris of the old wreck of the screw steamer Stainsacre which was sunk about seven years ago, the contractor will not have found his business of so profitable a nature as was anticipated, in fact we understand that he will be considerably out of pocket by the transaction. His work is now finished and he leaves in his cutter Flora to-day. Mr Edwards has been employed in connection with the wreck for about twenty weeks, but has only been able to work thirty-one days.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 June 1892