Eliza Mary

A North Shields Barque in Danger off the Tyne

Last night, about ten o'clock, great consternation was caused in North and South Shields by the firing of the alarm guns intimating that some vessel was in danger on the south side of the harbour. Thousands persons immediately rushed down to the South Pier, where, in a few minutes, intense excitement prevailed. The members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade mustered in large numbers, and almost before the guns had ceased firing they had the van containing the rocket apparatus run down the pier and stationed opposite to where the vessel was lying, namely, about two hundred yards to the north of the South Pier, and nearly abreast of the gates. A rocket was fired across the vessel, and a capital shot was made, the line falling between main and mizen masts. The master of the vessel, however, declined to make use of the apparatus, considering there was no immediate danger. The lifeboats Tom Perry and from South Shields, the North Shields lifeboat, and the National Society's lifeboat from Tynemouth, were manned and rowed alongside , the vessel, but the services of their crews were not accepted for the same reason. The steamtug Empress, of North Shields, went to the assistance of the vessel, got a rope on board, and shortly before eleven o’clock towed her into the Tyne, where she was safely moored at North Shields. She proved to be the barque Eliza Mary, belonging to Mr Charles Tate, of North Shields, and bound from Carthagena for Leith, laden with Esparto grass and ore. In consequence of contrary winds, she was attempting to enter the Tyne, but in crossing the bar the wind backed, and she was unable to make headway. She got too far to the southward of the channel, upon which signals of distress were exhibited by the crew, and the alarms guns were then fired. An anchor was let go, and this fortunately succeeded in holding her until the arrival of the tug. The tide was at high water the casualty occurred, and vessels were proceeding to sea. The general impression which prevailed amongst these on the South Pier was that the vessel was being towed out of the harbour, and when crossing the bar the towline broke. When the vessel was seen to have been got out of danger, and towed into the harbour, the vast assemblage disappeared almost as rapidly as it had congregated.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 March 1877