Severe Weather On The North- East Coast
Ship Ashore At The South Pier
Last night, about ten o'clock, a strong breeze sprang up from the ESE, and continued, with more or less violence, till about seven o'clock this morning, when it began to fall off. Considerable quantities of rain fell; and the sea, which continues to be very heavy outside, broke heavily on the bar. During the latter part of last week, the weather, in the day time, had been clear and frosty, but towards nightfall generally became thick and foggy. On Sunday, the wind changed from a westerly arg to the ESE, from which there blew a strong breeze, accompanied by showers of hail and rain, which had the effect of abating its violence. At night, however, it again sprang up, this time with increased strength, and there was every appearance that a heavy night might be expected. The lifeboat crews at the Low Lights and at South Shields were in readiness, while members of the various brigades along the coast kept watch. No casualty, however, occurred till about ten minutes to four o'clock, when a vessel struck on the south side of the South Pier. The wind at this time had shifted almost due east, and blew with considerable strength on to the land, after which there followed a sudden calm. During yesterday there were not many arrivals, and what vessels were ready for sea, kept to harbour, anticipating that there would be heavy weather.
About four o'clock this morning, as stated above, a brig named the Maize, belonging to London, came ashore at the south side of the South Pier. As the morning was clear and there was very little sea and wind at the time, it is somewhat singular that such a casualty should occur. No authoritative report has yet been made, but it is conjectured that the captain, who was also owner of the vessel, may have mistaken the South Pier for that on the north side and thus run her ashore. The position the vessel was first observed by a pier policeman named M'Queen and a coastguardsman, who were standing near the Life Brigade house. She was soon afterwards seen by the coastguardmen at Tynemouth and an alarm being given by them, the signal guns of the Spanish Battery and of H. M. S. Castor were fired. Before, however, any of the Brigademen assembled, M'Queen and his companion, assisted by George and Benjamin Heron, had done all they could to succour the crew of the vessel, which was lying with her side close to the lower stonework of the pier. A line was thrown to them from the ship, and made fast on the pier and the gearing from the brigade house being brought to the spot immediately afterwards all the seamen were safely landed. The captain refused to come ashore by means of the line, and was taken off the vessel by the South Shields lifeboat, which had rowed round to the vessel on the firing of the guns. The crew were conveyed to the Brigade house and provided with dry clothing and refreshments. At nine o'clock this morning a number of pilots were engaged in taking the sails and stores from the vessel. There was good muster of members the Life Brigade soon after the signals were given. It is feared that the vessel will become a wreck.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23rd of January 1871
Mr T. A. Wilson, of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, has received the following letter from the captain of the brig Maize, of London, which lately came ashore South Shields and was totally wrecked:
Whitstable, Feb. 15, 1871.
DEAR SIR,— I am very sorry to inform you that I have been very poorly, or you would have heard from before. Please accept acknowledgments of the firm, steady, and praiseworthy assistance that you your Brigade, together with the coast-guard and lifeboatmen, rendered to and my crew in rescuing us from our danger when in a perilous position at the back of the South Pier. You all deserve our best thanks and heartfelt gratitude for your exertions in preserving lives.
I am, Gentlemen,
THOS, E. GATHER, Late Commander the brig Maize,
Source Shields Daily Gazette 23rd of January 1871