Wheel from TyneThe gale, as the morning advanced, freshened up, and the wind came away strongly from the south-east again. About six o'clock it was blowing with great violence, and about this time another steamer was observed making for the harbour, and she was watched with the greatest anxiety. The vessel was from the south, and as she came round it was observed that she was in dangerous proximity to the south pier. The South Shields Life Brigade at once got out their van to be ready in case of accident. As soon as they had got ready, the vessel was seen to strike the pier very violently, and with the heavy sea and the wind she bumped heavily on the rocks, which must have greatly damaged her bottom. The vessel then seemed to be coming off again when she so rapidly filled with water that she went down till the hull was completely submerged. A most painful scene now occurred. The crew had to take to the rigging for safety. The booming of the alarm guns had caused some hundreds of persons to rush to the piers, and the Life Brigade were also in attendance. Sea after sea washed over the unfortunate seamen, whose hope was the vessel's mast, to which they clung with the tenacity of dying men. Several rockets were fired over the vessel, but the crew could not lay hold of them and make them fast, and notwithstanding the heroic exertions of the Life Brigade all proved unavailing, for in an instant amidst cries for help from the crew, who with death as it were staring them in the face, had sustained their position up to this time in the most praiseworthy manner, the mast gave way, and they were cast into the sea. Agonising cries for help were heard rising above the howl of the wind and the raging of the seas for a few minutes, and then they gradually died away. All was now over, the poor fellows almost within sight of their homes, and in the presence of some hundreds of their fellow-townsmen, had sunk and been drowned. As the Life Brigade, finding they could do no more, were returning to the house, two of the men had a narrow escape from being washed away by the sea, which broke heavily over both the north and south piers. A few minutes afterwards the body of the captain of the vessel was washed ashore, and it proved to be that of Captain Lawlan, of the steamer Tyne. This left no doubt that the vessel lost was the steamer Tyne, 536 tons register, belonging to Mr. Geo. Otto, of North Shields. She had on board 15 hands and the following are, as near aa we can learn, the names of the crew : —Captain Lawlan, Thomas street, South Shields, about 40 years of age, who has left a wife and family. Mate: Chas. Freike. Second mate: Geo. Sharp. Carpenter: J. Ford. Cook: J. Mitchell. Seamen: Thos. Jowse, Benjamin Waddle, John Storey, Edward Miller, and Edward Spence. Chief Engineer: Daniel Craigie. Second engineer: Luke Fiddler. Firemen: McFell, Foster, and Cunningham. All the crew belonged to North and South Shields, and over those towns a melancholy excitement reigns. Several of the men had families, and what was doubtless looked forward to by many as a merry Christmas, will find it a season of mourning through the loss of their bread-winners.

Source: Sunderland Daily Echo 21 December 1876

Drowned by the foundering of the screw-steamer Tyne, on Dec. 21st, 1876, David Cleet, aged 29 years, member of the South Shields Life Brigade much and deservedly respected by all who knew him.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 22 January 1877

The Wreck of the Screw-Steamer Tyne
Inquest on the Recovered Bodies

Last night, Mr Coroner Graham opened an inquest at the Royal Hotel, South Shields. upon the bodies of Andrew Lawlan, captain, and Daniel Craige Cook, chief engineer, of the screwsteamer Tyne, which was wrecked at the South Pier, South Shields, on Thursday morning —John Pigeon, mariner, residing at Northumberland Dock, identified the body lying the dead house as that of Daniel Craige Cook, his brother-in-law, who was chief engineer of the Tyne, which was lost with all hands. deceased was about 50 years of age, and resided in Mount Pleasant, North Shields. —Mr T, G. Mabane, solicitor, one of the captains of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade said that on Thursday morning, in consequence of the tempestuous state of the weather, he was on duty with the brigade. Between six and seven o'clock he saw a screw-steamer, which afterwards proved to be the Tyne, of North Shields. she was about 200 yards to the south of the South Pier, and was within the pier at the outer side. She was lying with her broadside to the sea, which was making a clean breach over her, and reaching half-mast high. Her crew were in the rigging of the three masts, and the vessel was then evidently broken in two, from the manner in which the masts were swaying to and fro. The funnel was carried away, and shortly afterwards the masts went one by one, taking the men with them. About an hour afterwards saw the body of a man, which was afterwards identified as that of Cook. carried into the Watch House The watch produced was the only article in his pockets. Before the vessel broke up, four or five had rockets had been fired over her, bat the crew could not leave the rigging, and nothing more could be done to save them. It was utterly impossible for the lifeboat to have reached them. Samuel Lawlan, son of the deceased captain, said his father was master of the screw-steamer Tyne. The body which the jury had viewed at 32 Thomas Street, was that of his father, Andrew Lawlan —Bryan Reah, plater and boiler builder. Dale Street, gave evidence as to finding the body of Captain Lawlan, shortly after seven o’clock, on Thursday morning, about 300 or 350 yards from the Watch House on the South Pier. The body was lying close to the stones at the side of South Pier, and was still warm, but life was extinct. Witness had the body taken to the Brigade House, whence it was subsequently removed to the residence of the deceased. This was all the evidence taken, and the jury unanimously returned a verdict to the effect that Andrew Lawlan and Daniel Craige Cook were accidently drowned by the shipwreck of their vessel, at the entrance to the harbour, on Thursday morning. The inquiry then terminated.

Source: Shields Gazette 23 December 1876

This morning, a man named Benjamin Heron, picked up a body at the Herd Sands, South Shields. It was identified as that of James Hudson, who was fireman on board the screw-steamer Tyne. The body was conveyed the dead house at the Union Workhouse.

Source: Shields Gazette 27 December 1876

An inquest was held yesterday afternoon, by Mr John Graham, coroner, at Mr W. Armstrong’s, Marine Hotel, Ocean Road, South Shields, upon the body of James Hudson, 32 years of age, a fireman on board of the screw-steamer Tyne, which was wrecked behind the South Shields Pier on Thursday last The deceased was a married man, and resided at the Custom House Quay, South Shields. His body, which presented the appearance indicative of severe scalding, was found yesterday morning upon the north side of the pier, and about 150 yards from the top. A verdict that Hudson was drowned by the wreck of the Tyne was returned.

It has now been definitely ascertained that at the time the Tyne was wrecked they were seventeen hands on board, and the following is the correct list: -

Captain—Andrew Lawlan
First mate—Charles Freake
Second Mate—John Storey
Chief Engineer—Daniel Cragie Cook.
Second Engineer—Luke Fiddler
Carpenter— James Ford
Firemen—Andrew McFell. William Cook, James Hudson and Thomas Ward
Seamen— Thomas Joicey, Wm. Thomas Budd, Benjamin Waddell, Samuel Jenkins, David Cleet and Henry Jacks
Cook— James Mitchell

Source: Shields Gazette 28 December 1876


W. G. TATE & SON are instructed by the Underwriters to SELL BY AUCTION, at the South Pier, South Shields, on Monday, Jan. 8.1877. at Two o'Clock in the Afternoon punctually, the WRECK of the Iron Screw-Steamer TYNE, of North Shields, as it may then and their lie near the South Side of the South Pier; also a quantity of WRECKAGE on the Beach. The Tyne's dimensions were 210.5 by 27.3 by 15.6. Engines, 70 h.p.; tonnage, 536; and she was built in 1863.

General Auction Offices. 97 Howard Street,
North Shields. Jan. 4. 1877.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 January 1877

The staging and cranes have suffered severe damage from vessels running into them.

The first was the schooner “Russell” which in the middle of the night of the 15th December in a South East Gale ran onto the South Slope of the South Pier- onto which the crew escaped- she was afterwards driven through the staging from the south to north breaking 18 piles which with the framework supported two large travelling cranes and which were consequently thrown down and broken, the two bells and machinery being submerged. Three of the remaining cranes left in danger were brought from the south to the north side for safety.

On the night of the 20th and morning of the 21st the gale and sea still increasing the screw steamer “Tyne” which became a total wreck with loss of all hands and the steamer “Fenella” afterwards stranded-went through the outer staging from NE to SW throwing down about 125 feet of completed staging with some framing still left hanging from the damage of the “Russell”.

In the afternoon of the same day the screw steamer “Blenheim” of Hartlepool came over the rubble base side on to the end of the masonary when she broke in two one half going to the south and the other to the north of the Pier and drifted against the remaining north piles alongside the finished work breaking them and throwing down the three cranes that had been placed there for safety when saved from the wreck of the “Russell”. The sea on this day was terrific.

Source: Piers Committee 9 January 1877

Old Stories Told
The Wreck of the Tyne

All day on Wednesday, Dec. 20th 1876, a fierce gale from the south-east raged on the north-east coast, rushing the Tyne Piers with angry mountains of sea, and lining the shore with one white belt of foam. The rain was continuous and blinding, and the grey dull sky overhanging the whole scene made the seaward prospect a very depressing one. During the day a few vessels came into port, making the bar successfully; but the greatest anxiety was felt for several vessels that were known to have left London for Shields and that would probably arrive that night. Towards midnight the wind abated slightly violence, but the sea was running very high on the bar.

About ten minutes to two in the morning the look-out man at the Watch House on the South Pier reported a vessel in sight. She was observed to be making very heavy weather, her masthead lights going well down to one side. Suddenly she was seen to waver in her course: a heavy wave seemed to strike her and instead of the red light she showed the green, thus plainly indicating that she had been completely turned round by the force of the waves. The men watching her noticed that she did not recover so rapidly as might have been expected and a few of them at once ran down the pier The vessel by this time had got down to the south of the pier and was coming on the beach. Upon seeing this the brigade men proceeded to get the rocket apparatus and gear down the pier.

In the very act of doing so they were called by their mates on the pier, and rushing down with a promptness that could not be too highly lauded got the rocket and the van right abreast of the vessel as soon as the first guns were fired from Spanish Battery and answered by the guns of the Castor. The whole action of the brigade in this emergency was admirable, as may be seen from the fact that before the last gun of the Castor had boomed the first rocket was prepared to be fired. The first rocket line fell fairly amidships of the vessel, but hung on to the stays where it could not be reached. A second line was fired, which fell abaft the mainmast; but at last a line was secured and hawser drawn on board.

By this time It became known that the vessel was the Claremont, of Newcastle, commanded by Captain Worth. She was from Hull and bound to the Tyne in ballast. At three o'clock, when communication had been effected, the pilots were launching the Willie Wouldhave lifeboat at the south side of the pier, with the view of getting the crew off by that means. The brigadesmen were indefatigable in their endeavours, and the delay seemed to be on board, owing to the terrific sea that was running. Shortly after three o'clock the wife and child of the second engineer, Harvey, were safely brought ashore by means of the apparatus; the poor woman and her little boy being very much frightened. Then one by one the crew, consisting of 20 hands, were all landed safely on the pier and taken to the Brigade House, where they were kindly and tenderly treated.

It appears that the Claremont left Hull about eight o'clock on the Tuesday night, and when off Flamborough Head she was overtaken by the gale, and ran before it until noon on the Wednesday, when off the Tyne, the tremendous gale making her labour heavily. When the wind went down the master attempted to enter the river, and when in the fairway for the harbour a succession of heavy seas struck her on the starboard bow, and rendered her unmanageable. The helm was hard-a-port to clear the pier end, but she would not answer, and was in great danger of striking the pier, Captain Worth put the helm hard a starboard to run her on the beach, when she was seen by the brigade. The Claremont was a vessel of 700 tons register, and belonged to Mr Wilson, of Newcastle, the son of the owner being chief engineer. She was almost a new vessel.

So happily ended the first calamity; but while all this was in progress the sea seemed to be increasing in violence, though the wind had somewhat abated. Between five and six o'clock, a light was discerned on the horizon far to the south. It was steadily watched as the other had been, and preparations for equal promptitude were made. . The light approached, and another large steamer was seen to making for the harbour. All appeared well with her till, on rounding the pier, a terrific sea caught her, and twisted her out of her course, and she struck with a tremendous crash upon the end of the pier. She proved the screw-steamer Tyne, Captain Lawlan, of North Shields. Once more the signal guns boomed out the startling, and as in this case proved fatal tidings, for not a single soul of all her hands but what perished in that sea.

The vessel seemed be very deep in the water, and appeared in a sinking condition. It was evident that she would soon go down. The most active attempts at rescue that ever mortal man could achieve were at once endeavoured. The apparatus was brought down instantly, but nothing could avert such an appalling fatality. Rocket after rocket was fired, while the ship settled down under the very eyes of the brigadesmen who were striving with heart and soul to save the crew. The men took to the rigging at once, and again and again the lines were fired to them. At this time the guns had brought vast crowd to the piers, and this somewhat impeded the action of the brigadesmen, but nevertheless they continued to fire the rockets over the fast sinking ship.

It was about half-past five now, and a faint grey glimmer of the coming day enabled those at the pier to see the outline of the vessel's rigging with the poor fellows clinging to it. Their cries were simply heartrendering, and words can give the faintest idea of those fearful shrieks of doomed men. The waves ran half-mast high over the vessel, and one by one they were washed off. At last the continued seas smashed away the funnel, and next the stays and mainmast gave way. Still the poor fellows clung desperately to the rigging, and all the time piercing cries for and of despair made every heart on the pier sad. Nothing could be done; no lifeboat could live for a single moment in such a sea; while the brigade men tried their hardest and their utmost, the Tyne went down, and every one of the crew were engulfed in the awful sea. Above the howling of the wind and waves could be heard the cries of the drowning men, but only for a few seconds, and then all sounds ceased; and all eyes were turned to another approaching calamity.

Almost before the Tyne had gone down, a third steamer was seen making for the harbour. As she came in to South Pier, it was seen that she was running dead on to the wreck that had occurred only a few minutes before. She had been dashed out of her course by another fearful sea and had struck the end of the pier, while a second wave had swung her off again. Those on shouted with all their might to keep clear of the wreck. The captain of the ship must have understood their warnings and seen the danger once, for with splendid seamanship he sent the vessel into a safe place by the south of the pier, narrowly missing the stern of the Tyne. He cleared it, however, a few feet, and the vessel was stranded just astern of the Claremont. She turned out to be the screw steamer Fenella from London.

The lines were once thrown to the ship, but the captain and crew, thinking the vessel lay on a safe place, choose to remain on board. Just at this time the body of Captain Lawlan was washed ashore, and conveyed at once to the Brigade House, where every effort was made to restore animation, but Dr. Crease, who was present, examined the body, and pronounced it to be lifeless. The head and face of the captain was fearfully bruised and battered, and presented a shocking appearance. An accident happened during the night to one of the river policemen, who was assisting the brigademen. He fell over the rocks and broke his leg. Two of the brigademen were also slightly injured.

With regard to the sinking of the Tyne, further harrowing details are given. Not only were men holding on to her rigging, but several poor fellows were seen clinging to the funnel, till the heat of it burned their fingers, and they had to drop off. Six or seven clung to the mainmast, which, first of all, went by the board, the sea swallowing them up instantly. The foremast next went but none of the men were upon this. On the mizzenmast two poor fellows were hanging on as the Fenella can by, and it was piteous to hear the cry they gave to the captain to throw a rope to them, and it must have been equally piteous to the captain to be powerless to do anything for them. But so it was. After dexterously clearing the stern of the wreck,  the Fenella put full steam ahead, and ran far up into the sand. The lifeboat was tried to be launched, but the sea was too heavy.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 October 1904