27th September 2005, 23:43
Further to my last message, I wondered if anyone could confirm if the Peruvian Navy River Gunboat 'America' is still in existence, she too was a product of the Tranmere Bay Development Company and built about 1904.
She was based at Iquitos on the River Amazon when last mentioned in Jane's, however, it is some time since she was recorded in that publication.
I have made some tentative efforts to contact the Peruvian authorities but to date without success.
If anyone knows of any other surviving products of this builder I would be most grateful (and frankly surprised!) to hear about them.
28th September 2005, 00:17
Apologies about this, my edit deleted the original message!
Briefly I am among a group engaged in the efforts to restore the steam tug/tender 'Daniel Adamson'
The vessel was built by the 'Tranmere Bay Development Co. Birkenhead (a partnership of Laird Bros. & John Jones (Engine Builders) of Liverpoo) in 1903 for the Shropshire Union Canal and Railway Co. as 'Ralph Brocklebank'
Two similar vessels, 'Lord Stalbridge' and 'W.E.Dorrington' followed, the trio providing basic accommodation for 100 passengers, whilst at the same time towing barges from Ellesmere Port to Liverpool as their principal role. The vessels all passed to the Manchester Ship Canal Co. in the early 1920's when their intended role became no longer viable.
I know that 'Ralph Brocklebank' was named after a member of the famous shipowning family, who was at one time Chairman of the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board (1863/9) and I believe a Chairman of the SUC&R. His charitable works included setting up the Liverpool Seaman's Orphans Institute, later part of Newsham Hospital. He was also involved in setting up the first Mersey Mission to Seamen which he opened in Hanover Street, Liverpool in 1879
Lord Stalbridge was a Chairman of the London and North Western Railway, which in turn owned the SUC&R. His name is perhaps familar as that given to the final phase of the L&NWR docks at Garston (Liverpool)
Which leaves W.E. Dorrington, who I'm afraid I haven't a clue about, save to say I assume he must have had something to with this group of companies.
It is perhaps ironic that the sole survivor of this trio of vessels, 'Daniel Adamson' renamed in 1936 when upgraded to Canal Inspection Vessel by the MSC.Co. was given the name of the foremost champion of the canal project and that company's first chairman! No doubt Adamson and Brocklebank would have had markedly opposing views concerning the construction of the canal!
Perhaps the greater irony is that today both the Manchester Ship Canal and now the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company are both owned by one man or rather Peel Holdings!
Any help regarding these names would be interest, many thanks