The Daniel Adamson makes its maiden voyage along the River Weaver
PUBLISHED: 00:00 31 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:50 07 November 2016
An historic boat has made its first journey along the River Weaver after volunteers completed a lengthy restoration project
An historic steam tug built on the Wirral more than 100 years ago has made a landmark voyage along the River Weaver. The Daniel Adamson was almost lost without trace before volunteers bought the vessel for £1 and embarked on an ambitious restoration progamme which cost almost £3million.
Built in Tranmere in 1903 as the Ralph Brocklebank, the ship was used by The Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Co to carry passengers and tow the company’s barges across the Mersey. Cargos could then be transported from inland towns to the Empire via Liverpool’s ocean-going ships.
In the 1920s the Ralph Brocklebank was sold to the Manchester Ship Canal Co and in the mid-1930s its saloons were re-fitted in Art Deco styling after one of the company directors was impressed by the designs on a cruise on the new Cunard liner, the Queen Mary in 1936. At the same time the vessel was re-named Daniel Adamson in honour of the Ship Canal Co’s first chairman.
The Daniel Adamson carried many famous passengers, including General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur Tedder, during the build up to operation Overlord, Prince George of Denmark and King Fuad of Egypt.
But with the decline in the Ship Canal’s fortunes, the Daniel Adamson was laid up at Runcorn. In 1986 it was towed to the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port where for many years she was cared for by museum staff and volunteers but a lack of funds and attacks by vandals meant her condition deteriorated. She was due to be scrapped in 2004 before a group of enthusiasts stepped forward.
The vessel – known as the Danny – is the only surviving example of its type in the UK and celebrated the award of its Maritime and Coastguard Agency certification with a cruise from Ellesmere Port, along the Weaver to the Acton Bridge Steam Fair last month.
Chairman of The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, Dan Cross said: ‘The River Weaver is Cheshire’s hidden gem, a glorious and scenic waterway cutting right through the heart of the Cheshire countryside while its history and architecture remind us of its once important status as a commercial waterway.
‘Bringing up to 100 passengers into the heart of Cheshire is a vital step in what we hope will become a regular cruising ground for the Daniel Adamson, which we believe to have never navigated the Weaver before and a fitting cruise to mark the completion of the near £3million re-fit of the vessel, made possible by the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the work done by Cammell Lairds, over 100,000 hours of work by our volunteers and donations in cash and kind from many other bodies and organisations since 2004.’
The Danny will be open to the public at Albert Dock, Liverpool for dates until the end of 2016. From then the vessel will be as a moving visitor and museum attraction based at Albert Dock and Ellesmere Port and will offer cruises.
While static, The Danny will give an interactive ‘story-experience’, bringing alive unique tales through tours which include real-life stories from past boat workers, sights, sounds of the past from revealing and surprising storytellers.
The Daniel Adamson is 15th on the National Register of Historic Vessels, alongside the Cutty Sark and SS Great Britain on the register maintained by National Historic Ships
The Danny was a naval patrol boat in the First World War and a fire-fighting boat in the Second World War
It is the oldest steam passenger vessel in the UK
The project is a heritage partnership with Merseyside Maritime Museum as part of the Our Sea Our Story exhibition
The preservation of the boat has been supported and funded by The Heritage National Lottery with the restoration expertise and craftsmanship of Cammell Lairds – where the boat was originally built
For more information go online to www.thedanny.co.uk