WEATHER – Terrific Gales along the North East Coast Tees, Hartlepool, Tyne.

Accreditation The Redcar & Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 22/10/1869  


            On Saturday last, a very severe gale swept along the north east coat, followed by another on Monday night. The damage done to shipping in the north was considerable, and several lives were lost during the morning of Tuesday.

            Early on that morning a Hartlepool brig the “Vesper,” Captain Kitteringham, went ashore on the South Gare Breakwater, She soon became a total wreck. The captain was drowned, and one of his crew sustained a compound fracture of his leg. The “Vesper” was lade with timber, and was on her voyage home from the Baltic, She belonged to Mr. Wilkinson, of Hartlepool.

            As will be seen below, several lives were, and the hoist completely destroyed, at Saltburn. At Hull, a large pontoon on the Lincolnshire side of the river was almost entirely submerged. A Prussian vessel with nine hands was lost near Shields. The brig “Anna Maria,” Captain Skinner, from the Clyde for Valparaiso, has foundered at sea. The master, a passenger, and five men landed at Oporto; but the other boat, with the mate and three men is missing.

            Ample warning of the approach of the gale had been given by the metrological department of the Board of Trade, whereby captains of vessels were enabled to seek shelter when it was rendered necessary. On the south coast the gale was felt very severely and considerable damage was done.




            About midnight on Saturday when the wind blew a perfect hurricane, the wooden framework, which had been in course of erection for some time for the hoist, which was some 136 feet in height, was blown down and smashed. On Sunday and Monday the gale continued with a little abatement, but on Monday evening the wind freshened, and from dusk on Monday it blew a perfect hurricane, bringing with it sea mountains high. Within a few yards of the promenade pier a schooner, the “John,” of Tay, went ashore. On Tuesday morning, about half past seven, the crew deserted her and took to the small boat which almost immediately capsized, the whole of them being lost amidst the breakers. The lifeboat was manned, but the crew seeing no one on board hesitated to put to sea, until J. Bell Esq., of Rushpool Hall, who clung to the belief that some one was still on board the schooner, offered them £10 to go alongside. This offer they accepted, and amidst intense excitement the crew launched the lifeboat, and with great difficulty ran alongside the vessel, but with no result.

            Several dead bodies have washed up along the coast.



            About four o’clock on Saturday afternoon, the weather here became very unsettled, the wind, which had been all day blowing from the west, veered round to due northward, and by sunset rose to a gale, rain and hail falling in torrents, and its power increasing, as night wore on, to a perfect hurricane. The danger of the position caused lively anxiety to be felt for the safety of any shipping which might try to enter either port; but no such attempt was made, neither were any vessels seen in the offing, except a smack, the captain and two of the crew of which had come ashore, in the course of the afternoon, leaving a couple of lads in charge of her. Finding the weather becoming threatening, the two men returned on board in their own boat; but about nine o’clock she parted from her anchors, and drove with a sudden violence across the bay to the Longscar reef, on which she stuck; and it being evident that she must soon be dashed to pieces on so terrible a sea, they managed to get onto the boat and make for shore – a perilous and difficult task – in which they succeeded until within a few yards of Seaton beach, where the fury of the surf capsized their frail craft, and all four men were thrown into the dark angry sea. The two men and one boy struggled safely to land, but the other met a watery grave. The smack, which belonged to Hull, was called the “Vicious,” and was one of the pair which towed in the derelict timber vessel, the “David,” a few days since. It is evident that soon after the crew left her she went to pieces, as scarcely a vestige of her was to be seen at daybreak.

            A very foggy and wet day on Monday was succeeded by another severe gale from the northward which set in about nine o’clock, and increased in fury during the night, accompanied by rain and hail. Assisted by the steam tugs, two small foreign craft succeeded in entering the old harbour in the early morning tide on Tuesday. A schooner from Dover, the “Star,” in attempting to make the West Harbour, in tow of a steam tug, drove in between the South Pier and the jetty, in consequence of a smack getting in the track of the steamer, and compelling the latter to let go of her tow rope. She has, however, grounded in such a manner as to justify the hope that she will be got off safely when the weather moderates. About the time this occurred , a Shields tug, the “R. S. Alston,” which vessel which she fell in with some 20 or 30 miles at sea on her passage from Middlesbrough to the Baltic, with her engines disabled, and lying in a sheer log of water, and in imminent risk of foundering, with her valuable cargo of about 900 tons of railway iron. It is said that £100 is claimed for salvage. At three o’clock a Dutch galliot was seen to be hopelessly drifting on the Redcar rocks, when the Hartlepool steam tug “Conqueror” ran out to her assistance, and succeeded in getting hold of her just in time to save her from destruction. She was safely towed into Hartlepool.

            Information has been received of the entire loss of the s.s. “Leipzig,” bound from Hartlepool to Keil, which was stranded off Sciero. The crew were saved. The “Orient,” bound for Ardrossan, is also stranded, and has become a total wreck.


            One of the most violent north-east gales which has been experienced for many years came on to blow with great suddenness on Saturday night, and raged with fury until after seven o’clock on Sunday morning. It was accompanied by heavy showers of rain and sleet. At half-past-nine a vessel was seen drifting ashore, and the three shields lifeboats were pulled out into the heart of the storm in quest of the unfortunate ship. She proved to be the collier brig “Sea Horse,” of Aberdeen, which only sailed on Saturday from the Tyne, coal-laden, for Scotland. The crew were trying to bring her back to the Tyne when the gale forced her in shore, she struck on the stones of the Tynemouth pier, and unshipped her rudder. She then drifted into Prior’s Haven, but the force of the gale took her out again. And with all the sails blown away she beat across the bar of the Tyne. When she got within the south pier the crew succeeded in getting her down, and prevented her going ashore until lifeboats reached her. The boats stood by until she began to drag her anchor, when the crew was taken off by the South Shields Lifeboat. The vessel drove against the south pier, where she sank. Half an hour after midnight another vessel was seen in distress and the lifeboats put off. The vessel seemed to be in a similar predicament to the “Sea Horse,” and she drifted into the Her Sand, when her crew was gallantly rescued by the South Shields lifeboat. She was “The Friends,” of Dundee. During the morning the “Rocklight” steam tug, a new boat, and one of the largest and most powerful on the Tyne, was observed to be in flames on the north side of the river. Her moorings were slipped and she was towed by the steam ferry “Durham” inshore and scuttled, but she was extensively damaged. Her owner, Mr. John Heads, will lose at least £1,000 by the fire. On Sunday forenoon the steaming “Fiery Cross” brought the fishing boat “Water Lily,” of Bournemouth, into the Tyne in a wretched state. She had drifted the whole length of the Northumberland Coast, and but for the timely assistance of the tug the crew must have perished, as the boat was entirely cut of their control. The French brig “Venice” capsized in Shields Harbour on Saturday night, but with the assistance of three powerful tugs she was dragged out of the fair way on the Jarrow Slake, and will be righted.


Lol Hansom May 6, 2013 Weather & Tides