copyright ©
Stephen Gavin
2003 - 2011
brig Elizabeth Jane
Support Lifeboats
Brig Elizabeth Jane - launched Nova Scotia 1817 - Lost July 1854 off the coast of Yorkshire - Found Robin Hood's Bay, July 2003
Latest News 2009 - 2010 - 2011- 2013
A short article about the Elizabeth Jane is available. Any acknowledgement of its use will be much appreciated.
10th April 2011
Elizabeth Jane in Quebec 1822? I feel more inclined than before to accept that she '...sailed from Liverpool 2nd June, Captain Dobson carrying Mr Butterworth and six settlers, and salt and goods for Frost(e) & Porter.' Montreal Gazette 1822 as reported in The Ships List as transcribed at Ship_Arrivals_Canada_June-July_1822.htm
9th April 2011

The first documented voyage of Elizabeth Jane? Google Labs enable newspapers and other media to be searched within the context of a timeline. Read whole newspaper.

Left: Advertisment in the The Royal Gazette and Newfoundland Advertiser published at St. John's, Newfoundland July 8th 1817. Elizabeth Jane was registered at Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 12th May 1817.

A transcription of this advert was first mention on this site on Elizabeth Jane's Timeline, transcribed by (A. Bennett):

Ready for sea Thursday next, the Brig "Elizabeth Jane", to Kingston, Jamaica. Accommodations for a few cabin and steerage passengers are available. Apply to the Master on board, at the wharf of Miller, Fergus& Co. (8 July)

A. Bennet's email address ( is no longer valid.

2nd April 2011

An image from Project Gutenberg's Yorkshire Painted And Described, by Gordon Home. According to Project Gutenberg: 'This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at'

As well as Robin Hood's Bay there are links to The Red Roofs of Whitby

Many of the links do not seem to work, though the following seems to link to the whole book.


Left: Robin Hood's Bay from Beach


March 27th

I am reminded by Hugh Moffat in his Ships and Shipyards of Ipswich, p.97, that after Jabez Bayley died in 1834, '...Read tried to defraud his widow Susan from her share of the partnership capital. George Bailey protected her by accepting only her as the tenant of the yard. Therefore Read moved back St. Clement's to work with Enos Page.

I have details of this trial (though it might be another) which I must bring to this site.

March 27th

I was contacted this week by Borin Van Loon, an Ipswich-based illustrator. I first contacted Borin in July 2009 with a photograph of Elizabeth Jane's Ipswich registration board, having seen his photographs of the old Ipswich Whaling station on his Ipswich Historic Lettering site. A website '...dedicated to a special project devised and developed by the illustrator, Borin Van Loon. A resident of Ipswich, the county town of Suffolk in England. Borin has been photographing examples of old lettering on the walls of buildings in and around the town for several years.'

Borin writes: 'We have written to the Ipswich Society, the Ipswich Borough Buildings Conservation Officer* and the Museum of East Anglian Life with regard to saving the chimney stack - which shouldn't be too difficult to dismantle and rebuild, one wouldn't have thought - but with no reply.' *useful links

In a website update of November 2010 Borin wrote: 'Woe, woe and thrice woe! We just noticed, while driving up Wherstead Road, that the Whaling Station is no more. Torn down despite our best efforts to draw attention to this hidden - now lost - piece of the Ipswich story. Boo!'

On his site he mentions that Robert Malster's 'A-Z of Ipswich local history' (see his Reading List ) gives a brief story of whaling in Ipswich, and adds:

The Ipswich Journal of 26 August, 1786 carried an advertisement for subscriptions to a new venture: a whale fishery established by banker Emerson Cornwell and shipbuilder Captain Timothy Mangles. The company's vessels the Ipswich and the chartered Orwell with crews of between 40 and 50 men each embarked from the Thames in March 1787 and hunted whales in northern waters. The Orwell took seven whales yielding 150 butts of blubber and 4 cwt of whalebone and it was lightered from lower down the Orwell river up to the area on the west bank known as Nova Scotia. The Ipswich took no whales that season, but brought back one and a half butts of blubber from killing 54 seals. The boilers for rendering down the blubber were housed in the buildings shown above. The newspaper suggests that there wasn't much smell from the process beyond 100 yards of the boilers, which is hard to believe. Despite a third vessel being sent out the next year the industry was soon abandoned and the vessels, lances and harpoons were put up for sale in 1793.

Followers of this site will know that London-based Francis Hammond (once part-owner of the Elizabeth Jane at Ipswich) was a stay-maker, and therefore had a connection with whaling. William Read the last owner of the Elizabeth Jane once lived in Wherstead Road.

March 20th
If you like Rupert the Bear stories you might enjoy (excerpts from) Capt. James Knill's Leaves from the Logbook of a Collier Skipper. There is a very nice photograph of a collier brig leaving harbour on this East Durham site which is 'not just a gallery, but an online community history project'.
March 20th
The Brig, 1856 Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Today I discovered that Thomas Bewick 'Wood engraver, naturalist, and Northumberland's greatest artist'* was the artist who made the wood engraving of a brig loading coal shown in our Latest News of June 9th 2010.

The image will be found on page 53 of Thomas Bewick Vignettes being tail-pieces engraved principally for his General History of Quadrupeds & History of British Birds, Edited with an introduction by Iain Bain, Scolar Press, London, 1979.

More about Thomas Bewick and the Bewick Society.*

March 14th

Definition of 'Collier' from... The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea 2006.

Collier, a vessel in the 17th and 18th (And 19TH S.G.) centuries which carried coal in bulk. These collier brigs, as they were called, carried 'sea coal' from the northern east coast ports of Britain to London, and from other ports to other destinations. Loading and discharging arrangements were both primitive and the amount of coal carried was very small, though it sufficed for domestic requirements during the sailing era. A typical collier brig could carry about 300-400 tons of coal, unloading it into lighters moored alongside, by a system known as 'coal whipping'. Many of the Northumbrian collier brigs were known as 'cats' or 'cat-built', and it was these vessels which Captain James Cook selected for his three great voyages of exploration by sea 1768-80. He had first apprenticed to the sea in Northumbrian collier brigs and well knew their great strength of construction and hard-weather qualities.

The advent of steam propulsion for ocean-going ships in the mid-19th century and the consequent necessity for establishing coal depots abroad for refuelling purposes, as well as growing industrial needs, gave rise to a requirement for vessels of much greater cargo-carrying capacity, and this was met by steam-driven ships with capacious holds which could carry at least 6,000 tons. Many industries still use large quantities of coal and it is still carried by modern colliers built to carry it in bulk.

March 13th
The Brig, 1856 Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Brig, 1856 Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Albumen print from a collodion-on-glass negative, 32 x 41 cm,
Townshend Bequest 1868, Museum no. 67.995

I recently did a search for brigs on the Victoria & Albert Museum's website. Not all results were relevant as it found 'brigadiers' as well as sailing vessels, but it did turn up some very nice images, among them Gustave Le Gray's The Brig.

It is quite hard to find the V&A's Terms and Conditions for the use of their images. However, having found them, they say: You are welcome to save single copies of images from this site, free of charge, for your own personal use. Personal use means the use of a single copy of each image by one person for non-commercial purposes, for example education, academic study, scholarship or research.

Low resolution images which are not in copyright may also be published on non commercial third party websites. High resolution images may not be used on websites without permission.

Since the images I propose to use are not high resolution I presume I'm ok? V&A please contact me if I'm wrong!

The V&A also has a view of Brighton with colliers anchored off-shore painted by John Constable

March 8th

English Heritage has a new website. On it I found an 1878 photograph of a steamship and a brig, sails unfurled, coming into Southampton Water from the open sea, heading towards the docks, by a photographer whose work I had not seen before. The photograph (ref. HT02622) was taken by Henry W Taunt and may not be reproduced without the permission of Oxfordshire County Council. See also: In the footsteps of Henry Taunt.

An exhibition of Taunt's stunning Victorian photographs of the River Thames accompanied by contemporary shots of the same views by Graham Diprose & Jeff Robins has been touring parts of the Thames Valley and elsewhere from 2007 to May 2010. The exhibition is now closed.

February 28th

Maritime songs wanted please - The Hull Area

'The project is Humbersound Groove Crew and funded by Heritage Lottery Young Routes. This project will investigate the musical heritage that links Hull to the sea and the cultural heritage that surrounds the city. An education package will be developed to deliver to a wider audience for future years. The young team Heritage Groove Crew will be researching into local maritime history and heritage by interviewing people and capturing their memories and stories with sound and film recording. They will also be performing at the Hull Maritime Festival (Shanty Festival) as last year.'

But sadly: Hull's maritime sea shanty festival axed, sunk by city council cuts

February 25th

Some thoughts about William Read of Ipswich

The following is from Hervey Benham's 'Once upon a Tide'. The chapter - When Wrecks were Counted by the Hundred - describes the accusation against William Read - "That he on the --- did incite and procure one William Simpson, feloniously and maliciously to cast away and destroy a certain vessel called the Colina, on the high sea, within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty of England, and also of the Central Criminal Court, with intent to prejudice divers persons as part owners of or underwriters to the said vessel"

I do not know where Hervey Benham obtained some of the detail included in the following excerpt, particularly the fact that the master, William Simpson was pardoned:

Barratry was not uncommon, but the most sensational East Coast case occurred before the economic incentive referred to by Runciman (Collier Brigs and their Sailors; Before the Mast and After). It concerned the brig Colina, sunk off the Dutch Coast in 1841. Three years later her owner, William Read, one of the best-known Ipswich ship-builders and a member of the town council, was charged at Mansion House with conspiring with her master to cast her away to defraud the Marine Alliance Assurance Company, with which she was insured for £1250. When the case came up at the Central Criminal Court many leading Ipswich personalities attended. The master made no secret of the fact that he had bored holes in her bottom with an auger and described how the idea had been discussed with Read. He said he had protested that not only was the brig leaky, but even her boat was not fit to save the crew if she were 'dropped,' on which Read had told him to get a new boat. After the highly improper legal practice of the day a string of witnesses, including the Mayor of Ipswich, aldermen, merchants, and ship-owners, were allowed to testify to read's 'respectability' before the verdict was reached, and this form of defence so impressed the jury that 'without a moment's hesitation' they returned the verdict of not guilty, which the crowded court acknowledged by loud plaudits. The wretched captain was then sentenced to transportation for life, being sternly told that he had much aggravated the offence by attempting to implicate others. 'I have only told the truth,' was his reply. Happily, somebody seems to have been uneasy about a verdict which appears from surviving reports to have been a travesty of justice, for which he was granted a free pardon a few months later.

It is interesting to consider the following in the context of the above story...

'The announcement of Mr Read's acquittal, on the charge of having connived in the sinking of the "Colina", was welcomed yesterday at Ipswich by the ringing of bells, the firing of cannon, the hoisting of flags on the different vessels in the dock, and by other demonstrations of satisfaction on the part of the population.'
(Ipswich Journal, April 20th, 1844, No.5,479)

February 24th

The Mystery of the Lost Mariner and the Wreck of the Steamship Victoria

View Larger Map

Vinga Beacon and Lighthouse - from Google Earth Photograph by Zata

Some interesting news from Barbara Hoyle possibly concerning the SS Victoria, known to readers of this site as the steam ship that took the remains of John Cutler Ramsden from Hamburg to Hull to be interred in a private manner at the Waltham Street Chapel.

I have not yet been able to check whether the SS Victoria mentioned by Barbara is the same vessel, though the dates reported make it possible. Barbara is keen to know the fate of a Thomas Stringer (b. 1827-29) who was a mariner and crew member of a SS Victoria wrecked off Wenga Lighthouse* (Some clarification needed -see snippet from Google Books - below) on its way from Hull to St. Petersburg. Its loss was reported in The Hull Packet and East Riding Times, on Friday, November 26th, 1852.

Thomas' wife Emma was expecting Barbara's great grandmother (b. 1853, Hull.) at the time of the wreck. In 1856 Emma remarried. Though the certificate of her marriage to a Joseph Harle describes her as a 'widow', Barbara has not been able to find a record of Thomas' death at the Hull History Centre or the Beverley Archives.

The following is interesting with regard to death certificates and deaths and loss at sea.

Help with locating Thomas' death certificate, and any other information about him, will be gratefully received.
Please contact her at

* Barbara used 'Vingo' based on the above newspaper report; The Parliamentary Report 'Wenga'; and a book on navigation 'Wingoe'.

The Official Report of the loss of the vessel was published in The Nautical Magazine, Volume 22, Part 1. Shown in snippet view only at Google Books.

From - Piloting Directions from the Cattegat and Baltic - Norie & Hobbs 1846

From - Nautical Magazine - October 1854

VICTORIA paddle steamer 1837 - From

by aukepalmhof » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:20 pm

Click image to view full size The stamp is designed after a painting of the vessel, painted by John Ward a famous marine painter from Hull, as given by Navicula.
Built as a paddle-steamer by the yard of J.North at Hull for the Hull Steam Shipping Co.
Launched under the name VICTORIA.
Tonnage 698 gross. Dim?
Powered by 240 nhp. steam engine, manufactured by David Napier.
1837 Completed.

Used in the service between Hull and London.
March 1838 got a boiler explosion in her starboard boiler, killing three people, and injuring several more.
Three months later when she was in collision with a brig, during the collision she smashed her starboard paddle wheel, not possible to shut down quickly enough her steam a other explosion happened, killing 5 people.

Lloyds Register of 1841 gives that her owner is Brownlow, and still registered at Hull.
Used in the trade between Hull and London.
Lloyds register of 1852 gives same owner but trading from Hull to Hamburg.
Till so far her fate unknown.

Source: Navicula. British Paddle Steamers by Geoffrey Body. Lloyds Register. Info received from Mr. John D.Stevenson.

The vessel lost at Vinga was '441 ton gross register'*. This vessel portrayed in the stamp (Cutler's vessel) is described as '698 gross'. The Victoria Steamship shown on the Bridgeman Art Library site weighed '1200 Tons Burthen & 400 Horse Power'.

*Parliamentary Report

February 16th
William Read V. Angell - The 'Dazzler'

William Read V. Angell, & the 'Dazzler'.

Discovered, another court case involving William Read, reported in the Law Times Reports - courtesy Google Books.

Concerns the case of the 'Dazzler'.
Read the Law Times Report on this site.

January 16th

Today, after an email from Google Alerts, I was linked to RootsChat where I found a reference to a William Read. The post, Re: ANGELINA MOWER born 1829 - Bury, refers to a marriage certificate where:

'... the only witnesses were a Hannah Serjeant (her mother in law) and a William Read?  Wonder who the William Read was? 

I still can't understand why she would name a Frederick Mower as the father, wouldn't it have been better to have left it blank?  Not sure what they did in those days.'

The time slot is plausible, and the 'Bury' referred to is Bury St. Edmonds in Suffolk, which is about thirty miles from Ipswich.

View Larger Map

I have posted to hmserge: 'Please have a look at and use 'search'. William Read was a well know Ipswich shipowner and shipbuilder who was the last owner of the brig Elizabeth Jane registered at Ipswich from 1830 until 1854 when she was lost off Robin Hood's Bay. Read might have employed a carpenter and might have 'stood-in' for the father; perhaps because he was at sea, or had died?

I'd be grateful  learn more about this man and his life.'

January 9th Elizabeth Jane's Name-board on A History of the World...
January 7th 157 years ago today...
SHIPWRECK AT NEWBIGGIN - The Loss of the Embla
It was supposed that all the distressing account of losses of life and prosperity by the late gales had been received last week; but it appears that at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, a calamitous disaster took place on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 7, which resulted in the total loss of a Norwegian ship called the Embla, bound from Portugal to Christiana, 350 tons burden, with a cargo of salt, and having a crew, it is supposed, of twelve or thirteen men. This ill-fated vessel and her crew were lost under very melancholy circumstances, from the refusal to go out of, the men who have charge of the lifeboat, which was stationed there about a year end a half ago at the instance and expense of the Duke of Northumberland, and embodies in its construction all the modern improvements introduced into the architecture of craft of that kind. Between two and three o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 7, the people discovered a vessel, with a flag of distress hoisted, driving towards the shore, to a point a little north of the place, and they immediately set about getting the lifeboat in readiness. They had considerable difficulty in procuring horses to convey her along the coast, and before they reached the spot where her services were required the vessel had stranded, and the sea was breaking over her mountains high. But a new and unexpected difficulty arose. The life-boat requires a crew of fourteen men, and though there were thrice that number of fishermen on the shore where she was, watching the motions of the ship in this perilous position, not more then fire of them could be induced to offer their services to man the boat - a force wholly inadequate for the occasion. The rest were so unnerved by the danger, or prevented by the woman, who implored them not to go to risk their lives, that they could not be prevailed upon to engage in the enterprise of mercy; and a full hour was spent in vain to inspirit the crowd by the Rev. Mr Smith, the curate, and Mr Grace, a resident. At length the life-boat put off to sea, manned by five men who had bravely engaged to go in the first instance, and five others who had volunteered, but who were mostly half-grown men, altogether unequal to the emergency, and after several ineffectual attempts to reach the ship, they gave up the enterprise in despair, anal the crew of the vessel were left to their fate. The ship struck on the beach about three o'clock in the afternoon, and for nearly two hours became the sport of the breakers, when she went to pieces, and all was over. Who captain was washed ashore in the course of the evening, and when found his body was still warm. Upon his person were found 25 sovereigns and five Norwegian notes of the value of £3 in English money, together with a letter written by a lady named Louise Hansen, of Christiana in terms of the fondest endearment, and addressed to Capt. Gustavus Kock, which was afterwards further identified as the captain's name. He was a remarkably handsome man, about 26 years of age, and was buried on the 11th, in the churchyard of the neighbouring village of Woodhorn, in the presence of two of his countrymen, captains of ships now in the Tyne, one of whom had been his schoolfellow in Christiana, and Lloyd's local agent. - Another vessel called the Elizabeth Jane, of Ipswich, bound for a coal port, in ballast, also went on shore, at Newbiggin, but the crew saved themselves in their boat, and not much damage was done to the ship.
January 4th

Only a year before Serena Cant's England's Shipwreck Heritage: From Logboats to U-boats: will available at

Please help support this website by following this link to buy this book. Thank you!

January 2011 Happy New Year to all visitors to this site! Do look at previous year's entries. 2009 - 2010 - 2011