Waldridge Boilers, Port Mulgrave

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The Waldridge was a British steamship, built in Sunderland in 1868. She was owned by Edwin Robert Dix, of Sunderland.

Many thanks to Wayne Martin for the photos.

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Wreck Report for ‘Waldridge’
This vessel left the Tyne about 4 p.m. on the 30th January 1895 with a crew of fifteen hands all told and a cargo of about 900 tons, of which 180 tons were bricks and the remainder coal, bound for Boulogne.

At about 2 a.m. on the 31st January, the vessel then being about six or seven miles from Whitby, the second engineer, who had had charge of the engines since midnight, finding that the ship was making water, put on the donkey-engine and called the chief engineer, who on going down into the engine-room and seeing the condition of things at once put on the bilge injection, but notwithstanding these efforts he failed to reduce the water and it gained on him; he then sent for the captain, who immediately came down into the engine-room, the water at this time washing up the stoke-hole plates and threatening to extinguish the fires. After consultation with the chief officer and chief engineer the master determined to put back to Hartlepool, and with that view put the helm hard-a-port and wore the ship round.

Shortly after this the lower fire was extinguished, and the water continuing to gain. the steam went back and the engines finally stopped at about 5 a.m. Attempts had been made to light the fire of the donkey-boiler on deck, but the constant washing of the seas prevented this being done. in the meantime signals of distress were made and the port lifeboat cleared away, but in consequence of the breaking of a belaying pin to which the after fall was attached the boat fell into the water and was smashed. The ship at this time was perfectly helpless, the wind having backed to the E.N.E., with heavy seas constantly breaking over her. The stay sails were set with a view to help her on to the shore, the master fearing the vessel would founder.

At about 8 a.m. the vessel took the ground about 200 yards north of Port Mulgrave, a mile and a half to the southward of Staithes, it being then about an hour after high water and daylight coming on. The ship swung round with her head to the southward, whereupon the starboard lifeboat was cleared away; two men got into her, but none of the others would follow, the master stating that it was his intention to stay by the ship for the present. The men in the lifeboat then cut the painter, and the boat drifted ashore and the men were saved.

Shortly after this the carpenter, Peter Haysom, who was a good swimmer and had a lifebelt on, determined (against the advice of the master) to attempt to swim ashore, but he was drowned when 40 or 50 yards from the ship.

After the ship had been on shore about half an hour the rocket apparatus from Staithes arrived at the top of the cliff, which is 350 ft. high. Two rockets and the breeches buoy were taken down to the beach, and the first rocket fired fell across the quarter, but the line caught in a rock and broke; the second rocket fell short. A third rocket was sent for and fired, which fell right across the vessel’s bows. She had then parted amidships, and it was decided to attempt to land the crew with the whip alone, as it was thought the hawser would not reach the vessel, and there being no place at that time on which the triangle could be fixed. The first man to leave the ship in the breeches buoy was James Clarke, A.B., who was unfortunately drowned before reaching the shore in consequence of a piece of canvas getting into the block and the rope having fouled a rock. In the meantime, the body of the carpenter had washed ashore, and efforts were made by Dr. Laverick, the local secretary of the Staithes Lifeboat Institution, to restore animation, but without success.

The tide having by this time receded considerably, it was found that the triangle could be fixed, and, the hawser would reach the ship; this was successfully accomplished, and the remainder of the crew were landed in safety, the last man to leave the ship being the master.

3 thoughts on “Waldridge Boilers, Port Mulgrave

  1. Thanks Chris,
    I struggled to find detailed information about the wreck.I know there was an inquest into the deaths of the two men where by the ships owners were found to be not at fault.

  2. I follow you on FaceBook and after seeing the post there about the Walbridge, I decided to take a look.
    My family and I set off in cracking weather after checking the tides – this is what we saw: https://youtu.be/uzbKziiNMWM
    I hope you enjoy the clip and that it inspires others to get out and about and take a look

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