Paddle Steamer SOUTH OF IRELAND – (LARN) Wagon Rock, Worbarrow Bay. Transcripts by K. V. Saunders from DCCs: 27/12/1883 & 10/01/1884. Also BOT: Wk. Rtn. 1883 Appx. Pts I-VI p114: Farr: p85; Lloyds List: 27/12/1883(R) & Lloyd’s Register: 1883-4 No. 801(S). See also Times


“Wreck of a Weymouth Steamer – The Great Western Railway Company’s steamer SOUTH OF IRELAND, which left Cherbourg on Christmas Eve for Weymouth with passengers and a general cargo, ran upon Kimmeridge Ledge, a dangerous group of rocks about 15 miles from Weymouth. According to the few particulars at present to hand it appears the steamer left Cherbourg in a dense fog, but all went well until about one on Tuesday morning, when it was. found the vessel had got considerably out of her course presumably owing to the fog, which also prevailed on the English coast. Shortly after this unwelcome discovery the steamer struck upon the rocks, and quickly began to fill with water. A boat was at once dispatched to Weymouth for assistance, and on the alarm being given several steamers left that port for the scene of the disaster, and took off the whole of the passengers. The SOUTH OF IRELAND is valued at twenty thousand pounds and it is feared she will become a total wreck. A Lloyd’s telegram from Warbarrow states that the SOUTH OF IRELAND is a total wreck, the master (Pearn) and all hands having been saved. The SOUTH OF IRELAND was an iron steamer of 498 gross tons, built at Renfrew in 1867, and owned by the Great Western Railway Company.


“The wreck of the SOUTH OF IRELAND – Since last week various attempts have been made to recover some of the cargo of this steamer, which still remains on the rocks on Warbarrow Tout. On Sunday 2 very large steam pumps arrived by a special train, but they could not be lifted into the barges waiting for them because there was no crane strong enough to do the work. They were forwarded on to Portland and there duly deposited. On Monday the weather was not favourable for the barges and pumps to be conveyed to the scene of the wreck, but the COMMODORE tug and a barge went and recovered a portion of the cargo. On Tuesday the weather still continued too rough for the pumps to leave the harbour, but, as on the day before, the tug and a barge went and received some more of the cargo. On Wednesday the weather was more favourable, and the QUEEN took the barges containing the steam pumps in tow, having on board Captain Leckey, the Great Western Company’s marine superintendent, and a numerous working gang; these were followed by the COMMODORE and another barge. Everything was favourable for salvage operations; the pumps were speedily got in position, and in less than half-an-hour the engine room, after hold, and saloon compartment were pumped dry. It was then thought possible to be able to float these three parts either into Weymouth or Portland with the view of recovering the machinery. At high tide a combined effort was made by the steamers to tow them, but they slipped into deep water owing to so much weight being in one compartment, and now lie covered. All hopes have been abandoned of doing anything further with the wreck, and Captain Leckey has returned to Milford. On Wednesday a couple of divers from Whitstable were engaged in recovering cargo as often as the state of the sea permitted them working in the hull. On Thursday they could do nothing on account of the heavy swell, but one of the barges brought back a considerable quantity of drapery goods which had been collected on the shore at Warbarrow, and on Friday a barge again went for a similar purpose. It is supposed there are about 3 barge loads of cargo still in the remains of the unfortunate ship. We are informed a Board of Trade enquiry has been ordered to be held into the loss of the SOUTH OF IRELAND, and will probably take place in a few days, but it is not yet decided where the investigation will be held.”

Note: Captain Pearn was held responsible and dismissed from the Great Western Railway.

Times: Thursday, December 27, 1883, Issue 31014 – “The steamer South of Ireland, from Cherbourg for Weymouth, reported yesterday ashore in Kimmeridge Bay, has broken up, and her cargo all lost.” Ship Incident

Day of Loss: 25

Month of Loss: 12

Year of Loss: 1883



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