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Tyne and Wear HER(14139): Tynemouth, Black Middens, Friendship - Details

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N Tyneside

Tynemouth, Black Middens, Friendship



Maritime Craft

Sailing Vessel


Early Modern



ENGLISH SCHOONER, 1864 Vessel stranded and lost in wind conditions ESE force 10. `On Thursday 24th November, a severe east-north-east gale lashed the north coast...The first casualty happened at 4pm... `On the same day, at about the same time, the schooner FRIENDSHIP of Colchester, coal laden, returning through stress of weather to the harbour, got out of the Channel and drove onto the Black Middens. The lifeboats NORTHUMBERLAND and PROVIDENCE were manned, and proceeded to her assistance. At the time it was low water and the two lifeboats made every effort to close with the vessel, but as terrific seas swept over the Middens the rocks appeared like black broken teeth. The lifeboats hailed the FRIENDSHIP advising the sailors to lash themselves to the rigging until the tide had risen enough for them to get alongside, then both boats lay off, and waited. `In the meantime, the RNLI lifeboat CONSTANCE, stationed in Tynemouth Haven, was launched and proceeded to the wreck, but getting too close to the ship was struck by a heavy sea, and driven up against the vessel, stove it in. Four of the crew of the CONSTANCE, thinking the boat was unsafe, jumped onto the wreck of the FRIENDSHIP. A succession of heavy seas thundering in hammered the FRIENDSHIP on her beam ends. Six crew members perished, and four lifeboatmen, who were wearing lifejackets, were thrown over the rocks to the beach. Only two survived, and they were badly injured.' (2) `At daylight on the morning of Thursday 24th November 1864...the wind was light, it was evident from the heavy seas rolling in from the south-east that there was quite a strong wind offside...It was high water towards noon, and by then the wind and sea was just beginning to make [sic]...the lights of a schooner (which afterwards proved to be the FRIENDSHIP of Colchester, Captain Samuel Stead) were observed entering the narrows. With the wind and sea behind her she came very quickly up the narrows, took a sheer to the north side, ending on the Mussel Scarp Rocks (the western end of the Black Middens). On this being observed the alarm was raised by the people ashore, the rocket apparatus belonging to the coastguards was brought, and in addition to the lifeboat TYNE, which was at this moment landing the crew of the tug EXPERT, the lifeboat PROVIDENCE from South Shields and the NORTHUMBERLAND from North Shields were launched.' (3) `At about 10 o'clock that night, with the tide at about half-flood, the schooner FRIENDSHIP began to sir, but as she began to lift, a heavy sea, tearing in from the south-east, knocked her over on her beam ends. The cries of the crew could be plainly heard as the seas tore over her, and the crowds on the beach could only stand by in sorrow as they witnessed the scene.' (3) At the Inquest, reported in the Shields Gazette of 26.11.1864, one of the bodies was recognised as Samuel Shead, master, by James Shead, master mariner, of Colchester, and crew complement confirmed as 5 hands; other witnesses recognised 2 other bodies as Daniel Page of Wivenhoe, aged 17 and the mate to be Mitchell. (3) Two bodies recognised at the inquest as William Clark, seaman on board the FRIENDSHIP, age unknown, of Little Holland; and William Button of Oxford, one of the crew of the FRIENDSHIP, aged 18. (3) `After a short deliberation the jury returned the following verdict: "We find that the loss of the FRIENDSHIP was purely accidental..." ' (3) `...on 7th December in the North and South Shields Gazette: "To be sold by Auction: "On the New Quay, North Shields, on Thursday December 8th, 1864, at 11 o'clock forenoon, W G Tate and Sons, Auctioneers. "The ship's stores, saved from the wreck of the schooner FRIENDSHIP of Colchester, consisting of anchors, chains, warps, rigging, ropes, sails, boat, yellow metal, gudgeons, etc., about 20 bags of oatmeal, and upwards of 20 barrels of Scotch pickled pork. "R Popplewell and Co., Lloyds' Agent, New Quay, North Shields." ' (4




Richard and Bridget Larn 1997 Shipwreck index of the British Isles, volume 3. The east coast of England : Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, County Durham, Northumberland Section 6, County Durham (CF); Boswell Whitaker 1979 Preservation of life from shipwreck, volume 1 : Skuetender lifeboat Page(s)102-3; Boswell Whitaker 1980 Preservation of life from shipwreck, volume 2 : South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade Page(s)24-6, 28, 33, 39, 50; Boswell Whitaker 1980 Preservation of life from shipwreck, volume 3 : Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Page(s)9; National Monuments Record (1364859)

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