For the last week or so I have been making regular journeys to the M56 motorway which requires me to cross the River Weaver at the Acton Swing Bridge just three miles form my home. Each time I crossed the bridge I could see a rather large tugboat moored at the foot of the bridge, and I couldn’t help wondering what it was doing there.
So yesterday, taking advantage of the lovely weather I drove down to the bridge and went to have a look at this impressive boat. As I approached I could see the boat was named “Daniel Adamson” but which meant nothing to me. So a little background to the boat and its history:-
The Daniel Adamson is a remarkable survivor from the steam age and a most unusual vessel. A small but incredibly powerful canal tug, she was built to tow long strings of barges laden with goods from the inland towns of Cheshire and the Potteries to the great seaport of Liverpool. She made her appearance on the Mersey at a time when old-fashioned sailing ships still jostled for space on the Liverpool waterfront with the great steamships and ocean liners of the Edwardian era.
The 109-year-old steam-powered tug was built at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead has spent the last year at the shipyard being lovingly restored by a band of volunteers*. The restoration work, part of a £3.8m Heritage Lottery Fund award and with support from the Mayor of Liverpool included refurbishing all the brass work and intricate woodwork including returning the saloons to the 1930s style.
I walked alongside of the boat taking some photographs and was then encouraged to go on board to have a look around. Firstly I was taken to see the newly refurbished “art deco” saloons which had been done by the apprentices at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, and what a job they have done, the craftsmanship is outstanding and the woodwork simply beautiful.
A tour of the bridge was next with everything looking “as new”, I was particularly impressed with the brass footplates on the stairs down to the deck, wonderful pieces of craftsmanship (and they are the original ones on the ship).
Next, I donned hard helmet and shoe covers and then down into the bowels of the tug to inspect the engines and boilers. The boilers were much larger than I anticipated and keeping them full of coal must be real hard graft when the tug is “full on”.
Unfortunately, I cant remember the gentleman’s name who took me around but I would like to thank him for his patience and willingness to explain things in detail for me (and in simple terms as I am a non-techie). He also gave me a brief history of the docks in Liverpool where he worked as a tugman, it was absolutely fascinating.
So my advice is take the time to visit this wonderful old boat, it is part of our industrial heritage and we should do as much as possible to support and preserve it.
- Full details of the history of the boat can be found here https://www.thedanny.co.uk
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2018