Last-surviving UK steam tug-tender to be restored and opened to public

    Daniel Adamson 1981. © John Slavin

    The Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded over £3m to restore the SS Daniel Adamson in order to open the vessel to the public.

    Coming over 30 years after the vessel was taken out of service and 11 years since she was saved from the scrapyard by local campaigners, the investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) investment will help restore the Daniel Adamson to full working order so that she can once again carry passengers across the North West’s famous waters.

    Currently moored in Liverpool at the Albert Docks along the city’s waterfront, the vessel is in urgent need of repair. The Daniel Adamson will now be towed to a dry dock, allowing repair and restoration work to be carried out. The work is due to be completed during 2015 and with the vessel entering service in spring 2016.

    Once the restoration is complete, people will have a chance to ride on the historic steam ship as part of a programme of cruises on the Mersey, Weaver and Manchester Ship Canal.

    When not in use, she will be moored outside some of the area’s waterside museums as part of a joint education programme to help visitors and school children explore the region’s important industrial and maritime history.

    Constructed in 1903 by the Tranmere Bay Development Company, the vessel was originally named the Ralph Brocklebank after one of the Directors of its owners, the Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Co. Its initial role was to tow barges and carry people and livestock between the docks at Ellesmere Port and Liverpool.

    The tug was bought by the Manchester Ship Canal Company in 1921 who later added two sumptuous art deco saloons and an elevated promenade deck in 1936, highly unusual features for a vessel of this type. She has been described by leading experts as a unique example of a transatlantic liner of the 1930’s but in miniature.

    After the re-fit, the tug was renamed the Daniel Adamson in honour of the Manchester Ship Canal Company’s first chairman and took on a new role as an inspection vessel for directors and potential users of the canal. She continued this role until she was taken out of service in 1985, transporting VIP guests such as King Fuad of Egypt, the Danish Royal family and General Dwight D Eisenhower when they visited the area.

    Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “Maritime heritage is really important to Liverpool and I would like to congratulate the volunteers who have worked so hard and with so much love and dedication in saving and looking after the SS Daniel Adamson.

    “The Heritage Lottery Fund money will now help them restore and preserve this historically important boat for generations to come and I look forward to seeing it fully ship-shape and sailing on the River Mersey in the near future.”


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