I remember the schooner Isobela, Captain R.J. Wright at the time when Messrs Ashbournes gave up with ships and sold several was sold at Connahs Quay on the Beach. The Isobella was then under Messrs Coppack Bros. On one occasion when he arrived at Dublin one of the Holyhead railway boats struck her doing damage to her skin. Notice of Survey was given. Mr. J. M Toby was surveyor for the ship. The Club surveyor a representative from the Railway Company arrived and said he represented the comp from the Engineering Dept. Mr. Toby asked him were was the engines it was a shipwrights surveyor required and would not hold survey with him and they had to send one from Holyhead. We reapaird the damage and Captain Wright was overlooker on the job. She was later sold to a company ????? ????? Brown was surveyor for the company and he came from Hull. My father knew him as he used to have the yard at Barton on Humber. About this time the 3 masted schooner Baron Hill loaded with Blind Ore at Flint Chemical Works. She was towed out by the S.T.Monksman and owing to the tides being led by the wind she went on the bank between Flint and Bagillt Brook up on the first tide. Her masts coming down and she was abandoned. I remember the SS ??????? breaking up in Mostyn Gutter she was about 5000 tones with iron ore from Mostyn. She was bought by Mr. John Coppack, Connahs Quay and salvaged: after breaking and dynamiting the Keelsow and Intercossals in the bottom we clearded the plates and they were further dynamited when this was done. The S.S.Viking and Taliesen Lug finished breaking her and towed her in the Gutter ready for the next tide. The after part was towed up by Taliesen and Monksman on Mostyn Bank behind the Tipping, the cargo being taken out in Flats to the iron works.
I seem to be traveling very fast. I have not metioned my father buying a place in Dock Road for small repairs and boat building which he carried on for some time. When Mr. Toby got the job of surveyor to the Deeside and mersey Association my father bought his place next door. It was a very poor place but he had machinery there which was wanted. His Brother in Law Mr. Richard Charles Jones said it was a lot warmer there when it was dark as all the holes was filled up. We had plenty of work but as usual with old stock the boiler soon gave up and men from Sandycroft Foundary came down and repaired it but it was a very unsatisfactory boiler. He then bought the Donkey Boiler from Mr. Coppack which after a overhaul stood well until the fire which completely clearded everything up. Afterwards he installed a 25HP Gas Engine which we had electric ignition fitted and cylinder rebored. Mant people said that she was doing more work than the National Gas Engines of over 30HP. We bought the engine and some more machinery with the iron punciples? from T.M. Wards in Sheefield. I had been with my father noiw several years and we took some very goodjobs. I remember having the 3 masted schooner Forest Bell in the Dock for new decks and the schooner Princess Thule. Captain Tom Hughes later Lizzie May waiting for decks. We hgad the job of sheathing the iron pitch? as she then was Mr. Philips when we had her finished she was drawing several inches less water than before and when she was loaded she took 10 tons more cargo. She was on many different jobs taking cargo to the Irish port and bringing scrap (seraph?) back. I had the privilage on being on holiday with the S.S.Rosa Bella and collecting her in Dublin. Captain J. Macklin. This work was done on the old road way below the Quay House.
I was one of the working party helping to clear up the ??? at Captain J Coppack. Captain Hughes had charge of the work before she was sold, everything that was movable was looted. A lot of shipping was in ?????? roads at the time and when word came down came down every ship had a fairwind and the morning none was to be seen. A Norwegian brigantine was towing up to the Point of Ayr Colliery loaded with pit wood about 3 to 400 yards from the jetty she went on the bank on to the shakes? and was taken from there to the top of the gutter. The cargo floating her and the tide in and out of her the crew discharging her when they could float poles out of her when the tide was in. She lay with her ????? ????? clear of the bank. When she was discharged the owners would not take her and she was sold by the Salvvage Co. Your Grandfather Butler bid at the auction £20-0-0 and he got her but had to say he would move her from the colliery. My father went down the next day and took 2 of us, We got the pram?out and a rope fixed fore and aft so we could see anything. We had not gone far when I said "Stop" . We pushed under the bottom to see and found that we could put our hands in the bilge seams. We sent down some rope from the rigging and caulked it in and managed to get one side done ready for the listing over the next day. He sold half of her to Coppack Bros. for £10-0-0 and Captain Tom Reading came came to help us and soon she was properly moored we listed her and found the other side the same but not nearly so much water in her ready for moving. The Customs Officer came from Mostyn to see what we were going to do with her and when told he said you cannot move her as she has not been discharged . When we took the hatches off there was about 6 pieces in the hold, what did he want us to do with them? He said they was the property of the Company so I said if we put them over the side who will take them? He said the Coliiery Company. I said when you go ashore will you tell them to ???? as we are going to through? this afternoon and Charlie Foresman took them The we had the job to keep the looters off as they would soon have stripped her. Mr. J. Coppack came down and we hauled her alongside the jetty ready for the tug. The men at the Point said if they had known she would not go to Connahs Quay. Several of the men knew Mr. J. Coppack after being Harbour Master there and they got from him ropes for ????????????????????. She was towed out that day and Mr. Coppack came with us. We had to stay in the road until the nights tide and he kept her well on the bank for emergancies with the tug standing by. We arrived at dusk with a fine blow and working. She wa sold practically the next day without our looking for buyers. Master Renney had made some arragements for insection with men from Liverpool interested with grain stowage. They bought her for £100 and we was to clear all rigging. spars etc. and when this was done they came again and wanted a price to cut down the bulwork stantion and deckhouse, make a platform level with the ?????. We agreed to do this for £100. We then overhauled her down to the bilge., They would not alow her to go on to the beach and as some of us had seen her bottom my Father told them work on the ship was finnished. She was towed to Liverpool but they had to put her in the dry dock they found that the false keel ??????? turned over and the main keel split. They had to do this and they were quite satisfied with their bargain. She carried 700 tons of grain and the hatchway was very long and broad we cut the mast for the loaming and the hatch covers was made with 1" boards. They was well supported with cross beams that could be lifted out. She was used with the grain elevator and made a good lighter.
I remember Captain C.W. Foulkes having his first schooner named the Lily Baines ownes by Messrs J Fisher and she had been overhauled at Glarston Dock when the first cargo he brought to the Quay and the hatches was lifted the cargo was very wet. His uncle Captain Robert Foulkes aked what was wrong he sais I don't know she has just come from the dry dock. He went on board and said you had better fetch someone to come and look into this and I was to see about it. Thge main deck amidships was in a very bad condition when they fixed the pump the water ran straight through. He said it hads only just been caulked. Captain Foulkes said take that cover off the mast and see what is behind it.It was a sight not often seen in them days, it was all mildew. I was told to take some of the wedges out to inspect the mast. I t was just the same and very bad by the foremast and see what that is like, it was just the same. Catain Foulkes tols him to wire Messrs. Fisher & Sons to send the surveyor, Mr. Campbell, to see for himself. He was surprised at wht he saw and someone got into trouble about it. He condemmed the two masts and the deck amidships.We supplied and fitted two new masts etc. Soon after this while loaded with ????? iron after standing the heavy gale she was lost. The crew taking out the ??? pushed the boat through. A steam trawler was standing by picked them up and took them all to harbour. It happened on several occasions that ships coming to the Quay knew my father. When the brigantine David Rees, bringing deals from St. Johns, the captain was an old friend as he had been to Burton Stather. His brother was captain and he the mate. They had come to collect the ship Lizzie, I believe was her name, finished off. She had been built to the order of Messrs J. Fisher of Barrow. A short time after this Cartain Williams left her she was lost with all hands. Captain Williams hailed from Llanelli, South Wales. He was talking one night and asked if we remembered the Gamekeeper. The crew had been for a walk and as thet were all Welshmen the captain decided to have a little fun. They knew that they were on private property and the keeper was asking what they were all after. They could talk English alright and knew what he wanted but insisted they answer him in Welsh, of course he did not know who they were but found out and came to the shipyard to see what County men they were. My uncle had to laugh at the joke and tols him they could speak English as good as him. He asked to see the captain who told him thay had answeres properly, it was for him to understand. Tey were good friends and invited them to see the property. Some time after the David Rees left the Quay and arrived back at Garston. While she was there a great gate sprang up and several ships broke loose. The David Rees being at the dock got very serious damage, his bulwork stantion rails, yards etc broken up. Captain Williams asked my father if they would go over there to see what wasbest to be done. My father agreed to go to Garston to repair the hull and they gort the spars made in Garston. I do not remember the year only that instead of Christmas we had to wait for a few days as the job was now completed. A few years later Captain Williams had sold his ship and was now getting on in years. He bought a small French ketch called the Master Du. He did not keep her long and sold her and started a greengrocery business at Llenelli and used to supply the shipping. He was always on the look out for Chester River ships and always sent,kind regards to us all. Last I heard about him was from Captain John Garrett the Reward who said he was failing very fast.
To be continued June 2007