Presenting  "Daniel Adamson" the unique passenger carrying steam tug tender - a NRHV Designated Vessel.

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Daniel Adamson Progress Report - 010304
Daniel Adamson Preservation Society Frequently Asked Questions

About the Daniel Adamson

Technical Information  -  DAPS Frequently Asked Questions
D A 1.jpg (67399 bytes)

Photo: Chris Jones 1981

For many years the historic tug-tender DANIEL ADAMSON was laid up in the ship dock at The Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port.  During February 2004, the intention of her owners the Manchester Ship Canal Company, to break her up became known. This led to the formation of the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society on February 21, 2004.

Why is the DANIEL ADAMSON important? Read on to find out more about this vessel which is listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels.

The DANIEL ADAMSON is a significant historic vessel being constructed as a tug – tender having the capability to both perform towage duties as well as carrying passengers.  She is one of only two surviving tug tenders in the U.K. and the only surviving steam powered tug tender. Propulsion being via two 2 cylinder compound condensing 500 ihp engines provide propulsion.

The DANIEL ADAMSON was constructed as the “Ralph Brocklebank” for the Shropshire Union Canal and Railway Company in 1903 by the Tranmere Bay Development Company. She was one of three new tug-tenders built in the first decade of the 20th Century to operate the S.U.C. & R. Co. barge towing service between Ellesmere Port and Liverpool . The passenger carrying capability of the tug-tenders facilitated the provision of a scheduled cross-river passenger service something which the Shropshire Union company had provided on previous vessels since the 1880s.

The combined passenger carrying and towage service continued until 1915. From then until 1921 the “Ralph Brocklebank” and her two sisters “W.E. Dorrington” and “Lord Stalbridge” operated as tugs only. The Manchester Ship Canal Company acquired the three vessels in 1921.

Whilst primarily used as tugs by the Manchester Ship Canal Company, the new owners made use of the tugs’ passenger accommodation again. Cruises from Manchester to Eastham were offered for 7/6d [37.5p] inclusive of lunch and a return by train from Ellesmere Port.

Following the scrapping of the MSC’s original tug-tender “Charles Galloway” in 1929 the company further enhanced the passenger facilities by providing removable awnings fitted to the bridge and stern decks.

In 1936 further modifications were made to the “Ralph Brocklebank” with the bridge being raised to its present level. The passenger accommodation was also upgraded, with the interior being furnished in wood laminates and light fittings in the then contemporary art-deco style.

Following the 1936 refit the vessel was renamed “DANIEL ADAMSON” in honour of the Manchester Ship Canal Company’s first chairman.

Though the activity of vandals over the past twenty years has served to remove some of the splendour of the passenger accommodation, the fine interior of the main and lower deck passenger saloons is still apparent being more akin to that offered by liners of the period.

From 1936 to 1984 the DANIEL ADAMSON operated both as a tug and as the company directors’ inspection vessel and a venue for corporate hospitality functions; the two sister vessels “W.E. Dorrington” and “Lord Stalbridge” having been disposed of by the Manchester Ship Canal Company in 1937 and 1946.

In 1986 DANIEL ADAMSON was laid up and berthed in the ship dock at The Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port.  

In mid February 2004 local tug man Dan Cross discovered that the DANIEL ADAMSON was about to be scrapped. Following a hastily arranged meeting and considerable efforts made by Dan the DANIEL ADAMSON cheated her appointment with the breakers. 

Instead of crossing the River Mersey to the breaker’s yard at Garston DANIEL ADAMSON departed the Ship Canal bound for Clarence Graving Dock on Saturday April 10, 2004 propelled by the Svitzer tug ASHGARTH.  

Since April 2004 the society has made great strides towards reaching its goal of returning the Daniel Adamson to operation condition.

During this period there have been two dry dockings and all hazardous material has been removed by specialist contractors.

Volunteers have given thousands of hours to the project and you are invited to browse through the web site and see for yourself what has been achieved in such a short time scale.

To date, a large amount of good will has been shown towards the project by many companies and individuals.

As is usual with projects of this nature, the society is hopeful of attracting further support from companies, organisations and individuals who can bring to the project skills, materials etc.

The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society would welcome YOUR support!