Historic steam tug-boat restored with a little help from LJMU

Daniel Adamson ship story

LJMU has highlighted its maritime credentials by helping restore a historic steam boat after being rescued by campaigners from the scrapyard over a decade ago.

The new look Daniel Adamson steam tug-tender was launched at a special event recently which saw LJMU students, children from local schools, and officials from the maritime museum celebrate the historic boat’s overhaul. It followed a £3.8m Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore the 110-year-old boat to full working order.

Built in 1903 by the Tranmere Bay Development Company to carry people and livestock between Ellesmere Port and Liverpool, the boat was originally called Ralph Brocklebank after one of the directors of the owners, the Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Co. It was then bought by the Manchester Ship Canal Company in 1921, who in 1936 added two luxurious art deco saloons and an unique elevated promenade deck.

It was renamed the Daniel Adamson in honour of the Manchester Ship Canal’s first chairman, and became a boat used by inspectors and potential users to examine the canal. VIP passengers, including King Fuad of Egypt, the Danish Royal family and General Dwight D Eisenhower, enjoyed its luxurious fittings during this era.

The tug has been described by experts as miniature copy of a typical 1930s transatlantic liner. It will now be used as part of a programme of cruises on the Mersey, Weaver and Manchester Ship Canal, as well as at museums to help visitors understand the north west’s maritime history.

The University has a proud heritage in maritime studies and education. The project enabled engineering and technology students to get involved in the restoration of the boat including the use of 3D scanning of the vessel. Students were on hand to produce a video about the project while computer scientists developed computer games to be played in the Maritime Museum so they can learn more about the maritime heritage of Liverpool and the tug boat.

LJMU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill, speaking at the launch said: “We heard about the boat and its planned restoration and so we saw a great opportunity as a University to contribute. This was a tremendous opportunity for our staff and students  to get engaged and involved, and we’re delighted that their efforts have been so successful."


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