The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have today awarded £3.8million to restore and open to the public the historic North West vessel the Daniel Adamson, the last-surviving Steam Tug-Tender in the UK.
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, HLF’s 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 at Liverpool’s Albert Docks and in urgent need of repair, the Daniel Adamson will now be towed to a dry dock, allowing work to begin on a repair and restoration programme, set to be completed during 2015 and 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.
Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West said: “This is a vessel with a remarkable and important story to tell. Lottery players’ money will now help to bring it back to life and secure its future.
“Heritage has not only shaped the North West’s past, but has a real relevance to the region’s future. This exciting project will bring exciting benefits to Liverpool and across the region, offering a valuable addition to what the area has to offer and delivering fantastic learning and training opportunities.”
Dan Cross Chairman & founder of the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society (DAPS) said: “I am absolutely delighted with this news today that the Heritage Lottery Fund is to support our project in this way. This wonderful ship occupies a unique place as part of the UK’s national historic fleet.
“This huge vote of support also acknowledges the massive effort put in by literally hundreds of volunteers and supporters over the last eleven years, without which the vessel would have been consigned to history years ago. The Society continues to grow and mature and will now become not just a preservation society but a group charged with maintaining, operating and displaying this national maritime treasure for generations to come. HLF’s support for restoration costs and continued support over the next five years will mean we will have the best start possible.”
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.”
Pictured above: The Daniel Adamson in 1981 (picture John Slevin, DAPS) . Right. The prom deck in 1936 (picture: DAPS)