SS Daniel Adamson
DANIEL ADAMSON was constructed as 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 DANIEL ADAMSON 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 DANIEL ADAMSON 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, 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 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 she 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.