Weekly Photo Challenge – Relic

Abama shipwreck on Cleveleys beach.

Abana shipwreck on Cleveleys beach.

I can see this from where I work. It is the relic of the shipwrecked boat Abana that is still visible on the beach when the tide is out. I took this photograph a year or so back and keep promising myself that I must get some better shots of it. It is incredibly old and a great local story. Although it does not mention it in the text that I have added,  local legend has it that the ship mistook the recently built Blackpool Tower for a lighthouse, so adding to it’s plight.

The following text about the story of this shipwreck is taken from and credited to http://www.booths44.freeserve.co.uk/shipwrec.htm

For over a hundred years the wreck of the Abana has lain on the beach between Little Bispham and Anchorsholme, visitors and locals alike perhaps know little of the details surrounding her loss on the 22nd December 1894 in one of the worst storms known on the Fylde coast.

The Abana was a three masted Norwegian Barque of 1200 tons, built at St John’s Newfoundland in 1874 and she belonged to a company who’s home port was Farsund in Norway. Her Captain was a Norwegian, Adolph B. Danielsen and she had a crew of sixteen, thirteen Norwegians and three Swedes plus a dog and a ships cat. Records show the Abana had left Liverpool carrying 500 tons of ballast bound for Sapelo, Florida U.S.A. for a cargo of timber, the weather at that time was hazy with a light easterly breeze.

On Friday the 21st December the barometer started to fall as the storm force winds increased from the South West and in the captains own words “It was blowing a perfect hurricane.” The air speed indicator on top of the Mount at Fleetwood recorded 105mph and gusts of 150mph were recorded at Holyhead, the Fylde Coast looked like a battlefield and the tide at Fleetwood rose 10ft higher than schedule.

Details of ships course given by Captain Danielsen

. Friday 21 Dec. 8-30pm. 10 mile off the Isle of Man.
Saturday 22 Dec. 4-00am. 19 miles off Orme’s Head.
2-00pm. All sails blown away, now under bare poles drifting at the mercy of the storm.
Let go Port anchor but lost it.
Let go Starboard anchor but it started to drag.
Sighted fire on shore.
3-30pm. Ship grounded.

Ashore the plight of the ship had been seen and a beacon fire had been started by Dr Hardman of Cleveleys, someone else who had seen the ship earlier was Mr Robert Hindle of the Cleveleys Hotel who raised the alarm and sent a man on horseback to inform the Blackpool lifeboat. At Blackpool the lifeboat “The Samuel Fletcher of Manchester” had just returned from rescuing the crew of the Fleetwood fishing smack “Petrel” when the messenger from Cleveleys arrived, immediately the lifeboat and crew set off for Little Bispham.

As no road over the cliffs existed at that time the lifeboat had to be taken along the seven miles of country lanes pulled by six powerful draught horses and was eventually launched from the slade just North of Little Bispham, it was now 8-30pm, five hours since the ship grounded.

Extract from the local Blackpool paper. 24th December 1894.

“The following is a list of names of the 16 Blackpool brave men who were the crew of the lifeboat “Samuel Fletcher” which rescued 17 lives off the wreck at Norbreck. Coxswain – John Cartmell. Second Coxswain – C.Cornall. Bowman – R.Parr. Crew – R.Scott. W.Parkinson. R.Parkinson. J.Parkinson (the popular Blackpool footballer). R.Conall. R.Cornall junr. J.Cornall. H.Parr. R.Parr. J.Rimmer. R.Westhead. E.Stanhope. and E.Salthouse.
It was about half past eight when the boat was launched and was a fearfully hard pull to the wreck which lay about half a mile from the shore, and as the tide was about at its height it was a difficult rescue. However with great skill Coxswain Cartmell brought his boat to the lee side of the wreck and hailed “Barque ahoy” as he came alogside, the Captain sang out “How many can you take, there are seventeen of us” “We can take you all” was the reply.
The men were quickly bundled into her and the lifeboat was then turned towards land but with 33 men on board it was rather deep in the water and nearer the shore the keel stuck on top of a sandbank, some of the boatmen leaped into the water and pushed the boat afloat again, then sprang into her and the channel was crossed in safety. What a ringing and deserving cheer went up as the men, one by one, arrived on shore safe and sound, they were then taken to the Red Lion Hotel Bispham where everything was done for them by Mr & Mrs Castle the owners.
Crowds waited anxiously in the neighbourhood of the Central Pier for the retun of the lifeboat, and they had a right royal welcome when about midnight they at last made their appearance and when it became known that seventeen lives had been saved the men were received with lusty cheers. After their long journey and hard exertions they were naturally tired and the supper that awaited them at the Wellington Hotel was exceedingly welcome.”


Captain Danielsen presented the ships bell to Mr Robert Hindle of the Cleveleys Hotel, it now hangs in the North West porch of St Andrews Church, Cleveleys.

Both the Captain’s dog and the ship’s cat were rescued.

11 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Relic

  1. When I was a lad my wise old Dad used to often quote of the days of “Wooden ships and iron men” to which he’d sometimes add a gentle-voiced uncompleted “These days it’s iron ships and …”

    —and I often think he may have had something there. Your photo alone carries a tale, but the reports add flesh to those bare bones. Brrrr.

  2. Beautiful picture, always like black and white more than with colours, can´t put my finger as to why it is.

    The history behind the picture is fascinating, specially for a history buff like myself.

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