Part of the Acorn Archive
Hearts of Oak
Destruction of the Steamship by Fire with Great Loss of Life
For a brief flourishing moment she was
“a mighty castle of the deep – the largest steam driven vessel ever built in England”.
Built in 1851 by R & H Green, Blackwall for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.
2, 256 grt; 316 ft x 73 ft (over the paddle boxes)
2 x 2 simple cylinder engine; 800 hp by Seaward & Capel, Millwall.
4 boilers; 26 furnaces; 12 Knots.
Three masts, rigged for sail.
28th June 1851: Launched by Lady Paget
December 1851: Completed.
2nd January 1852: She left on her maiden voyage from Southampton 3.30 Friday afternoon.
4th January 1852: Having reached 110 miles WSW of the Isles of Scilly, at 00.45, a fire broke out.
The horrific and heart rending story that ensued is now complete.
SS Amazon- The terrible consequences of fire at sea in a storm
Her keel was laid 1st September 1850
When she arrived at Southampton, on the 16th December 1851, in the tidal dock,
she was declared "the finest ship that had ever appeared in those waters".
Clearly there were other intentions than acting as a Mail & Passenger carrier,
as she was considered capable of carrying fourteen 32 pounder guns,
as well as two ten inch pivot guns (36cwt each) on her main deck.
Her coal boxes carried 1,000 tons of coal.
She had accommodation for 360 troops (each having 12 square feet of space).
Engines were fitted so as to be separated form the main structure, which eliminated
vibration when standing near the engines on deck.
It was intended that she make the 3,622 miles between Southampton
and St Thomas, across the Atlantic, in under 14 days.
Since completing these pages, I have discovered other coverage
And Google Books have digitised books of the period