British Empire
Ship: 2600 tons
Captain: Thomas B Callenan
Surgeon Superintendent: Andrew Nash
Sailed London 15th May 1864 - Arrived Lyttleton 6th September 1864

At the time of her arrival in Lyttleton, British Empire was the largest ship to enter the port. On board she had 33 cabin passengers and 366 immigrants. She was a vessel dogged by bad luck. While being towed down the river from Bristol, her bow stuck on a projecting part of the bank. The river was tidal and the tide in this instance was running out very fast. It swung the stern of the ship around until it caught the opposite bank, leaving British Empire high-and-dry. In this position several lighters and small vessels were actually able to sail under her. Understandably considerable strain was placed on the ship and when she was refloated repairs were required. She was eventually wrecked along with many other vessels during a tidal wave at St Thomas in the West Indies.
White Wings - Sir Henry Brett

The voyage of the British Empire (written by the Surgeon Superintendent)

Our thanks to Peter Fussell for the Surgeon Superintendents report of the voyage.

Name Age County Occupation
Saloon Passengers
Britton Henry
Delamain Charles
Delamain F W
3 children
Smith Johanna Nurse
Grierson John Cardiff Linen Draper
Charles Brown 21
Fanny Elizabeth 20
Lucy 18
Rosen 17
Trevor James 15
Laura Stonehewer 10
Gertrude Hannah 9
Margaret Ellen 7
Emily Maude Mary 5
John Frederick William 3
Florence Agnes B Brown 1
Hunt Edwin
MacDonell Mr R T
Monk Levi
Mrs L
Pitman Herbert
Prince Charles Brought out English birds
Speechly Robert Architect Cristchurch Cathedral
Brother to Edward Speechly - Second Cabin passenger
Tenant Mrs
3 younger children
Washer Leslie J
Wheeler Mr Joseph Mort
Wood Mr E P
Second Cabin Passengers
Crisp William F
Fisher Henry
Fisher Mrs 80 Died on board
Fisher Frank
Guthrie David
Hobson George
Mitchell George
Roberts John
Speechly Edward Brother to Robert Speechly - Saloon passenger
Steane John
Tanner Thomas
Tindall John 30 Died on board
6 children
Westropp Mr George W
White John 19 Devonshire Died on board 06/08/1864 - Low fever induced by sea sickness
Wilson William
ThirdCabin Passengers
Graham David
Poore Mr W H
Steerage Passengers
Families & Children
Agnew James 34 Aryshire Ploughman
Janet 36 Widow of John Louden
Garin 11
Jessie 9
Annie 7
Elizabeth Agnes 2
James Infant Died on board 22/06/1864
Louden John 15 T/F to single men Labourer Sons of Janet Louden - now Janet Agnew. Travelled with Agnew.
William 13 T/F to single men
Aitken John 23 Renfrewshire Ploughman
Margaret 17
Anderson John 26 Yorkshire Carpenter
Mary J 23
Robert 3
James 1
Anthony John 44 Guernsey Carpenter
Bridget 44
Ball Phillip 28 Suffolk Labourer
Fanny 24
Arthur 4
Ada 2
Charles Infant
Bashford William 20 Surrey Farm Labourer
Mary Ann 25
Bennett George 31 Middlesex Plumber
Elizabeth 31
Beresford Thomas J 21 Antrim Farm Labourer
Eliza 22
Bunting Allen 40 Down Farm Labourer
Margaret 38
Thomas 10
Jane 8
John 6
Margaret 5
Mary 2
Fanny Infant
Clarke Robert 21 Down Labourer
Nancy 22
William 2
Mary Infant
Clegg Charles 34 Cheshire Farm Labourer
Ann 33
Eliza 4
Abraham 2
Corbett Edward 33 Leicestershire Carpenter
Isabella 31
Sarah Ann 9
John 7
Edward 4
Isabella 2
Thomas Infant
Cox James 39 Warwickshire Saddler - Died on board
Harriet 36
Jane 11
Henrietta 3
Cribb Timothy 38 Somersetshire Farm Labourer
Ellen 36
Sarah Ann 10
Arthur 8
Charles 6
William 4
Rosa 2
Daughter Born on board 24/08/1864
Dawson Richard 30 Antrim Farm Labourer
Mary 25
Thompson 4
Dennis Samuel 43 Somersetshire Farm Labourer
Elizabeth 37
Mary 11
Maria 10
Tom 6
Susanna 4
Samuel S 3
Frederick Infant Died on board 24/07/1864 - dirrhoea
Dollan John 22 Lanarkshire Compositor
Margaret 20
Dougall William 45 Lanarkshire Sawyer
Euphemia 44
John 3
Ethrington George P 35 Yorkshire Bricklayer
Martha 36
Elizabeth 11
Evans Richard 29 Oxfordshire Carpenter
Catherine 29
Richard E 4
Sarah C 1
Mary E Infant
Evans William 32 Middlesex Carpenter
Eliza 30
Florence 5
Edith 9 months Died on board 08/06/1864 - Dirrhoea
Foweraker William 18 Devonshire Farm Labourer
Martha 20
Francis Infant
Frith Robert 31 Fermanagh Farm Labourer
Sydney 22
James 11 months
Fussell Aaron 29 Wiltshire Labourer
Harriett 26
Angus 5
Joseph 3
Sarah 1
Fussell William 27 Wiltshire Labourer
Emily 23
Edward 5
George 3
Elizabeth 5 months
Gamblin Joseph 40 Hertfordshire Bricklayer
Elizabeth 32
William 11
Joseph 9
Samuel 7
Elizabeth 5 months
Gee Thomas J 26 Surrey Carpenter
Eliza 25
Louisa Infant
Goddard William H 23 Glostershire Blacksmith
Rebecca E 23
Louisa 10 months
Graham George 37 Cumberland Farm Labourer
Isabella 33
Lancelot 25
Haggett Daniel 34 Dorsetshire Compositor
Emma 32
William D 7
Emma 2
Ernest 8 months Died on board 25/06/1864
Hall Thomas Wray 45 Middlesex Bookbinder
Frances 43
Ellen 11
Mary Jane 9
John Edward 8
Frances 6
Agnes 5
Heighway James 34 Salop Farm Labourer
Lucy 28
Felix 5
Simeon 3
Serena 2
Henderson David 36 Dumfrieshire Shepherd
Jane D 33
David 7
William 5
E. Frances 2
Mary Infant
Hopkins Robert 27 Antrim Farm Labourer
Mary 25
Hoskins Charles Henry 28 Devonshire Shoemaker
Sally 20
Hutham William
Johnston Alexander 41 Fifeshire Farm Labourer
Jane 41
Alexander 11
William 9
James 5
Elizabeth 2
Jones Edward 32 Montgomeryshire Farm Labourer
Rebecca 28
Ellen 1
Jones Thomas 30 Montgomeryshire Shoemaker
Mary 28
Annie 6
Edmund 4
Jonas 2
Thomas Infant
Kirkwood William 32 Lanarkshire Farm Labourer
Mary A 32
Jane 10
Archibald Infant
Larcombe Benjamin 30 Somersetshire Labourer
Sarah 24
Albert 4
Rosine 2
Hennrietta 2 months Died on board 22/06/1864
Lloyd Joseph 26 Salop Farm Labourer
Mary 24
Lumb Matthew 27 Cheshire Farm Labourer
Sarah 25
Joseph 11 months
Lunt Thomas 32 Cheshire Blacksmith
Ann 29
Jane 9
Edwin 5
Amy 6 months Died on board 10/08/1864 - dirrhoea
McAteer Robert 32 Lanarkshire Farm Labourer
Mary 25
Daughter Infant Born on board 06/08/1864
McKinnon Angus 27 Argylshire Ploughman
Mary 27
John 5
Allan Infant
McPherson Hugh 28 Dumbartonshire Shepherd
Agnes 30
McPherson Allan 22 Dumbartonshire Shepherd
Ann 22
Merrin Francis 62 Nottinghamshire Farm Labourer
Died on board09/06/1864 "..debility, the results of long- continued liver disease."
Elizabeth 50
Morse George 23 Glostershire Farm Labourer
Ann 22
Munro Roderick 31 Rosshire Shepherd
Margaret 28
Tess 6
Effie 1
Son Born on board
Page William 38 Down Farmer
Jane 38
Robert 8
James 6
Alexander 5
Anna 5
William 4
John 2
Samuel Infant
Pellowe Joseph 25 Cornwall Mason
Sarah Jane 25
Georgina 3
Pepperell Richard C 35 Devonshire Farmer - Died on board
Elizabeth S 37
William P 11
Rose Ann 9
Richard A 7
George Henry 5
Flora J 2
Langley P 6 months
Reid David 27 Linlithgow Tailor
Isabella 31
John 4
Jean 2
Christian Infant
Reid William H 26 Leeds Carpenter
Emma 27
William 2
Shadbolt Peter 38 Herefordshire Farm Labourer
Ann 36
Frederick 11
Sarah 8
Emily 6
William 4
Peter 6 months
Sheate William 26 Somersetshire Shoemaker
Elizabeth Ann 22
Starke James 25 Lanarkshire Painter
Violet 24
Andrew 1 at death Died on board 18/08/1864 - dirrhoea
Stavison Thomas 22 Down Labourer
Eliza Jane 25
William Infant Died on board 23/06/1864
Stewart James 28 Perthshire Farm Labourer
Jane 27
James Infant
Stewart William 26 Lanarkshire Ploughman
Sarah 26
Agnes 2
Symmons Henry 22 Hertfordshire Blacksmith
Sarah 27
Thomas F 4
Harry R 2
Sutherland Thomas 30 Caithness Farm Labourer
Jane 31
Christina 5
Robertina 3
Jane 1
Swann Robert 28 Edinburgh Blacksmith
Ann 20
David 3
Robert 1
Taylor John 35 Worcestershire Carpenter
Mary 32
William H 11
Mary A 7
Charles J 5
Taylor William 40 Perthshire Blacksmith
Agnes 37
Robert 8
Agnes 4
Telford James 60 Sutherland Shepherd
Christy 58
Margaret 8
Templeton William 23 Dumbartonshire Ploughman
Ellen 25
Daughter 10 days
at  death
Born on board 10/06/1864
Died on board 18/06/1864
Turner James 40 Norfolk Farm Labourer
Rachel 44
Joseph 10
James 8
John 4
Ellen R 3
Walshaw James K 24 Yorkshire Blacksmith
Alice 21
John 6 months
Webb J
Wheeler Joseph 21 Wiltshire Mason
Maria 17
Ulrich August 32 Germany Labourer
Charlotte 26
Yates Robert 24 Salop Farm Labourer
Ellen 23
Young David 38 Pembrokshire Farm Labourer
Charlotte 31
Francis M 9
Mary Ann 8
Margaret 6
Esther 2
William Infant
Single Men
Anthony John 16 Guernsey Carpenter
William Henry 14 Guernsey
James 12 Guernsey
Barlow John 23 Hertfordshire Painter
Bird William 22 Devon Farm Labourer
Boyd Robert 19 Monaghan Farm Labourer
Brady William 21 Cork Labourer
Cleave Thomas 19 Devonshire Farm Labourer
Coll Daniel 22 Lanarkshire Farm Labourer
Charles 24 Lanarkshire Farm Labourer
Cox Sweetland 30 Warwickshire Saddler
Cready Patrick 18 Clare Shoemaker
Cutler Walter 25 Northamptonshire Carpenter
Dench Thomas 20 Surrey Labourer
Robert 24 Surrey Labourer
Dingwall James 24 Fireshire Labourer
Dodd James 23 Warwickshire Blacksmith
Dougall Peter 15 Lanarkshire Labourer
Ellis John 25 Lincolnshire Farm Labourer
Fahy John 23 Clare Carpenter
Ferguson Alex 28 Renfrewshire Mason
Finlay Charles 25 Down Labourer
Fisher George John 20 Yorkshire Farm Labourer
Fussell Thomas 22 Somersetshire Labourer
Gempton George E 20 Guernsey Carpenter
Graham Lancelot 25 Cumberland Farm Labourer
Gray Keith 24 Aberdeen Blacksmith
Grieg Edward 22 Midlothian Farm Labourer
Handey Michael 25 Renfrewshire Ploughman
Hartnell Walter 17 Somersetshire Labourer
Hausmann Carl 22 Germany Farm Labourer
Hayton James 11 Surrey
Hynes Thomas 22 Galway Farm Labourer
Hunter Thomas 18 Fifeshire Ploughman
Johnston John 18 Fifeshire Blacksmith
Johnston William 22 Down Ploughman
Keenan John 22 Down Mason
Louden John 15 Ayrshire Labourer
William 13 Ayrshire
Lilly William 21 Monmouthshire Labourer
Lucas Samuel 20 Somersetshire Painter
McGregor Donald 37 Invernesshire Farm Labourer
McKenzie William 22 Rosshire Farm Labourer
McKinnon Donald 22 Invernesshire Shepherd
Angus 13 Invernesshire
McLean Andrew F 30 Inverness Shepherd
McLennan John 25 Rosshire Shepherd
McPherson Duncan 24 Dumbarton Shepherd
Merrett George 21 Glostershire Gardener
Merrin Henry 27 Nottinghamshire Labourer
Robert 24 Nottinghamshire Farm Labourer
Aaron 15 Nottinghamshire Farm Labourer
Mitchell James 21 Fifeshire Painter
Morrison John 22 Rosshire Farm Labourer
Morrison Robert 29 Lanarkshire Printer
Murray Hugh 17 Sutherland Farm Labourer
Walter 20 Sutherland Shepherd
Poore Henry F 13 Somersetshire
Pugh John 23 Hertfordshire Baker
Scoon John 28 Cumberland Farm labourer
Scott Duncan 22 Lanarkshire Farm Labourer
Shadbolt Joseph 19 Herefordshire Groom
Shadbolt John 13 Hertfordshire
Steane John 25 Middlesex Shoemaker
Schoolmaster on board
Stevenson Adam 19 Down Carpenter
Stevenson Thomas 30 Renfrewshire Ploughman
Tannison John 23 Lanarkshire Carpenter
Taylor William 15 Forfarshire Labourer
Telford William 18 Sutherland Shepherd
Thornbill William 30 Yorkshire Farm Labourer
Thomas Richard 21 Radnarshire Farmer
Tucker John 30 Devon Labourer
Watson William 25 Aberdeen Blacksmith
Watt John 23 Caithness Farm Labourer
Webb John 25 Middlesex Gardiner
Webb Walter 17 Middlesex Carpenter
Single Women
Anthony Mary 20 Guernsey Domestic Servant
Banton Ellen 24 Cheshire Domestic Servant
Barratt Sarah 24 Salop Domestic Servant
Buckett Emma 19 Middlesex Domestic Servant
Burling Sarah 13 Down
Emma 18 Guernsey Domestic Servant
Burman Elizabeth 32 Norfolk Tailoress
Elizabeth H Infant Norfolk
Churchill Ann 26 Dorsetshire Domestic Servant
Infant Infant Dorsetshire
Coll Ellen 24 Lanarkshire Dairy Maid
Cox Typhemia 17 Warwickshire Domestic Servant
Doolan Georgina 25 Limmerick Domestic Servant
Evans Ellen 18 Middlesex Domestic Servant
Gamblin Keziah 13 Hertfordshire
Grand Mary Ann 41 Norfolk Nurse
Mary Ann 21 Norfolk Domestic Servant
John 10 Norfolk
Hackett Susan 24 Antrim Domestic Servant
Bernard 1 Antrim
Susan 26 Antrim Domestic Servant
Johnston Isabella 22 Forfarshire Dairy Woman
Mary 20 Forfarshire Domestic Servant
Jane 18 Forfarshire Domestic Servant
Agnes 15 Forfarshire Domestic Servant
Johnson Emma 24 Warwick Domestic Servant
Longbottom Ann 34 Yorkshire Domestic Servant
Merrin Eliza 20 Nottinghamshire Domestic Servant
Jane 17 Nottonghamshire Domestic Servant
Morrison Rebecca 27 Lanarkshire Domestic Servant
McKay Margaret 28 Caithness Domestic Servant
Murray Henereth 22 Sutherland Dairy Maid
McClarry Mary 20 Monaghan Domestic Servant
McGrath Mary 20 Galway Dairy Maid
McKinnon Christy 40 Inverneshire Dairy Woman
Christy 20 Inverneshire Domestic Servant
Flora 18 Inverneshire Dairy Maid
Ann 9 Inverneshire
Margaret 7 Inverneshire
Matheson Mary 27 Inverneshire Dairy Maid
Margaret 18 Inverneshire Dairy Maid
McKenzie Donella 28 Ross Cook
Poole Elizabeth 61 Somersetshire
Plaskett Dinah J 18 Cumberland Dairy Maid
Powell Caroline 33 Glostershire Dressmaker
Sarah 11 Glostershire
Charles 7 Glostershire
Pope Emma 20 Devonshire Dressmaker
Shadbolt Mary A 18 Herefordshire Domestic Servant
Sanders Harriett 27 Devonshire Domestic Servant
Stonebridge Amelia 38 Sussex Housekeeper  MATRON
Street Sarah Ann 21 Sussex Domestic Servant
Strange Jane 29 Herefordshire Domestic Servant
Soden Emma 24 Yorkshire Domestic Servant
Southward Ann 23 Cumberland Dairy Maid
Spence Ann 20 Forfarshire Dairy Maid
Scott Janet 22 Perthshire Domestic Servant
Ann 17 Perthshire Domestic Servant
Stevenson Agnes 23 Down Domestic Servant
Taylor Mary 13 Forfarshire
Telford Georgina 28 Sutherland Domestic Servant
Christy 25 Sutherland Dairy Maid
Helen 22 Sutherland Domestic Servant
Wilson Anne 35 Surrey Needle Woman
Georgina 4 Surrey
Webb Eliza 22 Middlesex Domestic Servant
Webster Emily 18 Middlesex Domestic Servant
Watson Martha 20 Lanarkshire Domestic Servant
Woods Margaret 28 Antrim Domestic Servant

Robert Speechly was born in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire in 1840 the son of master draper, Thomas Kelful Speechly and trained as an architect. In 1863 Sir George Gilbert Scott, the best known and most prolific English architect of the time, was commissioned by the Canterbury Cathedral Commission to design Christchurch Cathedral and he sent Speechly to NZ to produce more detailed drawings and supervise construction. Speechly sailed on the British Empire in 1864 with his wife Annie (nee Burge) and younger brother Edward. Work on the cathedral was however stopped soon after the foundation stone was laid in December 1864 and Speechly undertook various other architectural work in Canterbury before leaving for Australia in 1868, returning to England in 1869. If you have a connection with this family or would like to know more please contact Hugh Speechly

<   Robert Speechly with the Christchurch Cathedral foundation stone,         December 15 1864
Walter Murray & Margaret McKay:
Two years after the arrival of the British Empire, on which they both sailed for New Zealand, Walter Murray & Margaret McKay were married in Knox Church, Dunedin in 1866. In 1882, Walter Murray was farming 930 acres at Dunback, Otago. Walter and Margaret had six boys and one girl: John Murray (Butcher's shop at Studholme Junction), Donald Murray, Alexander MacKay Murray (Storekeeper in Waikouaiti), Walter Finlay Murray, David Burnett Murray, Andrew Murray, and Margaret Ann Murray (married a blacksmith at Shag Valley Station). If you have a connection with this family or would like to know more please contact Gregory Morgan


Janet Scott was born in Perthshire, Scotland in 1842. On September 6th along with her sister Ann, she boarded the 2600 ton ship British Empire and emigrated to New Zealand. Here she met and married George Johnston who had arrived in New Zealand two months earlier on board the immigrant ship Amoor. They married on December 7th 1866 at St Andrews in Christchurch and together had 7 children; Ann Grey Reed b 1867, Cecelia b 1868, Sydney b 1869, Jock b 1870, Nell b 1879, Janet b 1879 and an unknown female b 1880. Janet died in June of 1902 and is buried at Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch. If you have a connection with this family or are interested in further research please contact Ian Miller.


HALL family
Thomas Wray HALL was a Cabinet Maker in London. He married Frances LAMMERTON and they had seven children, including Charles Henry HALL and Thomas Wray HALL Jnr who travelled to New Zealand a few months before them on the Amoor. On October 14th 1856 Thomas Wary HALL Snr had been honoured with the Freedom of London. If you have a link with this family or wish to know more please contact Jane Markotsis


Copyright Denise & Peter 1999 - 2009

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