Part of the Acorn Archive

Hearts of Oak

SS Amazon

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.

Two funnels.

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.

CREW LIST 2nd January 1852

Initial Reports     Initial Statements      Letters         

Passengers & Crew Announcements 8th January 1852

Passenger & Crew Announcements 10th & 17th January 1852

William Vincent’s Report        Tribute to Captain Symons

Letter from the Town Clerk, Southampton

 Compiled Crew Report from Plymouth    A Report from Brest of the rescued

Emotions at Southampton and The Subscription Fund   9th January 1852

Further Reports from Plymouth and Southampton

Plymouth Passenger and Crew Announcement 16th January 1852

Full Statements 16th January 1852

Inquiry 17th January 1852


Letter from the Master of the Barque Deodata

Lt Charles Grylls  &  Captain William Symons


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


Raymond Forward