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The Wreck of the Stanley

On that night, the 25 November 1864, the Stanley was making her way from Aberdeen to London, and she had thirty-six women onboard. They were young choirgirls from Aberdeen on their way to London to sing in the Royal Albert Hall for Christmas. And he made his way into the Tyne. The north and the south pier hadn’t been built then. That fateful night out the storm, he saw this topsail schooner [The Friendship] bearing down on him and he slowed his engines down, of course, lost way and hit the Black Middens. And about five minutes later the topsail schooner which was adrift, she hit the Black Middens. There was two men on watch in the life boat station and of course they fired the maroons off over Tynemouth village to call the crew out for the lifeboat, which they did. They were rowing, as hard as they could; heavy seas running. For half an hour, they tried and they actually got along side for about five minutes. And by the time they got tied up alongside the Stanley this great sea came in and ripped the moorings away and off went the lifeboat, out of control, and spilling its oars; heading straight for the topsail schooner which was next to the Stanley. And she struck the schooner; landed on the deck. The coxen and one of the crew got out, and got a lantern lit and went underneath to see what damage had been done; if she had been hold. While they were underneath the spar snapped, of course down it came, killed the two, and crushed them. They got the lifeboat back into the sea and they tried again and no hope. By that time, people were lining the cliff tops and hearing the screams in the dark for help. Nothing was done; they couldn’t do anything. The crew of the topsail schooner were all lost and out of thirty-six young lasses there was only two survived. The rest were all swept away.



Listen to Bill Scott' account


The Wreck of the Stanley

With gracious thanks to Bill Scott for his account of the Wreck of the Stanley.