Mexico (barque)

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Barque Mexico 1886.jpg
Mexico beached
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Name: Mexico
Out of service: 1890
Homeport: Hamburg
Fate: Sank in 1890
General characteristics
Displacement: 400 long tons (410 t)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Barque
Crew: 12

Mexico was a barque that was wrecked off Southport on 9 December 1886. She was repaired only to be lost in Scottish waters in 1890.

History[edit]

Shipwreck[edit]

On 9 December 1886, the Mexico was on its way from Liverpool to Guayaquil, Ecuador when it was caught in a storm. Lifeboats were launched from Lytham, St. Annes and Southport to rescue the crew. The Lytham lifeboat Charles Biggs, which was on her maiden rescue, rescued the twelve crew but both the St. Annes lifeboat Laura Janet and the Southport lifeboat Eliza Fernley were capsized, and 27 of the 29 crew were drowned. To date, this is the worst loss of RNLI crew in a single incident.[1] Mexico came ashore off Birkdale, opposite the Birkdale Palace Hotel.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Sixteen women were left widows,[3] and fifty children lost their fathers. Queen Victoria and the Kaiser sent their condolences to the families of the lifeboatmen. An appeal was launched to raise money to provide a memorial to those killed, and the organisation by Sir Charles Macara of the first street collections in Manchester in 1891[3][4] led to the first flag days.[1] The disaster has a permanent memorial in Lytham St. Annes lifeboat house. An appeal has been launched by the Lytham St. Annes Civic Society for the restoration of four of the memorials.[5][6]

Memorials[edit]

Memorial at St Cuthbert's Church, Lytham, Lancashire, UK to the loss of the RNLI lifeboat "Laura Janet" 9 December 1886.
Detail of memorial at St Cuthbert's Church, Lytham, Lancashire, UK to the loss of the RNLI lifeboat "Laura Janet" 9 December 1886.
Detail of memorial at St Cuthbert's Church, Lytham, Lancashire, UK to the loss of the RNLI lifeboat "Laura Janet" 9 December 1886.

Memorials to the tragedy were erected on the Promenade at St. Annes, in the lifeboat house at Lytham St. Annes, in St. Annes parish church, in St Cuthbert's Churchyard, Lytham and at Layton Cemetery.[6] A further memorial was erected at Duke Street Cemetery, Southport.

Further history[edit]

Mexico was refloated and sold for £45, becoming a temporary tourist attraction at Lytham St Annes. She was eventually lost in Scottish waters in 1890.[2]

Television[edit]

The story of the wreck of the Mexico was featured in an episode of the BBC TV programme Coast, appearing in the fifth episode of the first series, first broadcast on 3 July 2005.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Mexico' Disaster Memorials Appeal". Justgiving. Retrieved 25 February 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "The Mexico disaster of 1886". Martyn Griff. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Willis, Jane. "Coast – North West England – Liverpool to the Solway Firth". BBC. Retrieved 25 February 2008. 
  4. ^ "'Worst lifeboat disaster' service". BBC News Online. 10 December 2006. Retrieved 25 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "APPEAL FOR THE CONSERVATION OF THE 'MEXICO' DISASTER GRAVESIDE MEMORIALS.". Lytham St. Annes Civic Society. Retrieved 25 February 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Willis, Jane. "Lifeboat tragedy remembered". The Citizen. Retrieved 25 February 2008. 
  7. ^ "North West England – Liverpool to the Solway Firth". BBC. Retrieved 15 March 2008. [dead link]