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Photos of the sinking of the Mary P Cooper


algy
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Anyone having any issue with the displaying

of these photographs due to copyright or

ownership infringement please contact me either by PM.

or through the Moderators and I shall

remove them immediately.

 

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Absolutely amazing photos Algy and so many of them too.

I've only ever seen a couple of them before so fantastic :D

 

Very sad though at the same time eh.

 

Where abouts on the canal were the photo's taken any idea? Some seem to have what looks like the Cantilever Bridge in the distance but other the swing bridges so I've sort of lost my bearings a little :oops:

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Dizz, she sank about 400yds east of Stockton Heath (Northwich Road) swing bridge close to the bank on Fairfield road. The 'Foamville' was the ship she collided with whereas the photo of the 'Saint Blane' was a vessel that had been to Manchester and was small enough to pass the Mary P Cooper and sail out towards Liverpool.

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Thanks Algy :D

 

I seemed to remember it being a bit more over that way than where I am but some of the images and scenery had me a little confused. It's late and I'm very sleepy :oops:

 

What happened to it after if was recovered? Was is just scrapped?

 

Any idea if any other ships have ever sunk on the MSC ?

 

And why is the swing bridge at Stockton Heath still called 'Northwich Road Swing Bridge' when it is on London Road?

 

We were at the lights last week opposite the bridge sign and suddenly started to wonder (not bad after me living over this way for 46 years and my other half for 18 years eh :lol: )

 

Too many questions I know for this time of night and I'm sorry.

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The Mary P Cooper

On the evening of March 21st 1961 two vessels collided in the Manchester Ship Canal east of the swing bridge at Stockton Heath, they were the coaster Foamville and the sandhopper Mary P Cooper the latter had a large gash in her port side and sank almost immediately. Thankfully there were no fatalities. The Foamville suffered no major damage and remained afloat. The canal remained blocked for several weeks as a salvage team worked to raise the loaded sand hopper.

To make her hold watertight it was completely covered with either wood planking or thick plywood and braced with 21 steel beams bolted across this decking. Large cylindrical floatation tanks were filled with water and lowered into the bottom of the canal, divers attached the tanks to each side of the hull, compressed air was then pumped into the tanks to expel the water thus creating bouyancy, prior to the lifting operation the MSC Grab Hopper No.1. removed as much of the sand load as possible to lighten the sand hopper to help the refloating of the Mary P Cooper.

The damaged vessel was towed into the old river Mersey bed behind Greenall?s Avenue and

beached, all fittings of any value were removed she was then left to rot. The land was later

infilled and eventually built upon, presumably the Mary P Cooper still lies there under the earth.

 

I'm not aware of any other vessls sinking in the canal although a steam ship (her name escapes me at present) mistook the cutting to the old river Mersey bed by Greenalls avenue opposite Ellesmere road as the main canal channel in a fog and in attempting to correct her course ran aground (photo below).

 

 

006-1.jpg

 

Regarding the name of the 'Northwich road' swing bridge I can find no reference to the name other than there was a milestone at the exact point where the bridge was built indicating - Warrington 1 mile, Northwich 10 miles, also the name 'Northwich road' swing bridge appears on the Ordnance Survey map of 1896, two years after the canal was opened.

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The Mary P Cooper

On the evening of March 21st 1961 two vessels collided in the Manchester Ship Canal east of the swing bridge at Stockton Heath, they were the coaster Foamville and the sandhopper Mary P Cooper the latter had a large gash in her port side and sank almost immediately. Thankfully there were no fatalities. The Foamville suffered no major damage and remained afloat. The canal remained blocked for several weeks as a salvage team worked to raise the loaded sand hopper.

To make her hold watertight it was completely covered with either wood planking or thick plywood and braced with 21 steel beams bolted across this decking. Large cylindrical floatation tanks were filled with water and lowered into the bottom of the canal, divers attached the tanks to each side of the hull, compressed air was then pumped into the tanks to expel the water thus creating bouyancy, prior to the lifting operation the MSC Grab Hopper No.1. removed as much of the sand load as possible to lighten the sand hopper to help the refloating of the Mary P Cooper.

The damaged vessel was towed into the old river Mersey bed behind Greenall?s Avenue and

beached, all fittings of any value were removed she was then left to rot. The land was later

infilled and eventually built upon, presumably the Mary P Cooper still lies there under the earth.

 

I'm not aware of any other vessls sinking in the canal although a steam ship (her name escapes me at present) mistook the cutting to the old river Mersey bed by Greenalls avenue opposite Ellesmere road as the main canal channel in a fog and in attempting to correct her course ran aground (photo below).

 

 

006-1.jpg

 

Regarding the name of the 'Northwich road' swing bridge I can find no reference to the name other than there was a milestone at the exact point where the bridge was built indicating - Warrington 1 mile, Northwich 10 miles, also the name 'Northwich road' swing bridge appears on the Ordnance Survey map of 1896, two years after the canal was opened.

I can remember the sinking. I was five years old at the time and we lived in Ellesmere Road, Stockton Heath. I can remember my Mum taking me to see part of the recovery taking place. I can particularly recall the pontoons used to refloat the ship and the divers, who were wearing the old fashioned diving suits with the big fish bowl shaped helmets. There was a young Police Officer who was living in digs somewhere near our house who apparently rescued someone from the water.

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As a young (ish) reporter, I actually covered the story of the sinking of the Mary P Cooper, and the subsequent operation to remove her from the canal. It made headlines not only locally but also in the national press. Editors were tickled by the idea of a shipwreck so far inland!

By the time the ship was eventually removed, I was glad to see the back of her! I had probably written thousands of words on the saga!

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........ here's a bit of useless info.

 

In this picture of yours Algy

 

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The boat in the background was called the "HMS Dispenser" and was a KIN CLASS Coastal Salvage Vessel part of the RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary)

 

One of 9 built at Smith's Dock, Middlesborough

it was equiped with lifting horns and heavy rollers at the front which enabled it to lift 200 tons dead-weight over the bows.

 

In wartime they were armed with 2 x 20 mm AA guns and had a complement of 34

 

More about it here for anyone that's interested and also lists other ships it attended in it's time between 1943 and 1979. And the picture shows our litle Mary P

http://www.historicalrfa.org/rfa-dispenser

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While I appreciate the interest shown, I'm afraid I don't have the time to go digging back into the past. And my memory of stories I covered has largely gone! When someone gives it a bit of a jog (as in this case) I remember a few things, but not much. So I am unable to shed any more light on Mary P. As I say, I was sick to death of the story by the time she was raised and don't actually recall anything about where she was towed to, disposed of, or what. In fact, I suspect I had been taken off the story by that time.

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Fascinating. That must have been before the days of the tugs then.

Peter.

No, the Mary P. Cooper was only quite a small ship, one of several that went to and from Coopers Cement works at the back of Greenalls. The tugs were only used for the large merchant ships that went up to Manchester. At one time there was a fair bit of small to medium sized river traffic in the immediate area, with boats coming to both Coopers and to Naylors wood yard.

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Teeside, I think Peter was making reference to the photo after the Mary P cooper set, of the ship going aground. Tugs were introduced in one form or another as sailing ships had to be towed in the canal as they had no other means of propulsion.

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Teeside, I think Peter was making reference to the photo after the Mary P cooper set, of the ship going aground. Tugs were introduced in one form or another as sailing ships had to be towed in the canal as they had no other means of propulsion.

No problem. As a kid I used to watch the ships on the canal quite a lot, and at one time knew most of the Tugs by name. It was interesting to note that the salvage ship was built at Smiths Dock, Middlesbrough (note the correct spelling), which, of course, no longer exists, although you can still see the slipways both there and at the old Furness Shipyard at Port Clarence.

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Happy memories of that side of England as when working for ICI I spent a while helping to plan and run overhauls on the Billingham site, alas no longer ICI either there or the huge Middlesbrough site, more of the 'family silver' sold.

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