THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: From the News Letter of February 1936

Bangor man recalls the storm of 1894

By Darryl Armitage
Friday, 19th February 2021, 10:00 am
Bangor in Co Down, NLI Ref: L_CAB_06008. Picture: National Library of Ireland
Bangor in Co Down, NLI Ref: L_CAB_06008. Picture: National Library of Ireland

“This winter is the worst in my experience, and I am ninety years of age,” so said Mr Charlie Scott, a well-known Bangor boatman when he spoked to the News Letter in February 1936.

“At one time we used to have a gale of wind and done with it, but this winter it has been gale after gale. The gale last October was the worst for many years.”

Mr Scott added: “The worst storm I remember was in December 1894. I lost eight boats out of the Long Hole at Bangor that time.

“The sea came right over and smashed the boats to pieces. Some of the boards were caught by the wind and carried over the housetops into the fields behind.

“Early that morning I was at the Long Hole when I saw the sailing ship Noel being washed on to the rocks at Clifton bathing place, after she had dragged her anchor.

“The rocket apparatus was summoned, but it was some time before the rescue men arrived, as they had been bringing the men ashore from the wrecked barque Lancaster at Grey Point.

“I was compensated to some extent for my loss that time by getting a job of salvaging the gear and part of the cargo of the Noel, which never got off the rocks, but had to be broken up.

“At Ballymacormick the same morning, the three masted Schooner, Doctor, went ashore and was smashed to bits in five minutes, two men being lost.”

Encouraged to tell something of his long and adventurous life, Mr Scott told the News Letter that he had been born at Gray’s Hill in Bangor, and had first started sailing when he was sixteen years of age.

His first boat carried bricks from Bangor to Carrickfergus, Glenarm and Carnlough, and among other loads it carried stones with which a Glenarm church was built.

He then joined a larger vessel, a coal carrier belonging to Mr Robert Neill of Bangor. It was the Slaney, of nearly 200 tons, and brought Cumberland and Scotch coal to Bangor.

Mr Scott recalled how, 64 years previously, he had a great desire to “sail foreign” and left for Liverpool. However he reached Glasgow instead, and joined the sailing ship Rosario which was bound for Rosario in Argentina with a cargo of “railway chairs”.

For more of Mr Scott’s nautical tales see my new blog - https://wordpress.com/view/throughthearchives.wordpress.com.