As Liverpool gears up for Cunard’s Three Queens lining up on the River Mersey at the same time, it has to be hoped that there is no repeat of what happened 150 years ago today, when two ferries collied just as they set off across the river.
On Sunday 21st May 1865 at around 430pm the George’s Landing Stage, from where the Mersey ferries now depart, was far busier than it is today. As the Lancashire and Richmond set off at the same time, bound for Woodside and Eastham respectively, a collision occurred in which the Richmond had part of her starboard paddlebox and bulwarks ripped off.
In contrast the Lancashire, which had only recently been introduced to service, had little or no damage but many passengers on the Richmond were alarmed. With health and safety not quite as it is today, there were no river closures or accident investigators. Instead once they had regained their composure the Richmond passengers jumped aboard the Lancashire or the Rock Ferry steamer and everything returned to normal as the Richmond was taken away to have the damage further assessed.