Friday, 12th December 1890
WRECK OF THE s s JOHN WELLS
The s s John Wells, one of the oldest vessels comprising the fleet of the Goole Steam Shipping Company, Limited, last week happened a casualty which has resulted in her total loss. She left Goole on Wednesday last week, in command of Captain Wake, who was making his first voyage in her, and was proceeding to Antwerp with a cargo of coals, shipped by Mr Fosdick. On Thursday night, just before entering the Antwerp river, in accordance with the rules of the Scheldt, the pilot was taken on board and took charge of the vessel. The pilot, who is know to sailors generally as "Old John", has for many years piloted Goole vessels safely to Antwerp. About eleven o'clock, while proceeding up the east "gat", and to all appearances in the usual channel, the vessel ran aground and remained, notwithstanding that efforts were made to free her from the awkward position in which she was placed. The first signs of further disaster to the vessel were noticed about 4 a.m. on Friday morning, when several reports were heard, and were regarded as indications of the dividing asunder of the frame of the ship. The breaking commenced in a line direct with the funnel, and once having given way it was evident that before long the ship would be in halves. As the strong ebb tide washed the sand from under the head and stern, the leverage was increased by the dead weight of coal contained in her holds, and when she had dipped to the extent of five feet at both ends, the crew began to make preparations for leaving by lowering the lifeboats. They left her until the next tide, when they again visited her, and found that any attempt to save her would be perfectly fruitless. The gap in the side of the vessel had greatly increased, each end of the ship having dipped considerably further. On the port side the line of division was as near straight as could possibly be, but on the other side the plates parted in a jagged manner. The vessel has since been abandoned for a total wreck. The s s John Wells was built in 1873 at Sunderland, by Messrs Davison & Stokoe, and she was purchased from that firm by the Goole Steam Shipping Company, Limited, for whom she has traded regularly between Goole and Antwerp. She was classed 90 A.1 at Lloyds, and her last survey took place in February 1889. She was 210 ft.8in. in length, 29 ft.8in. breadth, and she had a depth of hold 13 ft.8in. Her registered nett tonnage was 338, gross tonnage 593, and her under cargo 557. She was christened the John Wells in honour of the late Mr John Wells, J.P., of Boothferry House, who at that time was chairman of the company. She was the second steamship belonging to the company that bore the name of John Wells. Within the last two months the vessel has suffered two other casualties. She had her funnel blown overboard while at sea in a storm, and shortly afterwards went aground and broke her back. Eight cases of machinery were saved from the ship, which has become sanded up.
(Unsourced newspaper cutting in Goole Book, owned by Goole Local Studies Centre)