Parkgate fishing 2

Stormy Weather – Newspaper articles 2

Chester Courant 2nd September 1903

PARKGATE. LOSS OF A TRAWLER. Thomas Mathews, a well- known Parkgate fisherman, left Parkgate by the noon tide on Monday upon a trawling expedition, which unfortunately for him, has resulted in the total loss of his line trawling boat, her sails, nets, and other gear. He was accompanied bv Joseph Smith another fisherman, and took with him as passengers Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Sleddon. of the Chester Hotel and his little daughter, aged six whom he had engaged to land at Rhyl before setting out to trawl. Matthews’s punt was taken in tow and to this fact the two fishermen probably owed their lives. After a pleasant trip, the two passengers were landed at Rhyl about 4 p.m.. and after obtaining some refreshment Matthews and his companion entered the boat with the intention of putting out and setting the trawl. A strong gale sprang up, however, and one of the roughest tides ever seen at Rhyl tossed the 8-ton trawler about like a straw. The two men now concentrated all their efforts upon trying to save the little vessel, which comprised Matthews s little fortune and sole means of gaining a livelihood. He is a steady and thoroughly experienced fisherman, having been born to the occupation previously followed by his father; and Smith was as much at home in the management of a boat. The elements, however were too much for them and, after struggling in the blinding rain and darkness and in imminent peril of losing their lives until about 10 o’clock, they reluctantly entered the punt and escaped to the shore. Nothing could be seen of the boat during the night, but about 4.15 next morning they found that it had been battered to pieces and that not only the boat but the whole of the fishing- gear were irretrievably lost. The men reached Parkgate by rail in a thoroughly exhausted condition and at the time of writing (Thursday) Matthews is suffering from exhaustion end the buffeting received in the boat. He is confined to bed.

Chester Courant 14th October1903

PARKGATE” FISHING BOATS WRECKED.-Tuesday night’s gale was one of the most severe ever experienced at Parkgate. The fury of the storm, coupled with a 17ft. tide, brought the latter over the quays and inundated the roadways and Mostyn Square. Many houses were flooded. A number of punts were destroyed, among these being two belonging to John Robinson, of Little Neston, while Thomas Ouldred (Pyke’s Weint), William Higgins (Parkgate), and John Roscoe each lost a punt. William Fewtrell (Parkgate) and James Ouldred had each a punt shattered. Some of the boats mentioned were wrecked through breaking from their moorings and dashing against the quay wails, while others sank and were rent apart by the heavy seas. The most severe loss was sustained by John Ouldred, of Heswall, his large “nobby” or trawling boat being helplessly shattered against the sea wall at Heswall. A trawling boat belonging to Mr. William Jones, of Sunset House, Parkgate, hon. secretary of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Association, was also greatly damaged.

Cheshire Observer 2nd December 1905

PARKGATE AND DISTRICT. DAMAGE TO FISHING BOATS. The fierce gale of Sunday night, coupled with the high tide, wrought much damage along the Cheshire side of the Dee estuary. Boats were torn from their moorings and carried miles away, while others were beaten to pieces or sunk at the anchorage, and a very large number were more or less damaged. The fishermen have for years suffered from bad times, many of them are forsaking the industry for other employment, and the pre- sent losses will be very severely felt by them. The aggregate loss is very considerable, and although the individual losses are not heavy, they have fallen in most instances on families who have no resources beyond that furnished through the little crafts disabled or destroyed, and this, too, at one of the most unprofitable seasons. A little relief in some instances may be forthcoming from the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which has for many years done noble work in assisting in cases such as these; but the bulk of the losses must be met by the breadwinner, whose resources are already taxed to the uttermost. The spectacle on the Parkgate Parade was very fine, the giant waves sweeping far over the quays and sending the spray whirling high over the roofs; but while the scene was admired by the disinterested on- lookers, it had no attractions for the fisherfolk, many of whom remained on the beach all night, fruitlessly trying to save some of their property. The following list, which is perhaps not complete, will give some idea of what the wind and waves effected in a few hours: -John Mealor (Parkgate), punt gone to pieces, salmon boat damaged; George Mellor (Neston), punt destroyed; Joseph Mellor, punt destroyed; George Fewtrell, junr. (Parkgate), salmon boat damaged; Lemuel Mellor (Parkgate), punt badly damaged; James Campion (Parkgate), trawling boat badly damaged; John Peters (Parkgate), punt damaged; James Ouldred (Neston), two boats sunk and damaged; James Smith (Parkgate), punt damaged; Saml. Evans (Little Neston), punt damaged; William Higgins (Parkgate), punt damaged; James Robinson and John Robinson, punts damaged; R. Bushell, boat damaged; R. Evans (Heswall), punt lost; Saml, Evans (Heswall), punt lost; William Jones (Sunset House), trawling boat damaged; Harold Gill (Neston), shooting canoe destroyed.

Cheshire Observer 23rd March 1907





As usually happens, the gale was severely felt on the Cheshire side of the Dee Estuary. Tall trees that had withstood the tempests for a century were laid in the dust, windows were blown in, and chimney stacks disappeared through the roof or fell in the form of a cascade of brick on the roadway, while along the Heswall and Parkgate beach the storm played pitch and toss with the fishing boats, until about a score were damaged or totally destroyed. The scene at Parkgate in the evening, as the gale and the high tide rode together, was one of awful grandeur. The estuary was like huge boiling cauldron, and as the tide neared its full height the giant waves sprang high over the quay in rapid motion, falling with mighty crashes on the Parade, and sending the spray high over the houses and beating like charges of small shot on the windows. Finally the quays and the parapets disappeared entirely, and the tide rolled on to the dwellings as if bent on wiping out the entire hamlet. In the case of many of the more exposed buildings, the tide made its way through the front- doors, and, setting at nought the busy brooms of the inmates, made its way through the back. Comparatively little damage was done to house property, however.

A window blew in at Sandhayes, and a chimney adjoining the Union Hotel collapsed, in addition to many minor mishaps. There was considerable damage among the fishing fleet. One of the most remarkable instances was that of a yawl belonging to Thomas Matthews, of Parkgate, which was moored near Gayton Cottage. When the storm was at its height this was torn from the moorings and flung like a toy over the quay wall and several yards into the grass field beyond, the timbers being considerably shaken. It needed the services of a number of fisherman to get it back again to the beach. A punt belonging to the same fisherman was also damaged. A trawler belonging to W. Jones, Sunset House, made an excursion some distance up the fields, together with the boundary rails, and a punt belonging to the same owner was damaged. George Fewtrell (Parkgate) had a punt totally wrecked, as had also Joseph Smith (Parkgate) and James Campion (Parkgate). Joseph Taylor, Maurice Evans, W. Wright, all of Heswall, each lost a punt, and the boats of Samuel and William Brierley, of Heswall, were also severely damaged. George Meller, John Ouldred, John Bedson and Henry Wellings were also among the sufferers. Some of these will be relieved, to some extent, by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, an institution which has proved a friend in need during many years to the local fishermen; but the latter, in any case, must suffer considerable loss and inconvenience.

An annoying feature of the event was caused by the unscrupulous conduct of many of the inhabitants, who, on the morning- following the storm, carried away many pieces of wreckage which, though not of much intrinsic value in themselves, will tax the fishermen’s resources to replace them. The gale beat with such fury on the dwellings further inland that many persons were afraid of the walls collapsing, and would not. retire to rest: and the sound of the wind as it moaned through the trees and telephone wires added to the general unrest. At Neston there were several startling incidents. A large chimney stack at the old vicarage, on the Cross, formerly the residence of the ancient incumbents of the parish, suddenly vanished through the roof, and making a hasty appearance in a cloud of soot in an apartment below where a card party was engaged, brought the game to a premature halt. Dr. Lewis Grant, while speeding to Thornton Hough at midnight, collided with a tree which had fallen across the roadway, and while endeavouring to make his way back came upon another fallen monarch, together with such telephone wire entanglements that he had to return by a circuitous route and with a damaged car. Many thatched buildings were partially stripped, but throughout the district, fortunately, no one was injured.

Articles accessed online at  Welsh Newspapers Online  website