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Brighton approaches Jersey

The paddle steamer Brighton was a regular operator in Channel Island waters for 30 years in the second half of the 19th century

Brighton started service in May 1857 with the Weymouth and Channel Islands Steam Packet Company. An iron paddle ship, she had been built in 1856 for the London and Brighton South Coast Railway Company, by Palmer of Jarrow.

Chartered at first, but purchased in 1858, she was of 286 tons, 193ft in length, and a beam of 20ft, her paddles were driven by engines developing 140 hp. She had a turtle back deck over the forecastle and five bulkheads. Brighton ran on the Channel Island station for 30 years until on a voyage from Weymouth to Guernsey, on 29 January 1887, she struck the Bray's rocks and became a total wreck. Fortunately the passengers and crew were saved, but the mails were lost. At a subsequent enquiry her captain was suspended for six months.

Disastrous gale

4 June 1860: [1]

Both Courier and Brighton left Guernsey for Jersey in a fresh breeze, but by Corbiere they were facing the severest of gales. On board the Courier the female passengers were screaming in terror as she rounded Corbiere. She made it to the roads, then ran for the harbour to land her passengers and goods.

Brighton was not so lucky. The wind increased soon after her departure from St Peter Port, and she found it impossible to get round Corbiere. She turned back and chose the north-eastern passage, but rounding Grosnez huge waves smashed the skylights and flooded the saloons.

Once calmer waters were reached to the east of the Island she finally made the safety of St Helier Harbour.

Notes and references

  1. From Facebook group Maritime Jersey, by Mark Pulley
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