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From: "Chris Woods" <>
Subject: [TSL] ss 'Madge' of King's Lynn UK 1885
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 07:56:05 +0100

Good morning all,

I am trying to find out more about a small UK coastal steamship called the 'Madge' which belonged briefly to my great grandfather W. R. Smith of King's Lynn.

According to the UK Ship Wreck Index :-

she was lost on 27th. May 1885 near Eccles-on-Sea in position 52 48' North, 01 34' 30" East having {?been} " run ashore after catching fire (Wind S. 2) ".

General details given: on passage from Great Yarmouth to King's Lynn, steamship, wood construction, registered in King's Lynn, owned by W.R.Smith of 'Lynn, in ballast, screw propulsion, 2 cylinder comp., 1 boiler , crew of 5, Capt. R. Cringle.

BoT Wk Trn. 1885 Appx C {?}, Table 1 p l145 NLR {?}

This is all fine but I also have a reference to a 'MADGE' of 43 tons, Official Number 89134, 87 ft., registered King' Lynn 4: 1884, Smack, crew of 5. (this is from the True's Yard museum in King's Lynn which has some excellent local shipping records although slightly slanted towards the fishing industry)

There is also a reference in their Customs & Excise files to a 'Madge', built in 1884 by the Co-op Shipbuilding Society of Blyth (Northumberland) with W. R. Smith as principle owner, and destroyed by fire etc., 1985.

I feel certain that the last 'Madge' built in Blyth is the steamship 'Madge' owned by W. R. Smith and lost by fire etc. in 1885

I'm not certain about the 'Madge' O.N. 89134 of King's Lynn as she is recorded as a smack.

Can any kind sole clear up this mystery for me? Are they all the same ship, possibly with the 'smack' being the error? The official number of the 'Madge' lost by fire on 27/5/1885 would be a great help, as well as where I could find out about her construction, drawings, etc. I also wondered what 'NLR' in the BoT Wreck Report refers to.

Any help will be much appreciated,


Norfolk UK
retired mariner

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