The History Book

The Wrecks of Liverpool Bay

The Wrecks are Back!

I think Google has shot itself in the foot, not that they are particularly worried about my opinion. During the summer of 2018 they changed the terms and conditions to access the API for Google Maps. Up until then they did not charge for low level non for profit use of the service. This site is totally paid for my me. I'm happy to meet the relatively modest cost of the domain and hosting but I am unwilling to meet the open ended costs Google wished to impose, so I reluctantly took down the site and began a search for a solution.

I began with Open Street Map. However as an open source provider they had limited infrastructure to support ‘live’ access. There were solutions such as hosting my own map server but my limited hosting package could not support that. Finally I turned to Bing (the dreaded Microsoft). They required a registration but unlike Google still allowed r low level not for profit access. In fact it was while looking at their offering I found that if I did continue to use Google I would receive a credit for my first $200 usage per month! Google still would have had my credit card and charged me if a sudden popularity in the wrecks had occurred and as I said I cannot justify and un-budgeted cost.

So here we are on Bing! The site has been rewritten to conform to the new API and since my level of skill had improved and PHP, MySQL and Javascript had all gone through a number of changes since the original code was written there were a number of depreciated commands. So I ended up basically doing it from scratch.

The Wrecks of Liverpool Bay

In 1974 the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board undertook a project to modenize their records of the wrecks which dot the waters off Liverpool. Coupled with a physical survey a collection of some 500 records where produced, called the 'wreck cards'. Eventually these record themselves were replaced and placed in the archives of the Liverpool Maritine Museum. An execise to catalouge them for reserchers inspired this site. The MDHB wreck cards only cover the period from 1860 but include a number of unknown wrecks which may well predate this period. Other publications and records have therefore also been consulted to expand the collection into a more comprhesisve record of the bay.

One of the issues of what to include on the site is 'what is a wreck?'. At first this may appear a foolish question, however the wrecks that populate the original MDHB records are actually a record of actual or potentual hazards to navigation, not a record of ships which sank! A ship which sank in the centre of the river or the entrance to one of the docks could not be left as a hazard for long, so would be moved and therefore could be missing from the MDHB wreck cards. The wreck cards therefore are niether complete nor particularly detailed and need expanding. Sources which are used include:-

The Wreck Files are a collection of reports to the board at the time of actions taken by dock officals requarding a sinking. There are about 250 of them and include ships subsquently raised and not found in the wreck cards. The Lloyds List contains details of the wrecks and coupled with the Llyods register can often identify quite detailed facts about the ships involved. While the Post and Mercury can add other ancillary details.

Information on wrecks can be accessed in two ways. Firstly via the ship list (which hold ships in alphbetical order). Secondly via the ship chart which displays the locations of the wrecks recorded iether in total or by year.

The positions given are for historical interest only and should not be used as an accurate location for navigation or any attempt to dive the wrecks. With that caveat, shipwrecks with a red markers are believed to be accurate positions, often backed up with hydrographic surveys, while the blue markers reflects the varing degrees of uncertainty/inaccuracy this author attaches to the position given, a blue 10 marker being the most unreliable