Porthmadog Maritime Museum, The Harbour, Porthmadog, LL49 9LU 01766 514581 / 07866633927 contact@portmm.org

Researching your maritime ancestors?

We do not hold many records at the museum but can sometimes help or point you in the right direction

5 thoughts on “Researching your maritime ancestors?”

  1. I have not been able to volunteer as I live in Colwyn Bay .I have a great interest in the museum as I am descended from a family of sailors in Port. If there any enquries about Capt Hugh Parry and his sons or the Prichard brothers ship brokers and also the Morris family from Llanfrothen. My gg greatgrandfather was a slate shipper for the Oakleys. Robert Morris and his son David.Also had family connections with Owen Morris Bank place.Please contact me for more info.
    Heulwen Jones
    (For Heulwen’s email address and phone no email the administrator via the contact page – Museum)

  2. History of Solway Lass??? She currently sails off the coast of Queensland Australia…..Throughout the Whitsunday Islands…tourist trade. She looks splendid….I believe she had connections with Portmadoc!!!

    1. Hello Lynn,
      Here is the history of the SOLWAY LASS, taken from an Australian website
      The short period that she was connected with Portmadoc is not mentioned, perhaps because it ended tragically. My late father was involved in the incident and I have included his account at the end.

      Constructed in 1902 in Holland, she was originally named Stina. She was renamed Adolf from 1905 and worked primarily throughout the Baltic Sea. During World War 1 she was taken as a prize of war by the British. From there her role as a Q-ship, (a decoy for enemy submarines) carried on until the end of the war. Upon the war’s end she was sold to a coal merchant in Liverpool. She was sold again in 1924 to a Scottish Shipping Company, located in the Solway Firth. Here she was named Solway Lass for the first time. She had a new engine installed and she worked carrying coal and other supplies between Scotland, Ireland and Britain.
      The second dramatic turn in her history occurred in 1937, when she ran aground in Sandymount, Dublin, during a catastrophic snow storm. Shortly after this, she was sold to Danish company and was again used to ferry cargo around the Baltic Sea. With the outbreak of World War Two, Solway Lass was seized by the German Navy. She was used as a supply ship until she was sunk and she remained a wreck until the conclusion of the war.
      Once repaired, she was renamed Bent. She was renamed several times over the next few decades as she worked in Denmark, sailed across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and arrived to work in Fiji as a coastal Trader. After more than ten years working in Fiji she was purchased by an Australian owner and sailed to Sydney, were she was rebuilt in Sydney Harbour in 1985.
      Named Solway Lass again, she sailed Sydney Harbour as a pleasure cruise vessel and took part in the first fleet re-enactment that celebrated 200 years of Australian colonisation. From there she was sailed north to the Whitsunday Islands, where she now works as one of the area’s most famous and recognisable vessels, running three day cruises throughout the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. Her history is remembered by her crew and her guests today will often be told of her rich life and wide travels.
      According to the book Porthmadog Ships by Aled Eames she was owned by Kristian Anderson, a Dane, who had married the daughter of Richard Williams ship’s smith Porthmadog. This must have been 1937-8 after the grounding at Dublin.
      The following is anecdotal, as told to me by my late father, Robin Cadwalader, who was a boatman/fisherman at nearby Criccieth.
      “On 3rd March 1938 a schooner was seen drifting helplessly in the bay and a man was seen waving a burning rag as a sign of distress. There was no lifeboat at Criccieth at this time so the coastguard notified Pwllheli to launch their boat. In the meanwhile, my father and another boatman, Griffith Davies, rowed out and found one dead and two semi conscious men on deck having been overcome by fumes from the paraffin engine. The two boatmen dropped the anchor to prevent the schooner drifting ashore and soon the Pwllheli lifeboat arrived and the vessel was towed away. After the lifeboat had made fast the tow line the schooner’s anchor and chain was slipped. At a later date, according to my father, they recovered the anchor and sold it to the Outward Bound Training School in Aberdovey. Captain Anderson’s widow sold the vessel to Denmark and she sailed there with a cargo of slates from Porthmadog, possibly the last cargo of slates to depart the port in a sailing ship.

      Robert Dafydd Cadwalader Secretary Porthmadog Maritime Museum

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