Liverpool pilot schooner No 2, the Leader, leading a fleet of vessels over the Mersey bar during a gale, 8 February 1881
This painting records an incident at Liverpool on 8 February 1881 when the pilot 'Leader' led a fleet of vessels safely over the bar during a heavy north-westerly gale. Navigating the entrance to Liverpool was hazardous for shipping because of the numerous sand banks, shifting sands and powerful tides of the Irish Sea. The pilots of the Port of Liverpool, with their extensive knowledge of the local sea conditions were therefore vital for shipping entering and leaving the port. The 'Leader' was 76 feet long and fitted with 16-17 berths and she was commanded by William Jones as master who can be seen in the foreground on the right in the heavy swell. She flies a flag which means 'Follow me', as she charts a safe passage over the treacherous bar for the number of ships we can see in the distance on the left. The buoy shown in the foreground on the left is marked 'Q1' which signifies Queen's Channel. The following year, along with all the Mersey boats the Leader was taken over from private ownership by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.
William Howard Yorke
- Image reference: BHC3875
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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