Paddle steamer 'President' in the Mersey off Liverpool
The paddle steamer 'President' is shown at anchor in the Mersey off Liverpool. She is embarking passengers on 10 February 1841 to sail to New York, which led to her last ill-fated return voyage. Passengers are boarding the ship from a small boat waiting alongside. The gold figurehead of a president is clearly visible in profile. The river is full of watermen bringing passengers and luggage to board the ship while others are taking sightseers to view it. At this period the water men still benefited from the remains of the monopoly conferred on them by the inability of sailing ships to manoeuvre in confined waters. The buildings of Liverpool form a backdrop to the scene.
At the time of the painting she was the largest vessel then afloat with a crew of about 80 officers and men. She was built of wood by Curling and Young of Limehouse, London for the British and American Steam Navigation Company. A large and very valuable cargo had previously been loaded in Coburg dock. She successfully crossed to New York in 21 days, and left for Liverpool on 11 March with about 136 persons on board. The 'President' was never heard from again and criticism fell on the construction of her hull.
- Image reference: D9792
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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