Restoration Project – DANIEL ADAMSON

The “DANIEL ADAMSON” was constructed as the “Ralph Brocklebank” for the Shropshire Union Canal and Railway Company in 1903 by the Tranmere Bay Development Company at Birkenhead, Liverpool. She was one of the three tug-tenders used for both barge towing and scheduled cross-river passenger services between Ellesmere Port and Liverpool.

The combined towage and passenger service continued up to 1915 at which time the tugs were used to towage operations. In 1921 the “Ralph Brocklebank” and her two sisters “W.E. Dorrington” and “Lord Stalbridge” were acquired by The Manchester Ship Canal Company and were returned to towage and passenger service use. In 1929 the vessel’s passenger facilities by providing removable awnings fitted to the bridge and stern decks. In 1936 further modifications were made to the “Ralph Brocklebank” with the bridge being raised to its present level. The passenger accommodation was also upgraded, with the interior being furnished in wood laminates and light fittings in the then contemporary art-deco style. Following this major refit the vessel was renamed “DANIEL ADAMSON”. From 1936 to 1984 the “DANIEL ADAMSON” operated both as a tug and as the company directors’ inspection vessel and a venue for the corporate hospitality functions. The two sister vessels were disposed of by the Manchester Ship Canal Company in 1937 and 1946. In 1986 the “DANIEL ADAMSON” was laid up and berthed in the ship dock at The Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port.

In 2004, following many years of neglect and vandalism, the Manchester Ship Canal Company decided to scrap the “DANIEL ADAMSON”; however, a group of volunteers managed to safe the vessel and, as the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, have now spent over 100,000 hours on preserving and restoring the vessel. In February 2015 the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society were awarded £3.8M by the Heritage Lottery Fund to complete the restoration project and return the “DANIEL ADAMSON” back into passenger-carrying service.

The “DANIEL ADAMSON” is now at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, for work is now progressing on the restoration of the vessel.

BraemarSA has been appointed as the Technical Representative & Superintendent for the restoration project which started in May 2015 and is due to complete in February 2016. The restoration includes new shell planting & framing, a full rebuild of the 1953 coal-fired Scotch boiler, returning the vessel to full steam operation and refurbishment of the passenger saloons to the 1936 ‘art deco’ style.

A live webcam can found at


“DANIEL ADAMSON” in the 1970’s.



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