The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded a grant of £58,000 to restore a yacht which sunk in the Mersey in 1914. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the grant should help ensure Severn’s future.
The yacht which is called Severn is now owned by Arnside Sailing Club, which is located on the coast south of Kendal. Severn was built by Crossfields in Arnside for the Royal Mersey Yacht Club in 1912, the same year as Titanic sank. One of her sister yachts was owned by the Earl of Derby who was the Commodore of the Club.
Severn sank in a race on 23 July 1914, just 12 days before Britain entered the First World War when being sailed by Captain Harvey Broadbent, the Commandant of HMS Conway and two cadets. HMS Conway was a ship of the line moored in the Mersey which was used to train merchant navy officers. It later moved to Anglesey.
Severn was rediscovered on the bed of the Mersey in 1927, raised to surface, found to be good condition and sold on to Joe Wallace aged 24 of the West Cheshire Sailing Club in New Brighton by the Receiver of Wrecks for £25. Severn is thought to have remained in Merseyside till the 1950s. By 1970 she was in North Wales.
Between 1972 and 2018 she was based in Essex and Kent. Deva, one of her sister yachts was sailed across the North Sea and back 5 times.
Severn was brought by Arnside Sailing Club in 2018 to have an example of a boat built in the village.
Severn and Crossfields featured in a recent BBC Villages by the Sea programme about Arnside. Crossfields were leading builders of the Lancashire Nobby fishing boat, several of which are still kept on Merseyside.
Alasdair Simpson, for Arnside Sailing Club said, “We would love to bring Severn back to Merseyside in 2027 the 100th anniversary of her rediscovery on the bed of the Mersey. If Joe Wallace has any descendants or anybody has any memories of him, it would great to hear them. We are delighted to have been awarded the funding thanks to the support of National Lottery players.”