Monthly Archives: June 2017

“A Plucky Hull Captain”

Edward Weddall was a true master of his trade. The master mariner, on at least two occasions saved his crew and ship from wreckage. Once in Captain Weddall saves the day and Lloyd’s some money – again.

The following article appeared in the – Hull Daily Mail on 21 November 1895;


“The Hull steamer Fairy, on a recent voyage from Konigsberg to London, had the misfortune to break her crank shaft. at the time of the accident she was 300 miles from Hull, to which port the master decided to take the steamer. Very stormy weather was experienced, the steamer having to ride at both anchors during the worst of the gale. The pluck and perseverance of the master, Captain Weddall, had its reward, the vessel reaching Hull in safety without any assistance and Lloyd’s underwriters in London have recognised these services by a handsome presentation to the master.”

Emily, who had not as yet met her future husband when the incident occurred. She would have been proud of Edward Weddall’s bravery and perseverance, traits she possessed herself.

Lloyd’s of London today

21 November 1895 – Hull Daily Mail – Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England

Saving the Cargo

“From those beginnings in a coffee house in 1688, Lloyd’s has been a pioneer in insurance and has grown over 325 years to become the world’s leading market for specialist insurance. On the following pages you can learn about Lloyd’s unique and colourful past, from its early days in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house, to the historical events that changed the face of Lloyd’s forever.” Lloyd’s of London

Lloyd’s of London today

Lloyd’s the insurance company originated in a 17th Century London coffee shop, run by Edward Lloyd trading where the merchant navy traded. The demand for insuring expensive cargo increasingly became a necessity. In Victorian times the business transporting goods around the world grew and practically every ship in the British Isles was insured with them. Edward Weddall as a captain in the merchant navy was covered by the company.

One incident in 1881 when he was at the hull of Cohanim, under his command spared the company a big insurance payout on the cargo worth 250,000 dollars (5.5 million in today’s currency). His quick thinking and ability to influence his crew to follow through to the bitter end paid off. The article taken from The Shipping News; “The crew repairing a broken crank shaft in the Atlantic.”

His crew worked for four days and nights to repair the crank shaft, which got broken in a storm, which they did against pretty much all odds. The brave bunch saved the cargo and were rewarded 200 dollars (almost 5,000 today) by the insurance company.

The Shipping News


We see it is stated in a New York contemporary that the New York Board of Trade of Underwriters have awarded the officers of the Cohanim 200 dollars in testimony of their courage and skill during a recent storm. Late in October last the screw-steamer Cohanim belonging to Newcastle, sailed from Gibraltar for New York with a cargo of dried fruits and almonds form the Mediterranean valued at about 250,000 dollars. When she was seven days at sea a severe hurricane broke the crank shaft and left her the mercy the waves about miles west of Madeira, the nearest port. Captain Weddall ordered the crew to set all sail and keep the vessel hauled to the wind. So furious was the tempest that the vessel must have foundered but for the captain’s skill in managing her. The engineers had no tools with which to repair the broken shaft, but the were ordered to get to and make them. by working hared a large drill was finished in a few hours, but it was found to be needless without a large brace and the only one on board was a small one, the sailors made a new socket for the brace. Then with the ship tossing about like a cork, the seamen began to bore a hole 3 1/2 in diameter through 28 inches of solid iron. For four days and nights they stuck to their task, each man working as long as he could, and then being relieved by another until the core of the shaft was neatly drilled out. then an iron stanchion was cut away from the hold and rude bolt was made out of it. The bolt was driven through the shaft and clenched on both ends, thus securing the fractured part sufficiently to carry the steamship to Madeira in six days by running slowly and keeping the ship under full canvas. from Madeira world of the accident was sent to England, and after a few days Captain Wendall received a new shaft from Hull. Then the vessel proceeded on her way to New York in safety. the owners of the cargo testified their admiration of the feat by making every man a handsome present.

26 January 1881 – Shields Daily Gazette – South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England



Typhus fever (Epidemic louse-borne typhus)


Rickettsia prowazekii.


The disease is transmitted by the human body louse, which becomes infected by feeding on the blood of patients with acute typhus fever. Infected lice excrete rickettsia onto the skin while feeding on a second host, who becomes infected by rubbing louse faecal matter or crushed lice into the bite wound. There is no animal reservoir.

Nature of the disease

The onset is variable but often sudden, with headache, chills, high fever, prostration, coughing and severe muscular pain. After 5–6 days, a macular skin eruption (dark spots) develops first on the upper trunk and spreads to the rest of the body but usually not to the face, palms of the hands or soles of the feet. The case–fatality rate is up to 40% in the absence of specific treatment. Louse-borne typhus fever is the only rickettsial disease that can cause explosive epidemics. (World Health Organisation)

One hundred and four years ago there was an outbreak of typhus in Connemara. The poverty in the area at the time was rife, people were malnourished, making them more susceptible to disease. The occasion was reported on in several newspapers including the Irish Independent.

Mrs. Emily M. Weddall,Widow of the late Captain Weddall of Burnby,Yorkshire, and Rockfield House, Keel, Achill, who has hastened to Connemara to nurse the fever-stricken victims there. Founder of the Achill Irish Summer School, who is best known in Gaelic circles as Bean Ui Uadal, and it is for the sake of this last remnant of the Irish-speaking nation she is making such a heroic sacrifice.

The site where the fever hospital in Oughterard one stood

Emily however did not revel in the publicity generated by her kind gesture, but used it to highlight the poverty in that part of the county. She put pen to paper and composed the following letter to the Cliadheamh Soulis telling of the dire conditions in which the patients were living in, and the lack of basic facilities such as decent health care. She praised the Gaelic League for being the first to step up to help the poor of Connemara.

I came away last week to help look after the poor typhus patients here. I found all the typhus cases in Oughterard Fever Hospital, and only a few typhoid patients (who can’t be moved) in their own homes. I was going to write to you to ask you to insist on the establishment of a temporary hospital into which fresh cases (which are sure to occur) could be moved, but today the government representatives have at last arrived on the scene, Mr Birrrell, Sir Acheson McCullagh (Local Government Board), John Fitzgibbon, M.P., C.D.B., and Mr. O’Malley M.P. for the district. The doctor tells me that they have provided the hospital, and it is about time! The people have been treated worse than beasts should be treated, and they are almost all that remains to us of the unsullied ancient Irish race. I am glad the Gaelic League was first on the scene, but we ought to do something efficient to preserve these people and to enable them to find a livelihood in their own country…

Emily joined Rodger Casement, Augustine Birrell, Chief Secretary for Ireland and Jane Tubridy,  who was the schoolmistress at Carraroe, who saw the poverty firsthand on a daily basis, made a big campaign to attract aid to Connemara. Their combined efforts drew it the needed publicity to help remedy the poverty in the area. Under the influence of Rodger Casement a fund was set up. One contributor was William Cadbury a philanthropist and a member of the chocolate making family Cadbury’s. The campaign paid off and by Christmas of that year all children in the area were given a hot meal a day.

This is a good  example of Emily’s generosity and better example of how she used her con

connections to influence.

Connemara 1913 An Claidheamh Soluis


Irish Independent 1905-2011 Date:May 21, 1913;Section:None;Page Number:3
An Claidheamh Soluis May 1913. p 8


“Every year 3-5 million people around the world are infected  with cholera and 100,000- 120,000 people die from the infectious disease, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO).”

The above is from a 2016 report not that of more than a century ago, when an outbreak meant death for most that contracted the deadly disease. Nowadays a vaccine can be administrated in high risk and epidemic zones saving thousands of lives. Back in the nineteenth century there was no such vaccine as the disease was thought to have been transmitted by air. The disease is in fact  but we now know that the disease is caused by  bacteria. Cholera is spread through the ingestion of contaminated food and water. That is how it found its way on to the Bracadaile, the ship Edward Weddall was captain on in 1894/5.

The ship carrying mostly emigrant workers from Calcutta in India to St. Lucia in the West Indies, when cholera broke out. This particular stain of cholera originated on the banks of the Ganges making its way to the port of Calcutta and then on broad Captain Weddall’s ship in the water supply and in the food.

Edward Weddall, just like any other sea captain would have placed high importance on hygiene on board his vessel, as it was vital to the survival of all on board. The Health Authority of the United States, stated in regards to the cholera epidemic of 1894/5:

Sanitary service at sea. Second only in importance to securing at the foreign port a clean vessel and uninfected freight, with the crew and passengers in healthy condition, is a sanitary service at sea that shall preserve the cleanliness of the ship and the health of the crew.”

The above would have been implemented by the captain when leaving port, but as it has a twelve hour to five day incubation period symptoms may not have been recognized till the ship was far out at sea. By then the Blue Death because the victim turns a blue hue from dehydration, had well taken it’s grip, claiming the lives of 21 passengers and one crew member. Captain Weddall telegraphed the port authority with the grim news to prepare the for the arrival at  Saint Lucia, but the ship was quarantined until the disease had run it’s course.


[Report by Consul Holley. ]

‘ I have the honor to report the following Government telegrams from Saint Lucia, telegraphed as general news to the commercial body of this island, viz, August 3: *’ The ship Bracadaile, with immigrants from Calcutta for this island, arrived to- day. Reports having had 31 cases of cholera on board, 21 of whom, including one of the crew, succumbed. No fresh cases have occurred for twenty-nine days. Vessel quarantined.”

August 6. — The administrator officially announces that the  ship has been free from sickness since leaving the Cape on the 9th of July, and that all are well on board. No communication whatever has been or is allowed with the ship, which has been sent to ride out her quarantine of observation in a bay 5 miles from Castries Island perfectly healthy, and clean bills of health are being issued.

August 16. — It is officially announced that the ship Bracadaile left this morning for New York without having communicated with the mainland. The passengers were landed yesterday on the quarantine island, about a mile and a half from main- land. On landing all clothing was burnt ; the only articles of any kind which were’ landed from the vessel were jewelry and metal drinking vessels. The passengers are in , strict quarantine. The general health among them has been good, and there has been no cholera since 10th July.” In consequence of the telegram of the 16th August, I cabled the following to the Department of State, viz : ‘* Ship Bracadaile left Saint Lucia 16th — New York — had cholera.” I observe by New York Herald, August 11, that the steamship Bracadaile, with Saint Lucia advises, arrived, and was quarantined at Havana August 10. This is undoubtedly the ship referred to in the foregoing official telegrams.


Captain Weddall with the remainder of his crew arrived home at Tyne on February 18th 1895, having survived this infectious and deadly disease. It was not an unusual situation, life in general was precarious and life at sea more so. He survived this time but would contract a tropical disease later forcing him into early retirement.

Full text of “Annual report of the National Board of Health. 1885
Sanatory Committee, under the sanction of the Medical Counsel, in New York City New York Historical Society Wilford, John Noble. “How Epidemics Helped Shape the Modern Metropolis.” The New York Times. April 15, 2008. – And “Plague in Gotham! Cholera in 19th-Century New York.” New York Historical Society. April 04, 2008 – August 31, 2008.