The steamship, SS Thames, was built in 1827 by Fletcher's in Limehouse, London, and belonged to the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. She was commanded by Captain James Grey and wrecked on the Cribewidden Rock in the Isles of Scilly early on the morning of 4 January 1841 on her way from Dublin to London.
FIgurehead of the SS Thames in Tresco Abbey Gardens
|Operator:||City of Dublin Steam Packet Company|
|Port of registry:||
|Fate:||Wrecked 4 January 1841|
According to The Times (1841), the weather was "exceedingly boisterous, with showers of hail and snow." She "shipped a heavy sea, which extinguished her fires." Then, mistaking St Agnes Lighthouse for Longships Lighthouse, they ran onto the Cribewidden Rock at around 5 am.
Of the sixty-five passengers, there were only four survivors: a "young lady passenger" named Morris, two female attendants and a seaman who was rescued the following day. A boat crew from St Agnes set off as soon as the wreck was discovered by locals and rescued the three women. A fourth woman who survived the initial sinking refused to leave with rescuers because she could not find her child. Local pilots were unable to offer any further assistance because it was low tide and the pilot boats were aground. By 11 am, Thames was lost to the sea.
The only other survivor was the seaman who had made his way to Rosevear on a piece of driftwood. He survived on the exposed island for 24 hours before being discovered by boatmen. A porter cask had found its way to the rock from the wreck. The seaman took a drink before emptying it to use as an overnight shelter.
Ten bodies were found, including that of the woman who refused to leave her child. The casualties were buried on the island of St Mary's.
The figurehead from the ship was salvaged and is now on display at Tresco Abbey Gardens.
- "Loss of the Thames Steamer". The Times. 12 January 1841. p. 5.