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CAMMELL LAIRD WELCOMES OLD FRIEND MERSEY FERRIES’ SNOWDROP FOR DRYDOCKING

Cammell Laird this month welcomed the iconic Mersey Ferry ‘Snowdrop’ to the yard for her annual overhaul.

Cammell Laird has a close history with the Mersey Ferries and Snowdrop. In 2015 Cammell Laird painted Snowdrop in its now famous ‘dazzle’ design by British pop artist Sir Peter Blake, as part of the events to mark the centenary of World War One (see background).

Cammell Laird further refitted and reengined the ferry then called Woodchurch in 2004 before it was renamed Snowdrop. Woodchurch was one of three ferries ordered by the Birkenhead Corporation in the 1950s and early 60s the others named Mountwood and Overchurch. Cammell Laird built Overchurch (hull number 1304) launching her in 1962 while Mountwood and Overchurch were completed in 1959, a landmark Mersey Ferries is celebrating this year with the 60th anniversary of their launch. All three ferries have been extensively refurbished over the years and were later renamed Royal Iris of the Mersey (Mountwood), Snowdrop and Royal Daffodil (Overchurch). Royal Daffodil is not currently in service.

Tony Graham Cammell Laird’s chief operating officer said the company is hugely proud of its Mersey Ferries heritage having built 15 Mersey Ferries dating back to 1836 while in more recent times having built the Overchurch it has helped to maintain the current Mersey Ferries fleet for the last 60 years.

 

“Cammell Laird and the Mersey Ferries are two iconic names on the Mersey,” he said. “Our histories are intertwined and the workforce and management are committed to carefully maintaining these fine and famous ferries that are known and loved across Merseyside and the world. It is incredible to think they have been sailing for 60 years and Snowdrop has had a new lease of life with the Sir Peter Blake dazzle design bringing tremendous colour and vibrancy to the Mersey.”

The Mersey Ferries operate between Liverpool, Birkenhead and Wallasey. Ferries operating the route can be traced back to a service provided by Benedictine monks in 1150. The current fleet consists of two active vessels and share the workload of cross-river ferrying, charter cruises and the Manchester Ship Canal Cruise.

Background

Sir Peter Blake was commissioned to ‘dazzle’ Snowdrop in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool by Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW: the First World War Centenary Art Commissions, and Tate Liverpool. The newly dazzled Snowdrop was launched in April 2015 and was the first of the Dazzle Ship commissions to be a working vessel.

Snowdrop was the second vessel to be ‘dazzled’ by Cammell Laird after it painted Liverpool pilot boat the Edmund Gardner, in a dazzle design by renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, in 2014.

Edmund Gardner after dazzling at Cammell Laird

LIST OF MERSEY FERRIES BUILT AT CAMMELL LAIRD

Name In service Built Builder (& yard number) Gross tons Engines HP Propulsion Material Type
Eliza Price 1836-1855 1836 John Laird, Birkenhead (7) 136 Beam steam 50 Paddle wheels Iron Passenger
Nun 1841-1868 1840 John Laird, Birkenhead (37) 177 Beam steam 70 Paddle wheels Iron Passenger
Queen 1844-1881 1844 John Laird, Birkenhead (53) 173 Oscillating steam 60 Paddle wheels Iron Passenger, double ended
Prince 1844-1881 1844 John Laird, Birkenhead (54) 182 Oscillating steam 60 Paddle wheels Iron Passenger
Wirral 1846-1869 1846 John Laird, Birkenhead (60) 192 Oscillating steam 60 Paddle wheels Iron Passenger
Liverpool 1855-1882 1855 John Laird, Birkenhead (128) 157 Oscillating steam 40 Paddle wheels Iron Passenger
Empress Eugenie 1855 John Laird, Birkenhead (129) Sold to Admiralty before completion. Renamed Thais.
Bebington 1925-1949 1925 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (912) 732 Triple exp. steam 212 Twin screws Steel Luggage
Oxton 1925-1949 1925 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (913) 732 Triple exp. steam 212 Twin screws Steel Luggage
Upton 1925-1946 1925 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (914) 374 Triple exp. steam 122 Twin screws Steel Passenger
Hinderton 1925-1958 1925 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (915) 484 Triple exp. steam 163 Twin screws Steel Passenger
Thurstaston 1930-1961 1930 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (970) 487 Triple exp. steam 163 Twin screws Steel Passenger
Claughton 1930-1962 1930 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (971) 487 Triple exp. steam 163 Twin screws Steel Passenger
Bidston 1933-1960 1933 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (971) 487 Triple exp. steam 184 Twin screws Steel Passenger
Overchurch 1962- 1962 Cammell Laird, Birkenhead (1304) 468 Diesel Twin screws Steel Passenger