The Titania made the run from Victoria to London in a record 104 days, arriving on January 9th, 1888. The local newspaper in Victoria when hearing the news remarked, that "...the Titania is doubtless the fastest, if not the handsomest, sailing ship afloat.
"The British Ship Titania's Fast Passage to London"
(Source: Daily Alta California 18 January 1888)
In spring, the Titania was again loaded with a cargo of general merchandise and gas piping and set out for Victoria. However, the voyage was fraught with challenges. Captain Dunn stated, "it was the roughest passage he ever experienced." It was a succession of storms from beginning to end, and at one time she had to navigate a blinding snow storm. She encountered countless thunder and lightening storms. One of them just off the horn seemed to concentrate all of its energies on the ship.
Captain Dunn describes storm, "the ship was every few seconds illuminated by lightening flashes. As there was a large quantity of powder on board the situation was not a very pleasant one." During one particularly frightful play of lightening, the captain who was standing on deck, suddenly he seemed to be surrounded by fire accompanied by a deafening explosion. He fell to the deck and when he recovered consciousness, he got on his hands and knees, but could not distinguish anything. The lightening had temporarily blinded him! He asked the direction to his quarters and groped there on his knees. It was a day before his sight gradually returned and some time before he all together recovered.
In spite of having a tough time of it, the Titania was able to make the passage to Esquimalt in 121 days, with the best run in any one day being 260 miles. The Titania was carrying a full cargo and because she was designed and built for built for speed, she was low in the water and cut through the heavy waves. Everything on deck and the quarters was constantly wet, although the cargo arrived without damage.
Liquors, and General Merchandise were brought from
England by Titania and sold by the Hudson's Bay Company in Victoria.
(Source: Daily Colonist - July 31, 1888)
Pianofortes were also on the Titania's cargo list that year.
They arrived in perfect condition despite the Titania's hair raising voyage.
(Source: Daily Colonist - September 23 1888)
The Titania was once again chartered to the British Columbia Salmon Fleet by Findlay, Durham, Brodie & Co. in 1888. In all, she was loaded with 33,782 cases of Salmon from Fraser, Skeena, and Nass Rivers, Smith Inlet, Rivers Inlet and Lowe Inlet, and Alert Bay. She also carried a quantity of furs with the total cargo worth an estimated $250,000.
The salmon was brought over to Victoria by steamer from the Fraser mostly by the Princess Louise.
The Princess Louise brought salmon from Fraser River canneries.
Source (Daily Colonist - Sept. 22nd, 1888)
In 1888, the total breakdown of salmon cases carried to England by Titania was as follows:
Robert Ward & Co. --- 10,932 cases
Findlay, Durham, & Brodie --- 10,600 cases
Welch, Rithet & Co --- 8,000 cases
Turner, Beeton & Co. --- 3,250 cases
E.A. Wadhams --- 1,000 cases
She arrived in Gravesend on Jan. 19, 1889 making the run back to England in 119 days. She then departed London on Mar. 7th, with another cargo of merchandise and gas piping for Victoria. She passed the Atlantic equator on April 3rd and then rounded the horn. She was making a good go of it, and on May 8th, the Titania had arrived in lon. 83 w. only 57 days out. This was two days shorter than any other run. But, her good fortune had run out, and she was battered by a series of wild northwesterly storms.
The storms would not subside, and for a month straight the Titania battled enormous waves, tides, and seas. It was nearly 40 days before she crossed the Pacific Equator, and she finally made Cape Beale on the Northwest Coast on July 10th. Upon her arrival, She was beset with heavy fog, forced to heave to and was taken in tow by the American tug Richard Holyoke, past Race Rocks into Royal Roads. She was brought into Esquimalt by the tug Pilot, and arrived in Victoria on July 12th.
The steam tugboat RICHARD HOLYOKE tows a sailing ship through the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
San Juan Island in the background to the north - Contemporary watercolor by Steve Mayo.
The Titania was once again consigned to the Salmon fleet for 1889. For the first time the Titania was carrying cargo and general merchandise for the newly formed city of Vancouver.
Henry Ogle Bell-Irving, had chartered the ship, and on July 25th it was towed to the Bell-Irving and Patterson Wharf which was at the foot of Abbott St by the newly launched tug Lorne with Capt. Urquhart as the pilot.
Originally launched in 1889 by local coal barons James Dunsmuir (1851-1920) and his brother, Alexander, Lorne was the biggest, strongest, and most expensive tugboat in the area.
The steam tug Lorne, the biggest and strongest tug in the area,
towed the Titania up the Fraser to the New Westminister and the canneries in Steveston.
The Titania had 900 tons of cargo for Bell-Irving in Vancouver, and 600 tons for the New Westminister Branch. While in Vancouver, Capt. Dunn invited the public aboard the clipper. According to the Vancouver Daily World, she was then taken up to New Westminister and on her way down the Fraser made a stop to pick up canned Salmon directly from the Steveston Canneries.
By September 20th, she was back in Esquimalt waiting for cases of salmon to complete her cargo from the Phoenix cannery that were being brought over the Strait of Georgia by the steamer Yosemite, for both the Titania and the German barque Hustede.
In 1889, Bell-Irving had purchased nine canneries in and around the newly formed town of Steveston, and in that same year William Herbert Steves the eldest son of Lulu Island pioneer, Monah Steves, laid out the town of "steves" and incorporated the village of Steveston.
A young entrepreneurial man, at age 29, he envisioned that the town of Steveston would become a major seaport terminal expected it to rival the fledgling seaport of Vancouver, which had incorporated just three years earlier. He mortgaged himself with land purchases and speculative business dealings. The fledgling township would soon live up to the founders expectations.
In 1890, new wharves, fish camps, canneries, and boat yards were built along the waterfront which created a boom for salmon canning companies, industrialists, and fisherman. In 1891, W.H. Steves would start the town newspaper, the Steveston Enterprise.
In that same year, a natural gas reserve was discovered and used to "illuminate" the town, and Steves boldly declared, "Vancouver will be a future suburb of the city of Steveston." It was not long before the town of Steveston had gained the nickname, "Salmonopolis".
An 1891 advertisement for an auction for land lots from the Daily Colonist. After discovery of a natural gas reserve, it was speculated that Steveston was destined to become "a manufacturing centre, and [a] centre of the leading cities of the Province."
A view of the Steveston waterfront circa 1890.
(Source: Vancouver Archives - Item Out P674
Original photograph property of Mrs. Ida B. Steeves)
In 1889, the largest and oldest cannery in Steveston was the Phoenix cannery, managed by Marshall English. It packed a total of 20,917 cases of salmon that year, but only 2,300 cases were shipped aboard the Titania. The majority of the canned salmon from the Phoenix cannery was carried on the newly built German barque, Hustede.
Marshall English in front of the Salmon Pack
at the Phoenix Cannery circa 1889-1890
(source: BC Archives Item A-06838)
In 1889, four new canneries were built along the Fraser. Although Steveston had nine canneries by 1889, most of the Fraser River salmon carried on Titania was packed upriver in New Westminister, and across the south arm of the Fraser in Ladner's landing.
One the the largest packs carried on the Titania was picked up for the first time from what was known as the North Branch of the Fraser River at the fledging Sea Island Cannery, which was built and operated by Alexander Ewen & Daniel Munn, on Swishwash Island, a small island located between Terra Nova on Lulu Island and Sea Island, on what is now considered the "Middle-Arm" of the Fraser. In the heydey of 1889 the cannery was a bustling place, and packed a total on 18,225 cans, which made it one of the bigger cannery operations on the Fraser that year. The cannery did not last long, as the small low island was prone to flooding, and it eventually burned to the ground in 1899.
The Sea Island Cannery known as Munn's was located on
Swishwash Island. Circa 1890 (Source: Victoria Illustrated, 1891)
In a newspaper article written in 1891, the Sea Island Cannery operation is described in a voyage up the river:
"Bright and early on a Wednesday morning, we were on board the Bon Accord bound for Sea Island. We steamed down the North Branch. The view there was pleasant and the scenery in many places delightful. On our way we passed fisherman attending to their nets as they drifted down the river. One or two of them were hauling in but disappointed to see no fish. At the Sea Island Cannery, which has a small island all to itself, there was what appeared to us a pretty fair heap of salmon, and the hands were already at work cleaning them and preparing them for cans. We will not undertake to say how many hands a can of salmon must go through before it is ready for the market but there must be a good many more than the old fashioned pin, of which we heard so much in our boyhood's days. The scene in the cannery when we entered it was a lively one. Men and women were working for dear life. The first process was taking the heads off the fish, stripping them of theit fins and cutting off the tail. We watched the process for some time narrowly. The men are armed with formidably looking knives and do their work with such great rapidity."
In 1889, the Titania again made headlines as she carried a total of 33,721 cases of salmon, and 84 packages of furs along with personal effects and a case of can labels. The total value of the cargo was in 1889 estimated to be at $268,882. (approx. the equivalent of $6.5 million in 2016)
|Salmon Manifest for Clipper Titania 1889|
|Shipper||No. Of Cases||Marks / Cannery||Est. Value|
|Blum, Baldwin & Girvin||1,600||B.A.P. Co.||$6,400|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||1,000||Alert Bay Cng Go. LA||$6,000|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||447||Oweekayno River||$3,129|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||1,000||Windsor Cannery, H W||$6,000|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||600||Windsor Cannery, H W||$3,600|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||500||Rivers Inlet Cnry DJF||$3,000|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||1,000||N. Pacific Canning Co.||$6,000|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||1,000||H--C||$6,000|
|Robert, Ward & Co.||1,200||Express Brand, "W"||$6,600|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||1,000||G.H.F.||$2,000|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||1,000||G.H.F.||$2,000|
|R.P. Rithet & Co.||1,500||Harlock Packing Co.||$9,375|
|R.P. Rithet & Co.||1,500||Laidlaw & Co.||$9,375|
|R.P. Rithet & Co.||1,500||Delta Canning||$9,375|
|R.P. Rithet & Co.||1,500||Wellington Pkg. Co,||$9,375|
|R.P. Rithet & Co.||1,500||Skeena Packing Co.||$9,375|
|R.P. Rithet & Co.||2,000||Phoenix Brand||$12,500|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||924||Rivers Inlet Cannery||$5,544|
|Robert, Ward & Co.||1,000||E.E.||$5,500|
|Robert, Ward & Co.||1,600||E.E.||$8,800|
|Robert, Ward & Co.||2,000||Sea Island Cannery||$11,000|
|Robert, Ward & Co.||2,200||Sea Island Cannery||$12,100|
|Robert, Ward & Co.||1,000||R.W.||$6,000|
|Robert, Ward & Co.||1,000||R.W.||$6,000|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||1,000||G.H.F.||$6,000|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||850||G.H.F.||$5,100|
|R.P. Rithet & Co.||300||Phoenix Brand||$1,875|
Indeed, the salmon run was a "bumper crop" that year, Thomas Mowat in his report to Charles Tupper, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine, wrote: "SIR,—I have the honor to transmit my annual report on the fisheries of this Province for the past year, with statistical returns and condensed reports from the several guardians. These returns show a much larger increase in value than that of any previous year since fishing operations commenced in this Province... The residents on the Fraser are unanimous in the belief that never before in the history of the river was there such an exceptional run."
Before leaving Victoria, Captain Dunn wrote a small farewell poem that was published on September 24th, in the Daily Colonist:
Farewell to Victoria 1889
Kind friends in Victoria, the time is now nigh,
When, sailing for England, I must bid you
But, shall carry this feeling, you must not
think me vain.
Next year you'll be pleased to see me again.
The beautiful clipper I'm proud to command
Four times has returned to this much
The "Titania'' is now a true household
For she's tight, staunch, and strong and
fleet as a bird.
Yet, oft I'll remember those bright happy
I've spent in your homes all embosomed
For this is the rule and is no vain boast,
"To welcome the stranger who visits your
In Grandeur sublime, majestic and high.
Mount Baker uplifts its proud peak to the
Whilst the mounts of Olympus, from
Heaven's blue dome.
Keep watch o'er the Straits that front your
Victoria, fair city ! I predict that kind fate
Your childhood will change to a prime
that is great;
Here's success to all those that in you now
Accept my best wishes, God speed you,
James L Dunn,
Esquimalt, Sept. 22nd. 1889
In an extremely rough sea, the Titania was towed out by the tug Lorne on October 3th, to Cape Flattery at midnight, in a frightful storm. Capt. Christensen of the tug Lorne pronounced that it was the fiercest gale that he had ever been out.
Despite, the heavy seas the tug made an average of 7-8 knots with the fully-rigged and heavily laden clipper in tow. Captain Dunn, was determined to try and break his old record and proudly stated he planned to make the run under 100 days. The Danish bark Doris Brodersen left a few days after and her captain vowed to overtake the Titania her on the way home to London.
The German bark J.Hustede, departed on October 13th, and was loaded with 56,000 cases of salmon bound for London. Captain Reimer proudly proclaimed that he would make the best time ever made for the trip home and not only boasted that he would beat the Titania's time, he wagered $100 that he would also beat the Lebu which had departed Victoria for London the same day. The salmon race was on!
While not breaking any records, the Titania's time for the return trip was 110 days which was considered particularly good and she was the first of the salmon fleet to arrive in England that year. The Lebu, also had a decent showing making the run in 132 days and brought home a load of British Columbia salmon worth $182,305. The Doris Brodersen was long overdue and did not arrive until 190 days after her departure, just as the Titania was preparing to depart back to Victoria.
The German bark J.H. Hustede, with 56,000 cases of salmon worth $330,998, never arrived, and has never been heard from or seen again. It is presumed that all hands were lost at sea. No trace of the wreck has ever been found. It was thought that she may have listed in a storm and was not able to right herself, in this manner she would have sunk straight to the bottom with no wreckage.
Two other clippers, the Norcross and the Thyonus made the run the run later in the the year.
The Titania left England on April 28th, 1890 with 1,200 tons of general merchandise, with 1,100 destined for Victoria, 50 for New Westminister, and 50 tons for Vancouver. She was towed into Esquimalt on September 03, 1890. She made the run in 120 days. She was under charter for Bell, Irving and Patterson for the salmon trade.
Henry Ogle (H.O.) Bell-Irving, was one of the most influential businessmen to emerge in Vancouver. A restless young entrepreneur hoping to regain clear title to his father's estate at Milkbank in Dumfriesshire, near Lockerbie in the Scottish Lowlands, he correctly discerned that British Columbia's infant salmon canning industry offered tremendous potential for making money. In the fall of 1890, Henry Ogle Bell-Irving with help from family and friends in Scotland, secured the capital to consolidate nine west coast canneries, seven of them on the Fraser River, into one corporation, the Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company Ltd. At the outset Anglo-B.C. Packers, which Bell-Irving managed through his agency company in Vancouver, was "the world's No. 1 producer of sockeye salmon."
New Westminister waterfront circa 1889-190
(Source: B.C. Archives)
In early October, the Titania arrived at the C.P.R. Wharf in New Westminister to discharge cargo, and pick up a load of Salmon and Lumber. On the evening of October 14th, Captain Dunn was in a particularly high spirited mood. He had just received a letter from his family reporting everything well, and eagerly waiting for his happy to return to old England. He had at home a wife and four children. The captain was a bluff, hearty, kind man, and could not contain his joy moodily to himself, and he freely informed his friends of the happiness that the contents of the letter had brought him. That night he went to attend a performance at Herring's Opera House. The Herring's Opera house was built in 1887, and was a frame structure 150ft x 50 ft. and was located on Prevost st. (Carnavaron st. & 6th).
The New Westminister Waterfront Map, 1892
(Source: City of Vancouver Archives - Item Map 912)
The Herring's Opera House is described in The Weekly News Advertiser, "It has an auditorium capable of seating 800 persons and a gallery of 300 persons. The seats are moveable, so as to allow being taken out and are on an incline place ascending to the rear. There are four proscenium boxes, a handsome drop curtain costing $900, the painting representing the Bay of Naples; a stage 50 x 35 feet, dressing rooms attached, a curtain opening of 30 feet and a good stock of scenery". The Opera house was destroyed in the great fire in 1898 that destroyed most of the City of New Westminister.
Columbia Street in New Westminister, circa 1890.
(source: Vancouver City Archives)
Captain Dunn went to the Opera house with several of his acquaintances and friends, who said they never saw him so jovial and happy. He was accompanied by Mr. R. McFarland (an agent for Bell-Irving, Patterson, & Co.), and enjoyed the play very much. He left the theatre at 10:30PM. On his way back to the ship he met Mr. A. Ewen and D. Munn who owned the New Westminister cannery operation, and Sea Island Cannery on Swishwash Island. He engaged in a lengthy conversation, and left the club about midnight. Mr. Ewen saw Captain Dunn off at the corner of Columbia and Begbie streets where he bid him a fine farewell. Mr. Ewen made his way up Columbia to his own residence and Captain Dunn proceeded westward down Columbia towards the wharves.
He walked through a gate to the pier, and crossed the railway tracks, passing between two railcars that had been left close to the station, and proceeded to the dock. Unfortunately, for Captain Dunn, workmen had been been working on an extension of the dock. They had stopped worked the previous evening and left a gaping hole of about 20ft in size in the boardwalk that dropped 6ft to the pile of rough cut timber piled below. With the lighting partially obstructed from the railway cars, and in the rain with no fencing or warning signs that the dock dropped off, Captain Dunn fell through off the pier, through the hole and cracked his skull on the pile of timber below. He died from his injuries and was found in the morning.
The loss of Captain Dunn was a shock in both New Westminister, and in Victoria. The flags of all the masts of the ships in both shipping harbours were lowered to half mast. His body was brought to the Ross Bay cemetery in Victoria, the following day, and the funeral took place on October 18th. It was said that he was so well liked by the citizens and crew that his casket was practically hidden from view from the enormous amount of flowers.
Meanwhile, the Princess Louise had made it up to New Westminister with a load of canned salmon from the Northern canneries for the Titania.
The command of the Titania was passed to the first mate Henry Norman. Ironically, Captain Norman about a week after his appointment walked off the pier in the same spot as Captain Dunn, and fortunately he escaped the incident with scrapes and bruises.
The Titania finally departed Victoria, towed to sea by the tug Pilot on November 21st, 1890. The Titania carried a larger pack from the Steveston canneries than ever before. The Fraser fishing industry was booming, and had became centered around Steveston whose waterfront was dubbed, "cannery row".
|Salmon Manifest for Clipper Titania - 1890|
|Shipper||No. of Cases|
|Findlay, Durham, & Brodie||8,000|
|Canoe Pass Canning Co.||748|
|M.M. English & Co.||1,500|
|Duncan, Bachelor & Co.||12,250|
|J.H. Todd & Co.||3,000|
|Garry Point Canning Co||9,149|
The Titania loaded salmon for the first time from the newly built Britannia Cannery, constructed by W. Duncan, J. Bachelor, Eli Harrison. In June, 1879, William Duncan made his way westward to New Westminster, British Columbia, and was employed as bookkeeper at the salmon canneries, while later he served in the same capacity in the Royal City Planing Mills until February, 1890. He was then instrumental in organizing a company under the name of Duncan, Batchelor & Company and built the Britannia cannery at Steveson, British Columbia. The Britannia cannery was a L-shaped structure built next to Marshall English's Phoenix Cannery. It was sold a year later to H.O. Bell-Irving's, Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company in 1891.
A can label from Duncan, Batchelor & Co.who built and operated the
Britannia Cannery in 1890.
(Source: British Columbia Archives)
Another newcomer to the Steveston cannery scene was J.H. Todd, who was an Ontario farmer who had made a fortune in Barkerville during the Cariboo gold rush, selling provisions to miners. (His grocery store remains a heritage site in Barkerville today.) He moved to Victoria to establish a dry-goods store on Wharf Street, but in 1882, when he saw the rush to the fishing business, and put his wealth into a cannery of his own on the North Arm of the Fraser River, near Richmond, where he opened the Richmond Cannery. In 1889, he expanded his operations and opened the Beaver Cannery near what is now the end of No. 2 road. The Beaver Cannery was later renamed Richmond Cannery, when the cannery on the North branch of the Fraser closed in 1905.
Todd didn't’t know much about fish, but he did know how to run a profitable business. Canneries were exempt from the labour laws of the time, so he hired Chinese and Indian workers exclusively, and built up a fleet of his own boats, each flying his horseshoe logo (a tribute to miners’ superstition), to supply the cannery with fish. Todd, was a shrewd businessman who always paid by the piece and never by the hour, and it is said that he once commandeered two young aboriginal men to paddle him from all the way from the cannery to New Westminster – a considerable task, against the Fraser's current and at the end of the journey he rewarded them with two pieces of hardtack biscuits.
The Beaver Cannery was renamed Richmond Cannery in 1905 when the
Richmond Cannery on the North Arm of the Fraser was closed. (Source: B.C. Archives)
A clipper tied up to a cannery at Steveston circa 1890-1900.
(Source: B.C. Archives)
The Titania arrived in London on March 24, 1891 and had made the run in 123 days. The value of her cargo of salmon was estimated at $178,000. Thomas Selby who had been first mate on the Titania's rival, Cutty Sark, was then given command of the Titania. Selby was known for his hard-work and dedication. He joined Cutty Sark in February 1886, aged 20, and sailed on her for two voyages as 2nd Mate, then three as 1st Mate from 1888.
He was a very highly regarded officer. Despite his youth, he was extremely conscientious and kept Cutty Sark in excellent condition. When in port, he would row out in a boat every evening to inspect her. Although strict and hard working, he had no false dignity and was popular with the crew and apprentices. He was athletic and enjoyed boxing whilst in Sydney. He was also a marlinespike seaman, skilled at rope and knot work.
While being hard-working, he was also easy-going and knew when to have fun. Captain Woodget, of the Cutty Sark who was considered one of the most successful masters in her career, invited Selby to join him in roller skating around on the teak decks, a favourite past-time of Woodget's when the Cutty Sark was in port. Once, the Master persuaded him to try it with him on the teak deck of Cutty Sark. Thomas’s head hit the deck and nothing would induce him to try again.
The Titania set sail from London in April with a cargo of of general merchandise for Victoria, New Westminister, Vancouver and the Navy Yard in Esquimalt. The voyage was splendid until she reached Cape Horn, when for two weeks she encountered a series of heavy gales. The trip was made in a good time of 108 days, and arrived at midnight on November 7th, 1891.
Titania was brought around the Hudson's Bay Wharf, and then towed over to the lower mainland. In July, the Hudson's Bay Company had announced that they no longer were using the Titania for transporting furs. They were now to be carried overland, the Titania was only to be carrying "salted hair seals but none of the furs."
The days of the mighty clipper were coming to an end, and there was alot of speculation that unless the market improved soon that the Titania would soon be taken out of service, and not return the following season. In 1891, the Fraser salmon pack early returns weren't very good. Mr. Todd reported, "so far the pack on the river is very small, and the prospects are that fully half the cans which have been prepared will have to be carried over, unfilled until the next year." While tied up in New Westminister it was said that Titania had a "broom tied to her masthead".
Having a broom tied to the masthead, is a curious old naval tradition that we are given to understand that the vessel bearing it is for sale. This singular method of announcing a ship for sale has generally been ascribed to the fact that Van Tromp, the celebrated Dutch admiral, displayed a broom at the masthead of his vessel to signify his intention of sweeping the English from their own seas. That he actually did display a broom in this manner, and that is was not just an expression, is unquestionable, since, in retaliation, the English admiral tied a horsewhip to his own masthead, expressive of his determination to give the Dutchman a good thrashing. From this horsewhip, the flying streamer or Pennant which has long distinguished all English ships of war has been derived. But the broom was a very old device at the time when Van Tromp made use of it. "The Friscans," writes John Evelyn, "greatly infested the Danes, and those of Flanders, especially under William, the son of John, Count of Holland, and in the time of William the Good, Duke of Normandy. They were the first that bore the broome when, anno 1438, they had cleared the Levantine Seas, and subdued the Genoese."
However, while the broom at the masthead makes sense in terms of a naval victory or on a military vessel, the idea of an article being sold and literally "swept away" doesn't really seem very likely or logical in the context of the merchant fleet. The symbolism of the broom in connection with a ship for sale can most likely can be explained on more logical grounds. In the past, the periodical hiring of servants was intimately associated with what was called a "Mop Fair", that is those servants who have not yet found a new master are distinguished from the rest by wearing twigs or small boughs in their hats. Now, the ancient Gauls always placed boughs on the heads of their slaves exposed for sale in open market, and from this custom other objects exhibited for sale came to have boughs fastened to them. Moreover, since these boughs invariably consisted of the broom-plant, the constant use of the term "broom" was easily mistaken in the course of time for the name of that article of domestic utility with which we are all familiar. As a matter of fact, the household broom received its name from its bristles being originally made of the broom plant. Hence the designation, "Mop Fair," by which was meant a fair exclusively held for hiring and selling, without any recreative adjuncts. Thus, the broom at the mast in terms of the merchant service, indicates that a ship is in need of a new owner, or is available for service or charter.
The Titania sailed direct from the lower mainland to England, instead of loading in Victoria, the steamer Maude brought 11,000 cases of salmon up the Fraser to be loaded at New Westminister to finish her Salmon Cargo on Dec. 22, 1891.
On January, 16th, 1892 the Titania was towed out to sea from Vancouver for the last time by the tug Active. Her cargo hold was full of salmon cases, her 'tween decks was loaded with lumber, and she carried no deck load. Her cargo in total consisted of 22,365 cases of salmon worth $107,914, 12 cases of furs worth $5,300, 100 cases of champagne, sundry merchandise and 193 feet of lumber. The total value of her cargo was estimated to be $112,314.80.
The steam tug Active towed the Titania out to sea on Jan. 16th, 1892
It would be the last voyage that the Titania would make to the West Coast.
(Source: B.C. Archives Item E-02093)
The Titania arrived in London on May 17th, 1892 and made the return run in 121 days. It would be the last time the Titania would visit the Pacific Northwest. She was laid up in ordinary at London until the following year.
In May, 1893 she was sold to firm of Italian firm of P. Pollio & Co for £2000. She was put in command of Captain Antonnino Pollio and put into grain trade between Cape Town and Australia under consignment of Cave and Co.
In 1893, the Titania was consigned to W.R. Cave & Co
and placed into South African-Australia grain trade.
(Source: The Port Augusta & Quorn Dispatch 11/24/1893)
William Rendall Cave (W. R. Cave) was a grain merchant and ship owner in the early days of South Australia. In 1873, Cave founded W. R. Cave & Co., with offices at Port Adelaide and Grenfell Street, Adelaide. The business steadily expanded, especially in the grain trade with agencies throughout South Australia and branches in the other States. His partners were his son, John R. Cave, his nephew, Charles H. Warren and for a time Frederick Charles Howard. W.R. Cave owned and chartered a large number of coasting vessels throughout the 1890's and shared a wharf with the Howard Smith Co.
The Titania sailed from Cape Town to Port Augusta, arriving on October 19th under canvass and in the charge of the pilot Burton. She made the run from Cape Town in 31 days.
At Port Augusta, the Titania took on a load of wheat for Cape Town for Cave & Co. and departed on 24 November carrying 11,057 bags or 45,570 bushels of wheat. She arrived in Cape Town on Jan. 8, 1894, and departed for Australia again on Feb 5th. She arrived in Port Adelaide, on Mar. 13th, making the run in 36 days.
On April 7 , she left Adelaide to load at Sydney for the wool trade between Australia and England. She was chartered to H. King and Company, was expected to load 21,528 bales of wool, worth £210,974
By April 14th, the Titania was off Green Cape in the Bass Straits on her way to Sydney. The evening was dark with the moon obscured by clouds, a smooth sea, and a light north-east breeze. The Titania was close hauled on a starboard tack and had the right-of-way, when she was involved with a tremendous collision with the steamer Konoowara, who had underestimated the clippers speed and had attempted to cross in front of her bow.
The Titania was riding high, shipping in ballast only, and the steamer was fully laden, trimmed low in the water. The overhanging stem of the Titania with its projecting jib-boom and bowsprit raked completely across the aft of the steamer, with most of the damage absorbed by the bowstem above and below the waterline of the Titania. When the Konoowara got caught the head gear of the clipper, it slewed the later around, and wrenched the Titania's bow stem right off.
In addition, the cathead was completely broken, which caused the starboard anchor to drop, and it let out more than 100-150 fathoms of chain, bringing the Titania to a sudden stop. The hit between the ironsides of the steamer and the wooden stem of the clipper was a terrific one, and the Titania's bulwarks were stoved in, her figurehead shattered, the bow stem was wrenched right around to the portside from the figurehead all the way down to far below the waterline. Massive four inch circumference copper bolts that were bolted into the stem in the stern were twisted completely at right angles, and the planks was wrenched away from the deadwood of her keel stem, with the plank ends exposed. The water was pouring into the vessel at an alarming rate. In order to stop the leaks, every bit of scrap material, sails, canvass, etc. was used to plug the damage and keep the water out.
All hands were required to man the pumps to keep her from sinking. When the Titania was towed into port, and later examined, the surveyors and shipbuilders were amazed that she was still afloat at all. Unmeasured praise was given to the Captain and crew for their determination to keep the vessel afloat. The captain organized crews to keep the pumps manned day and until until she could be brought into dock for repair.
The Konoowara did not go unscathed, but most of the damage was limited to her upper decks and was not structural. The funnel had been knocked down, and the port side from amidships right to the aft was a complete wreck on deck. The railings, rigging and deckhouses had been swept away, The port side life-boat was smashed to pieces, and the davits were bent like reeds. Despite the damage, she was able to continue on her voyage.
The Italian Captain Pollio was very loath about giving a public statement when he came into port, without first receiving permission from the Italian consul.
However, Captain Krause was an experience pilot who was employed by Captain Pollio to bring the Titania into to Sydney, and gives this account:
"About 6:15 pm on Sunday night as the Titania was on the starboard tack close hauled with her topsails, main sails, foresails two jibs, and spanker set and the wind north by east, the ship bearing north-west by west, the light of Green Cape bearing north, half-east, the steamer Konoowarra trying to cross the Titania's bow came in collision, and carried away the ships starboard anchor, headgear and cathead, the chain running out 100 fathoms.
The ship was brought to anchor and we made an examination to see what damage she had sustained. As we found she was making-water, all hands were set going on the pumps, while the captain, carpenter, and several men went down below to clear the dunnage wood in order to get at the leak, the carpenter trying to stop the leak as much as possible.
At 11 p.m. we sounded the pump and found 5.5 in of water in the well. We kept the pumps going and kept the lower topsails set ready to slip anchor if the wind should come from the north-east-, the barometer standing at 30•20in. Two of the steamer's men-one a fireman and one a steward-jumped on board the Titania. They were set to work at the pumps.
The wind moderating a little by midnight we tried to stop at anchor as long as possible till daylight to save the ship, and see if we could better her position from outside. The distance from Green Cape was eight miles. When morning came we found the vessel was very much damaged. At 7 a.m. a steamer [Glaucus] came up, and we asked to be towed to Sydney. We gave out our hawser and the steamer did the same. When we got in tow we had to slip our anchor, as we found it impossible to get it on board as we found that the water was gaining on the ship at the rate of half an inch in hour. We kept the pumps going constantly day and night. We arrived in Sydney at 4 a.m. , and found she had then 27in of water in her hold. We anchored under Garden Island "
When asked for his opinion as to the cause of the collision Captain Krause said, "my opinion is that the steamer tried to cross the Titania's bow, thinking that the vessel was not going as fast as she was." Asked about the statement that the Titania's lights, were not burning, he said " Whatever they say about no lights burning is not true. The ship never altered her course. She kept straight on . The crew worked all day and all night to save the vessel, and they are quite worn out."
Captain Ellis of the Konoowarra had claimed that the Titania had been sailing with the steamer, and without running lights, making it difficult to see or determine her position or course of travel. He had gone below decks just before the collision as he thought that everything was in control as the Titania was not on any collision course, and did not present any clear or present danger to the steamer. It is his contention that the Titania suddenly changed course, and the steamer was unable to avoid a collision as it was traveling at full steam at nearly 10 knots. He claims that running lights were placed into the screens after the collision, to make it appear the steamer was at fault.
A lengthy inquiry was held by the marine board, and numerous accounts from eye-witnesses including crew, passengers, people on shore, and other ships were taken into consideration. The board deliberated through five-days of testimony and carefully reviewed the evidence. It determined that Thomas McCaskie, the second officer of the Konoowarra, was at fault for the accident, in having committed breaches of the sailing and steering rules, which provide that a steamer shall give way to a sailing ship, and that in approaching another ship a steamer must slacken speed. They also censured Captain Ellis for not standing by the Titania after the collision.
The Titania was pulled into Jubilee dock, where she underwent temporary repairs to stabilize her hull and possibly get her into sailing condition. The repairs lasted three weeks, but it became apparent that the damage was great, and without a drydock and complete overhaul it would not be safe to carry cargo. The decision was made to sell the ship, but it was difficult to find a buyer. It seemed her career was over, and in her darkest days it seemed that she was soon to be sold for salvage.
On June, 22nd, Captain Pollio sued the owners of the Konoowara in vice-admiralty court for wages due since May18th. Captain Pollio, commander of the vessel, who is also part owner, admitted the claims of the crew, and said he had received instructions from his co-owners to sell the ship. He was requesting the crews wages since the ruling on May 18th, and return passage for the crew back to Naples.
The steamer Glaucus also submitted a salvage claim against the owners of the Titania for recovering the stranded vessel. The plaintiffs claimed £600. It was stated that there was no dispute as to the Titania having been rescued by the plaintiffs' vessel, and the evidence as to this was taken as admitted.
Captain Hall, marine surveyor, stated that he knew the Titania well. She was before the accident in A1 condition in the Lloyd's register and estimated that the value of the vessel would be about £2200 before the collision. The repairs might cost altogether about £1000. With the high cost of repairs, he did not think anyone would give £1200 for her.
Captain Pollio, part owner and captain of the Titania, stated that he had an estimate from Mort's Dock for the repair of the Titania. Leaving out the cost of anchor and chain and rigging, &c, the estimate was £1120. The other articles were reckoned to cost £250. His vessel was insured in Italy for 48,000f.
Mr. Justico Windeyer gave judgment for the wages claimed, together with an amount sufficient to defray the passages of the crew back to Italy and he directed the vessel to be sold at auction and the proceeds paid into court, to be distributed amongst all the parties who laid claims to her. As for the Glaucus salvage settlement, it would have to wait until after the ship sold to see what she could fetch at auction.
On July 19th 1894 the Titania was up for auction after
suffering extensive damage after a collision with the steamer Konoowarra
(Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 2 July 1894)
However, the auction for the Titania did not receive any bids, and she was withdrawn from sale when the starting bid dropped below £900. It looked as those she was destined for the knackers yard. A second auction was scheduled, and she was finally sold at £580 to shipbrokers of W.H. Paxton & Co.
It was fortunate turn of events for the Titania, the low sale price gave her a new lease on life, and instead of her career coming to an end, she entered the drydock at Mort's for full repairs.
The Titania in dock in Sydney after a collision with S.S. Konoowarra off Green Cape c.1894
(Source: National Library of Australia - Item H93.8/243)
With the exception of the bows of the vessel, the hull was found to be perfectly sound, the material, both planking and the iron frames, being well preserved, showed no expense had been spared in putting the best of workmanship into the clipper. The repairs comprised of taking out the whole of the old stern, which was split right through, and fitting a new apron piece. This was a solid piece of timber being of ironbark, 22in. x 16 in. x 19 ft., with through metal fastenings. The planking on the port bow, or rather the bow itself, had been shifted away 2 in. from the fastenings, and this had to be drawn into place, 21 new planks being put in forward, viz., seven on the starboard side and 14 on the port side. The planking is of spotted gum, and was considered to be equal to teak for certain portions of a ship's plank.
On September 27th, under command of Captain Pollio, and chartered to Dalgety & Co., the Titania set sail for Fiji with a load of general merchandise to pick up copras for Europe. The Titania arrived at Suva, Fiji on October 6th, and claimed the fastest sailing record to Fiji, taking a total of 8 days and 10 hours. The account is as follows:
The Titania left Sydney at noon with a strong southerly wind and heavy sea. In the evening the wind changed to the S.E. The following were the days runs: 280, 210, 220 230,165,190,185, 270, and 120 respectively In the last half day the ship sailed 80 miles in 6.5 hours, there being heavy winds but very thick weather. The course shaped on leaving Sydney was 40 mites to the southward of Lord Howe Island, thence E.N.E to 35 miles south of Norfolk Island thence N.E and N.N.E until the eighth day, when the vessel was 120 miles almost due south of Suva.
(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald - 1/11/1894)
After unloading in Suva, Fiji. The Titania then sailed to Loma Loma, and then later Levuka and all-in-all loaded 1150 tons of Copras. Due to heavy rains in 1894, there was a bumper crop of coconuts in Fiji that year, some there were 3000 tons of Copras at Levuka, Fiji awaiting shipment. There was not enough storage on the island, which drove prices extremely low.
The Titania departed Levuka, Fiji on December 6th, 1894 for Lisbon. She made the passage in 106 days and arrived, on March. 21st, 1895. The Titania sailed then for Marseilles, where not much is heard about her, it is presumed sailed around the Mediterranean to European ports.
In 1898, she again changed masters and was placed under command of G.F. LeBuffe. She arrives in Newcastle, N.S.W. from Mauritius, on 12 Feb. 1900, for a load of coal bound for Equador where the newspaper remarks:
"The Italian barque Titania, formerly a noted tea clipper in the days when freights were good. put in an appearance on Saturday from Adelaide. This fine old vessel is as handsome as ever. and notwithstanding the clipping of her wings makes good passages. She is one of the few survivors of a type which made the red ensign famous in the China trade, and in spite of her years her hull looks as sound as the day it was built."
(source: Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate 2/12/1900)
In 1910, it was reported that the bell of the Titania was placed at the head of the Italian barque Doride. The Pollio's had bought the Doride in 1905. The Titania was laid up in Marseilles, a casualty of falling freight prices. She was broken up in Marseilles the same year. The Doride was sunk by German U-Boat U-35 in the Mediterranean sea in 1916.