Restoration of The Earl of Beaconsfield

Now on display in the entrance hall to the Town Docks Maritime Museum, Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorkshire, the large figurehead bust of the “EARL OF BEACONSFIELD” has had a beaconsfield1nteresting history, originally built as the Cunard Line “CUBA” and launched at the shipyard of Tod & McGregor of Glasgow, in May 1864, she was used for a number of years as a passenger screw steamer for the Cunard Line of Liverpool, on its Liverpool to New York passenger trade, on the 3rd December 1864 she sailed from Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York, via Queenstown, her life was a passenger vessel was all too short, by 1876 she was found to be too small for this route and sold to David Brown and Sons of London, to be converted to a fourmasted ship, and given the new name “EARL OF BEACONSFIELD” in the November of 1877 she make a record run from London to Hudson’s Bay in 78 days.

On the 6th November 1887 she was wrecked off the coast of Yorkshire, near Withernsea, on her way back to Hull from a voyage to Calcutta, the vessel was valued at £25,000 and the cargo just under £35,000, a vast sum of money in those days, a great deal of the cargo was jettisoned in an attempt to re-float her, but this was in vain, and proved to be fruitless, after several hours she was declared a total loss.

beaconsfield2A local family of ship chandlers in the area, removed the figurehead from the wreck, and handed it down through three generations, during the last war it was used as the centerpiece of a rockery at the family home in Hull, where it is told it gave many an air warden the fright of his life, it time it was donated to the Town Docks Museum, the Hull Maritime Museum by Mr Michael Morrill in memory of his father Capt Alf Morrill, when the family heard in 1999 that this carving was still in the cellar of the museum, due to the fact that at that time no funding could found for it’s restoration, the family offered to pay half the cost of it’s conservation and restoration, a project that took just under six months, a photographic record shows how the full transformation was made.