Find Ancestors

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

The Hoylake Disaster

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Mark Report 22 Jan 2010 20:21

Having found out that 3 ancestors on my main line died in the Hoylake Disaster in 1810. I would like to find out more about what actually happened, Their names are

Richard Hughes

Thomas Hughes (son of Richard Hughes)

Joseph Hughes (brother of Richard Hughes)


LiverBird1 Report 22 Jan 2010 20:28

From The Wirral news

Service at Hoylake Lifeboat Station pays tribute to lifeboatmen who lost their lives in 1810 disaster
Dec 30 2009 by Lorna Hughes, Heswall News

A MOVING service at Hoylake Lifeboat Station paid tribute to eight courageous lifeboatmen who lost their lives in the 19th Century.

The rescue and subsequent loss of life from two Hoylake families was long thought to be just a cautionary tale passed from generation to generation.

But research carried out by Hoylake train station manager Peter Fitzgerald found it actually happened – and uncovered the details of the incident in December 1810 and the names of those who died.

Over 100 people, including some descendents who had travelled from America, Russia and New Zealand, attended the service at Hoylake Lifeboat station.

Also present were crew members past and present and fund founder members Captain Robin Woodall, John Curry and Eve Roberts.

Music was provided by the Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass Band.

The service marked the launch of the Hoylake 1810 Memorial Fund, which has been established to raise £30,000 for a bronze memorial at Hoylake Lifeboat Station to mark the men’s bravery.

It was conducted by the Reverend Martin Flowerdew, Vicar of Hoylake and Lifeboat Chaplain, who led a prayer for those continuing the lifeboat tradition.

He said: “As we give thanks for the research that has clarified what took place all those years ago, we now set our hearts and eyes on the future and ask your blessing on the appeal to raise money for the memorial.

“We ask that you will inspire the artist to create a memorial that speaks both of the sacrifice that was paid in 1810 and of that which continues to be made by all those who serve in the RNLI.

“We pray that in one year’s time we shall be gathered here to dedicate the statue to the memory and glory of those who died but who have not been forgotten.”

The dead lifeboat crew, who were all from Hoylake – or Hoose as it was then known – were John Bird, 40, sons Henry Bird, 18 and John, 16, and nephew Henry, 18.

Joseph Hughes, 38, his brother Richard, 36 and Richard’s son Thomas Hughes, 16, also died.

The eighth man has not been identified.

They perished on December 22, 1810 while going to the aid of the ship Traveller in strong winds.

Mr Curry, Hoylake Lifeboat operations manager, said: “It was a wonderful day which was specifically for the eight people who were lost.

“The service was splendid and it was very moving.”

The service ended with the laying of a wreath at the site of the proposed memorial by Hoylake Coxswain Dave Whiteley.

It is hoped the memorial will be installed at a ceremony in December 2010, the 200th anniversary of the event.

Donations can be sent to John Curry at 15 Devonshire Road, West Kirby CH48 7HR.

Cheques should be made payable to Hoylake 1810 Memorial Fund.


LiverBird1 Report 22 Jan 2010 20:30

September 1803 proved to be a significent time for the lifeboat service in Liverpool Bay. Mr. Jonathan Scott, Collector of Excise at Liverpool had a lifeboat built by Richard Bushell at his yard on the New Quay.

Mr. Scott wanted his lifeboat to be placed on the East bank of the River Mersey. The Dock Committee agreed to accept the offer of this lifeboat and ordered that the Bushell lifeboat be placed in the Liverpool Lifeboat Station and that the Henry Greathead Lifeboat be taken from Liverpool to Hoylake and a Lifeboat Station be established there. Thus the first Liverpool Lifeboat became the first Hoylake Lifeboat, where she served until about 1825, when the Liverpool Docks Committee replaced all their lifeboats.

It was this lifeboat that on 22nd December 1810, under the command of Captain Bennett, launched in a westerly storm to go to the aid of the vessel 'Traveller'. On route the lifeboat was capsized by huge seas with the loss of all eight lifeboatmen. The lifeboat was later washed up on the beach. It was reported that she was righted and placed back in her boathouse and within a few days a new crew were formed.

On the 25th and 26th December 1810, seven Hoylake fishermen were buried in St. Bridget's Churchyard, West Kirby. They were;

John Bird Senior

John Bird Junior (son of John Bird Snr)

Henry Bird (son of John Bird Snr)

Henry Bird (son of William Bird)

Richard Hughes

Thomas Hughes (son of Richard Hughes)

Joseph Hughes (brother of Richard Hughes)

The burial of Captain Bennett does not appear to have been recorded.

extract from History of the Liverpool Lifeboats - the forgotten Lifeboats1801-1894 by Peter Fitz-Gerald (ISBN 0-9546652-0-1) 1993 et al.


Mark Report 22 Jan 2010 20:32

Thanks Liverbird1 only found out about this in the past hour


LiverBird1 Report 22 Jan 2010 20:35

Just googled it, I didn't even know about it and I come from Hoylake, what a terrible disaster.


Mark Report 22 Jan 2010 20:54

Thank you for all your help yet again BRILLIANT


Stephen Report 13 Mar 2016 15:35

The Birds who died in the Hoylake Lifeboat Disaster are related to me
through my mothers side of the family.I'm from Sheffield and would like to visit
their graves.I have emailed the archivists at St.Bridgets but have been told
that they have no records of their burials.Could anybody clarify this for me.

Kind Regards Steve Kay.


Eringobragh1916 Report 13 Mar 2016 16:50

Steve....According to the News Reports of the time that's where they are of the crew was buried in Wallasey....


David Report 23 Jan 2017 14:19

Hi there Stephen Kay, I'm hoping you get this message, I realise you posted the original almost a year ago.

I was trawling through google searches and came across your message re your relatives in Hoylake at the time of the huge loss of life on the lifeboat in 1810. I'm a current member of the Hoylake crew and we have a gap in our coxswain history, namely between 1822 & 1840. I'm hoping your own family research might help us fill this in. From a book by Jeff Morris, we can see that up until around 1826, the keeper of the lower lighthouse held a dual role as lifeboat coxswain. We have Thomas Seed as coxswain until 1808, then Joseph Bennett til 1822, then George Davies in 1840 to 1865. From I can see that the lighthouse keeper from 1819 (or assistant) til 1855 was William Bird - it is possible that he was also the coxswain but we have no corroborating evidence - do you have anything that could shed some light on this time? Thanks, Dave


grannyfranny Report 23 Jan 2017 22:31

David, I've just been reading this thread. Whilst I can't help with your query, I can say that you might be better removing your email address, and checking back on here from time to time. Also, try sending Stephen a private message, if he still has the same email address he should get it.

And in the meantime, the sleuths on here might well be able to help!


Susan Report 23 Mar 2020 15:32

It was a terrible disaster for the small fishing community, I discovered it many years ago while researching my family tree. The Birds were definitely buried in St Bridget's at West Kirby on Christmas Day 1810 John aged 40 (husband of Mary) of Hoose and 2 sons Henry (Harry),18 and John, 16. On Boxing Day nephew Henry, 18 son of William and Martha and also my relatives Joseph Hughes,38, his brother Richard Hughes, 36 and Richard's son Thomas Hughes, 16 all of Hoose.

Marked As Answer Marked as Answered


ArgyllGran Report 23 Mar 2020 16:20

Susan -

if you're hoping Mark will see your post, you'd be better to click on his name at the top of one of his posts, and send him a private message.
GR will send a link to your message, to the email address he has registered with them.

He may or may not be able to receive and read it - no guarantees after so many years.

He's not likely to be looking at this thread for replies now.