Forgive the unwieldy headline but sometimes you just have to call a post what it is. My grandad, George ‘Crazy George’ Baines, was 90 in April, and one of his birthday presents was a trip on a recently restored steam tug from 1903, called the Daniel Adamson. Me being the wonderful granddaughter I am undertook the booking of this trip, and the only possible date we could do it was a potential England quarter final (I have had the dates listed in my phone since they were released). Now I have pretty great luck when it comes to England fixtures. During the last Euros I was invited to a wedding on one of the potential match days, which England swerved by coming second in the group. No such luck this time – their loss against Belgium meant that I had to consider the most prudent way of watching a match via the internet, on a boat.
The Daniel Adamson was built in 1903 to tow barges from the Cheshire and Potteries towns out to the seaport of Liverpool. In the 1920s she was purchased by the Manchester Ship Canal Company and started taking on passengers, including VIPS such as King Faisal of Iraq and the Sultan of Zanzibar. She was fitted out with a new upper deck and two saloons by Heaton Tabb and Co. who were a subsidiary of Harland and Wolff. In fact, the original Art Deco interiors of the Danny were labelled for ‘Oceanic’ – the liner which would have dwarfed the Titanic but on which construction was stopped because of spiralling costs.
By the 1960s she was not towing very much, and had reached the end of her useful life. She was moved to Ellesmere Port Boat Museum in the 1980s but the cost of her maintenance amidst cuts to heritage funding meant that she was earmarked for scrap in 2004. A preservation society was formed and she was bought for £1. Over £4 million later, she has begun carrying passengers again, having been fully restored thanks to a National Lottery grant and a tireless band of volunteers.
Back to beer, then, and Titanic brewery have produced a special edition ‘ Danny Beer’ (whether this a re-label or a distinct beer I’m not sure). It’s a smooth drinking pale ale but it did suffer from being a bit too warm, I was chomping at the bit to try it and it seemed like it had been brought up from the lounge bar to the general galley and not refrigerated, so it was less ‘room temperature’ and more ‘soup temperature’.
My cousin James managed to get the football on his phone, and as difficult as it is to watch an international on a screen the size of a post-it note, we became instant heroes amongst our fellow passengers, almost guaranteeing ourselves first pick of the lifeboats. We spent the 90 minutes relaying the score and key events to the assembled passengers and crew, backed up by our other cousin who was instructed to text us landmark events in case we lost a signal (which we frequently did). Our plan was to ring the ship’s bell when England scored to alert all onboard but there were so many people queuing up to have a go of it that upper decks might have thought we were winning 73-0.
Aside from the regular trips between Sutton Weaver and Acton Bridge there are folk nights and gin cruises planned for the rest of the year, as well as a number of opportunities to tour the Danny for free while she’s moored. You can also hire the whole ship for a party, either static or cruising*. All dates are on the website.
All aboard! Cheers!
*No payment in cash or in kind has been made for this article, though our James did coincidentally win the raffle.