At low tide on the beach at Anchorsholme (at the northernmost end of Blackpool near to Cleveleys seafront) you can see wood sticking out of the sand. It’s the remains of the Abana shipwreck from long ago.
Head to Princes Way, it’s the promenade next to Anchorsholme Park. You can use postcode FY5 1AF to find it.
We took a walk out to it at low tide one morning in August 2020 to take a closer look –
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The Abana Shipwreck Today
The sands of the beach shift about every day. Depending on tidal conditions, beach levels raise and lower. But you can usually see the wooden ribs of the Abana wreck, emerging from the sand at low tide.
History of the Abana Shipwreck
Thanks to the Thornton Cleveleys Past Facebook Group and their members for some of these photos. If you aren’t a member, join now because it’s full of fascinating local history.
The Abana set sail from Liverpool to Savello in Florida, loaded with a 500 tonne cargo of ballast to be unload for timber. On 22nd December 1894, she was unfortunately caught in a storm in the Irish Sea. Later spotted at 3pm drifting in a northwesterly direction with her sails torn to shreds.
The crew mistook Blackpool Tower for a lighthouse. The ship is first spotted floundering at North Pier. She’s then seen drifting north, to be wrecked off Little Bispham at 5pm that day.
Cleveleys Hotel to the Rescue
It was the landlord of the Cleveleys Hotel who raised the alarm.
Flares were fired and the lifeboat was called out. The weather is so awful on that fateful night, that the Blackpool lifeboat ‘Samuel Fletcher’ is taken 7 miles (11 km) overland to Bispham before it’s launched.
Did you know? The Samuel Fletcher was later used as a pleasure cruiser at Stanley Park lake. It also hosted an escapology stunt!
The Abana crew of 17 were all taken on board the lifeboat, along with its own crew of 16, plus the ships dog which belonged to Captain Danielson. The weight of passengers grounded the lifeboat on a sandbank while returning to shore, so some of the crew members pushed it afloat and they reached shore safely. All of the mariners went to the Red Lion Inn to recover from their ordeal.
The ship’s bell (and dog) were later given to the landlord of the Cleveleys Hotel, who’d first raised the alarm. The bell now hangs in St. Andrew’s Church in Cleveleys.
Alan Nyberg got in touch to tell us that his grandfather, John Edward Nyberg, was on the Abana. Alan says “Thank God they all got off OK”. John was a crew member – they’d picked up ballast from Northumberland dock and were going to Florida USA where they would off load it to bring back timber. But they got caught in a big storm and wrecked in Blackpool.
Here’s another video clip of a flight over the wreck of the Abana. This one is by Loopdreams –
A Modern Shipwreck
Ironically, this is almost the same spot on the beach where the Riverdance Ferry famously ran aground in 2008.
- More about the The Riverdance Shipwreck
There’s also a tribute nearby to all of the ships which have run aground off the Fylde Coast. At the boundary between Cleveleys and Blackpool is the shipwreck memorial. Take a look – you’ll find the Abana and Riverdance listed on there.
- More about the Shipwreck Memorial on Cleveleys promenade
If you know anything else about the Abana shipwreck, please get in touch. Email jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk
While you’re here…
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