Liverpool Maritime Museum


The staff at the Maritime Museum archive found us our first resource, the microfilm containing the index to Lloyd's List, the daily paper that published ship's movements. So Eileen worked her way through the Lloyd's List from 1870 to 1872 to track the movements of the Bertha, the ship mentioned in the report on Allan's death. While she did this, I read the heavy, fat Lloyd's Register of Shipping for those years to discover what kind of vessel the Bertha had been. I found her! She was an iron steamship built at Pallion in Sunderland in 1871, 302 feet long with a 250 horsepower engine and screw propellers. Her master in 1872 was Mr Burns from Windham, her owners, Wilsons of Hull.

SS Bertha on Lloyds index, 1872

In Lloyd's List, Eileen found that SS Bertha was a hard-working little merchant ship. In 1872, she sailed from London to Port Said, through the Suez Canal to Galle in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on her way to Calcutta and Madras in India. After a brief pause, she returned up the Suez to Malta, London, and the Clyde; a short stopover then she was off across the world again on what was to be Allan's final voyage. It seemed as though after just one morning's research, we had found how Allan spent his last year and our picture of his life seemed a little more complete. How wrong we were!

Next: Into the Orphanage!