The perils of the Irish Sea will be remembered when a rare glass tumbler goes on sale at The Chester Antiques & Fine Art Show at the County Grandstand, Chester Racecourse from today until Sunday.
Belonging to glass specialist Jeanette Hayhurst, the tumbler is engraved with an image of the Governor Fenner , an emigrant ship sailing for America with Irish farmers and their families.
It commemorates the tragic loss of the ship when it collided off Holyhead in 1845 with a steamer, the Nottingham , sailing from Dublin to Liverpool and around 123 passengers, comprising seventeen crew, travelling families and children, were lost when the ship sank.
The inquest afterwards sought to attach blame to the master and crew of one or other ships, attempting to ascertain whether they were well lit and could be seen at a distance. The captain of the Governor Fenner gave an extensive account of the disaster, which was widely reported at the time, explaining how their ship suffered extensive broadside damage and sank in less than one minute.
The captain and the first mate escaped drowning by realising how events would unfold and managed to get aboard the Nottingham . At the inquest, the captain was strongly censured for negligence in the affair. As the Spectator newspaper reported: ‘admitting that there was no lights on board, which in all probability was the case, yet the fact that the captain was on deck at 2am exonerates him from anything like neglect of his duties’.
The glass tumbler is engraved with an image of the Governor Fenner , the words ‘Fenner’ and initials unknown. Such glasses were often produced and would have been sold locally around the area closest to where disasters took place.
Today they are collected as mementoes of historic disasters. Mining disasters and other tragic events were similarly remembered. This particular glass will be on sale for£345.
The Chester fair is now in its 26th year. After a busy autumn event in October 2013, interest in art and antiques is returning strongly.
“The quality and variety of exhibits means we attract collectors from right across the country, many making a weekend of their stay in Chester,” explains Caroline.
All exhibits at the Chester Show are vetted for quality and authenticity. Visitors can also enjoy a choice of three restaurants offering everything from fine dining to morning coffee, afternoon tea and cake.
Public admission to the show is £5. Opening times are 10.30am-5.30pm Thursday-Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.
Car parking is free at the racecourse for visitors to the show.