The Mexico disaster
The Mexico Disaster - Tragedy at Sea
A disaster off the Lancashire coast over 100 years ago left a fundraising legacy. On the 9th December 1886, the barque 'Mexico of Hamburg' with a crew of twelve, was travelling from Liverpool to South America when it was caught in a fierce storm. Lifeboats from Southport (the Eliza Fernley), Lytham (the Charles Biggs) and St Annes (the Laura Janet), responded to the distress signals.
Relatives and friends waited on shore all night and news came tht the bodies of seamen had been washed ashore. The Lytham lifeboat and crew arrived home at 3.30am, wet through and half drowned after having tied themselves to the rigging. All on board the Mexico were rescued by the Lytham lifeboat. All but two of the Eliza Fernley were lost and the entire crew of the St Annes crew (Laura Janet) perished at sea.
Never in the lifeboat service has there been a disaster this great, in which 27 men of the lifeboat service lost their lives in one night, leaving 16 widows and 50 orphans in three towns a fornight before Christmas
On 23rd May 1888 the Lifeboat Monument was unveiled in St Annes to commemorate the bravery of these crews... it still stands proudly on the promendade as a reminder of their valour.
The disaster led to the Lifeboat Saturday Fund when thousand of pounds were donated in street collections in cities across the UK and the events later developed into flag days which took place across the British Isles.