The Times, Tuesday, Feb 13, 1866; pg. 12; Issue 25420; col E


                         THE LOSS OF THE LONDON.

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The inquiry was resumed in the Greenwich Police Court yesterday, before Mr. TRAILL, police magistrate, and Captain BAKER and Captain HARRIS as nautical assessors.

James JOHNSON, Bilston-place, Poplar, examined, said he had for 15 years acted as a draughtsman to Messrs. WIGRAM. He made the drawings of the ship London and the necessary calculations of the weight and displacements. The weight of the hull, masts, rigging, anchors, chains, water-tanks, engines and boilers, without that of the cargo, was 2,020 tons; the water in the boilers was about 40 tons, the boats 10 tons, the sails 4 tons, the water in the tanks 78 tons, the provisions were 55 tons, stores 20 tons, passengers, officers, and every one else on board, including baggage, 24 tons, coals 473 tons, the cargo, dead weight, 341 tons (the measurement of goods being 950 tons, and, taking 100 tons of measurement at 35 tons weight, made about 341 tons), her total weight on going to sea being 3,410 tons. The mean draught of the ship when she left the East India Docks was 20ft. 3in. The combings of the fore hatch, main hatch, and the hatch at the back of the poop leading into the lower saloon were 12 inches above the deck. The lower saloon had no combings at all. The combing of the engine-room hatch was not in the plan, but he should say that the length of it was about 11 inches above the deck, without the framing of the skylight. He believed that the combings of steamers he had draughted had generally not been higher than he had described – that was, 11 inches; but he did not see any objection to their being higher.

Thomas William CLOUGH, a solicitor at Huddersfield, who had a son on board, a midshipman, gave evidence about the loading of the ship, and a refusal the captain had made to receive additional goods. He could not exactly state what his reason was for declining to receive them.

William Burr BASCOMBE was then examined. He said he resided at at 39, Ashburnham-grove, Greenwich. He was an Admiralty overseer, and superintended the building of vessels under contract for the Government. He had been directed by the Controller of the Navy to attend this inquiry.

After hearing Mr. WAWN’s evidence read,

The witness said if he had been called upon by Lloyd’s he should have certified the vessel. He thought the ship was well proportioned. He did so because she very nearly resembled the good ship Adventure, and had that ship’s seagoing qualities. Having heard the evidence as to the materials of which the ship was constructed, he was of opinion that the “arrangement” was very good. He considered the construction of the ship to be very good. As to the combings, he thought for a merchant ship 12in. height was very good. There were various ways of fastening the hatches; the only advantage the Government system had over the present prevailing one was that there was an iron grating on the top of the combing. The beam of the London ran through the engine-room hatchway, which was agreat improvement in merchant ships, and the same as had been adopted in Her Majesty’s service. He considered the skylight sufficient, but, as an Admiralty overseer, he should not have passed it without an iron grating or a deadlight fitted on the upper part of the combing. Had he seen the ship before she went to sea he did not think he should have anticipated any accident similar to that which had taken place. Mr. BASCOMBE then spoke of the mode of battening down the hatchway and skylight, and said that nailing down tarpaulin was not sufficient for keeping out a heavy sea. Planks ought to have been fastened across the opening, and if they had not been at hand he should have pulled up one of the decks; but there ought to be a grating to which the tarpaulin might be fastened. After some further evidence of an entirely technical description, the inquiry was adjourned till this day.