The wreck of the Clan MacMaster Search of iMuseum

The wreck of the Clan MacMaster

Posted on 29.09.2023

30th September 2023 marks 100 years since the Clan MacMaster was wrecked in Calf Sound.

In some of the worst fog ever experienced by the crew, the cargo ship Clan MacMaster was on her way from Glasgow to East Asia, via Liverpool.  She was carrying a real mix of general goods – coal, cotton, whisky, beer, motor cars, sewing machines…and, fortunately as it turned out, lifeboats. Travelling through the Sound, she grounded on Thousla Rock.  The officers and crew, 80 in number, set off distress signals and took to the lifeboats, all safely landing on the Calf of Man.  They were quickly rescued and carried on their journey to Liverpool via the Isle of Man Steam Packet.

The S.S. ‘Clan MacMaster’ ashore at the Sound. Image ref: PG/6967/14

Great interest was taken in the fate of the cargo as it floated around in the sea.  Officially, some sewing machines and one piano were landed in Peel.  Unofficially, it is said that most of the homes in the south of the Island mysteriously acquired new sewing machines that autumn!  Salvage of the remaining cargo was postponed until spring and the last of her cargo was finally unloaded in June 1824, almost nine months after she ran aground.  As for the 128 metre-long steamship herself, her remains still lie on the seabed in the Sound.

Singer Sewing machine from ship Clan MacMaster. Object ref: 2005-0072

📖A sewing machine from the Clan MacMaster is in the Manx National Collections, cared for by Manx National Heritage. See more on iMuseum.
⚓️ Find out more about the wreck of the Clan MacMaster on the Isle of Man’s Historic Environment Record.
📸: See our zoomable image of the Clan MacMaster in more detail on iMuseum.
Allison Fox, Curator of Archaeology (Manx National Heritage)

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