Have a look back at Fisher’s coal yard circa 1980’s
Joseph Fisher established a coal importing business on the opposite side of the basin in 1852 purchasing his first vessel, the elderly brigantine “Brothers” in 1867. From a few small schooners and brigantines the fleet expanded into one of the best-known steam collier fleets operating in Great Britain and Ireland. These little steamers or “coasters” could be found sailing throughout Britain, Ireland and the continent. Initially called after town lands, Newry ships were later identifiable by the fact that they were named after trees such as ” Pine,” “Upas,” “Opepe” and “Karri”. By 1940 Fishers of Newry had fifteen of these vessels in operation. Another well- known Newry fleet was owned by the Clanrye Steam Ship Company. Conditions on these vessels were harsh. They sailed in all weather and were steered from an open bridge until the Second World War. Electricity was unheard of on board until the late 1930s. Between 1900 and 1942, seventeen Newry registered colliers were lost at sea. Four, the steamers “Clonallon”, “Orior”, “Privet”, and “Walnut” disappeared without trace, whilst several others foundered with heavy loss of life. In November 1916 the S.S “Retriever” of the Clanrye Steamship Company collided with the passenger steamer “Connemara” at the entrance to Carlingford Lough with the loss of over 90 lives in one of the worst maritime disasters in Irish history.
History Source: Quay’s Shopping Centre.