Beaver (steamship)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
Steamship Beaver
The Beaver about 1870
Career (Colony of Vancouver Island
Colony of British Columbia
HBC flag
Name: Beaver
Builder: Wigram & Green, Blackwall Yard, London
Laid down: London, England
Launched: 9 May 1835
In service: 1835-1888
Fate: Wrecked in 1888 in Burrard Inlet, Vancouver
General characteristics
Type: Paddlewheel steamer
Tonnage: 109 tons
Length: 101 ft 9 in (31.01 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Sail plan: Brigantine[1]
Armament: 4 brass cannons[1]

Beaver was the first steamship to operate in the Pacific Northwest of North America. She made remote parts of the west coast of Canada accessible for maritime fur trading and was chartered by the Royal Navy for surveying the coastline of British Columbia.[1]

Construction and Delivery

Beaver was built in London of British oak, elm, greenheart and teak, and was copper fastened and sheathed. Her length was 101 feet (31 m), and the beam over her paddle boxes was 33 feet (10 m). She was launched at Blackwall Yard on 9 May 1835 and left London on 29 August under the command of Captain David Home, and with the company's barque, Columbia, built at the same time and commanded by Captain Darby. Beaver was outfitted as a brig for the passage out, paddles unshipped, and came out via Cape Horn under sail alone. After calling at Juan Fernandez and Honolulu, she arrived off the Columbia River on 18 March 1836 and anchored off Fort Vancouver on 10 April. Here the paddles were shipped and boilers and engines connected.

Service in Canada

Beaver was used to service trading posts maintained by the Hudson's Bay Company between the Columbia River and Russian America (Alaska) and played an important role in helping maintain British control in British Columbia during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858-59. In 1862 she was chartered by the Royal Navy to survey and chart the coast of the Colony of British Columbia. She was finally sold by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1874.


She was purchased by a consortium that became the British Columbia Towing and Transportation Company in 1874[1] and was used as a towboat until 25 July 1888 when, due to an inebriated crew, she went aground on rocks at Prospect Point in Vancouver's Stanley Park. The wreck finally sank in July 1892 from the wake of the passing steamer Yosemite, and only after enterprising locals had stripped much of the wreck for souvenirs. The Vancouver Maritime Museum houses a collection of Beaver remnants. The site of the sinking has been commemorated with a plaque. Divers surveyed the wreck in the 1960s, but it had mostly disintegrated due to rot and currents.

See also

Image gallery