Alongside Pooles Wharf, Bristol, January 2014
United Kingdom
OwnerSymons of Bridgwater; Bridgwater Brick and Tile Company; Leslie Morrish
BuilderFJ Carver and Son, Bridgwater
LaunchedMay 1907
General characteristics
Class and typeWest Country Ketch
Tonnage98 NRT
  • LOA 118 ft (35.97 m)
  • LWL 85 ft (25.91 m)
Beam21 ft (6.40 m)
Draft10 ft (3.05 m)

Irene is a 100-foot West Country Ketch built in Bridgwater in 1907, the last ship built in the docks and the only Ketch built in the West Country still sailing. It was built by FJ Carver and Son and launched in May 1907.[1] The Blake Museum in Bridgwater opened an exhibit about the ship in 2010.[2]

Bristol, 2014

She was first owned by Symons of Bridgwater and named after Irene Symons.[3] For 53 years the ship was a trading vessel for bricks, tiles and other goods, mainly in the Severn estuary and to Ireland. She was owned by the Bridgwater Brick and Tile Company.[4][5][6] The ship retired from service in the 1960s and was found derelict by Leslie Morrish, the present owner, in 1965. The ship was restored in Brentford, Middlesex, and the cargo hold was converted into quarters for 15.[5][6]

The ship was a charter vessel in the Caribbean until she sank due to a fire in 2003 at Marigot, Saint Martin and was restored once more.[7][8][2][6] She ran aground off Arran on the way to the Tall Ships Race in Greenock July 2011, before being refloated.[9] The ship sailed from Plymouth with an international crew called the New Dawn Traders to promote the transport of goods by sailing ships and to take goods including beer, olive oil, cocoa and coffee over the Atlantic.[4][6]


  1. ^ Schäuffelen, Otmar (2005). Chapman Great Sailing Ships of the World. Hearst Books. p. 146. ISBN 1-58816-384-9.
  2. ^ a b Beal, James (27 May 2010). "Irene exhibition sails into Bridgwater". Bridgwater Mercury. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  3. ^ Ships monthly, Volume 17, Issues 10-12. Endlebury Pub. Co., 1982, p21-22
  4. ^ a b "Historic Plymouth ship to sail on transatlantic trade mission". Western Morning News. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b Brown, Hamish (19 September 1987). "Festival of sail in Brittany". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d Morris, Steven (13 February 2012). "Vintage ketch sets sail to launch slow cargo movement". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Irene of Bridgewater". Classic Sailing. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  8. ^ Head, Viv (2017). Sailing Ships of the Bristol Channel. Amberley. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-1445664002.
  9. ^ "Run-aground tall ship Irene of Bridgwater refloated". BBC News. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012.