Ship Figurehead: Sirius

This wooden figurehead from the Trans-Atlantic paddle steamer Sirius is carved into the shape of a Newfoundland dog.

The Sirius, built in 1837, was the first ship to cross the Atlantic solely under the power of steam. She made the crossing in a record 19 days from Cork to New York in 1838. The crew and 44 passengers were welcomed enthusiastically upon their arrival in New York, the night before St. George’s Day.

The Sirius arrived only four hours ahead of the Great Western steamer designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Although the Great Western made the same trip in four less days, it had set out too late and was unable to catch up with the Sirius.

In November 1840 the Sirius came to Hull to have new boilers fitted by Messrs Pim and Gibson. The dry dock was lengthened before her arrival to accommodate her 57 foot long body.

In January 1847, on a journey from Glasgow to Cork, the Sirius was shipwrecked off Ballycotton Head near Dublin, and broke into pieces with 19 crew and passengers lost. The figurehead was salvaged and is currently on display until April 2017 at Hull Maritime Museum.

Ship Figurehead: Sirius can be viewed at Hull Maritime Museum

  • Ship Figurehead: Sirius