See also

Family of James Platt SKINNER and Kate Duncan

Husband: James Platt SKINNER (1891-1960)
Wife: Kate Duncan (1891-1948)
Marriage Apr 19141

Husband: James Platt SKINNER


James Platt SKINNER, 1905, age 14, Bidston Hill Clipper

Name: James Platt SKINNER2
Sex: Male
Nickname: Jim
Father: William Edward SKINNER (1857-1910)
Mother: Harriet BADGER (1858-1925)
Birth 1 May 18911
Census 31 Mar 1901 (age 11) Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, England3
44 Wostenholme Road
Occupation frm 12 May 1905 to 18 Jul 1908 (age 15 yrs 9 mns) Indentured into the Merchant Navy; Liverpool, Lancashire, England4
Name: James Platt Skinner
Age: 15 3/4
Birth Year: abt 1890
Registration or Indenture Date: 12 May 1905
Port of Registry: Liverpool
Bound for 4 years
Bound to W Price &Co.
"Cancelled 15.07.08" in Red ink
Remarks: "4", Then the following in Red ink: V.Y Liverpool 18.7.08.
Ind. recd. 18/7/08"
Note: Indenture cancelled after 3 years but my notes say he never sailed again after his return from being shipwrecked.
Occupation 31 Jul 1905 (age 14) Merchant seaman - Shipwrecked; Staten Island (Isla de los Estados, Argentina), Cape Horn
Cape Furneaux
Shipwrecked sailor: Isla de los Estados (English: Staten Island, from the Dutch Stateneiland) is an Argentine island that lies 29 kilometres (18 mi) off the eastern extremity of the Argentine portion of Tierra del Fuego, from which it is separated by the Le Maire Strait. It was named for the Netherlands States-General, and its original Dutch name was identical to that of the New York borough of Staten Island.
The Bidston Hill, left Hamburg on May 19, 1905 with a cargo of cement for San Francisco.
Occupation aft May 1910 (age 19) Manager Spring Factory; Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, England
Took over running the Spiral Spring Factory from his father Edward Skinner on his death and made a good job of it. Unsure of these facts.
Census 2 Apr 1911 (age 21) Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, England5
3 Grange Crescent Road, Sharrow
Occupation 2 Apr 1911 (age 19) Works Traveller, Spiral Springs; Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, England5
Death 12 Dec 1960 (age 69)1

Wife: Kate Duncan

Name: Kate Duncan2
Sex: Female
Father: -
Mother: -
Birth May 18911
Death 1948 (age 56-57)1

Note on Husband: James Platt SKINNER (1) - shared note

Uncle Jim went to sea and was shipwrecked off Cape Horn


"James Skinner was the only, and younger brother of five adoring sisters who thoroughly spoilt him in the modestly wealthy family of a Sheffield steel manufacturer. Consequently he grew up to be a thoroughly self-centered and intractable youth, the bane of his parents who, after sending him to a Quaker boarding school in a vain attempt to teach him obedience and self- discipline, resorted to the traditional Victorian method of bringing the headstrong to heel: he was packed off to sea as an apprentice in sail.


Jim sailed in 1904 in the Bidston Hill, a four-masted barque of 2149 tons. She was square rigged on all masts with skysails above double top gallant yards. Mate of the vessel was Charles Pennington, who subsequently achieved a reputation as a fine marine artist, whose prints depicting the hard life of "iron men in wooden ships" were deemed authentic. One such print, "Lee-fore-brace", according to family tradition, shows Jim as second from the end of a haulaway team struggling in the flooded waist.

But his family could never have envisaged the ordeal he was to suffer when they sent him off to sea. Let Basil Lubbock continue the story in his monumental work: "The Last of the Windjammers."


The Bidston Hill, he records, left Hamburg on May 19, 1905 with a cargo of cement for San Francisco. it was Captain Kendall's first passage in command of the ship, and on arriving South he boldly attempted to beat through L-- Maire Straits (near Cape Horn) in a light wind. On making the New Year's Island light, the ship was put round onto the port tack so as to give Staten Island an offing.


But Captain Kendall must have been much closer in that he imagined, and what with the swell, the inset and the light wind, it was soon clear that the ship was not drawing off, but setting down on the Staten Island shore. Soon the wind fell altogether and soon it was evident that the ship was doomed. Nor was there time to do anything except to sling the two lifeboats overboard, before the ship was in, under the cliffs, the water being deep right up to the precipitous rock face.


The Captain had previously been injured in a fall from the deckhouse. He was hurriedly lowered into the starboard lifeboat, which dropped astern with the four junior apprentices, four A.B.'s and an ordinary seaman in her. Apparently the mate and steward also dropped into the boat as she drifted under the counter. Meanwhile the second mate and the rest of the ship's company were making strenuous efforts to get the port lifeboat into the water. What exactly happened to this boat and her occupants was never discovered, but apparently the boat was stove, and the men killed by falling spars or else drowned when the ship struck; she had drifted in right under a perpendicular cliff and, as the swell lifted her, the masts and yards ground and crashed against the overhanging rocks until the heavy tophamper began to rain down on to the decks and into the water alongside.


According to the inquiry, held afterwards in Buenos Ayres, the captain's boat made some attempt at rescue which seems to have been frustrated by the rapid sinking of the Bidston Hill. This caused the boat to pull clear of the suction and to make for the shore. On the following day a search was made, but the port boat, the men and the ship herself had all disappeared.

In due course the Bidston Hill was reported missing at Lloyd's, feared lost with all hands.

It was not until August 28th, 1905 that the following appeared in theSheffield Telegraph:-




Sheffield Boy Saved

There is good news to report this morning with regard to the fate of the crew of the Bidston Hill. On Saturday night Mr. W. E. Skinner received a telegram from the owners saying: Pleased to advise your son is safe"

Mr. and Mrs. Skinner and family, who had passed through a period of intense anxiety and suspense, and who had begun to mourn the boy as lost, were naturally overjoyed on receipt of the news, and yesterday they had the congratulations of a great number of friends.


It was not until many weeks later that Jim finally reached home, ragged, unkempt and destitute, never to go to sea again. His own story of an experience which must have been horrifying beyond imagination to the young lad was never revealed, and he never spoke of the matter in laterlife. But his daughter recalls that he harbored a lifelong and implacable hatred of missionaries as a consequence of the heartless treatment of the shipwrecked mariners by the missionaries of Staten Island."


Passed to me by Monica Nicholson


Off the web

31st July 1905

Wrecked at Cape Furneaux, Staten Island, under command of Captain J.Kendall. The entire crew was later rescued by an Argentian steamer.

a four-masted iron ship built in 1886.

Note on Husband: James Platt SKINNER (2)

Sent to Quaker boarding school

Note on Husband: James Platt SKINNER (3)

Shipwrecked on 31 July 1905. The records tell: Wrecked at Cape Furneaux, Staten Island, under command of Captain J. Kendall. "The entire crew was later rescued by an Argentinean steamer", though deaths were reported.1

Note on Wife: Kate Duncan (1) - shared note

Jim had to marry her

Note on Wife: Kate Duncan (2)

Took in boarders during the depression, one was Amy Johnson, the aviator, who used to take the child Christine Skinner out


1"File (merged): L:\MyDocuments\Family Historian Projects\KatesSkinnerTree\KatesSkinnerTree.fh_data\KatesSkinnerTree.ged".
2"From Monica Nicholson". Text From Source: Date of Import: 11 Jan 2003
3"Census 1901 Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, England". Cit. Date: 31 March 1901.
4"UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy, 1824-1910".
5"Census 1911 Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England RG14PN27829". Cit. Date: 2 April 1911.

Source: Census 1911 Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England RG14PN27829, SKINNER MARGARET ETHEL Mother Harriett_C1911