Shipwrecks of famous shipping lines

Great Liverpool

1838-1846, Finisterre

Great Liverpool


The wooden paddle steamer was originally built as the Liverpool for the Transatlantic Steamship Company at the Humble & Milcrest Yard, Liverpool, and launched on 10 October 1837. The paddles were powered by direct-acting side-lever steam engines. In 1840 the ship was taken over by P&O and renamed Great Liverpool. In 1845 the Great Liverpool inaugurated twice-monthly sailings to Egypt and was fitted with new boilers.

Struck a reef about 7 miles off Cape Finisterre at 04:00 when on a voyage from Alexandria to Southampton. Fog and a strong current were blamed. The lives of two women and a child were lost when a lifeboat was swamped in the surf.


Dimensions65.1 x 7.8 m (213.7 x 25.5 ft)
Speed9 knots


The wreck of the Great Liverpool rests parallel to Gures Beach in shallow water where the depth ranges between just 3m and 7m. The steam engine, boilers and other valuable materials have long since been salvaged over the course of the intervening years since the disaster but the remaining wooden hull planking has been found to conceal a fascinating time capsule from a bygone era.

In 2012 a comprehensive archaeological survey of the Great Liverpool was carried out under the auspices of the newly formed Finisterre Project, supported by numerous organisations, including the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, and led by Spanish archaeologist Miguel San Claudio. Recoveries included coins from a multitude of periods and denominations, gemstones, jewellery including a gold ring and brooch, combs and buttons.


Dive Data
Position42.91695, -9.196383
Depth7m (23ft)

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