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Liverpool Yacht Club (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2019-08-06 by rob raeside
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[Ensign of Liverpool Yacht Club] image by Clay Moss, 27 February 2015

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Liverpool Yacht Club

Liverpool Yacht Club, New Ferry, Wirral. Originally Liverpool Bay Yacht Club.
9 March 1908. Club requested title ‘royal’. The club Rule Book, which was sent with the application, showed that the club’s ensign was red with a Liver Bird on the fly. The same bird was on a red over blue burgee. The ensign was probably unauthorised as the Admiralty wrote to the Home Office, “Net registered tonnage does not meet required standard. This does not imply objection to use of Royal Title.” However the Home Office refused the application, noting, “King approved refusal.” [National Archives HO 144/875/163339]

I don’t know if the current Liverpool Yacht Club, which has a different burgee, is the same club.

A warrant dated 23 November 1853 was issued to a Liverpool Yacht Club, for a plain Blue Ensign. Probably a different club which became defunct.
David Prothero, 14 February 2015

A few short months have elapsed since the formation of the Liverpool Yacht Club, and yet through the active and energetic management of its promoters, despite sundry prognostications of the impossibility of establishing a third yacht club on the Mersey, we find that it has been accomplished. It is founded under Admiralty Warrant date 23rd November 1853, of which we subjoin a copy.

Copy ... Liverpool Yacht Club ... blue ensign of Her Majesty's Fleet ... with the distinctive marks of the club in the Burgee.

The article also includes a speech by J.A. Clarke from a meeting held in early November:
... We are met, pursuant to a circular, dated the 29th of October, for the purpose of confirming the foundation of a new yacht club, organised on Friday, the 28th of October, and called "Liverpool Yacht Club", ...

... "There are at present seventeen royal yacht clubs, two yacht clubs not enjoying royal patronage, and two model yacht clubs. I can state, upon excellent authority, that our most gracious Queen, will not extend her royal patronage to any other than the seventeen already established yacht clubs already established, so that there cannot be another royal yacht club. I have, however, every reason to felicitate the members of the Liverpool Yacht Club upon the grant by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, of the blue ensign of her Majesty's fleet, to be worn by the vessels belonging to the club, under special several Admiralty warrants, granting all the rights and immunities appertaining thereto, and with which is proposed to be worn a distinctive blue burgee, having emblazoned thereon the arms of Liverpool. ...

Hunt's Yachting Magazine, February 1854

The two yacht clubs that a third was added to were the Royal Mersey and the Birkenhead Model Yacht Club. These would then be among the 17 Royals and 2 Models as the speaker lists them, whereas the Liverpool would be one of the two non-Royals. Whether the speaker was right that no more than 17 yacht clubs would have Royal Patronage during the life time of the Queen, and whether this limited the number of "Royal" clubs to 17, I don't know. If so, it would add additional information to what we know about other similar requests. Ultimately, this would play a roll in the number of crowned burgees.

Then again, the refusal of royal patronage might also have been influenced by the fact that when J.A. Clark requested Royal Patronage for the club, the secretary of the Royal Mersey contended this in his own letter to the Admiralty.

The Internet seem to yield mentions of the club for only a few years afterwards, though. Maybe three clubs was indeed too many for the Mersey at that time.

The Royal Mersey Yacht Club, from 1844, is on occasion referred to as the "Royal Liverpool Yacht Club", which introduces one Liverpool yacht club more than have actually existed. For example, check references to the 1908 Olympics for such occurrences - at least, that's how I interpret them. In 21-st century media the same name pops up from time to time - I think again for the Royal Mersey. They are also the club to fly the liverbird.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 February 2015

The April issue has additional details, in the form of the Laws and Regulations of the club (202-207):
[2. — That the officers of the club consist of Commodore, Vice-Commodore, Rear-Commodore, Treasurer, Secretary, Cup-bearer, and two Auditors ...

I only mention this one because it has provided me with the officer's position of "Auditor", which is the 100th(!) entry in my list of Yacht
Club Officers' positions. (Not all, apparently, are flag officers, though, nor do all these officers have flags.)]

23. — That the Club Ensign be the Blue Ensign of her Majesty's fleet, agreeable to a warrant, dated the 23rd of November, 1853, granted to the club by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and that the burgee be Blue, with the distinguishing mark of the club, the hoist of each to be two-thirds of the fly.

24, — The commodore's flag to be the club burgee with swallow tail: vice-commodore's to be the club burgee with swallow tail and one red ball ; rear-commodore's the club burgee with two red balls.

25. — That the yachts of the Liverpool yacht club shall always appear with the club ensign and burgee, unless when their distinguishing flags are used in sailing matches ; and that yachts be required to hoist their club flags within the limits of the port of Liverpool and elsewhere, when the commodore's flag is there hoisted.

26. — That Acker's code of Signals shall be the only signals recognized by the club ; and that all yachts belonging to the club shall make their numbers according to Hunt's Universal Yacht List.

- Are we to read 23 to mean that the Blue Ensign of her Majesty's fleet be 2:3?
- According to 24, the rear-commodore did not have a swallow-tailed burgee, but a ordinary one.
- Clearly a different burgee from that of the Liverpool Yacht Club existing in 1905.
- "Acker's", I assume refers to Ackers' "Universal Yacht Signals" (1st ed. 1847), which sort of was to Yacht Clubs what the Commercial code was to the Merchant Navy.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 17 February 2015

[Burgee of Liverpool Yacht Club] image located by Peter Edwards, 26 September 2017

The LYC was established 1988 and the TSC [Tranmere Sailing Club] in 1891.
"The Name of the Club shall be "Liverpool Yacht Club". . . "
"Liverpool Yacht Club (LYC) has formed an Alliance [in 2008] with Tranmere Sailing Club (TSC) . . ."
Images: Club's website. Quotes: Club's Constitution and Rules 2008
Peter Edwards, 25 September 2017


[Burgee of Liverpool Yacht Club] image by Clay Moss, 27 February 2015
based on image from Album des Pavillions Nationaux, 1923, located by David Prothero, 14 February 2015