Thank You From Sarsfield Memorials

The past year has been another busy one at Sarsfield Memorials, where we always endeavour to do the best we can for our customers. The death of a loved one is extremely painful but our aim is to provide a service that is as comforting as possible for people choosing how to mark a grave.

One of our most moving tributes was a mosaic in the design of a star that was placed on the headstone of a little boy’s grave.  The finished design was inlaid into the slate memorial and the family were involved in the process right through from initial design to completion. We have also added a smiley flower image onto a granite headstone of a young lady whose life was taken so soon. Images such as these show that memorials nowadays are not necessarily about mourning, but also celebrating the life.

Mosaic memorials

As well as the regular work we undertake installing new headstones , Sarsfield Memorials has again been involved in the renovation of a memorial that has an interesting historical context this year.  In November we completed the restoration of the long lost memorial to William Whitford. He was a local Liberal politician and one of the directors of Everton Football Club who pledged money towards the purchase of land for a new stadium when the club left Anfield in 1892. This follows on from 2016, when we replaced the headstone at the grave of Alex Raisbeck, captain of Liverpool FC’s first title winning side in 1901.

At Sarsfield Memorials we have continued to offer advice on a bespoke basis. Whether it be best to communicate personally through home visits, on the telephone or by email, we have continued to work with what suits our customers individual needs best. We appreciate that for some it is easier to sit with us and go through designs, having the process explained, but for others this may be too upsetting and it is preferable to correspond by email at their pace.

We are always humbled by the feedback that has been received after a memorial has been added or renovated. In December we have received a lovely thank you card which says ‘Thank you so much, my parents grave is lovely. With sincere thanks and very best wishes’. We also receive  a lot of online feedback, the following is an example of one of the many five star reviews we have received over the year on our Facebook page.

We travelled from Yorkshire to meet with Ursula to discuss a memorial for my parents grave. After looking at various memorials it gave us a good idea what we really wanted. Ursula was most helpful and gave us a lot of guidance. We arrived home to make a decision on which memorial to have. Looking at the brochure that Ursula had given us we decided exactly what we wanted. After this everything was done by email, the efficiency of this company has been unbelievable. Thursday this week we received an email from Ursula to let me know the memorial had been fitted. I was completely overwhelmed for the short time they had taken to complete. We travelled over today to meet with Ursula and to see the memorial, all I can say is it is beautiful and the workmanship impeccable. I cannot recommend Sarsfield Memorials enough the way Ursula has organised everything to perfection and very professional. We are both so happy with the easy and pleasant outcome and the friendliness of Ursula.
Thank you Ursula and the Team.

2018 will be the 71st year for Sarsfield Memorials, which has been a family run business for three generations. We are Liverpool’s oldest independent monumental masons and hope we will be around for many more to come providing relief to our customers at an upsetting time.





Ellan Vannin Victim’s Grave

Amongst the graves at St James’ Cemetery, overlooked by Liverpool Cathedral, is a victim of the sinking of the SS Ellan Vannin, which went down during a storm in 1909.

Fifteen year old Ernest Allen was returning to Liverpool from the Isle of Man with his mother. They had been spending a week at their holiday cottage and were looking forward to getting back to their home in Slater Street where they lived with Ernest’s father who was a plumber. 

Ellan Vannin

The SS Ellan Vannin  sailed from Douglas for Liverpool at 0115 on 3rd December 1909. She was carrying fifteen passengers, 21 crew and sixty tons of cargo and mail. The weather was stormy but the captain did not expect this to disrupt the crossing.

The SS Ellan Vannin was the smallest ship of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. She sailed from Douglas for Liverpool at 0115 on 3rd December 1909 carrying 15 passengers, 21 crew and 60 tons of cargo and mail

The weather was stormy but the captain, James Teare, did not anticipate any problems. However there was a deterioration and as she got to the Mersey Bar winds reached eighty miles an hour and waves were 25 feet by 0630 hours. The crew struggled to steer her in the pitch black conditions and driving sleet and she broke up. Temperatures were just two degrees and all on board were drowned, nobody stood a chance.

Divers only recovered three bodies from the wreck, which was under only forty feet of water. Two of those were still in their beds and a crew member was in the boiler room.  It was estimated that the ship, first built in 1860 as the paddle steamer Mona’s Isle, sank in less than thirty seconds.

Not all of the bodies that were washed away were recovered but those that were had their burials and headstones paid for out of the disaster fund. Ernest’s memorial contains reference to his mother Mary, whose body remained lost at sea. 

An enquiry cleared Captain Teare of any blame and concluded that extreme weather was the cause of the disaster. Traditionally the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company reuse names for vessels but have never done so with Ellan Vannin. A song written and recorded by Liverpool folk group The Spinners commemorates the disaster.