National Teddy Bear Day 9th September

What has the world’s last operational passenger steamship got to do with a child’s cuddly toy? Bear with us to find out. 

L-R  Stuart Wood, Skipper Copyright Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, Skipper Teddy, Copyright Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, The Danny Copyright johndavidsonphotos.co.uk

1903-built The Danny, listed as 15th on the Register of National Historic Ships has introduced a Teddy Bear Trail to encourage the young generation to jump on board and learn more about our maritime history and this national icon.

The Teddy Bear Trail was designed by the volunteers following an educational talk at a school. A year 5 student’s question as to ‘why spend so much money restoring and refurbishing an old ship’ led to a class debate. Simply put, one little lass had said not preserving history was like throwing out an old, shabby but much treasured teddy bear.

Born from the emotional truth around why we value, save, restore and dedicate years to looking after our heritage, the Teddy Bear Trail connects children to times past.

One of The Danny’s volunteers scoured the charity shops of Cheshire to find the motley teddy crew that would represent The Danny’s volunteer crew. Artist Frances Heap looked through a collection of archive photos and footage and selected the characters and costumes for the teddy trail. The teddies introduce children to the heritage of the Danny through the crew – where they worked on the boat and what jobs they did – and the passengers in the Art Deco saloons. The eight costumed bears – having been thoroughly briefed and taken up their positions onboard – are to be checked off on a specially designed map. 

The Teddy Crew

L-R Deckhand, Fireman, Waitress Copyright The Danny

The Skipper: The Captain teddy was based on one of The Danny’s volunteer skippers, Stuart Wood – Captain Fishfingers, a former Liverpool pilot and big Danny personality. Other teddy bears to seek out include a Fireman, Deckhand and Waitress.

Historic Crew

The crew of the Ralph Brocklebank, c1930, image courtesy of DAPS thanks to Pat Brennan

Teddy VIP’s

The Sultan of Zanzibar arrives at Manchester to travel on The Danny, Sultan Teddy Copyright The Danny

Visitors came from all over the world to visit The Danny. In June 1929, guests on board included a royal party from the cotton-growing island of Zanzibar.

The Sultan of Zanzibar is photographed with directors of the Manchester Ship Canal Company on the Ralph Brocklebank (as The Danny was then called) for an inspection trip on the Manchester Ship Canal. 

Cruises along the River Weaver and static Open Days are open to the public and groups until October 2021. www.thedanny.co.uk