The artist and scene painter Isaac Shaw left us a portfolio of interesting prints of the early Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&MR), including one of Crown Street station:
I will return to talk about the picture at a later date but Shaw kindly included an interesting detail on the righthand wall for those with sharp eyesight (or possibly a vivid imagination). Note that I have played with the perspective a little.
So I would like you to believe that the sign says "MONA'S ISLE" at the top. My best guess is that this refers to the first Isle of Man steam packet "Mona's Isle". The word below looks like "BODEL"but I suspect is actually "DOUGL" and if you squint long enough you might be convinced as well, especially if you know that Douglas is capital of the Isle of Man.
As the excellent Wikipedia article makes clear, there was significant competition during 1830 between the newly launched SS Mona's Isle and the incumbent service operated by SS Sophia Jane on behalf of the rival St George Company. The new paddle steamer had the advantage that it had "spacious and comfortable cabins" for its passengers as well as an astute captain. Getting name and brand recognition for the new ship among the wealthy passengers of the L&MR was clearly important. It would also appear that the proprietors of the L&MR were not averse to a new revenue stream.
The use of steam to power ships was well-established by this time. A useful summary of the adoption of steam engines on Merseyside shows that the first use in a boat was on the Sankey for an excursion to Newton races in 1793, Newcomen engines having been used in the mines since 1719. The first Mersey steam ferry was the SS Elizabeth which operated between Liverpool and Runcorn from 1815.
A build of the docks with the SS Mona's Isle at its Liverpool mooring would be a nice complement to the L&MR build of Crown Street itself.
This blog is a work-in-progress. Please check back for updates
22/02/19: Added full-size Shaw sketch courtesy of the Yale Centre for British Art (public domain).