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Port of Chester, an authoress enquires?

An interesting and surprising email arrived recently asking about the Port of Chester.
Maybe you can help us help an author?

The gist is Kathleen (Katy) Lundsteen, wrote, Hello!  I recently ordered your painting  (signed numbered limited edition print) of New Crane Wharf in Chester 1863, and I am extremely excited about the painting itself, and having found you. 

(She picture Kathy refers to is on page http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/chester.html and includes much “further reading.

You can order your copysecurely online using Paypal on page http://www.frickers.co.uk/prints.html

or send a cheque to

Gordon Frickers
41a Oak Tree Park
Glenholt
Plymouth
Devon
PL6 7JZ )

Kathy continued:

I am writing a book that has it’s beginnings in the Chester Port (the very one you painted!) in 1860! 
I had been researching and had not found a lot of information on the port at that time period up until now. 

I am very pleased to see all the details and the history involved in your painting, and to see that the port was in fact bustling at that time as I had suspected. 
Most everything I had read said that there was some activity there up until the 20th century, but most just talked about the decline of the port and not much on the life of it, and about specific vessels and goings on. 

I would love to hear more about it, do you have more information than what is on the website?

I have a couple of very specific questions and am looking for help in finding answers.  I would truly appreciate any of your time and knowledge. 
 
I see that you picked the American Schooner, and although it looks like the perfect vessel in my book, I am seeking a ship that would have been local, best to Chester but to Britain in general, that would have made some international travel, and also the likes of the Port at the Isle of Wight and other British stops.

I also need to name my ship and my captain but would consider using a fictional name, as the book is historical fiction. 
Finding all of this information is fun, and I certainly value any input from someone as seasoned in the area as your self. 
I also was wondering just exactly (or approximately) how long it would have taken the vessel to dock once it came up the River Dee? 
I see by your painting and description that there is a lot involved in bringing the ship in safely to port, and it was truly an art and spectacle to behold! 
I have a character that sees the specific ship and is waiting for it to reach the wharf and I am wondering about what time frame they have to wait.
 
I am also wondering what material, consistency, and weight would have been the rope or lines used to tie the vessel (forgive me I am not keen on my nautical lingo yet although I am just beginning to study it). 

I do see how you have painted the monkey’s fist knot, and that it is sent on to a row boat (that is what you refer to as a dinghy?) 
This is all so incredibly exciting to me and I am thrilled to be learning something so new and interesting, and even better to be including this piece of history in my story, but I do want to get it right and it is a Must that I write these descriptions accurately. 

I do hope to get clear detailson my ship, how many masts it might have had, what type of sails, how big of a crew, and where things were located on deck (where were the captian or masters quarters, and where would they have stowed the cargoes?) 
 
Let’s say they embarked again from Chester, what was a typical time to be gone if they went to the Isle of Wight, to London, or to Ireland, or even India?
 
One other question very relevant to my story, once the ship is “warped to the berth” as I read in your description, how might the crew have come on and off board, and if a cat were to stow away, what would be it’s best point of entry? 
The lines? or something entirely different?  I am looking so forward to learning these little details!
 
I too am a fine artist, I paint (mostly acrylic in very tight detail), draw, and write…and am at my happiest doing so. 
I do understand how demanding a project can be and I do appreciate any help you could lend, again, especially your time.
I am looking so forward to receiving the print of your painting, my husband and I are going to have it framed immediately!

(You can order your copy from page http://www.frickers.co.uk/prints.html ).
 
Thank you again, and if you know of anyone else too that might be able to help me  ???

Please do pass me on, or their names to me!  Have a beautiful day, best wishes!  Katy
In my detailed reply I also added:
My research is I hope you appreciate is now much of it at least, irreplaceable as many of the people who contributed and sources are no longer available.

It was assembled over a six month period with 3 visits to Chester including to the exact location,  and the help of many people mostly now retired and some deceased.

My painting was inspired by a Chester man and gallery owner, Nick Dalton.

The Council of Chester gave us much encouragement, support and a civic unveiling at which we sold 90 copies.

They gave as far as I know uniquely, permission to use the city coat of arms on the margin of the prints. Over all I was very touched to find my work there was appreciated and honoured.

On the plus side here,  we have a unique chance to use the material to enrich the experience of others via your book and my web site. I expect we’ll get a few good blog entries from our efforts!

If You can help answer the above and future questions, don’t hesitate to add to this bolg?

You can help this interesting project and charming lady.
Thank you, Gordon Frickers.