AN author from Latchford will help tell the tragic story of a Warrington ship which sank in 1854 on television this weekend.

Channel Five's How The Victorians Built Britain, with Michael Buerk, will feature a segment on Warrington-built RMS Tayleur, which was wrecked on its maiden voyage to Australia.

Author Gill Hoffs will appear on the programme after her 2014 book, The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the 'Victorian Titanic', uncovered the little-known tragedy.

The 40-year-old explained: "I decided to write the book after a visit to Warrington Museum.

"A member of staff told me about the porthole I was looking at, from the Tayleur wreck, and I was hooked - and now I have that very same porthole tattooed on my foot, to commemorate the wreck that changed my life.

"This iron ship, which was the largest of her type in the world at the time, was built near where Warrington Bank Quay station is now for the White Star Line.

"Having left Liverpool docks for the Australian Gold Rush with approximately 700 people on board and a grand send off, the travellers soon realised none of the compasses agreed.

"Unbeknownst to them, the iron ship was confusing the compasses, and the atrocious weather meant they had no idea of where they were or what direction they were heading in until it was too late."

Just 48 hours after leaving Liverpool, the ship wrecked against an Irish cliff, killing more than half of those on board.

Gill continued: "Women and children were disproportionately affected by this, and only three of each survived.

"There was a massive cover-up, despite the tragedy hitting the headlines worldwide, and few people know of the Tayleur or our shipbuilding industry these days."

Today, there are artefacts on display in Warrington Museum and Art Gallery and in the basement of the Mersey Maritime Museum.

How The Victorians Built Britain will air on Channel Five tonight, Saturday, at 9pm.