Sunday, 20 March 2011


She was built in 1872 by A Leslie & Co. of Newcastle upon Tyne. (yard number 139).  She weighed 1108 gross tons, was 225 feet long, with a beam of 30 feet.   She had two owners during her life: Adamson, Short, of Newcastle; and later Charleton, MacAllum & Co. of Newcastle.
She was on passage from Bilbao to Tyne on 11 June 1889 with a cargo of iron ore, when she collided with the SS TOWARD in calm conditions, 5 nautical miles west of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse.
She lays about 14 miles east of Newhaven in 35 meters at high water.  Her bows are the highest point, 6 meters proud.  At this point, the wreck of fairly well intact, but as you move astern she becomes more broken.  Her boilers and two cylinder compound engine are easily visible.  To the stern, she becomes more broken still and is receding into the sea bed.  At the stern itself, she is only one meter proud.
The first time we dived her was back in 1998.  Unfortunately I didn’t get on the wreck, but the debris field was quite interesting!  We didn’t dive her again until 2005. It was on this dive we found a piece of porcelain with part of the ship’s name on it.  We made a second dive and had a good dig in what we thought might be the right spot.  Success! We found the missing piece of porcelain and now had the name of the wreck, the Harold.
Other clues
A beer bottle from a brewery in North Shields, W. A. Wilkins
A plate with the Asiatic Pheasants pattern and the potter’s mark C.T.M (C. T. Malling from Newcastle upon Tyne).
A rather interesting brass disc was found.  This has a fleur-de-lis with an arrow in the top leaf.  Lower down there is an anchor with “THE” written across it, then the word “Palinurus”.  This is possibly to do with the helm as Palinurus was a mythical Roman helmsman.

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