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Tyne and Wear HER(12922): Marsden, Souter Point, Chamois - Details

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S Tyneside

Marsden, Souter Point, Chamois



Maritime Craft

Transport Vessel

Cargo Vessel




This is a substantial wreck lying due east of Souter in about 24 metres of water. It may be the wreck of the Chamois, a 2100 ton steamship built in 1890. She was returning to the Tyne from Rotterdam in ballast. The wreck has been well dispersed. A second report gives her as being wrecked on Whitburn Rocks (Collings) and Whitburn Steel (NMR). Iron and Steel, 2,100-ton, 87.5m long, 11.8m beam, 5.8m draught, British steamship, registered in London. She was built in 1900 and was owned by W.Jackson of London, Master: Jefferies.(Spokes has an alternative construction date of 1890). Her single iron propeller was powered by a three-cylinder, triple-expansion steam engine that used two boilers. On 8 January 1903, the Chamois was in ballast on passage from Rotterdam for the Tyne, under the command of Swansea man Captain Geo. Jeffries and carrying a crew of twenty-one, when she drove ashore during thick fog and heavy weather. The vessel could just be dimly seen offshore from the beach neat Whitburn Steel, with her head pointing north-north-west. The coastguard raised the alarm in response to signals from the stranded vessel and very quickly the lifesaving apparatus was set up by the rocket brigade, under Chief Officer Parks R.N. The seabed at the point where the Chamois grounded is rather flat, fairly far offshore and proved too great a distance for the rocket lines. An immediate request was made for the new lifeboat William Charles to be launched was made. She had just made her first trial run the day before, under the command of Captain Holmes, the Inspecting Officer for the RNLI. Reports at the time say, ‘she was a smart boat in every respect, the wheels of the carriage running on iron plates which loosely encircled the rims. In this way a flat surface is presented to the soft yielding sand and the device worked admirably’. The lifeboat went out in a nasty and dangerous ground swell and rescued twenty one crew, including Captain Jeffries and brought them safely ashore. Several tugs made a number of unsuccessful attempts to pull the vessel off the rocks, but the heavy ground swell had taken its toll and left her badly holed. With her full of water and orientated at an impossible angle, the wind and sea having swung her round to N.N.E., she was written off and became a total loss. Some salvage work took place of the vessel’s top structures, but the rest of her was left to the elements. The wreck lies just north of the Whitburn Steel on a seabed of rocks and small reefs, in a general depth of about 4m. She is now totally smashed up, except for a few twisted, decaying plates, ribs, frames, pieces of broken machinery and a little section of her bows. Very little else of the Chamois is recognisable today. Another entry titles Chamois ? In the NMR database suggests a location of due east Souter and a depth of 24m. There may be some confusion with this entry and the Blairhall or Rotha? Grid reference conversion made 09.02.2011 with with Lat/Long referenced as N 54 56 36 W 01 21 2




Peter Collings, 1991, The New Divers Guide to the North-East Coast, page 22; Young, R. (2000) Comprehensive guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast (The): Volume One (1740 – 1917), Tempus, Gloucestershire. p. 148, Ian T. Spokes Wreck Database; National Monument Record (1001917); Richard and Bridget Larn 1997 Shipwreck index of the British Isles, volume 3. The east coast of England Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, County Durham, Northumberland Section 6, County Durham (CF); United Kingdom Shipwreck index

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