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Tyne and Wear HER(12993): St. Mary's Island, Longhirst - Details

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N Tyneside

St. Mary's Island, Longhirst

St. Mary's Island


Maritime Craft

Cargo Vessel


Early Modern



A collier which sank on 7th January 1878. Her boilers come close to the surface at low tide. There are boilers, plates and girders scattered around. In 1988 a large bronze makers plate was recovered from the wreck (Collings). Iron, 680-ton, 66.87m long, 8.94m beam, 4.36m draught, three masted British steamship registered at Newcastle upon Tyne. She was owned by J. Elliot of Newcastle upon Tyne and built in 1873 by Smith at North Shields. Her single iron propeller was powered by a two-cylinder, compound-steam engine, using one boiler and her machinery was built by Revenhill, Eastons & Co. She had one deck, four watertight bulkheads and a superstructure consisting of a 21.3m reinforced quarter-deck and a 6.4m poop-deck. The vessel was also classed as A1 by Lloyds. On 7 December 1878, the Longhirst was in ballast on a voyage from London to North Shields, under command of Captain B. Blasby, when wind conditions north-east force six stranded and wrecked her on the reef known as the Outer-Bells, just north of St. Mary’s Island. What remains of the Longhirst lies in two gullies on the Outer-Bells reef. She is totally collapsed and well smashed up among the kelp, with her prop-shaft, lumps of iron plate and iron ribs concreting into the surrounding rocks, along with some very dispersed and broken machinery. Her boiler, which is now starting to disintegrate, lies close to the surface on a very low tide. A small pleasure yacht called the Nora struck the boiler and sank a few years ago, but was subsequently raised and salvaged. Grid reference conversion made 04.03.2011 with with Lat/Long referenced as N 55 04 38 W 01 26 56




Peter Collings, 1991, The New Divers Guide to the North-East Coast, page 47; Young, R. (2000) Comprehensive guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast (The): Volume One (1740 – 1917), Tempus, Gloucestershire. p. 174, Ian T. Spokes Wreck Database, Inga Project, National Monuments Record

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