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Tyne and Wear HER(14008): Tynemouth, Light of the Harem - Details

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N Tyneside

Tynemouth, Light of the Harem



Maritime Craft

Sailing Vessel


Early Modern



'The Shields Gazette of Wednesday 9th February, 1870, reports:- "Between 2 and 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, snow began to fall thickly and the gale now blowing from the south-west perceptibly increased in violence. About an hour afterwards, the signal guns...were fired. Crowds of people soon gathered...Through the blinding drifts of sleet, the masts and sails of what appeared to be a schooner were dimly visible at the back of the north pier, but the attention of those on shore and the efforts of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were at first directed to a large barque (the HELENA of Scarborough)... '...As soon as the lifeboat NORTHUMBERLAND had left the barque HELENA and her crew, the crowds rushed to Tynemouth pier, which was in a few minutes packed from end to end. The Tynemouth Life Brigade, had, as soon as they were certain that their services were not further needed by the HELENA, gone to the pier with the apparatus, with the view of rescuing the crew of the schooner, which, shortly after the HELENA struck, was observed to be rapidly drifting behind the pier. When the Brigade arrived, the schooner, which proved to be LIGHT OF THE HAREM of Lowestoft, was rolling heavily from side to side, and the crew, five in number, were clinging to the sides of the vessel, and in imminent danger of being carried by the waves, which were dashing over the vessel, into the sea. The first line missed, but the second went over the vessel. The crew, however, either did not understand the working of the apparatus, or were unable to secure the rope. Several members of the Brigade shouted directions to the men, but although the schooner was only distant about 80 yards from the pier, they were not heard owing to the noise of the sea. Signs were made to the crew to fasten the hawser to the foremast, but the men signalled that the masts could not safely support the strain. The Brigadesmen then signalled to the crew to fasten the hawser to some other part of the vessel, and ultimately it was attached to the capstan. The breeches buoy was then pulled to the side of the vessel, and two fo the crew secured themselves in it. As it was being pulled from the vessel's side, the shcooner made a heavy lurch, and the two men sank overhead in the water. They were, however, quickly pulled through the waves, and in a couple of minutes were safely landed on the pier. In like manner, two others of the crew, and lastly the captain, were rescued. The Brigade displayed great collness, and throughout evinced great skill in the management of the various apparatus. The crew, who were thoroughly drenched, were conducted to the Brigade House, where they received the usual attentions and afterwards were taken to the Sailors' Home. The schooner was commanded by Captain E Rhodes." ' (1) Photograph of the figurehead of LIGHT OF THE HAREM, now in the Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House at Tynemouth. The caption underneath the figurehead reads: "LIGHT OF THE HAREM, wrecked behind North Pier, Feb. 8th, 1870". '...the collier LIGHT OF THE HAREM which was wrecked on the shore at Tynemouth during a gale in February 1870. People carried off coal and other items washed ashore from the vessel and from two other ships also wrecked at the river mouth.' (2) Master: E Rhodes (1) Crew: 5 (1)




Boswell Whitaker 1980 Preservation of life from shipwreck, volume 3 : Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade p30-2, Dick Keys and Ken Smith 1998 Black Diamonds by Sea: North-East Sailing Colliers 1780-1880 p34, National Monuments Record (1375394); The Ipswich Journal or the Weekly Mercury, page 8, 12 February 1870, No. 6, 814; Bradford Observer, page 4, 9 February 1870, No. 2, 224; Liverpool Mercury, page 7, 9 February 1870, No. 6, 878; Serena Cant, Data Team Officer, 5 November 2012, Wreck of the Week: Light of the Harem, Coals to Newcastle

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