TV ARCHAEOLOGIST Phil Harding joined the MP for Southend West and Southend’s Mayor for a special event in the city‘s Beecroft Art Gallery.
Mr Harding of Channel 4’s Time Team fame spoke at the ‘Discover the London’ event hosted by the Nautical Archaeological Society on March 4, which called for the historic shipwreck ‘The London’ to be saved.
HMS London was a 17th century British warship preparing to join battle in the Second Anglo-Dutch war.
On its outward voyage, it sank after a mysterious explosion saw it lose at least 300 crew members.
Sitting on the seabed near the end of the iconic Southend Pier, its wreckage now rests in the Thames Estuary.
With increased traffic in the shipping channel, the sunken ship is withering away due to the increasing magnitude of the water currents from the container ships.
Water conditions are very silty, with divers only being able to see around 8 inches in front of them due to seabed disturbance.
Although limited excavations have taken place since its discovery, Anna Firth MP, along with the Nautical Archaeology Society, is now calling for the historic ship to be raised in full, which has been supporting the London Shipwreck Trust in its preservation work.
This would protect the ship from being completely lost to the destructive wave pressures from the cargo lane, whilst creating a cultural landmark, which would attract visitors to the city and preserve an important part of British history.
“The London is a secret gem in Southend’s crown. There are unparalleled heritage and treasures hidden in the mud, yet they are continually at risk of been washed away by the tide and passing ships,” said Ms Firth.
“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Protection of Wrecks Act and look forward to the coronation of King Charles III, now is the moment to secure this national treasure and build towards our deserved City of Culture title.”
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