Sheringham shipwreck the Ispolen emerges on beach

The shipwreck of the Ispolen which has remerged on Sheringham beach. Kevin Greenfield on holiday from Selkirk, Scotland, with his daughters Lotte, 5 and Ella, 3.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The shipwreck of the Ispolen which has remerged on Sheringham beach. Kevin Greenfield on holiday from Selkirk, Scotland, with his daughters Lotte, 5 and Ella, 3. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
8:35 AM

A shipwreck more than 100 years old thought to have been destroyed by the December 5 tidal surge has reappeared on a north Norfolk beach.

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Sheringham, RNLI mug, painting of the Harry Ramey Upcher hauling away from the wreck of the Ispolen , off Sheringham on 29th January 1897.
1 of 8.Sheringham, RNLI mug, painting of the Harry Ramey Upcher hauling away from the wreck of the Ispolen , off Sheringham on 29th January 1897. 1 of 8.

The shell of the Ispolen, which was wrecked in 1897, revealed itself on Sheringham beach near the west promenade two days ago.

Coastal engineer and Sheringham resident Brian Farrow said: “I was surprised and very pleased it had come back. It is part of the history of the town. If you think of the coastal towns a hundred years ago they were all about the sea and fishing.

“The Ispolen would have been a significant ship. For us to have that history is important. It has been in Sheringham a long time and I for one love it. It is good to see it back.”

Mr Farrow added: “We all assumed she had been broken up in the tidal surge but apparently it had not been damaged and was buried in the shingle bank.”

History of the Ispolen

At the end of January 1897 there was a storm which lasted several days.

The German-built, 216-ton Ispolen was driven ashore at Sheringham on January 23 at 3.30pm.

On board was captain Isak Lowe and this was his first trip as master of the vessel, then owned by Allcock of London.

It was spotted in trouble at 11am by Sheringham’s lifeboat crews and, out of the three boats available, the private Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat was launched to rescue the crew.

Coxswain of the lifeboat Tom Barnes Cooper lead the volunteer team to the Ispolen, and despite working in life-risking conditions, managed to save all eight people on board.

They received medical attention at the Two Lifeboats Coffee House and were given clothes by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

It is believed the remains of the vessel had moved a few days before the storm surge and the heavy sea swells last week caused the shingle bank to break.

Philip Miles, manager of The Mo Sheringham Museum, said: “It is a little piece of marine archaeology. One day it will be reclaimed by the sea.”

The promenade museum has brasswork from the ship, which can be seen at low tide.

Parts of the ship are constantly being revealed but the last time the majority of the vessel was exposed was in March 2012.

Carrying a cargo of ice, the boat had left Norway on January 19, 1897, bound for Gravesend. But after it got into difficulties in a storm on January 23, the private Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat in Sheringham was launched. All eight people on the Ispolen were brought back to safety.

Do you have a maritime story? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

1 comment

  • The first sighting of the Ispolen I have heard of since 2013 was on Friday 11th July - I saw it myself on Saturday 12th July - earlier than 2 days ago. During the storm surge on 5th December the Ispolen was lifted out of her usual position and placed on top of the pebbles alongside the promenade wall. She was last visible on December 8th after the storm surge having lost some of her timbers - so clearly survived the surge. Several fishermen I spoke to thought she would come back despite her disappearance from 8th December. The Fisheries Heritage Centre at the top of the West Cliff Slipway contains not only the Fishermen's Lifeboat that rescued her crew (the Henry Ramey Upcher) but also her possible anchor and a breadboard reported to be made from her mast. The FHC is usually open from Noon until 4pm in the summer but may be closed if we can't find a volunteer or the weather is rough and likely to blow rain or spray into the lifeboat shed. Malcolm Peddar - Fisheries Heritage Centre Coordinator, 01263 824187

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Malcolm Peddar

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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