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General: Drawing Axles

Posted by Iain on 09-09-2015 21:37:55 CEST

With the poor weather so far this season, high south westerly winds seem to prevail at present, we have been unable to get out to the site very much as yet.

So some of the down time has been spent by various team members shore side carrying out the mundane but necessary work attached to looking after a protected wreck site,  jobs like monitoring & changing the water in artefact storage tanks at the wet store (fig 1), keeping the glass in the display cabinets at Earnley free of greasy finger marks (a never ending job for Pete & Jim) collating & adding information to 3H’s Site Recorder programme & of coarse paper work, general record keeping, emails, artefact drawing (fig2)……the list is endless, topped off by an excavation license application which seems to go on & on with seemingly more & more questions from the powers that be.

When that finally gets sorted, there will be the Marine Management Organization (MMO) license application to deal with! These days it seems you have to have a license from one government body to operate a license issued by another government body!

One hopes we will get to recover the information & at risk artefacts still on site, before the remains of the wreck are finally spread all over the eastern Solent! 

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General: Visits to site & other things.

Posted by Iain on 18-07-2015 12:11:34 CEST
It has not been a brilliant season so far this year, we seem to have had predominantly south westerly winds sometimes up to force 8!
In desperation two weeks ago we went out to the site, spring tides, south westerly 3 to 5 forecast, we should have known better after all these years launching and diving from Bracklesham!
Outcome: two and a half hours sitting off the slipway waiting for the tide to drop back off the shingle.  We still had a very long and uncomfortable voyage back to Itchenor to recover the rib.  Hey ho, we live but we don’t always learn!  Still no one hurt & nothing broken.
On the few visits to site we have had, a number of artefacts have been recovered, a very flat pewter plate, a pewter spoon with RB incised on the rear of the handle (could have belonged to the captain of Hazardous), a pulley block & a brass tunic button with many more to come.                                  
16th July.
Today I had the pleasure of visiting Sidlesham Primary School to give a talk to a class of seven year olds about the history of the wreck, local fish, fossils and diving.  I must say I was a little worried about keeping them interested, however, Mrs. Connor and her “Meerkats” were marvellous, lots of serious questions were fired at me at the end.   I hope I measured up to their expectations!  

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General: Attempted site visits.

Posted by Iain on 19-04-2015 19:28:32 CEST

12th April 2015.

After two attempts to organize a visit to site, as we thought for an early start this year, the weather has conspired against us again this weekend, force 4 to 5 from the southwest is not ideal for safe launching & retrieving off our beach!

I was informed that the underwater vis further down the Solent was about 3metres, so if we could have got out, it may have been good enough to check the site to see if any more of it has uncovered over winter, we may have even more iron guns on site than the additional ten uncovered last season!

Dave applying the vinyl lettering to the buoy.

So in view of the weather conditions, the day was spent attaching the replacement lettering to the site buoy, removing the damaged centre tube in readiness for the replacement & programming the GPS unit on the rib, with all the anomalies identified on the site side scan & multi-beam  surveys.

These surveys were commissioned by English Heritage & carried out by Wessex Archaeology last year, unfortunately weather & vis was against us then as well, so we were unable to make full use of the information, however we are hoping for a better season this year, with more to talk about in the near future………

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General: Damage report

Posted by Iain on 25-01-2015 18:25:58 CET

15th January 2015.

Peter Jolly phoned me this morning to report that the site marker buoy was ashore at the bottom of Kimbridge road. We arranged to recovery it late morning, shortly after I received a call from the Parish Council clerk to say she had received an email from a local person, saying that they had discovered the buoy on the high tide line, she also notified E.H.

When Peter & I went to the area, we found one of the District Council beach patrol personnel attempting to recover the buoy to safety. On inspection the buoy appeared to be undamaged, however the joining shackle used to join the down chain to the heavy duty ground chain was still present but the pin was missing, we must assume this came loose in the heavy weather we have been having over the last few weeks.

The chain is badly worn in the middle of its length & will require replacement before returning to site, also the central steel tube of the buoy is somewhat “frayed” so will also require replacement if available.

It is hoped to be onsite late March/early April.  

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General: Archive visit

Posted by Iain on 30-10-2011 19:53:42 CET

Visit to The National Archives

2nd September 2011

It is a long term aim of the project team to create a digital archive of all historical documents relating to Hazardous and where possible to provide transcriptions of them. This will both enhance the archive and hopefully reveal more detail of the ship, her construction, history and fate. Much research was done in the early days of the project but that was long before modern technologies such as the www and digital photography were available and only summary data was captured in many instances.


Team member Dave Johnston paid his first visit to the National Archives at Kew to initiate our further historical research relating to Hazardous.

The National Archive at Kew is housed in an imposing but welcoming modern building on the banks of the River Thames at Kew, a short walk from Kew Gardens and Kew Bridge stations.

First impressions of this facility, which is free to use and open to anyone, is how unbelievably efficient and well organized it is.

The first task was to visit the new user registration point on the second floor. You register through an online application form and by completing a short online tutorial / question and answer session on how to handle historic documents in a safe and responsible manner – after all, these are the originals, in many cases hundreds of years old and irreplaceable! Then you have your photo taken, present your proof of identification and receive your reader’s card (valid for 3 years). The whole process takes about 20 minutes and costs nothing except a smile for the camera!

Then back down to the ground floor to deposit coats and possessions in a free-to-use locker (you are restricted in what you can take into the document reading rooms; pencils, paper and cameras / laptops / phones, but no food, drink, pens, rubbers or bags (other than clear plastic ones).

Then up to the first floor general enquiries room where there are dozens of computer terminals on which to search the online databases for the relevant documents (you can also do this from home). There are also enquiries desks manned by experts to help you track down exactly what you need. We know from previous searches that the Captain’s and Master’s logs and Pay Books are available at Kew but we are also interested in tracking down any correspondence relating to Hazardous and were given useful starting points for this. The fact that Hazardous was a prize vessel turns out to be most helpful as there was a specific Admiralty Court which dealt with prize claims. Whilst at the terminals you can request access to the original documents, and select a seat allocation in the reading room – there are seats with free to use camera tripods located near windows (no flash photography allowed) and general reading seats as well.

With little spare time on this first visit, it was decided to request a single document – the Master’s log for the Looe for 1703. This was because, quite coincidently, Peter Jolly had recently found a booklet on the Looe which said that she had towed Hazardous into port following her capture. Having reserved a seat and requested your documents there is an average 45 minute delay until they arrive - time to visit the ground floor bookshop (very tempting) and café (both excellent and reasonably priced).

You access the reading room by swiping in your reader card and passing through security to check that you are not taking in any forbidden items. Along one side of the room are a series of glass fronted lockers, numbered according to seat position, into which the documents you ordered are delivered. You are then free to take them to your seat. In addition there are open access camera stands with digital SLR cameras that allow you to photograph documents and have them emailed direct to your registered email address – again free to use.

The documents ordered (ref ADM 52/205) turned out to be a slip case containing 10 thin, cloth bound log books, only 2 of which (numbers 6 and 7) related to the Looe, the others being for other the Lancaster, Lyme and Lowestoft. On this visit there was only time for a very quick inspection of log #7 (16 May 1703 onwards) - we believe that Hazardous was captured in November 1703. Mercifully, the ink is still quite bright and the Master’s writing relatively quite neat (once one gets one’s eye in). The top of each right hand page summarises the vessel’s position. This suggested that in November 1703 Looe was anchored in Milford Haven, rounded Lands End in late December, was in Plymouth in February 1704, then by April was in Barnstable Bay preparing to sail to Newfoundland – no mention of Portsmouth and it would seem no time to have sailed there and back (especially towing a wrecked warship)!

Interestingly, 2 pages covering February 1704 appear to say:

???? on board the Plymouth hulk (in) ????? (could this be harneais - ? harness)

It is obviously going to take quite some time to digitize these pages and to then decipher and transcribe the handwriting, but the first impression is that maybe Hazardous wasn’t towed to Portsmouth by the Looe after all, but to Plymouth?


The mystery deepens – to be continued.


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Dive Days: A Small Discovery.

Posted by Iain on 16-09-2011 21:51:51 CEST

A Small Discovery 30th  June 2011.

Written by Iain Grant.


With the strong south-westerly winds we have been having here, for the last several weeks we have had no diving, so nothing of note to report.

That is until cleaning some copper alloy recoveries ready for storage the other day, I had a feeling that a number of these artefacts, recovered over several seasons fitted together, not to make a stand of some sort as we had previously thought, but to make a lamp of some kind.

So after searching the internet for something of similar design, it seems what we may actually have is several parts of a whale oil lamp of the late seventeen, early eighteenth century.

Although I have found various examples of these lamps on the net, I have not seen one of exactly the same design as ours, granted we do not have all the parts as yet & due to the excess of sand overburden on site at present, it may be some time before we recover any more, making it difficult to come up with an exact overall form.

In fact, the parts of this lamp pose rather more questions than answers, such as: were such lamps used onboard ships of the period? I have found no mention in any of my reference books or on the net so far, all the examples observed to date stand on a single foot, would this have been seen as safe onboard ship? Or would such a lamp be on gimbals, or hung from a chain? Was the lamp even used on Hazardous, or was it a personal import, bought as a curio by one of the officers whilst ashore in foreign parts?

If anyone can answer any of the above questions, or indeed shed any light (excuse the pun) on the subject, we would like to hear from you.

In the mean time the images below show some of the parts we have, which I believe go towards making something similar to the image in the centre!              



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Dive Days: Work Weekend

Posted by Iain on 11-09-2011 19:18:50 CEST

Working Weekend 28th / 29th May 2011.

Written by Mary Restell.

Planned to be a project working weekend, however, the horizontal trees deterred even the most determined diver. Never mind: perhaps it was time to do some housekeeping.

Arriving at the project working office at Earnley Gardens, the barrier of stinging nettles, invasion of spiders and a carpet of leaves blasted in under the door were rapidly dealt with and the real work could begin.

Iain began investigating the condition of artefacts soaking in various liquids as part of the long conservation process, Dave took up pole position at the sink to rinse, clean and make up new chemical solutions and Roy and Mary were despatched to empty, scrub and refill the large tank containing a wooden axle and wheels.

A brief pause for lunch, then the processing, recording, photographing, general organising and tidying resumed. Highlights of the afternoon – interesting decoration of dot patterns on a knife handle, perfect little ceramic drinking jug dried for storage,a pristine cannonball complete with old style crows foot, a fossilised seed isolated from artefacts and Roy finally found somewhere to tuck the large hook we'd been dancing around in the middle of the floor.

Sunday and the weather continued to be wild. Jim and Keith joined in to finish processing the artefacts as far as possible. Several were able to be carefully wrapped for storage, some have to continue soaking whilst yet more await fresh stocks of de-ionised water or P.E.G., (source of polyethylene glycol urgently required if anyone can help!).

Peter disappeared to spend over an hour diligently polishing all the glass viewing windows in the museum display and Iain indulged in some extreme gardening with a jungle slashing tool.

We left the clean, tidy and organised office at Earnley to regroup at Iain's spending the afternoon on the laptops updating the artefact records, completing the previous diving reports with site details and catching up with general admin.

A dry couple of days, but very productive none the less.

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Dive Days: Flat calm weekend.

Posted by Iain on 11-09-2011 18:58:09 CEST

Diver Observations.  14th May 2011. 

Written by Andy Chater.

Another flat calm weekend with very little wind.

On our first dive the objective was to re locate a single iron cannon which was located slightly off the main site a few years ago when the area scoured out exposing large gullies. Unfortunately, a sweep search around the shot marker revealed only sand indicating a large rise in the seabed level since our previous visit.

The second dive was to locate the large spars and timbers located to the north of the main site (this area has scoured out over the last year as the main site has filled in). Landing on sand again I was concerned that the whole area had covered up, however a short search found the edge of the Sand ridge and the gullies with clay exposures that are full of fossil shells. Having located a large timber we secured the dive boat and did a visual survey of the area in order to get an overview of the exposed area. The light spars were located to the East of the start point with the sand to the south covering the end of the spar indicating a further movement of sand. The next timber to be located was the very large one which had two datums H11 and H13 tagged on it. Moving back to the west past the start point there were a number of small timbers and two large timbers, one of which was curved with hollows and iron pins in it sitting proud and the other partially buried.

During the third dive Dave and I measured in the main timbers, Triangulating their position in relation to each other and against the known datums H11 and H13. A further search of the area did not reveal any surface artifacts.

A large amount of Marine life was noted including Nudibranchs, Pipefish, Cuttlefish, Gobys, Wrasse and small shoals of Fry.

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Dive Days: First Dive

Posted by Iain on 26-08-2011 23:51:54 CEST

Diver Observations 10th April 2011.

Written by Iain Grant

This was the first visit to site for 2011, visibility was good at 2-3 metres and water temperature was 11 degrees, for the time of year & considering the exceptionally cold winter at the start of the year this was warmer than expected.

This first visit was later than was planned due to poor weather/sea conditions experienced on the first booked diving dates of 26th/27th March.

Positions on site were difficult to locate, even in the reasonable visibility, due to the recognisable coherent timber structure being covered with sand. Although the measurements of seabed levels taken during this visit & taken at the same points as mid October last year, show a drop of between 5 & 100mm, the overall picture is of an increase generally across the main site.

We now find the frame ends & hull timbers that were visible between the beak & the cannonball mound on the east side of the hull structure, completely buried, likewise the hull structure on the west side (port side) is also now buried from the three big guns to the beak.

After some searching I was able to locate a couple of small end pieces of the plastic sheeting used to cover the gun & carriage located during the trench excavation in the early 1990’s, where this plastic now protrudes through the sand by about 20 to 30mm, there was a considerable amount of timber structure still visible last year along with two guns, the only guns visible on site now are the pile of three big guns on the portside, which stand proud by 690mm at their highest point.

The bottom most of these three guns was completely uncovered & propped up above the then seabed level by hull timbers in 2008/09, this now is almost completely buried, as are the guns from this point to the south.

The frames & planking to the east of the beak surveyed in 2010, appear to be covering again & whilst only general measurements were taken, it was determined that some timbers still stand proud of the seabed by approximately 200mm.

During this cursory examination one of the diving team (David Johnston) believes he saw live Teredo worm in one of the frame ends, if this is proved to be so, then the remains of Hazardous may have an even shorter life expectancy, under attack from both Gribble worm & Teredo.

The site generally is beginning to look as it did when first dived by the author of this document in the early 1980’s.

The area to the northwest of the main site where timber noted as a possible spare, the remains of a double sheaved pulley block & a small cannon were first found in 2008, has suffered greater erosion over the winter, revealing more timber along with brick markers used on site in the mid to late 1980’s, some dome shaped iron concretions & one red brick similar in appearance to others recovered from site, were also noted in the area. One datum pin placed on site towards the end of last diving season was also seen in the same area.

All that remains of the pulley block on the seabed sadly is the wrought iron work; thankfully the sheaves which were found loose on the seabed in 2009 & recovered have been saved, the timber cheeks of the block however, have been eaten by gribble worm. The small cannon was not seen at this time & is believed to be buried under the shifting sand on the perimeter of the area.



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