Fishmonger and friends are guardians of historic shipwreck

Time team – divers Steve Meddle, Rob Keys, Debbie Woods, Steve Ellis and Bill Sayer

Time team – divers Steve Meddle, Rob Keys, Debbie Woods, Steve Ellis and Bill Sayer

First published in Southend

A FISHMONGER will be swapping filleting fish for swimming with them after winning the right to dive for treasure on a historic wreck in the Thames.

Steve Ellis, 46, who runs Mattacks, in Leigh, was granted a year-long licence to explore HMS London after a chance meeting on a flight to the Maldives.

Mr Ellis, of Park Drive, Westcliff, bumped into an English Heritage expert who was searching for someone who could keep an eye on the ship, which sank after an accidental explosion in 1665.

Now Mr Ellis, his wife Carol, 44, and four friends have been placed in charge of diving to the wreck regularly and helping to bring its relics to the surface.

He said: “It was completely by chance, but there’s not many people who dive in the Thames, so I think English Heritage thought it was a bit of good luck as well.

“We’ve been told to watch over the wreck and let them know if there’s any changes to it.

“They’ve also asked us to let them know about anything we find, because they might want to bring it up and put it in local museums.

“We dived for the first time last week and we already think we’ve found a cannon.”

HMS London was discovered in 2008 during a salvage operation by professional archaeology company Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority.

It was considered of such importance that the Thames shipping lane was re-routed to avoid disturbing its resting place, off the Southend coast.

The wreck is maintained by English Heritage and has previously been explored by professional divers, but the Government-funded body wanted to appoint local guardians to visit the ship regularly and report back on its condition.

Mr Ellis has been diving for 12 years around the world, including visits to the Galapagos Islands and the Maldives, but said the Thames is where his heart lies.

He added: “It’s my favourite place to dive. Most people don’t bother because the visibility is only about six inches on most days, but that’s what makes it exciting to me. You can come across anything. We know there are human remains on the ship, as well as the artefacts, so it should be really interesting to explore.”

Comments (16)

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12:36pm Tue 5 Apr 11

carnac says...

Make sure you take along a finds collection bag, and if there's a ray of hope, when you get to the right plaice, hope you fillet.
Make sure you take along a finds collection bag, and if there's a ray of hope, when you get to the right plaice, hope you fillet. carnac
  • Score: 0

12:37pm Tue 5 Apr 11

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

It would be interesting to hear about what is found and hopefully there will be regular updates on this site. Good luck to all involved.
It would be interesting to hear about what is found and hopefully there will be regular updates on this site. Good luck to all involved. Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Tue 5 Apr 11

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

Oh my Cod!!
Oh my Cod!! Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Tue 5 Apr 11

Mr. Pedantic says...

Not tonight - I've got a haddock.
Not tonight - I've got a haddock. Mr. Pedantic
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Tue 5 Apr 11

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

Someone will be carping on about crap puns on here soon....
Someone will be carping on about crap puns on here soon.... Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Tue 5 Apr 11

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

Someone will be carping on about crap puns on here soon....
Someone will be carping on about crap puns on here soon.... Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Tue 5 Apr 11

carnac says...

and getting a pollacking for writing the same message twice...............
.......
and getting a pollacking for writing the same message twice............... ....... carnac
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Tue 5 Apr 11

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

carnac wrote:
and getting a pollacking for writing the same message twice............... .......
LOL!!
[quote][p][bold]carnac[/bold] wrote: and getting a pollacking for writing the same message twice............... .......[/p][/quote]LOL!! Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: 0

2:50pm Tue 5 Apr 11

Andycal 172D says...

I manta comment on this, but you all cod here before me. Oh well, no eel feelings!
I manta comment on this, but you all cod here before me. Oh well, no eel feelings! Andycal 172D
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Tue 5 Apr 11

radioman says...

I think all the puns have now been spun.
I think all the puns have now been spun. radioman
  • Score: 0

6:46pm Tue 5 Apr 11

John the resonator says...

radioman wrote:
I think all the puns have now been spun.
Yes, let's stop floundering about and just draw a Great White Line under it before the pun police start dishing out a few Hammerheads.
[quote][p][bold]radioman[/bold] wrote: I think all the puns have now been spun.[/p][/quote]Yes, let's stop floundering about and just draw a Great White Line under it before the pun police start dishing out a few Hammerheads. John the resonator
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Tue 5 Apr 11

MrSmithers says...

Whats all this a pout then, Fishmungers looking after our history, the Whitings on the wall for this one and it'll turn us all into nervous wrecks.
Whats all this a pout then, Fishmungers looking after our history, the Whitings on the wall for this one and it'll turn us all into nervous wrecks. MrSmithers
  • Score: 0

7:06pm Tue 5 Apr 11

carnac says...

Hope all the finds are worth seeing, picture the scene, of all those people lining up in a roe ,as if they were ready to dance the conger, crammed in like sardines, and being amazed at the finding of an old Tower of London pike.............
Hope all the finds are worth seeing, picture the scene, of all those people lining up in a roe ,as if they were ready to dance the conger, crammed in like sardines, and being amazed at the finding of an old Tower of London pike............. carnac
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Tue 5 Apr 11

John the resonator says...

Anyone who does not find the two posts above funny has got absolutely no sole and is probably also very shellfish.
Anyone who does not find the two posts above funny has got absolutely no sole and is probably also very shellfish. John the resonator
  • Score: 0

9:39am Wed 6 Apr 11

radioman says...

I was wrong in my earlier comment, the puns are still spinning (just like a fly fisher)
I was wrong in my earlier comment, the puns are still spinning (just like a fly fisher) radioman
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Wed 6 Apr 11

John the resonator says...

radioman wrote:
I was wrong in my earlier comment, the puns are still spinning (just like a fly fisher)
Yes, really Brill isn't it?
[quote][p][bold]radioman[/bold] wrote: I was wrong in my earlier comment, the puns are still spinning (just like a fly fisher)[/p][/quote]Yes, really Brill isn't it? John the resonator
  • Score: 0

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