Dog walker discovers shipwreck on Hartlepool beach

Remains of the wrecked ship.
Remains of the wrecked ship.

A DOG WALKER is “shocked and excited” after discovering a wooden structure on a Hartlepool beach which is almost certainly the remains of a rare shipwreck.

Joanne Shaw was taking her daily walk along Seaton Carew beach with her dog when she came across the wooden relic poking from beneath the sand opposite the dunes.

The 45-year-old history enthusiast stopped to investigate the find, took some pictures and sent them off to experts at Tees Archaeology who are almost certain that this is a new discovery.

Joanne said: “I was walking along with the dog and this just caught my eye. I couldn’t believe it when Tees Archaeology said that this could be a new find and I’m the one who found it.

“It’s very exciting, I’m over the moon.”

Joanne Grahame, an archaeologist with Tees Archaeology, told the Mail that she is “99 per cent sure” that the structure is previously unrecorded and is hoping to get down to the site when the tide is low enough to check it out.

She said: “I’m almost certain that we don’t have any records of this previously.

“We’ve had another person point it out to us as well and it does look as if it’s a new wreck. It’s right on the low water line so it might be that it is only exposed when the tide is very far out.

“It might be that some of the sand has washed off it recently because of the sea defence work that’s been going on, and we’ve also had some strong easterly winds so the sea could have washed the sand off it.”

She added: “It’s very rare to find something completely new so this is very interesting.

“It also looks, from the photographs, as though it might be either a whole boat or quite a lot of a boat. It looks quite substantial.”

Joanne’s initial opinion is that the ship was wrecked in the area where it now lies, possibly in the 19th Century, around 1850, when Hartlepool was developing as a port and had a number of boats going back and forth.

She said a specialist will have to look at the boat to see how it has been constructed to try to establish an exact date and potentially a name, which can then be linked to newspaper reports or records of ships that were wrecked or berthed around that time and whether or not the crew survived.

“It looks like it’s always been there but has just been hiding under the sand,” said Joanne. “If it was berthed for whatever reason while the crew have been out at sea, they may have come back and salvaged what wood they could from her so it may not all be there.

“We won’t know fully, however, until we get down there over the next few weeks and take a close look.”

Married Joanne, of Seaton Carew, said facebook group History of Hartlepool in Images, of which she is an active member, is very excited about the find.

She added: “It’s not every day you find a shipwreck!”