Loss of the Ocean Queen Off Plymouth

Loss of the Ocean Queen Off Plymouth


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[002855] [Shipwreck]. Loss of the Ocean Queen Off Plymouth. Bideford: John Wilson. First Edition. Folio. Unbound. Broadside. Good. Single sided printed broadside, approximately 255mm x 390mm in size, n.d. but probably 1853.

Lightly browned and slightly creased, small split to bottom right hand corner with small amount of loss to the same corner, but generally quite bright and clean.

Presumably bought in bulk and sold by impoverished ex-sailors, similar to ‘unemployed appeals’.

Printed by John Wilson of Bideford (fl. 1824-1957), the BBTI notes that he was a printer, bookseller, engraver/etcher, bookbinder and stationer, as well as being a shipowner.

The Ocean Queen was wrecked on the Little Mewstone on 26th December 1852 in a force eleven south-westerly gale, she was on a voyage from London to Jamaica carrying a mixed cargo. The wreck quickly broke up, drowning the 14 crew and two passengers on board whose bodies washed up on shore over the following days,

The Times noted that “the unfortunate ship totally lost to the eastward of Plymouth on Monday morning during the terrific storm which prevailed from the southward is estimated to burden about 400 tons. It is supposed that the master was endeavouring to make the port of Plymouth from the eastward, and, having caught sight of the breakwater light inside the range of the Great Mewstone, he erroneously considered himself in the fair way for the harbour, and did not discover his error until the ship became entangled on the dangerous reefs connected with the Great and Little Mewstones, or the Slimer’s Rocks, inside. In either case she would be immediately dashed to pieces and all her ill-fated crew would perish. A portion of her wreck was washed ashore in Oker Bay on Wembury Church beach, which is west of the river Yealm. It consists of the stern frame, with a part of the tuck. The frame is painted black, and has on it, in large white letters, “OCEAN QUEEN, of London”. From the description of those parts of the cargo washed ashore, it is conjectured that she was bound for the West Indies. They comprise quantities of unbleached calico in pieces 40 or more yards long, ladies’ dresses, women’s straw bonnets and turnovers, thousands of reels of fine cotton thread, warppers, men’s shirts and woollen Scotch caps, sperm candles, new wooden hoops, empty casks, marked “Bass’s ale”, and numbers of hampers, one having attached to it a label, with the rods, “From F. Walton, iron chandler and oil merchant, 283, Wapping, London”; several pieces of deal board, being part headings of casks, marked “A.L.” in a diamond, followed by “C”; also candle boxes, marked “M. F. x P.” over “B. B. C.”, and one of them, “1064”. Mr Barnes, RN, chief officer of Coast Guard in Wembury, and Captain Thompson, Queen’s harbour-master at Bovisand, are adopting measures for securing anything of value which may be drifted ashore. Lloyd’s List of the 4th inst., states that the OCEAN QUEEN, 209 tons register, Captain Horn, belonging to Mr James Shepherd, of 1, Lime-street-square, cleared for Jamaica” (The Times, 29th December, 1852, page 8, quoted on the website Shipwrecks and History in Plymouth Sound)