Steam Trawler Sheraton, Hunstanton Beach, Norfolk

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Monday, August 20, 2007

The Steam Trawler Sheraton was built in 1907 for fishing and was later used for boom defence work during World War I and served as a patrol vessel in WWII, for which she was fitted with a six pounder gun. During a gale in 1947 she broke free of her mooring and drifted onto the beach at Hunstanton. Much of the Sheraton was salvaged but the bottom of the hull remains on the beach in the intertidal zone.

The Sheraton represents a historic phase in deep water trawler construction as metal replaced timber. No design drawings remain but the one surviving photograph of the Sheraton at sea and plans of contemporary steam trawlers show a vertical stem, counter–like stern and finely drawn underwater section, all of which were legacies of the sailing era and contributed to the fine sea keeping quality of these vessels. The survey has confirmed that the hull was constructed with ferrous metal plates over ferrous metal runners and ribs, held together with rivets, and with some internal wooden framing (possibly to support the decks and superstructure).

The site of the Sheraton has been adopted under the NAS Adopt a Wreck Scheme and survey work carried out in 2007 and 2008 included a tape measure and laser survey, a photomosaic and drawings and photographs.

Previous survey and excavation work has been undertaken on sites in the Hunstanton area in 2009 and 2010. This has included completing photomosaics, drawings, planning frame and offset surveys as well as an EDM survey of ballast blocks that were strewn across the beach.

2009 Survey work

We hope that at some point a Norfolk-based museum will consider a Sheraton exhibit, perhaps including the mast section if a suitable conservation strategy could be devised. Judging from the interest displayed by people walking along the beach at low tide, an exhibit would undoubtedly be extremely popular.

EBook - Intertidal wrecks of Norfolk

An e-book (24pp) for iphone and ipad is now available at £1-99. Included are the results of NAS East Anglia surveys and archival research tracing the origins and service history of the steam trawler Sheraton. Aerial photographs and a photomosaic are featured in the book. A number of other wrecks are also described including the Vicuna wrecked in 1883 and the Vina with her intact steam engine available for close study at low water.

A return visit

The NAS will be returning to the Sheraton as part of the ELearning Training Programme.