Resurgam

Discussion in 'History' started by SONAR-BENDER, Aug 8, 2012.

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  1. From the BSAC web-site:

    [h=1]BSAC divers lead project to preserve early submarine[/h] BSAC members are trying to preserve the Resurgam - the world’s oldest surviving submarine which was wrecked off the North Wales coast 132 years ago.[​IMG]
    The three-man Victorian submersible Resurgam, designed by a Manchester clergyman, sank about five miles off Rhyl in February 1880.
    Members of Chester and Flintshire SACshave been authorised to attach zinc anodes to the 45ft long hull which will help protect the wreck.
    Chester SAC member Chris Holden said: “Considering the Resurgam was made in 1879 it is in remarkable condition. We have already attached three anodes and have two more to go.”
    The “sacrificial” anodes decay while preserving the original metal.
    The wreck site is legally protected and under the care of Wales’ ancient monuments organisation CADW, with former Bangor University lecturer Mike Bowyer, a maritime historian, the licence holder who ensures only approved divers are allowed to dive the site.
    “Raising the Resurgam would not be an insurmountable problem but preserving it once it was on shore would be a major financial problem,” said Chris.
    [​IMG]Resurgam, Latin for “I shall rise again”, was the brainchild of remarkable Manchester clergyman Rev George William Garrett. Resurgam II (Resurgam I was a one man, hand-propelled submersible built the year before) was built in 1879 by Cochran and Company in Birkenhead for just over £1,500.
    Although hailed by many as the world’s first full sized, powered working submarine there are disputes over whether it could have worked. The 30 ton iron vessel, propelled by an enclosed steam engine, which provided extremely cramped, hot and uncomfortable conditions for three men, was supposed to have been successfully trialled just off Wallasey before it made its way along the North Wales coast on route for a demonstration before the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.
    After putting in at Rhyl for some repairs the Resurgam was towed out again in rough conditions but the towing vessel encountered problems. Rev Garrett and the two crew transferred from Resurgam to the towing vessel to help with repairs but were unable to secure the Resurgam from the outside.
    It shipped water, broke the towing rope and sank, where it remained until found by BSAC diver Keith Hurley from Chester, in 1995 when he investigated why a Colwyn Bay fishing trawler had snagged its nets.
    Chris said: “You can see right down into the vessel. It would be impossible to go inside. It is so narrow it would have to[​IMG] be a slim person and without an aqualung. In any case there would be no point because it would probably wreck what was inside. There is loads of silt in it and at one time the only resident was a conga eel.”

    A replica of the Resurgam was built by Cammell Laird apprentices and is on display at Woodside, Birkenhead.
    BSAC club members who dive the site have to have their names submitted by Mike Bowyer to CADW to ensure they are suitable, and to make sure the “job is done properly,” says Chris.
    Historian Mike Bowyer added: “The Resurgam’s place in history is probably more to do with its shape. All submarines since have been shaped like the Resurgam (cigar shaped), previously they were very odd shapes indeed.
    “The most interesting thing if it was possible to get inside would be to see the engine and how Rev Garrett had developed the first under water breathing system.”
    Rev Garrett eventually emigrated to America but died penniless just 50 years of age and was buried in a pauper’s grave, until it was marked relatively recently with a piece of Welsh slate which generously describes him as the “inventor of the submarine”.
    His great grandson, Bill Garrett from New Jersey, USA, has actually dived the site and took part in a BBC documentary which sought to try and prove whether the Resurgam could have worked.



    Just one question........ what's a Conga Eeel? Does it dance with all its mates in a long line?
     
  2. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    On a similar note, Meridian News will be doing a piece on Holland 5 tomorrow (Friday) evening
     
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  4. What it originally looked like
    resurgam.jpg
     

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