Research at Shoreham museum uncovers fascinating ship stories

Museum assistant Kate Mackenzie with paintings D14181187a
Museum assistant Kate Mackenzie with paintings D14181187a
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AMAZING tales of derring-do mix with simple stories of survival at Marlipins Museum in Shoreham.

A new exhibition, Maritime, has been prepared for the whole season, opening tomorrow and running until October 31.

Volunteers from the Friends of Marlipins Museum have been busy researching information about the ships featured in the exhibition.

Curator Emma O’Connor said: “The exhibition focuses on ship portraiture, predominantly merchant ships of the 19th century. They are ships from Shoreham, built in the town and captained by Shoreham crew.

“The people who have been researching have been brilliant. Some of the paintings now have pages of information. There has been an amazing amount of reserach.”

The starting point was a book by former museum secretary Henry Cheal, Ships and Mariners of Shoreham. Wreck reports and passenger lists, available online, also helped.

Emma added: “Because so many ships are called the same thing, it can cause confusion, so you have to go back to the painting and make sure it is the right ship.”

There is a rare triple portrait of The Mathew, built in Shoreham in September 1763 and painted the following year, plus a pair of pictures of the Light of Age, painted in fair and foul weather on the same day in August 1862.

Intriguing tales include the miraculous survival of a pig and canary aboard the brig T.F. Gates, and the wreck of the Nympha Americana, where gold bullion was buried in the sand.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30am to 4.30pm. Admission £2.50 adults, £1 children.