The Wreck Room
Many hundreds of ships have come to grief along the South Devon coast over the centuries. Their wreck sites provide a rich harvest for local diving teams and many of the latter’s finds can be seen on display in the Wreck Room.
Notable items in the collection include those from the following wrecks:
- San Pedro el Mayor. Wrecked in 1588 at Hope Cove she was the only Spanish Armada ship known to have been wrecked in England.
- HMS Ramillies, which sank off Bolt Tail in 1760 with the loss of 700 lives. Items on display include a sounding lead and cannonball.
- Gossamer. This 768 ton clipper ship sank near Prawle Point in 1868 and has yielded a wealth of fascinating objects including leather shoes, tableware and jewellery.
- SS Medina, a P&O liner sunk by a German submarine in Start Bay in 1917.
- Herzogin Cecilie. This famous Finnish windjammer caused something of an international sensation when she sank off Soar Mill Cove in 1936 and was later towed to her graveyard in Starehole Bay. The exhibits tell the story of her loss and the failed attempts to salvage her.
The Salcombe Lifeboat Disaster 1916
The tragic story of the loss of thirteen of the fifteen-man crew of the William and Emma lifeboat on Salcombe Bar on 27th October, 1916 is graphically told with models, photographs and eye witness accounts. The display includes a section of the William and Emma’s hull.
Also on display are items of Coastguard rescue equipment and mariners’ navigational instruments.