What was the vessel in peril at Marsden?

HIGH AND DRY ... a brig ashore at Marsden by James Henry Cleet.
HIGH AND DRY ... a brig ashore at Marsden by James Henry Cleet.

FEW stretches of our coastline here have been free of shipwreck over the years.

That includes Marsden Bay, although I’ve yet to get to the bottom of the story behind this picture.

This is another watercolour by James Henry Cleet which is in the possession of South Shields Museum, and which is just described as ‘a brig aground at Marsden Rock.’

There is a date, which may be 1905 or 1908, but I can’t find anything from that period which would shed any light on the nature of the incident.

Browsing other events in and around the bay over the years, however, the waters seem to have been astonishingly dangerous, with even small boats getting into difficulties at times.

It makes you wonder how it became popular with smugglers!

By the way, on that note, it’s also been interesting to discover that there was (is?) a play in existence about the locality, called In Marsden Bay, which tells the story of smugglers trying to outwit the revenue men.

It seems to have been written for radio, and was broadcast from the Newcastle station to wireless listeners in 1933, featuring Sunderland actors among the cast.