Anyone can now get online access to a 3D virtual tour of the well-preserved wreck of the London, a naval ship-of-the-line which exploded and sunk in March 1665 off Southend while preparing to join the Anglo-Dutch War. Over 300 people died in the disaster, which was recorded by Samuel Pepys.
The wreck site has been investigated since 2010 and in 2015 a rare wooden gun carriage was recovered together with over 700 artefacts. But it lies in difficult diving conditions, in poor visibility next to a shipping channel, so the ability to explore it has been very limited. Consequently Historic England (HE) last year commissioned specialists to create a 3D virtual tour of the important wreck site which allows anyone to take a “look” around the wreck site via their own computer screen.
The new interactive website includes “multimedia images, video, audio commentary and panoramas outlining the history of the ship, its loss and rediscovery, as well as the archaeological investigations conducted”. It also give access to details of the ship’s construction, equipment plus analysis and conservation of personal crew items recovered.
The “ship of the line” classification refers to the largest naval warships capable of joining ‘line of battle’, originally based on to the number of fighting men carried but, later changed in the mid-17th century to refer to the ship’s firepower.