Gotenborg departs London

June 2, 2007

Story by Robert Edmonds
London, England

Today at 1530gmt the windows in buildings around the ancient Pool of London (and indeed, on Tower Bridge itself rattled as the Swedish ship Gotenborg replied in kind to a farewell gun salute from the cruiser Belfast)
The sailing ship had come to the end of her visit to London on the heward leg of her voyage to and from China which had started on 2 October 2005 in Gotenborg Sweden (Cadiz, Recife, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Fremantle, Jakarta, China (various ports), Singapore, Chennai, Djibouti, Alexandra, Nice, and London).

This large fully rigged ship berthed at Canary Wharf London on 19th May as part of a world exhibition and trade/culture expedition on behalf of a number of commercial and official Swedish sponsors.

The amazing vessel is an exact replica of the Swedish East Indiaman which sunk outside Gotenborg harbour on 12 September 1745. The very methods and materials used in its creation during the 1995 – 2003 construction process were faithful to the original materials methods and concepts of the original Gotenborg ship, even every single nail used being made individually by hand.

It is, of course, extraordinary that a merchant vessel should be able to make a gun salute. However the East India Companies had to organize their ships strictly along the lines of national navies. They were disciplined and conformed to the practices of warships because of the nature of the seas through which they plied their trade in the 1700s.

The whole Gotenborg project was sparked off by the discovery of the remains of the original ship, preserved in the clay seabed adjacent to the Fortress of New Elfberg, a marine archeological expedition excavation lasted from 1986 until 1992.

(© Robert Edmonds all rights reserved)


The Gotenborg passing the HMS Belfast on the Thames River, London, England.

(Photo courtesy of Phil & Cameron Edmonds)
©2007 Phil & Cameron Edmonds