A Plymouth built ketch once thought to be abandoned at the western end of Hooe Lake.
The 71ft long, 75 GRT ketch Alfred Rooker was built in 1876 for William Thomas Kelly of Turnchapel by Isaac B. Darton at his shipyard in Mount Batten, Plymouth. The Alfred Rooker was originally in the Corunna cattle trade between Spain and Bullocks Dock in the Hamoaze. William Kelly died in 1880 leaving the ship to Elizabeth Dean of Turnchapel in his will, and in 1888 Elizabeth sold the ship to John Matthews of Turnchapel. By 1896 the ship was owned by William Holten of Oreston who used the vessel in the Newfoundland cod trade.
Newspapers of this period report ship collisions and accidents and Alfted Rooker warrants a few mentions. In December 1922 the Alfred Rooker struck the Ferriers Rocks off Guernsey on a journey from Jersey to Par in Cornwall in ballast, the Captain reported that the incident happened in blinding rain when he could not see ahead, 15 distress rockets were sent up and they burned their bedding to raise the alarm. The crew were rescued by the pilot launch from St Peter Port in Guernsey. In 1925 the steamer Walnut collided with the Alfred Rooker leaving Par in Cornwall while the Rooker was moored alongside the quay. The Rooker had her chain plate carried away, two bulwark planks damaged and some caulking started.
After WW1 the ship was relegated to the UK coastal trade under the ownership of William Stephens of Plymouth, registered in 1917 at 59 tons. Last bill of sale was in April 1930 from co-owners William Henry Stephens and John Henry Davis to Edward George Perrin of Peverell Park Road, Plymouth. Her registry closed January 1935 with a report that the ship was broken up.
Named after Alfred Rooker the Plymouth solicitor and twice Mayor of Plymouth, who is buried in Ford Park Cemetery in Plymouth.
Langley and Small suggested that there were three vessels abandoned together in the middle of the lake,,and. However early aerial photographs only show two hulls and a drone survey only showed the remains of two vessels, which we think are Amazon and Bulla, with Alfred Rooker having been broken up. See Alfred Rooker, Amazon or Bulla?
Hooe Lake, Oreston, Plymouth
This hulk is not accessible on foot as it lies in the middle of Hooe Lake at the western end, the mud is both soft and deep so visiting this hulk is not advised. The closest place to see the hulks is from Barton Road in Hooe as the road runs alongside the western end of Hooe Lake. The hulks can be seen in the middle of the Lake at low tide as a low, dark shape in the mud, often manned by a crew of seagulls.
Last updated 24 May 2021
Position OS: SX 50298 53010
Position GPS: 50.357917, -4.105889
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Issac Darton, Mount Batten, Plymouth
21.6m / 71ft
5.9m / 19.5ft
2.8m / 9.2ft
Not hulked in Hooe lake, probably broken up 1934
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