Fears for historic wreck in port work
The remains of a Victorian sailing ship must be protected while major flood defence works are carried out around it, says an expert.
Work is already underway on the first phase of a £10m scheme in the West End of Rhyl around the Foryd Harbour. It involves the construction of a new harbour wall as the existing wall is in poor condition.
But lying in the mud alongside the wall is the wreck of the City of Ottawa, a 150-year-old sailing ship which was abandoned 100 years ago. Only a few pieces of timber are now visible.
The three-masted vessel was built in Quebec in Canada in 1860 and between 1863 and 1889 sailed the world, visiting ports such as Bombay, Genoa, Aden and Rio de Janeiro.
The ship, made of wood from a pine forest in Ottawa Valley, was brought to Rhyl in 1906 and soon after was abandoned in a storm. It is rumoured that 200 tons of timber remain on the harbour bed.
Archaeology and cultural heritage consultant Anne Thompson from Chester, who was consulted by Denbighshire County Council about the harbour development scheme, says it is important for an archaeologist to be in attendance when work begins and to keep a watching brief as it progresses.
“It will also be important for the archaeologist to ensure that the City of Ottawa and its setting is not disturbed during the works – specifically that the disturbance of surrounding deposits does not cause the wreck to move. A temporary effect on the aesthetic setting of the wreck is acceptable.”