Heritage Category:
Maritime Wreck
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Off Little Ganinick, Isles of Scilly


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Off Little Ganinick, Isles of Scilly
National Grid Reference:
SV 93525 13263


Remains of wreck of cargo vessel thought to be of mid nineteenth-century date, which foundered 300 metres south of Little Ganinick. The site comprises a cargo of mining equipment, thought to be datable to this period, but there appears to be little evidence of the structure of the ship from which it came. The lack of structure and the fact that the heavier items from the cargo, such as the eponymous wheels, appear to overlie smaller and lighter items, suggest that the vessel may have capsized. Analogies have been drawn with Cornish mining equipment, suggesting that the cargo was being exported abroad.


Assessment in 2006 confirmed that this discrete cargo mound consists of components of mining equipment; the majority of which appear to have been intended for use as pumping equipment. Following discussions with several mining historians, it is thought that the cargo represents a consignment from a Cornish foundry and is likely to date from 1850 onwards. No ship structure has been identified.

The expansion of the mining industry was one of the most significant periods in the history of Cornwall, resulting in massive migration and the spread of Cornish culture throughout the world during the nineteenth century. The cargo is of national significance given its rarity and the information it may shed on the international trade in Cornish mining equipment and technology. The inscription of the Cornish mining landscapes as a World Heritage Site lends even greater weight to any surviving unaltered evidence of mining machinery from this period. The site is therefore a very rare find of mining equipment, lost during transhipment in this historic period of major migration.


Designation History: Designation Order: No 721, 2007 Made: 7th March 2007 Laid before Parliament: 8th March 2007 Coming into force: 5th April 2007 Protected area: 75 metres within 49 56.445 N 006 16.381 W

No part of the restricted area lies above the high-water mark of ordinary spring tides.

Documentary History: Assessment in 2006 confirmed that this discrete cargo mound consists of components of mining equipment; the majority of which appear to have been intended for use as pumping equipment. Following discussions with several mining historians, it is thought that the cargo represents a consignment from a Cornish foundry and is likely to date from 1850 onwards. No ships structure has been identified.

Archaeological History: Located in Crow Sound, 300m south of Little Ganinick, the site was discovered by two local divers in June 2005. The seabed was generally observed in the vicinity of the main site to consist of a relatively flat area of rocky seabed surrounded to the west, south and east by higher elevations of boulders. The anchor site, which lies 60 m away, was surrounded by a flat sandy seabed, with small clusters of boulders covered in kelp.

The main site consists of a cargo mound arranged in layers, appearing to include items such as boiler tubes overlain by drive and sheave wheels [the eponymous items which have led this wreck to be known as the Wheel Wreck], clack valves, boiler tubes, rising mains [part of the pumping machinery], and fragments thought to come from a cylinder. The cargo is thought likely to have originated in a Cornish foundry by comparison with items known from Cornish mining sites. The anchor is said to be a Trotman anchor, patented in 1852, consisting of a semicircular pair of arms with L-shaped flukes, the anchor sitting upright upon one fluke, wedged between two boulders.

A number of small finds, were also made, some of the pottery being so common and persistent as to be difficult to date. Of note were: a jug or urn thought likely to be of 19th century date, pearl ware likely to date from the late 1770s to the 1830s, two glass bottles with waisted profiles, probably of late 18th century date, and wooden sheaves, which would appear to reinforce the suggestion that the vessel was a wooden sailing ship.

The only wreck recorded in Little Ganinick as a named location is that of the Jeune Celestine, which falls within the right date, but appears to have been carrying coal. The Cubana, also of late nineteenth-century date, was carrying mining equipment, but was said to have been lost on the Seven Stones. The Cubana is also noted as being built of iron, and possibly more of her structure would have survived?


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
AMIE - Wrecks


Receiver of Wreck Droit,
SC, 28-MAR-2007, Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments,
Wheel Wreck, Isles of Scilly: Undesignated Site Assessment: September 2006,


This site is designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 as it is or may prove to be the site of a vessel lying wrecked on or in the sea bed and, on account of the historical, archaeological or artistic importance of the vessel, or of any objects contained or formerly contained in it which may be lying on the sea bed in or near the wreck, it ought to be protected from unauthorised interference. Protected wreck sites are designated by Statutory Instrument. The following information has been extracted from the relevant Statutory Instrument.

Statutory Instrument

Information provided under the Statutory Instrument heading below forms part of the official record of a protected wreck site. Information provided under other headings does not form part of the official record of the designation. It has been compiled by Historic England to aid understanding of the protected wreck site.

Statutory Instruments: 2007/721

End of official listing

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