Vintage: Shipwrecks from Isles of Scilly (Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries)

Vintage: Shipwrecks from Isles of Scilly (Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries)


From 1869 onwards, members of the family systematically recorded most of the great shipwreck disasters that occurred around the Isles of Scilly — a small group of islands off the coast of Cornwall in southern England.

Patriarch, seaman, and pioneering shipwreck photojournalist John Gibson established his first photographic studio in Penzance in 1860 before returning to the Scillies and bringing his sons Alexander and Herbert into the family business in 1865. As brothers and business partners, they were very close. Two more Gibson men — James and Frank — carried on the tradition until Frank passed away in 1912.

The Bay of Panama, Nare Point, Near Falmouth 1891, ran ashore in the Great Blizzard of 1891.

The Bay of Panama, Nare Point, Near Falmouth 1891, ran ashore in the Great Blizzard of 1891. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Glenbervie, The Lizard, 1902, travelling from the Thames to West Africa spirits and pianos.

The Glenbervie, The Lizard, 1902, travelling from the Thames to West Africa spirits and pianos. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The City of Cardiff, near Land’s End, 1912, travelling from Le Havre to Cardiff.

The City of Cardiff, near Land’s End, 1912, travelling from Le Havre to Cardiff. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Hansy, Hounsel Bay, The Lizard, 1911, from Sweden to Melbourne with timber and pig iron.

The Hansy, Hounsel Bay, The Lizard, 1911, from Sweden to Melbourne with timber and pig iron. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Suffolk, Lizard, 1886, a steamship carrying general cargo and cattle from Baltimore to London.

The Suffolk, Lizard, 1886, a steamship carrying general cargo and cattle from Baltimore to London. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Suevic, The Lizard, a 12,500 ton steamship from Australia.

The Suevic, The Lizard, a 12,500 ton steamship from Australia. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Voorspoed, Perranporth, 1901, travelling from Cardiff to Bahia.

The Voorspoed, Perranporth, 1901, travelling from Cardiff to Bahia. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

Minnehaha, St Mary's, Isle of Scilly, 1874.

Minnehaha, St Mary’s, Isle of Scilly, 1874. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

Jeune Hortense, Eastern Green, Penzance, 1888.

Jeune Hortense, Eastern Green, Penzance, 1888. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

Tripolitania, Penzance harbour, 1912.

Tripolitania, Penzance harbour, 1912. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Cviet, Porthleven, Cornwall, 1884, travelling from St Domingo to Falmouth with logwood.

The Cviet, Porthleven, Cornwall, 1884, travelling from St Domingo to Falmouth with logwood. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Earl of Lonsdale, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, 1885, a 1,543 ton steamship travelling from Alexandria to Portishead.

The Earl of Lonsdale, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, 1885, a 1,543 ton steamship travelling from Alexandria to Portishead. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Granite Slate, Porthcurno, 1895, a Yankee windjammer making for Swansea.

The Granite Slate, Porthcurno, 1895, a Yankee windjammer making for Swansea. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Horsa, St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly, 1893, from New Zealand with mixed cargo.

The Horsa, St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly, 1893, from New Zealand with mixed cargo. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

 The Mildred, Gurnards Head, 1912, from Newport to London carrying slag.

The Mildred, Gurnards Head, 1912, from Newport to London carrying slag. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum

The Noisiel, Praa Sands, Cornwall, 1905, travelling from Cherbourg to Italy with 600 tons of armorplate.

The Noisiel, Praa Sands, Cornwall, 1905, travelling from Cherbourg to Italy with 600 tons of armorplate. Image: © The Gibsons of Scilly / Royal Maritime Museum


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