A mysterious Victorian shipwreck has been uncovered on the coast of Cornwall, thanks to a combination of winter storms and very low tides.The exact origin of the wooden timbers is unknown, but they are believed to be the remains of either the French brigantine Providence or the German brigantine SV Albert Wilhelm, which hit a reef and sank in October 1886.
People living near the site at Porthkidney Sands, near St Ives, say they cannot remember the last time these particular wrecks were visible.One of the earliest recorded shipwrecks on this beach is that of a Spanish ship carrying a cargo of cloth in 1514, when Porthkidney Sands was known as Polkemyas.
It is possible the recently-revealed remains could be those of the French brigantine, Providence, which was wrecked during a storm in October 1865 but archive photographs indicate that it is more likely that they belong to the SV Albert Wilhelm. Built in 1856, the German brigantine Albert Wilhelm was sailing from the Isle of Man to Fowey when it struck Stones Reef off Godrevy on 16 October 1886.With the hull leaking, the Albert Wilhelm made it to Porth Kidney Sands where it ran aground.Hayle's first ever lifeboat, Isis, was launched, and all of the crew of the Albert Wilhelm were rescued.
The crew apparently remained on Porthkidney beach that night, only to see another ship beached right next to theirs the following morning.The Albert Wilhelm was eventually broken up and taken away, with only part of the hull left in the sands.