Local News

On the Search for Items from the Wreck of the Edenmore

Has Stronsay Lost All Its Marbles?

Republished here courtesy of The Stronsay Limpet

When on a “dirty night” in October 1909, the Edenmore, bound for Sydney, Australia, was forced by a south-westerly gale onto the rocky shores of Papa Stronsay, it was quickly rendered completely helpless, but thanks to the courageous efforts of the Stronsay lifeboat men, all of the Edenmore crew were saved.

Once the official salvage company had removed what was still considered to be of value and headed away back south, the remainder of the ship and cargo was purchased by local builder Samuel Firth, and some of it ended up in the hands of Stronsay residents – including bags and bags of marbles. As Bill Miller commented in a previous Limpet article (Sept. 2009),

“Stronsay children experienced no shortage of marbles for many years to come”.

Other items that made their way into Stronsay homes were pieces of china and crockery, fancy tea cups, and perhaps even a piano or two. Timber from the ship was used by Mr Firth to build two homes in Finstown, aptly named Edenmore and Edenmore Villa, a cabin light was installed at Buttquoy by W. P. Drever, and a cabin door was known to have been used in the back kitchen at Ebenezer for draining boards.

In response to the current Seas of the North Isles project sponsored by Wessex Archaeology and the North Isles Landscape Partnership, members of the Stronsay Heritage Society are hoping to discover whether any items still remain from the cargo of the unfortunate Edenmore.

Have all those marbles been lost forever, or might any of them still be found rolling around in an old box in a Stronsay shed?

Are any pieces of Edenmore china even now sitting in pride of place on a mantlepiece or tucked safely away in a top cupboard?

Does anyone know what happened to the six pianos that were rescued (though thirty pianos didn’t survive)?

As old newspaper clippings, Lloyd’s reports, and eyewitness accounts are pored over towards the goal of creating a display for the heritage centre, it is hoped that current and previous Stronsay residents will share any items or stories or photos of items – even rumours or vague memories are welcome! – that still remain from the Edenmore.

If you can help with the search in any way – or know someone who might be able to – please contact Jennifer Graham or Ian Cooper or send an email via stronsayshipwrecks@iangarntcom.

You can read more about the Edenmore here: Edenmore Shipwreck via Scottish Shipwrecks

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