Diving has a romantic reputation, but it began in Whitstable as a more effective means of salvaging material, such as metal anchors, from the seabed – for profit of course!
The most famous salvage expedition was by Whitstable-based Deane and Edwards who found the Mary Rose in the 1836 off Portsmouth when local fishermen asked them to investigate an obstruction that was fouling their nets. They salvaged cannon and many interesting everyday objects which were either sold to the Government or auctioned off locally. The location of the wreck was then forgotten for 130 years when it was rediscovered, and finally raised in the 1980s.
The diving tradition was continued in the 1960s in Whitstable when Hugh Singer set up the Whitstable Diving Company which sold kits for people to cut and glue their own Neoprene wetsuits, until ready-mades became available in later years.
Visit the Museum & Gallery to see:
- Early diving helmets
- The canvas diving dress (suit) worn by divers from the 1800s until after World War Two
- The heavy lead diving boots
- An original diving pump
- Everyday Tudor objects like those found by the Deanes on the Mary Rose
- Photographs of early divers
And why not buy a copy of the 'Divers’ Trail' from the Museum shop and discover their homes, pubs, ship berths and burial places?
Whitstable divers button