Maritime engineers are to visit the remote South Atlantic island of South Georgia to assess whether the last Hull steam trawler, Viola, can be recovered and brought back to Hull for restoration and exhibition to the public.
Viola is the vessel on the left in the photo above. It is taken from the Wikipedia, and was shot by Lieutenant Philip Hallb of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Built at Beverley in 1906, the Viola had an extraordinary career that included a stint with Hellyer Steam Fishing Company’s North Sea fleet – the Hellyer fleet specialised in Shakespearean names, had a distinguished career during The Great War that included the sinkings of at least two U-boats, and later became first a whaler and then a sealer in the South Atlantic, before becoming a hulk at the old whaling station at Grytviken when it closed in 1964.
The decision to visit Viola to assess whether she can be returned to Hull follows years of campaigning and interest by local people, and coincides with the publication of a book about her career. The new volume available from Lodestar Books is out just in time for Christmas, and I gather it is already proving a bit hit in the Hull area – but I guess it will also be of interest to those fascinated by the era of steam or old fishing vessels.
In another extraordinary development in her career, Viola’s original bell was discovered on a farm at Sandefjord in Norway, and was purchased by the Hull Maritime Museum. In 2008 the bell was returned to the ship.
See the BBC story here.