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From the Collection of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village 89 Merri Street Warrnambool Victoria

Unrestored sugar spoon from the wreck of the LOCH ARD. The spoon design has a flattened fiddle-back handle, with a thin stem or shank, flared collar, and a shallow rounded bowl. The spoons metallic composition is a thin layer of brass alloy which has partially corroded back to a nickel-silver base metal. Approximately 15% of original plate remains, with 10% verdigris, and 10% sedimentary concretion on top of handle. No makers marks are visible.
L 12.0cm X W 2.5cm X D 2.0cm
Object Registration
flagstaff hill, warrnambool, shipwrecked coast, flagstaff hill maritime museum, maritime museum, shipwreck coast, flagstaff hill maritime village, great ocean road, loch line, loch ard, captain gibbs, eva carmichael, tom pearce, glenample station, mutton bird island, loch ard gorge, electroplated cutlery, nickel silver, william page & co, birmingham brass plating, makers marks
Historical information
This sugar spoon is from the wreck of the LOCH ARD, a Loch Line ship of 1,693 tons which sailed from Gravesend, London, on 2 March 1878 with 17 passengers and a crew of 36 under Captain George Gibbs. “The intention was to discharge cargo in Melbourne, before returning to London via the Horn with wool and wheat”. Instead, on 1 June 1878, after 90 days at sea, she struck the sandstone cliffs of Mutton Bird Island on the south west coast of Victoria, and sank with the loss of 52 lives and all her cargo.
The manifest of the LOCH ARD listed an array of manufactured goods and bulk metals being exported to the Colony of Victoria, with a declared value of £53,700. (202 bills of lading show an actual invoice value of £68, 456, with insurance underwriting to £30,000 of all cargo). Included in the manifest is the item of “Tin hardware & cutlery £7,530”.
This sugarspoon is one of 482 similar items of electro-plated cutlery from the LOCH ARD site, comprising spoons and forks of various sizes but all sharing the same general shape or design and metallic composition. 49 of these pieces display a legible makers’ mark — the initials “W” and “P” placed within a raised diamond outline, which is in turn contained within a sunken crown shape — identifying the manufacturer as William Page & Co of Birmingham.
An electroplater’s makers’ marks, unlike sterling silver hallmarks, are not consistent identifiers of quality or date and place of manufacture. A similar line of five impressions was usually made to impress the consumer with an implication of industry standards, but what each one actually signified was not regulated and so they varied according to the whim of the individual foundry.
In this case, the maker’s marks are often obscured by sedimentary accretion or removed by corrosion after a century of submersion in the ocean. However sufficient detail has survived to indicate that these samples of electro-plated cutlery probably originated from the same consignment in the LOCH ARD’s cargo. The generally common range of marks are drawn from 255 tea spoons, 125 dessert spoons, and 99 table forks. These marks are clearly visible in 66 instances, while the same sequence of general outlines, or depression shapes, is discernible in another 166 examples.
Suggested trade names for William Page & Co’s particular blend of brass plating are ‘roman silver’ or ‘silverite’. This copper alloy polishes to a lustrous gold when new, discolouring to a murky grey with greenish hue when neglected.
When Made
circa 1878
Made By
William Page & Co. (electroplater)
The LOCH ARD shipwreck is of State significance – Victorian Heritage Register S 417.
Flagstaff Hill’s collection of artefacts from LOCH ARD is significant for being one of the largest collections of artefacts from this shipwreck in Victoria. It is significant for its association with the shipwreck, which is on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR S417). The collection is significant because of the relationship between the objects, as together they have a high potential to interpret the story of the LOCH ARD.

The LOCH ARD collection is archaeologically significant as the remains of a large international passenger and cargo ship. The LOCH ARD collection is historically significant for representing aspects of Victoria’s shipping history and its potential to interpret sub-theme 1.5 of Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes (living with natural processes). The collection is also historically significant for its association with the LOCH ARD, which was one of the worst and best known shipwrecks in Victoria’s history.
Last updated
28 Jun 2017 at 4:11PM