Hooelake hulks & wrecks inspire art and memories!

February 28, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More
Hooe Lake Wrecks Inspiring Art & Memories

Hooe Lake Wrecks Inspiring Art & Memories

Whilst perusing the pictures at the Plymouth Society of Artists art exhibition in Plymouth Museum Art galleries recently, I came across a pleasing painting of one of the old rotting hulks lying in Hooe Lake.

The painting brought back childhood memories of the 50’s when around the age of 14yrs ( I’m now 66) the most rebellious thing I ever did was to steal two cigarettes from my mother’s pack, and with a friend, paddled out to the rotting barges towards the middle of Hooe Lake, in a home made canvas canoe, to secretly smoke these cigarettes, hiding in between the remains of the sun bleached timbers, away from prying eyes some 100 yds from the shore, whilst performing the illegal act of “smoking under age”!!

Can you imagine today’s 14yr old’s would blow smoke in your face and deposit the butt ends wherever, with little regard for the illegalities or concern what others might think.

What changes these barges have seen over the last 75yrs- presumably they were used to transport limestone from Radford quarry or wood from the yard where Boston’s stand?

It is fascinating though, that these rotting hulks, although “gone to a lost decade” still provide the subject matter to appeal to the melancholy and abstract thoughts that wander through our heads from time to time.

David Tomalin.

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Category: History, Personal Accounts

Comments (5)

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  1. Carol Foote nee Combe says:

    I was born in the village in 1947, my family lived with my grandmother at Church Hill. I was told a branch of my grandmothers family, and this would have been pre 2nd World War, would cut the rotting boat hulks timbers to provide firewood for themselves as they were so poor I, myself have MANY happy memories of the village and an idyllic childhood by the sea and surrounded by nature.

  2. teresa sheldon says:

    Hi, I have been showing interest in this website all about hooe lake’s history. I have a friend called ann who was brought up on a house boat called Nicki 2 at Hooe back in the 50’s. I wondered if anyone out there also lived on a houseboat or has any photos, thank you Teresa.

  3. Observer says:

    Why is a treasure hunter commenting on an article about UCH? Pathetic!

  4. Peter Holt says:


    I believe the hulk in the middle of the picture above is a timber lighter called ‘Arthur’ that used to be owned by Baylys. The former Belgian trawler ‘Roger’ is on the extreme left of the picture, a hulk we have been using for many years to teach shipwreck recording methods to archaeologists. We plan to undertake a study of the ship remains in Hooe Lake in the near future as part of the SHIPS Project, see http://www.promare.co.uk/ships.

    Project Manager, SHIPS Project

  5. Mike Trivett says:

    Hi David, Loved the post, I grew up in Hooe, Born in 1954, lived there until I joined the Army, I still have loads of family there in South Hill and the surrounding area, spent many a happy day up to my knees in mud on the lake, so did my brother, we also had a hand built canoe, a 2 seater, remember the bridge across to the terminus at Turnchapel! This so slow by the way! we used to go caving in the old quarry, with candles and old torches from WWII! Remember the old wrecks, I used to dig up old clay pipes and the like from there, actually, old talk used to be from Tug Wilson, that they were used to transport stone out to build the breakwater, by prisoners of war, as in French from the time of Napoleon! spoke to the old keeper of Fort Stamford and went down into the dungeons many a time with Alby Harris! He used to have quite a collection of scrimshaw carved by the POWs out of the mutton and other bones they were given. Anyway, I digress! Any more I can help with, please feel free to contact me, am only to happy to help! Best Regards Mike

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