Birkenhead built submarine filmed for the first time

The world’s first steam-powered submarine - Resurgam - which was built in Birkenhead - has been videos for the first time after it was abandoned and sank 50 feet beneath the sea 115 years ago. Scuba divers from the British Sub-Aqua Club in Chester have told its story in a TV documentary filmed at Woodside Ferry terminal where a replica of the submarine stands. It was built in 1879 by Cochran & Co in Birkenhead, now the building known as The Foundry off Corporation Road.

In 1880 after a successful trial in the Great Float and Egerton Docks at Wallasey and Birkenhead, the Resurgam set off for Portsmouth where it was to be demonstrated to the Royal Navy as the latest in Victorian naval technology. The Resurgam was lost after shipping water and sinking around five miles off the coast of North Wales but was found again in Rhyl in 1995.

Set to air on the H2 channel in the spring, the documentary series Combat Ships from Woodcut Media will explore how technology transformed naval warfare from across Europe and America. Justin Owen, a diver from Chester, has released a gallery of pictures showing frogmen exploring the wreck along with rare video footage.

Dave Parry, Chester Sub-Aqua Club’s diving officer, said: “We filmed the interview for the documentary at Woodside Ferry Terminal where there is a permanent replica model of Resurgam on the quayside. It’s a really interesting wreck that’s now covered in wildlife. If the wreck was raised it might not survive and it would be a shame to remove it as all the wildlife would die or need to move." The name Resurgam means "I shall rise again" in Latin. It is designated a Protected Wreck meaning it can only legally be dived with permission from the Welsh Government.

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