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Rhoda (Possibly): Upper Firth Of Clyde

Steamship (19th Century)

Site Name Rhoda (Possibly): Upper Firth Of Clyde

Classification Steamship (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) 'Off Inverkip'; Inner Clyde Estuary

Canmore ID 102742

Site Number NS17SE 8001

NGR NS 1695 7192

Datum Datum not recorded


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Maritime - Argyll And Bute
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Maritime
  • Former County Not Applicable

Archaeology Notes

NS17SE 8001 1695 7192

N55 54.3333 W4 55.72

NLO: Inverkip [name: NS 200 719].

Formerly entered as NS17SE 9376.

See also NS17SE 8008.

20 June 1879, RHODA, 15 yrs old, of Greenock, iron steamship, 28 tons, 3 crew, Master A. Mills, Owner R. Mills, Greenock, departed Glasgow for Oban, carrying coal, wind W4, foundered, total loss, off Inverkip, Firth of Clyde.

Source: PP Abstracts Returns of Wrecks and Casualties on Coasts of the UK 1878 - 79 (1880 [C.2519] LXVI.47).

RHODA, Official No. 50,339, not classed, of Granton, built Renfrew, length 65, breadth 13.5, depth 4.9, length to breadth 4.8, length to depth 13.3, depth to breadth 0.37, gross register tonnage 30, net register tonnage 28, tonnage available for cargo and coals 30, engines 12 h.p., proportion h.p. to gross tonnage 0.36, cargo coal (54 tons). The RHODA is stated to have gone down by the head without any warning. Cause of casualty unknown.

List of British Steamships which have been reported to the Board of Trade as having foundered between the 1st of January 1873 and the 16th of May 1880.

Source: PP Abstracts Returns of Wrecks and Casualties on Coasts of the UK [Record received incomplete].

NMRS, MS/829/69 (no. 2883).

Quality of fix = EDM

Evidence = Echo sounder

Horizontal Datum = OGB

General water depth = 91

Orientation of keel/wreck = 120/300

Circumstances of Loss Details


The RHODA foundered off Inverkip.

Report by P Moir.

See also 55 55 50N, 004 53 35W.

Surveying Details


23 March 1977. The wreck was located in January 1977 at 55 54 19.5N, 004 55 09W. The clearly defined hull is lying on an orientation of 285/105 degrees. Its length is 55-65 metres. It stands approximately 8 metres high. The least echosounder depth was 87 in a general depth of 96 metres.

Report by HMS SHERATON, 22 February 1977.

18 Fenruary 1987 The site was examined 24 June 1986 at 55 54 20N, 004 55 12W. The least echosounder depth was 84 in a general depth of 90 to 91 metres. No scouring was obsereved. The vessel is lying intact, and is some 65 metres long. The keel is orientated 120/300 degrees.

Report by HMS HECLA.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

(Classified as iron steamship, with cargo of coal: date of loss cited as 20 June 1879). Rhoda: this vessel foundered off Inverkip. Capt. Mills.

Registration: Glasgow. Built 1864. 33grt. Length: 20m. Beam: 4m.

(Location of loss cited as N55 54.47 W4 53.57).

I G Whittaker 1998.

The equation of this wreck with the recorded loss of the Rhoda remains unverified, and cannot be considered indubitable. Specifically, the reported length of the vessel (c. 65m) differs from that (20m) cited by Whittaker.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 7 January 2010.


Desk Based Assessment (27 November 2014)

The Rhoda was constructed in 1862 in Renfrew (WA 2012). The vessel was a steamship. There is no record within the current UKHO wrecks and obstructions database which relates to any remains at this location, or to the Rhoda. However, earlier extracts from the UKHO database indicate that there was once an entry, and that the earlier UKHO surveys had recorded an intact vessel in this location. The equation of the seabed remains with the Rhoda arenot verifed, and there are discrepancies between the recorded length of the seabed remains and the as-built dimensions of the Rhoda.

Information from Sally Evans (Cotswold Archaeology), 27/11/2014.

Desk Based Assessment (28 November 2014)

The Rhoda was built in 1863 by MacNab & Company, Greenock. More information available online from [accessed 10 December 2014], (Moir and Crawford 2004: 49). Current UKHO data (December 2014) records a single record for a wreck identified as the possible remains of the Rhoda within the Clyde. This record relates to position 55.92797, -4.89535 (WGS84 decimal degrees). The surveying details indicate that when the obstruction was originally recorded one of the possibilities was that it represented the wreck of the Rhoda, lost in this area. However, subsequent surveys have indicated that the obstruction may be a boulder or fastener in an area of ‘innumerable trawl scours’, and the record has been amended to ‘F’ (foul). It appears likely that the name (which still reads Rhoda- possible) has yet to be updated, but on the basis of the equation of the obstruction with a boulder or fastener, it is unlikely that there is a wreck at this position.

The second position recorded for the Rhoda is recorded within the RCAHMS database (NumLink 102742), and also within the Characterising Scotland’s Marine Archaeological Resource database (which used the RCAHMS database as the primary source) at 55.9055 -4.92867. Although there is no UKHO point at this position the RCAHMS database records UKHO survey details. Assessment of the survey details show that they are the same as those recorded in the current UKHO database for the wreck of the HMS Seagull 540m to the east, with the exception of the last surveying entry of the latter which led to the identification of that wreck as the HMS Seagull. The positions given in the survey details cited in the RCAHMS database are for the area of the HMS Seagull, and thus it is likely that the RCAHMS record represents an error, possibly stemming from a mistake inputting the UKHO position. The other details within the RCAHMS database for the Rhoda amount to that of a documented loss. Thus, the Rhoda has been removed from the project dataset.

Information from Sally Evans (Cotswold Archaeology), 28/11/2014.

Project (October 2014 - April 2015)

The maritime archaeology of the Clyde has been identified as a focus for a major study of human interaction with the river through time by the RCAHMS following on from recommendations by the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF). Source to

Sea has been developed as the long-term research programme, of which the research into human connections with the River Clyde forms part. This project has comprised a study of the surviving shipwreck heritage of Clyde-built vessels lost within the Clyde estuary and Firth of Clyde.

This project has collated information from a range of sources and has enhanced knowledge of Clyde-built wrecks within the Clyde. In particular information from recreational divers has proved invaluable and has been the source of detailed information about the current condition of many Clyde-built wrecks, useful for on-going management. A number of wrecks previously recorded as of unknown identity in the RCAHMS database were positively identified during the project and more accurate positional information was established for a number of other wrecks. Additionally, the project identified a potentially significant wreck (Margaret Niven) the remains of which were not previously recorded. This project has also identified a number of other potentially significant wrecks within the Clyde, which reflect both its unique contributions to world-wide shipbuilding and local connections. These wrecks include paddle steamers (Lapwing and Princess of Wales), Clyde Puffers (e.g. Margaret Niven), steam-yachts with military connections (HMS Breda), a dredger (Greenock) and an 18th-century West Indiaman (Lady Margaret). Numerous other wrecks have been identified by this project, and all display some degree of significance.

Information from Sally Evans (Cotswold Archaeology) April 2015


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