Resurgam is the name given to two early Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

s designed and built by Reverend George Garrett as a weapon to penetrate the chain netting placed around ship hulls to defend against attack by torpedo vessels.

Resurgam I

The first Resurgam, built in 1878, was a 14 ft (5 m), hand powered, one-man vessel nicknamed "the curate's egg
Curate's egg
The expression "a curate's egg" originally meant something that is partly good and partly bad, but as a result is entirely spoiled. Modern usage has tended to change this to mean something having a mix of good and bad qualities.- Derivation and history :...

" due to its shape. Its small size and one-man crew meant it would have been ineffective as a weapon.

Resurgam II

The second Resurgam was built by Cohran & Co. at Birkenhead
Birkenhead is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in Merseyside, England. It is on the Wirral Peninsula, along the west bank of the River Mersey, opposite the city of Liverpool...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and launched on 26 November 1879. Her construction was of iron plates fastened to iron frames, with the central section of the vessel clad with wood secured by iron straps and as built, she was 45 feet (13.7 m) long by 10 feet (3 m) in diameter, weighed 30 long tons (30.5 MT), and had a crew of 3. She was powered by a closed cycle steam engine originally patented in 1872 by the American engineer Eugene Lamm which provided enough steam to turn the single propeller for up to 4 hours. She was designed to have positive buoyancy
In physics, buoyancy is a force exerted by a fluid that opposes an object's weight. In a column of fluid, pressure increases with depth as a result of the weight of the overlying fluid. Thus a column of fluid, or an object submerged in the fluid, experiences greater pressure at the bottom of the...

, and diving was controlled by a pair of hydroplane
Planing (sailing)
Planing is the mode of operation for a waterborne craft in which its weight is predominantly supported by hydrodynamic lift, rather than hydrostatic lift .-History:...

s amidships. At the time she cost £1,538.

After successful trials in the East Float
Great Float
The Great Float, is a body of water on the Wirral Peninsula, England formed from the natural tidal inlet, the Wallasey Pool. It is split into two large docks, East Float and West Float, both part of the Birkenhead Docks complex. The docks run approximately inland from the River Mersey, dividing...

 at Wallasey
Wallasey is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside, England, on the mouth of the River Mersey, at the northeastern corner of the Wirral Peninsula...

, it was planned that Resurgam should make her way under her own power from Birkenhead to Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

 for a demonstration to the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...


However, during the voyage mechanical problems caused the crew to dock at Rhyl
Rhyl is a seaside resort town and community situated on the north east coast of Wales, in the county of Denbighshire , at the mouth of the River Clwyd . To the west is the suburb of Kinmel Bay, with the resort of Towyn further west, Prestatyn to the east and Rhuddlan to the south...

 for repairs. Once completed, the crew set sail at night in a high wind, towed by the steam yacht Elphin, which Garrett had bought to act as a tender
Submarine tender
A submarine tender is a type of ship that supplies and supports submarines.Submarines are small compared to most oceangoing vessels, and generally do not have the ability to carry large amounts of food, fuel, torpedoes, and other supplies, nor to carry a full array of maintenance equipment and...

. The Elphin developed engine problems and the Resurgam's crew transferred to her to assist. Because the entry hatch on the Resurgam could not be fastened from outside, the submarine began to ship water and the towrope broke under the added weight, the Resurgam sinking in Liverpool Bay
Liverpool Bay
Liverpool Bay is a bay of the Irish Sea between northeast Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside to the east of the Irish Sea. The bay is a classic example of a region of freshwater influence...

 off Rhyl on 25 February 1880.

Discovery of wreck

For many years the exact location of Resurgam was a mystery. In 1995, it was found by an experienced wreck diver, Keith Hurley, while he was attempting to clear snagged fishing nets in 60 feet (18.3 m) of water and on 4 July 1996 was designated protected wreck n.o 42 under the Protection of Wrecks Act. The site of the wreck covers an area 900 feet (274.3 m) in radius at .

The Resurgam's hull is intact although partially damaged and remains at risk from illegal diving and trawling. Since her discovery, the conning tower steering wheel has been broken and portable items have gone missing.

In 1997, a project called SUBMAP was undertaken by the Archaeological Diving Unit to study the wreck site. Over one hundred volunteer divers, coordinated by the Nautical Archaeology Society
Nautical Archaeology Society
The Nautical Archaeology Society is a charity registered in England and Wales and in Scotland and is a company limited by guarantee.The charitable aims and object of the company are to further research in Nautical Archaeology and publish the results of such research and to advance education and...

, surveyed the structure of the hull and the colonising marine life around it by using remote sensing equipment to search for debris in the surrounding area. The results of the SUBMAP project have been published as a comprehensive digital archive using Site Recorder
Site Recorder
Site Recorder is a geographical information system and Information Management System designed for use in maritime, freshwater and intertidal archaeology. Site Recorder can be used on maritime and intertidal archaeology projects for real time data collection, decision support, publication,...

. The wreck is currently protected against further corrosion by sacrificial anodes that had been attached to the hull. Plans to raise her have so far not been fruitful.
A replica of the vessel was put on display at Woodside
Woodside, Merseyside
Woodside is a small riverside locality in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England, situated almost opposite Liverpool Pier Head across the River Mersey.-History:...

, Birkenhead, in 1997.

In popular culture

  • Resurgam was featured in the TV programme Wreck Detectives
    Wreck Detectives
    Wreck Detectives is the title of 2 TV documentary series from UK Channel 4 aired in 2003 and 2004 presented by Jeremy Seal, Miranda Krestovnikoff and David Manley.-Series 1 - 2003:#Alum Bay wreck, Alum Bay#Earl of Abergavenny, Weymouth Bay...

    in 2004.
  • Kevin Rolph Ronan's novel Peregrine's Funny Adventure on Board the Resurgam, 1990. Random House Ltd., Sydney, Australia
  • "Resurgam" was also written on Helen Burns's grave in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
    Jane Eyre
    Jane Eyre is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published in London, England, in 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. with the title Jane Eyre. An Autobiography under the pen name "Currer Bell." The first American edition was released the following year by Harper & Brothers of New York...

  • "Resurgam" is the official motto of the city of Portland, Maine
    Portland, Maine
    Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

    , which burned to the ground several times in its history.
  • "Resurgam First Care" is the name of a fictional hospital in Portland, Maine
    Portland, Maine
    Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

     in the Wii game Trauma Team
    Trauma Team
    Trauma Team, known in Japan as is a video game for the Wii console. The game is part of the Trauma Center series by Atlus. The game was released on May 18, 2010 in North America....

    . This is likely in reference to the city's motto, and also more literally in the sense that it is a hopeful, positive name for a trauma center's patients.
  • Resurgam was used as a motto by Plymouth Argyle fans during administration in 2011.

See also

  • Plongeur
    Plongeur was a French submarine launched on 16 April 1863. She was the first submarine in the world to be propelled by mechanical power....

  • Ictineo II
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